Summer is lingering and fall is just ahead with those mild temperatures that make getting out in the woods or just to your local sporting events a real pleasure. To maximize your comfort, you need to get up off the ground. By far the easiest and most affordable way to do that is with one of the best camping chairs around. Include one in your preparations and you will never look back!
Oniva Portable Folding Sports Chair
A light-weight versatile camping chair with lots of storage space and a convenient side-table. Folding is a breeze.
Best Overall Camping Chair
The Oniva Portable Folding Sports Chair gets our nod for the best overall camping chair. We like the fact that it is versatile, lightweight, and comes with all the features that help to make it enjoyable to sit around the fire. Sufficient storage pockets, a side-table, and a comfortable seat.
Best Value for Money
The KingCamp Moon Round Saucer is a great value-for-money camping chair. Whether you love curling up next to the fire or just sitting comfortably sipping a coffee, this is a lot of chair with all the standard features and storage pouches for around $50.
Best Light-Weight Camping Chair
At barely 2 lbs the Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight Camp Chair is hands down the lightest chair on our list. It is surprisingly sturdy and comfortable and it’s easy to see why it receives such great ratings across the board from campers who buy it.
Best “Loveseat” for 2 People
If you’re in the market for a 2-person camping “couch” that will comfortably seat you and your better half, then you can’t go wrong with the Kelty Low Loveseat Chair. The Kelty comes in low and normal seating height versions and while it may appear large, it is actually quite light and easy to fold. It’s a novelty chair that you won’t regret buying.
Best Rocker Camping Chair
For those lazy Saturday early evenings, when you just have to sit back with a cup of coffee and watch the sun slowly disappear as the bird-song gets louder, the GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker should undoubtedly be your tool of choice! The patented spring technology will allow you to safely rock away into the night.
No matter what activities you have planned or what needs you may have, a chair can make all the difference in how enjoyable your trip will be. Don’t settle for sitting on the ground with today’s modern, light-weight materials. You can do a whole lot better than that. Some camp chairs can weigh as little as a couple of pounds and fold up to the size of a water bottle. Others are equipped with all of the best in leisure inducing options.
With the camping chairs below, we have found some novel ideas along with some of the best on the market to make every event just a little more comfortable. Whether you are a tailgater, a beach bum, or a simple wanderer in the woods, we have something for you! From the lightweight to the ultra-comfortable, these are the chairs to check out this year.
The 10 Best Camping Chairs
1. Oniva Portable Folding Sports Chair
Of course, if you were looking for a director’s style chair with a little more flash and a little more room that would be the perfect sports fan or soccer mom chair, you could go with Oniva. It may not look like anything special but there a few points that make this a very good option for those in need of a lightweight but highly durable folding chair.
In lieu of the normal steel frame construction of most director chairs, Oniva has chosen to use a high polish aluminum frame that maintains an amazingly strong 300lbs capacity but nearly halves the weight of most steel chairs to a mere 8lbs. Being both rugged, attractive, and manageable make this among the best chairs for more active people.
Available in a half-dozen colors and several patterns, the 600D woven polyester provides plenty of strength while still being quick drying and easy to clean no matter the stain. This is the perfect cover for the lightweight frame that has just enough stretch for comfort but not so much that the chair feels like it has any give.
The side pocket has ample storage for all those things a person might need such as first aid supplies, cell phones, snacks, or any other item you may want to have right at your fingertips. It even has an insulated beverage holder and a secure zipper pocket for the more important items. Add that to the folding side table and you have the ultimate picnic chair that can adapt to about any activity.
The folded size of this chair is smaller than most directors’ chairs at only 19”x33”. When combined with the low weight, this becomes a very easy to carry and set up option for any outdoor occasion. The legs extend well below the supports making it much more stable on uneven ground and the simple support system keeps everything sturdy and rigid when in use.
For those who won’t be trekking long distances but still want to keep things light and manageable, you could do a whole lot worse. Backed by a lifetime guarantee, you can bet this chair will last season after season.
Available at: Amazon
2. ALPHA CAMP Oversized Director’s Chair
A chair doesn’t need to be complicated to be comfortable and the Alpha Camp camping chair proves that. Special attention to the materials makes this chair incredibly strong and comfortable enough for all-day use. Don’t be fooled by the rather plain look, this director styled chair is among the best on the market today.
The clean lines of the anti-rust coated steel frame conceal a cleverly engendered design that makes this chair very stable and strong, supporting up to 300lbs with ease. For a little added class, the metal has a hammered look that matches well with the combination mesh and ripstop oxford weave fabric. Extra breathable and extra tall, this chair would work great for anyone but if you are looking for the best camping chair for a tall person, this would be an excellent choice!
With the rather frugal design, there are not a lot of additional features, just the important ones. The folding side table with cup holder is very handy for those social camping trips and barbeques while the added side storage pouch keeps all of your important items right at your fingertips.
While the legs aren’t the best for uneven terrain, they will keep you solidly placed with no tippy feeling or fear of them folding suddenly under you. The long supports will keep you from sinking into softer ground but any dips or bumps in the ground can make this chair a little wobbly.
The simple folding mechanism makes the Alpha Camp director’s chair very quick and easy to set up but while folded it is still a little on the large side at about 40”x20.” For car camping or other more casual uses, this works well but you wouldn’t want to backpack with it. Besides, it weighs a hefty 12 pound which makes it very rugged and durable but not very convenient for long walks.
If you want to stay cool and comfortable no matter your pursuit, this is an outstanding chair. For the fisherman or the casual sports fan, this is a purchase you can be sure of.
Available at: Amazon
3. GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker
So, what happens if you take a director’s style chair to the ultimate level of relaxation? You get the Freestyle Rocker from GCI Outdoor. A company that has developed quite a following in recent years with a wide variety of outdoor seating options that are attractive, tough, and easy on the wallet. Combine that with beyond average comfort and you end up with this fine example.
Made from steel tubing that is powder coated for long-term rust resistance and woven polyester fabric that has just enough stretch for maximum comfort and support, this chair is a top-notch example of what a camp chair can be. It can easily support up to 250lbs and is reinforced in just the right places to provide lifelong durability.
Like most chairs, it comes with a place to store your favorite summertime beverage, even if it is a little unconventional for a chair of this style. It also lacks the side table so common on chairs if this particular style. All in all, it has a very plain look and would seem to have very few extra features. Well, except for one outstanding feature!
By use of a patented spring action technology, this is a rocking chair. Practically the pinnacle of summertime luxury. In truth, this chair feels much more like a front porch glider than a traditional rocking chair but that is all the better. No matter where you go, your time can be spent in ultimate relaxation and comfort. Just be cautious not to doze off at the wrong time.
Despite the added components that make this chair work, it is still exceedingly easy to unfold and set up. The process in reverse is just as simple and when folded it can be easily transported by use of an integral carry handle. Folded size is around 2’x3” and lies flat for easy storage. What more could you possibly want from a rocking chair?
To top all this off, it is covered by a limited lifetime warranty and backed by quite good customer service. For the price, you won’t find another rocking camp chair like this, especially with a guarantee as good as the one offered by GCI.
You really have to see this chair in action to believe it, check it out here!
Available at: Amazon
4. Kelty Low Loveseat Chair
Relaxation is sometimes best enjoyed in company but who wants to pack in a whole set of chairs? That’s where this seat for two by longtime camping professionals, Kelty, comes in very handy! While not the conventional camping chair in pretty much any aspect, it is one that has become a favorite amongst the car camping crowd. If you are in the market for a seat for two, or maybe just something a little larger for some high-quality longing, this is a product worth your attention.
Constructed from a durable alloy steel frame that provides strength without a ton of weight and quilted polyester for additional padding, this spacious seat is durable, comfortable, and quite attractive. The armrests are adjustable and the whole seat has a slight recline to it for the perfect angle to kick back around the campfire.
The Kelty Loveseat isn’t known for having a ton of features but it doesn’t really need them. It’s such a novel concept that it’s practically a feature its self. Other than the dual insulated cup holders that are perfect for hot chocolate, about all it has are its very rugged, extra wide feet. These come in quite handy considering the massive 4-foot span of sitting surface. Do your best to get this on level ground for the best performance.
Though it is rather large when unfolded, it folds down quite small into a roughly tube shape 11” in diameter and about 3 feet long. Most cheap chairs are at least that large. It even comes with a roll tote to make carrying the 15lb chair easier but is also designed to help with all those carry related camp chores like firewood gathering.
One thing to note is that this loveseat sits low to the ground, hence the Low Loveseat. This may seem inconvenient but actually works out quite well for kicking your legs out and relaxing. The height makes it perfect for sharing with mans best friend if you have a camp dog that comes along.
While a product this unique may be a cause for some concern if it were manufactured by a small time, unheard of company, the fact that it is made by Kelty is a great sense of relief. You know it’s been tested and will be covered by Kelty’s limited warranty and absolutely astounding customer service. Rest assured that if you have a problem, a real person will be there to take your call and sort everything out fast. There are few companies that have more pride in their products and more willingness to stand behind them.
Available at: Amazon
5. Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight Camp Chair
So, what if you do want to get into the backwoods and camp where there is no one around but you without giving up all comforts? Well, you need a special chair for that. It has to pack small, weigh little, and still provide the strength and comfort you need to fully recover after a long day hiking. That is a very tall order but not impossible with a little clever use of materials and engineering.
In order to keep weight down, the Moon Lence chair starts off with an aerospace grade aluminum alloy that is both strong and super light. For the fabric, they add a combination of 600D and 420D oxford cloth reinforced with nylon webbing and some mesh to keep the weight down and keep you cool. All of this adds up to a package that weighs less than 2 pounds but can hold nearly 250 pounds. Not bad for a lightweight portable chair.
You won’t get a cup holder or even armrests but the bucket style seat does give you some of that needed arm support. That’s just part of the sacrifice of having such a low weight. There is no need for misgivings though, this design has been tried and tested many times over and really does provide the best level of comfort that you can pack into such a small space.
How small? Well, this chair that normally sits at around a foot high at the seat and measures almost two feet wide will fold down into a pack a mere 5 inches wide and just over a foot long. For a chair in the backcountry, that is just about perfect or at least the best you are likely to get. Stick it in your pack or just keep one in your car just in case. At that size, you can even fit one in your carry-on luggage in case of long flight delays.
Setup is a little more involved than a simple folding camping chair but is still very easy. The whole frame slides together with the assistance of bungee cords and the cover simply attaches using nylon loops. Even the first time you set up this chair, it will take no more than a couple of minutes. After a couple of tries, a minute or less would be much more likely.
Don’t risk the backcountry without a place to sit. There are just too many creepy crawly things on the ground and it can be cold and wet besides. Any time you can do something to increase your comfort at such a low cost, lightweight, and small size, taking one along should be a no-brainer.
The first time you sit in one of these chairs, they feel a little tippy but you will soon get used to it. This design is sturdy and quite stable once you get used to the feeling. For the backpacker, this is by far the best lightweight camping chair design that has ever been offered.
Available at: Amazon
6. Vingli Professional Folding Fishing Chair
Whether you are or aren’t a fisherman, this is an amazing chair that is ideal for most any outdoor pursuit where comfort is important and weight isn’t an issue. It would be right at home by the river, on the beach, or on your front porch. No matter where you want to use it, its rugged design is made to last.
The legs, braces, and armrest are made from tubular steel that will support well over 300lbs and when combined with the 600D polyester fabric it is incredibly rigged. All of the surfaces where your weight sits have extra padding for maximum comfort and the clever slide-locks on the legs make the height adjustable while keeping everything solidly in place. This chair rates highly as among the best heavy duty camping chairs around.
What the chair lacks in extras, it makes up for in comfort. This chair can recline to any angle from vertical to horizontal, giving you the maximum of adjustment to fit your own body. The legs can be adjusted to different heights to make sure you have a perfectly sold, flat place to sit no matter the terrain making an excellent choice for those rugged stream banks.
Each leg is tipped with a rotating foot that provides firm ground contact, no matter the surface. No more sinking into soft soils or sand. As soon as you sit in the chair, the foot will find the proper position to keep it most stable.
If you are looking for the best camping chair for someone with a bad back, the additional Velcro-in padding provides excellent back support that adds to the overall comfortable design to provide just the angle and stability you need to keep your pain at bay. It’s easily repositioned to that perfect spot and can be removed for easy cleaning.
Folded, this chair is just under 3’x2’ and comes with a shoulder bag for easy transport. It may not be the lightest chair at nearly 15lbs but for the comfort it provides, it’s worth carrying on those short distance trips. When you get to where you are going, simply unfold the chair and lock in the legs for an amazing place to sit and enjoy the outdoors.
Available at: Amazon
7. CampLand Deluxe Padded Reclining Chair with Footrest
When it comes to luxury camping chairs with footrests and the option to recline, very few beat this CampLand chair. It may appear basic at first glance but there is nothing basic about its comfort, durability, and absolute ease of setup. For those who have the urge to get out but with the comfort of their Lazy-Boy, this is as close as you can get!
The textile mesh breathes well and provides strong support for anyone up to 300lbs and can even be covered with the included corduroy pad for even more comfort. Add this to the all steel frame that adjusts to give you the perfect sitting position for any activity and you have a chair worthy of your living room much less a campsite.
While it may not have the amenities of many of the other chairs like storage pouches or cup holders, it more than makes up for it with its overall uncomplicated and attractive design that would look right at home on the soccer sidelines or under the awning of your RV. Break out the included footstool and relax.
While not the lightest or smallest chair, it doesn’t need to be. The fold-flat design makes it easy to store even if it is a little large at just over 3’x2’. The weight stays modest at just over 12lbs which is pretty amazing with the footrest and pad included. By design, this chair wasn’t meant for long overland treks but if you keep it packed in the SUV for any outdoor occasion, you will have no problem at all in storing it.
Simply unfold the chair, set the angle you want to recline, and you are ready to go. The independent legs are solid and stable with oversized footpads that keep shifting to a minimum. If you have a bad back or hip problems, this chair should serve you well with all of the options to find the perfect position to take your weight.
Available at: Amazon
8. Sport-Brella Recliner
If you wanted the absolute best in relaxation, what would you need? Well, a comfortable seat for a start. What about a nice place in the shade and maybe somewhere to put your feet up for a while? A cold drink or two certainly wouldn’t hurt. Maybe just somewhere to kick back and take a little nap. You can have all of those things everywhere you go with the Sport-Brealla Recliner, the best reclining camp chair on the market.
Boasting that this chair is the best does take a little explaining but it all starts with quality. Specifically, this camp chair uses an ultra-strong yet lightweight steel alloy and oxford cloth construction that provides plenty of durability and just the right level of softness. This combination makes for a chair that is both extremely rugged and immensely comfortable in a spacious chair that is loaded with amenities.
What amenities? It starts with a drink holder, as it should, but continues with four insulated pockets for additional drink storage just in case you run low. After all, when you are settled in with your feet propped up on the integral, adjustable footrest, you aren’t going to want to move. To continue on that theme, it has several built-in storage pockets for those little things and a built-in bottle opener just in case.
That gets you a long way toward true relaxation but what about shade? Well, that’s included too with the foldable and easily re-positioned sunshade that is so easy to move around that you can do it without leaving the chair. Thanks to the canopy’s metallic undercoat, it offers up to SPF 50 sun protection for those long days on the beach or just by the backyard pool.
Of course, with all these extras, this camping chair with footrest and canopy isn’t going to be a lightweight option overall. It does weigh in just under 30lbs so it’s not something you want to carry to your backwoods campsite but it does just fine on those short little jaunts to the beach. Size wise it’s very packable despite all the extra parts, folding down into an 8-inch tube that is just 40 inches long.
No matter what activity you enjoy, you can surely benefit from what the Sport-Brella offers. Just set the recline to exactly where you want it and you are good to go with this quick up, quick down easily packable folding chair with all the features.
Available at: Amazon
9. KingCamp Moon Round Saucer Camping Chair
The round shape of a moon chair makes the perfect place outdoors to relax or maybe just curl up and read a book, provided they are big enough. At nearly three feet in diameter, the King Camp moon chair provides more than adequate space for the maximum amount of relaxation. No matter if you want to take a book, a fishing pole, or just take a nap, the King Camp moon chair is sure to satisfy.
The rust-resistant coated steel frame is incredibly strong and rigid for all the support and stability you could possibly need with additional leg braces to make sure everything holds up over the long haul. If you really want to get the most out of your downtime, the last thing you want to worry about it tipping over.
In addition to the rugged frame, the chair is covered in a high strength 600D polyester oxford cloth that has additional padding quilted directly into the fabric. Not only will this last for years with a minimum of care but it is among the most comfortable moon chairs on the market. You won’t have to worry about the metal frame causing hard spots, no matter how you sit or lay in this chair.
Moon chairs tend to be quite simple without a lot of features as a part of their very easy to set up design. They aren’t intended to be complicated. The King Camp gives you a sizeable side pocket that serves as a drink holder or necessities pouch and a larger pouch in the back to hold your books, magazines, or other larger items. Everything is easy to access and within reach of your most comfortable sitting position.
For ease of transport, the whole chair collapses down into a roughly 9 inch by 3-foot tube and slides easily into a shoulder carry bag. It may not be the best option for long hikes but at a weight of only 10lbs, it’s easy enough to get to some of the harder to reach places. Setup takes seconds, just flip the chair open and it’s ready to go. When you are done, you can fold it back up with a single hand.
Perfect for kids whether they use them outdoors or even in their rooms, these convenient chairs are versatile and comfortable enough for just about anywhere. No matter what you bought them for, you can be sure they will be used everywhere. What better way to get your money’s worth?
Available at: Amazon
10. Alpha Camp Canopy Chair
So what if you were to take one of those simple big box store camp chairs to the ultimate end of what it could be? That is precisely what you get with the Alpha Camp chair. It is the perfect mix of simplicity and functionality that makes it the perfect chair for just about any occasion from the beach to the backyard.
If you are going to strive for a high-quality chair, you have to use high-quality components. This is especially true if you want something that can stand up to the environments they are likely to be used in. The Alpha Camp chair does this by use of steel that has been powder coated for the best in rust resistance. While using steel makes the chair slightly heavier, the tradeoff in durability and overall strength is well worth it!
The rest of the chair is a combination of moisture-wicking polyester weave and a breathable mesh that provides excellent airflow for those warmer days while allowing sweat to evaporate naturally. This combination of materials makes for a very durable chair with a somewhat modest 15lb weight. While that may seem quite heavy for a chair of this type, the extras have a lot to do with that and are probably worth the added weight.
Boasting one of the largest cup holders on a camp chair, it will hold up to a standard 32-ounce water bottle or cup. That is a feature that has been woefully undersized for far too long. But that’s not the only added amenity. It has a clever read-though mesh pocket for your smartphone to keep it at hand and readable while holding it securely.
While that covers most of the basics of this chair, it leaves out the most outstanding feature, the integral sunshade. Where most chairs are content to have a separate piece to serve as a shelter, the canopy on the Alpha Camp chair is built in. This makes it stronger and easier to set up than two-piece systems. No separate storage bags or mounting hardware required. Everything you need in one place and stored in a durable polyester carry bag.
When folded the whole setup is a narrow tube a little better than four feet long which is pretty good for a chair with a seat that measures more than 2’x3’ when unfolded. Even the tallest people should do fine with plenty of room in the chair and a 53” height to the top of canopy. As long as you weigh under 350 pounds, this chair will serve you well for years!
Available at: Amazon
Camping Chair Buyers Guide
With thousands of options from hundreds of brands in dozens of styles, how do you go about picking a camping chair for you? There are a lot of different aspects to consider but we can help narrow that down a bit while providing some solid information.
Not all camp chairs are created equal. At some point when considering each point below, the appropriate type of chair should begin to reveal itself. No matter which direction you go, all of these qualities will apply to some degree.
Even if you are after the smallest and lightest camp chair, you still want some comfort and if you are after the maximum level of comfort, you will likely still care about how heavy the chair is. It is a question of finding the right blend to suit your specific situation.
Intended Use and Purpose
The most important consideration you will have to make is what you plan to use your chair for. What chairs are best for car camping and sporting events will probably not make good backpack chairs. Your individual needs are very important in making sure the chair is a good fit for your lifestyle but your lifestyle will ultimately decide what chair is best.
Most chairs can occupy a variety of uses so go with what you think will be your primary use. Are you more a car camper, fisherman, ultra-light hiker, or RV camper? Though those are by far not the only options, if you can answer the question of what you most want the chair for, you will be much closer to finding that perfect camping chair.
The order in which we approach the remainder of these topics has nothing to do with their importance. Your use will have more bearing on what the biggest consideration is. A backpacker may prefer weight and size over anything else where a car camper may be more concerned about comfort. If you are a beach bum or a sports fan, having a sunshade may be an absolute necessity. Consider each aspect individually and see what you need and what you can do without.
Stability and Sturdiness
Commonly overlooked but of vital importance is how stable a chair is. If you are sitting your chair on a deck or concrete pad all chairs should be fairly stable but when you take it out to the river bank for a little fishing the ground may not be so level. Picking a chair that doesn’t feel like it’s going to tip you out should be a big consideration.
The engineering and design of most camping chairs is pretty solid but some still feel a little awkward. The more rigid the frame, the more likely it is to feel tippy on uneven ground. Of course, the more rigid the frame the more durable the chair will be.
Keep this in mind but it shouldn’t be the first point you consider when deciding which chair suits you best. There are still a lot of things to talk about.
The whole reason we go to buy camping chairs is to feel comfortable when we aren’t in places where comfort is easy to find. Any chair will make your trip more comfortable but having one to maximize that comfort while still fitting with your planned use will always be the best choice. There are several factors that affect comfort and since we are all created a little different, a given chair may not be the same level of comfort for any two people.
Factors like your height and weight along with any medical issues with your back will come into play. Some chairs have a very straight back that can cause problems with someone with lower back issues but may be very comfortable for someone who needs more support around the shoulders. From what you know of your body and what regular chair design you prefer, you can often gauge the comfort of a camp chair just by looking at it.
While needs are a big factor, comfort also comes from preferences. Maybe you prefer a reclining camping chair with a footrest that provides the most relaxation that a camp chair can. Perhaps you like a chair that sits lower to the ground when camping to keep you closer to the fire. You know your comfort better than anyone else so choose what feels right for you.
Even chairs that look alike may feel different. How rigid the frame is or how stretchy the material may be the deciding factor. Some people prefer a chair that has a little more give to it so it molds better to their bodies where some will want more stiffness and support. Each material has its own qualities that will lend themselves to one preference or the other.
If you are looking for the ultimate comfort, some chairs have padding or cushions to better emulate your favorite recliner. It may not be as soft and fluffy as what you have at home but when you are out in the wild, a little bit of cushion can make a whole lot of difference.
If you are looking for the best backpacking chair, you want something very lightweight. If you are using the chair for picnics or sporting events where you won’t need to carry it far, the weight may be less important than other considerations. Camp chairs cover the full range of weights from less than a couple of pounds all the way up to 20 pounds or more.
Knowing your use and limitations well best help you determine what weight is best for you. If you plan on carrying the chair long distances, go for the lightest chair you can get that still fills your needs. If you just pull it out of your car and set it up, who cares what it weighs. Within reason anyway.
Lightweight camp chairs will be made of lighter materials or may be less comfortable. The very portable chairs may be smaller or have other limitations and are often very basic in design. They are also less durable and even less stable. These are sacrifices you make to take a chair miles into the woods.
Very heavy chairs may have padding, footrests, sunshades or a variety of other features that make your stay all the more comfortable but will be larger and more cumbersome overall. If you want the coziest chair you can get, be prepared for these issues.
Whether it’s a backpack or car trunk, we all have limited real estate to take along those extras that make life a little easier. Most camping folding chairs are quite manageable sized if you aren’t putting it in a pack but even the largest SUV feels up quick when you add tents, coolers, and all the other camping accouterments. Picking something that you can easily store and transport requires some planning or you may end up with another chair that just gets used on the patio.
Even cheap camping chairs usually come with a shoulder bag that will work well for those shorter trips. If you plan on carrying it to the backwoods, knowing the packed size is probably as important as knowing how big the chair is when you set it up.
Some chairs are designed to fold flat rather than collapse into a carry bag. These can be much easier to pack in the car but are often harder to carry if you have to do much walking. Especially if you are carrying a lot of other gear with you. Few things in life are as frustrating as a chair that keeps unfolding while your hands are already full.
The most modern, space-age materials haven’t found their way into the camp chair market just yet but I am sure they will soon. Until that time, you are going to have to rely on good old steel or high strength aluminum for the frame. Options for the fabric of the chair are usually some form of Oxford woven polyester.
Fabric wise, polyester is a great choice as it resists water well and is quite strong. It has a little stretch but not too much for a reasonable amount of support while not feeling like you are sitting on a board. Some mesh fabrics are becoming more common and offer lighter weight and more airflow for those hot days. You may even find a blend of these two fabrics. To better understand your fabric options, this torture test used a number of the types commonly used in camp chairs.
For the frame, steel seems to be the material of choice which offers a very good strength to weight ratio. It is cheap to produce and therefore more affordable for the consumer. It does weigh more than aluminum and may have issues with rust over time, especially if the chair has been damaged. If you are in the market for heavy-duty camp chairs, you can almost guarantee the frame will be made of steel.
Aluminum has to go through extruding processes as well as other metallurgical treatments to be strong enough to support a person. This, combined with its already higher cost, means that aluminum chairs will cost a little more. They are lighter but will often lack the weight capacity of a steel frame. Usually, you will find aluminum in chairs that are meant to be ultra-portable.
Some chairs have accessories that may be made from a variety of materials. Things like cushions are often padded with water-resistant foam. The actual material usually doesn’t matter as long as you know it will not become waterlogged after a rainy soccer game. By design, these chairs are made to take that abuse and dry quickly.
There may also be a variety of plastics used in the joints, feet, and any points of articulation. The makeup and materials are often not listed and are of little importance. The design of these chairs is such that those points never handle the full load on the chair.
There is a ton of information about all of the material used in making a camp chair. A good primer is this article that covers all the metals and fabrics as well as traditional wooden options.
Knowing how much a chair can hold is one of the most important considerations you can make in the chair you get. Don’t necessarily plan it around your weight but the weight of the heaviest person likely to sit in the chair. Any chair left unattended is likely to become occupied and you may never know who will end up in your chair.
Most chairs will handle in the ballpark of 300 lbs. which should be more than adequate. The capacity becomes much more important when looking at the lighter weight backpacking chairs. These may have capacities under 200lbs to accommodate their low weight. Be mindful of what these smaller chairs can handle before you purchase one.
If the chair you are considering is made from aluminum, it will hold less weight than steel. Make sure you check the capacity before making your purchase.
Ease of Setup
Most of the time you will be setting a chair up and leaving it for the duration of your stay, be that several hours or several days. You won’t have to worry about repacking it until its time to put it in the car and leave. This makes set-up less of an issue than it would be if you had to move the chair around frequently.
If you are a fisherman, you may be moving your chair quite often and having one that was complicated to set up would only take away from your valuable fishing time. Things like awnings and footrests are invaluable but take much more time to manipulate than a simple fold-out chair.
Some chairs simply unfold and are ready to go. Others may have multiple parts that have to be fitted together. Some reclining camping chairs will have to be manipulated to change how far the chair reclines. Awnings and sun shades may have separate poles that have to be assembled before the cover can be installed.
Even the lightest weight camp chairs can be complicated. It is quite common for backpacking chairs to have covers that come off completely for storage and must be fitted back on when unpacked. This may not be an issue until you repeatedly yank the cover off when moving the chair around your campsite.
Be aware of how the setup on your chair works and how willing you are to go through that process every time. For most people, this is a minor issue but one that should be considered.
Camping Chair Care and Cleaning Tips
If you want any product to last, you are going to have to do a little care and provide at least some TLC. Luckily most of these chairs will require very little to keep them in tip-top shape. Considering their usually quite affordable cost, too many people see them as a throwaway item. Even though they are a small investment, this is not an appropriate or environmentally sound behavior.
Popular Chair Features
If there is one place where innovation has really taken over the camp chair market, it’s in the features. These may be very simple or very, very complicated. Some make the chair more functional while some provide more comfort. Almost none are actually necessary, however, many of them do serve a purpose and will be desirable for someone.
Cupholder – The almost ubiquitous feature of camping chairs is the cupholder. I would consider this a necessity and often one is not enough. You may use one for a drink but the other will often hold your car keys, cell phone, or other indispensable items. Don’t overlook this feature on your chair, there are a few that do not have them. Plan your purchase around how important this feature is to you.
Sunshade – Another feature that is becoming more common is the sunshade. Sometimes this is a part of the chair and sometimes an accessory you can add but in today’s very sun conscious world, having one is better than not. You can always opt not to use it if you have it but if it isn’t there in the first place, a sunburn may be in your future.
Footrests – whether a separate unit or attached to the chair, are quite common, especially with the more complex reclining chairs. There are few feelings as great as propping up your feet after a long hike, unfortunately, most of those lack a footrest. You can always add one if you need but having one attached as a part of the whole chair is really nice.
Rockers – One of the most unique features you may encounter is camp chairs that have rockers or even hydraulic rocking mechanisms. While far from necessary, this is a really nice feature. If you camp from a large vehicle or an RV, these camp chairs are one of the best purchases you can make. They are soothing and usually very comfortable.
Feet Padding – To increase stability, some chairs will have pads on their feet to increase the surface area. These can be very nice in areas with soft dirt, mud, or sand. They help balance the chair while preventing it from sinking. While not a common feature, those who camp frequently near rivers, lakes, or on the beach can definitely benefit.
Additional pads are becoming more common and while they drastically increase comfort, they are often very large to pack and weigh significantly more. When it comes to luxury, these are the best chairs and may rival the chairs you have at home. For a patio or other outdoor space, these are a prime choice for the best camp chair.
Storage Pouches – For the sports fan or fisherman, you can also be on the lookout for chairs with additional storage space. Some will have organizers that can hold your binoculars, fishing lure cases, cell phone, or just about anything else you would ever need. For the busy parent at a sporting event that may want to keep some first aid supplies or anything else your child may need close at hand, this is a very useful feature.
Though you may encounter a few other features, these are the most common by far. There are a few specialty chairs that can have a variety of options too long to list here ranging from solar charging to lumbar supports. Judge each of these options closely to see if they are really important for your use.
There are a lot of uncomfortable things to sit on out there: Sand, wet leaves, rocky ground, snakes! Don’t let your chair be one of those things. Hopefully, this simple guide has been an asset to helping you pick the best camp chair for you. There is no need to suffer when such convenience is easily at hand.
So, pack up and hit the trails or get out on the road. Enjoy your more comfortable adventures and get off the beaten path. Well wishes and safe travels!
Oniva Portable Folding Sports Chair
A light-weight versatile camping chair with lots of storage space and a convenient side-table. Folding is a breeze.
Jean lives in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. He is an outdoor enthusiast with years of experience reviewing gear. Jean holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from North-West University.
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