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The best camping chairs do much more than their name suggests. In addition to their usefulness at any campsite, the portable chairs are also a game-changer for beach days, afternoons at the park or even socially distanced hangouts in your backyard. Thanks to their portability – not to mention their serious comfort – many people are stocking up on the folding piece of furniture.
While combing the web for the best camping chairs, we were surprised by how good they’ve gotten. Brands are now using high-end materials, supportive designs and clever features to make camping chairs are conducive to serious relaxation – no matter where you are. Check out our favorites below.
What Are the Best Camping Chairs?
Whether you’re looking for a recliner with an insulated drink holder or an ultra-lightweight foldable chair to carry on backpacking trips, there’s something for everyone. Below are a few specs and features to check out while shopping.
Portability: Chances are you’ll be carrying your portable chair, or at least loading it in the car at some point. The best camping chairs are therefore easy to collapse, small enough to load with other gear and lightweight enough to carry for a while. Of course, if you plan on using your chair for backyard relaxation, this isn’t much of a worry.
Comfort: Some of the best camping chairs feature reclining mechanisms, padding and ergonomic designs for comfort. That last one – ergonomics – is key: sometimes camping chairs that appear minimal can be very comfortable thanks to smart engineering. Be sure to check what position the chair supports, and how well it adapts to different users’ preferences.
Features: Camping chairs are typically used as a place to comfortably eat or drink in the wild. Many brands know this, and they’ve added features like drink holders (sometimes insulated), side tables and pouches for your phone and other gear. Look out for these sorts of features – they’re nicer than you might expect.
Durability: The best camping chairs can sustain a few drops, scrapes and even be left outdoors in the rain. A high weight capacity is always good too. Make sure your new chair has a solid construction and premium materials to ensure it lasts.
1. NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair
The NEMO Stargaze Recliner is what you get when a brand combines the comfort of a hammock and the convenience of a folding chair – and pulls it off. The seat is suspended between a sturdy aluminum frame, rocking as you recline or sit up. There are no levers or settings involved; the chair just leans back and stays where you want it. You’ve also got a comfortable headrest to keep your neck supported while looking up at the stars (or taking a nap).
Build quality on the Stargaze recliner is top-notch with durable aluminum and water-resistant nylon, translating to a maximum weight of 300 pounds. The chair itself weighs just over six pounds, which is pretty impressive and easy to carry. It’s also got a cupholder that’s easily accessed from the inside while reclining. All-in-all, it’s the Rolls Royce of camping chairs.
2. Yeti Trailhead
Yeti is known for tough-as-nails coolers, and this Trailhead chair continues the brand’s focus on durability. The chair uses Yeti’s Flipgrid fabric which conforms to your body (eliminating pressure point) and can support 500 pounds. This fabric is also V UV-rated, meaning it won’t crack and disintegrate if left in the sun. It’s also got wide feet and a rock-solid cast aluminum frame that resists rusting.
Once the frame is locked into place, it’s just as comfortable as it is rugged thanks to a wide seat and high back. There’s also a cupholder on the side and armrests. At 13 pounds it’s not the lightest, but strong backpack straps make the load much easier.
3. Helinox Chair One XL
If you’re looking for the most portable option, check out this Chair One from Helinox. When packed up, it’s just 18 inches long and around three pounds, making this chair our lightest pick. It’s ideal for taking on long hikes or backpacking trips, but also great for, say beach days when you’ve got a load of other gear.
Despite its light weight and compact size, the Chair One XL is still very capable and durable. Thanks to DAC aluminum poles and a nylon and mesh seat, it can handle up to 320 pounds. The chair is also quite large once set up, giving you space to spread out. The mesh seat also comes in handy for hot days, providing more airflow than most camping chairs.
4. Alps Mountaineering King Kong
This King Kong chair from Alps Mountaineering takes the tried-and-true camping chair design and makes it more comfortable and more rugged. It delivers on both counts with a heavily padded seat, a high back and a wide design. There’s also plenty of room for stashing stuff with two cupholders (one on each armrest), two side pockets and a back pocket.
Durability comes from a powder-coated steel frame and 600D polyester fabric. Together, these features give the King Kong an incredible maximum weight of 800 pounds. Sure, you might not stack four grown men on the chair, but this means it shouldn’t break when packed under other gear in the car.
5. Tommy Bahama Cooler Chair
If you’ll mainly be using your portable chair for beach days, we recommend this one from Tommy Bahama. It’s obviously got the looks for the beach with a pineapple pattern, but, thanks to a rustproof aluminum frame and 600D polyester fabric, it’s also got the ruggedness to withstand saltwater, sand and sun.
But relaxation-ready features are where the Tommy Bahama chair really shines. It has an insulated drink cooler on the back, as well as a cupholder, to ensure that a cold drink is always arms-distance away. It’s also got five seat positions (including full reclining), a headrest and a dedicated towel rod. Basically, the brand has thought of everything you want out of a beach chair.
6. GCI FreeForm Zero Gravity Chair
This Zero Gravity Chair from GCI is another great pick for serious comfort. It features a head/neck rest and two seating positions, including a fully reclined position complete with a kick-out leg rest. Add a cup holder and you’ve got a very relaxing place to sit. It’s essentially a portable La-Z-Boy built for the outdoors.
The GCI chair is also quite durable thanks to a powder-coated steel frame and a Textilene mesh seat. This durability and large seat do come at a price, however, as the chair is a bit on the heavy side at 17 pounds. It folds up surprisingly well, so it can still be hauled short distances and packed away.
7. Kelty Discovery Low Love Seat
Looking to relax outdoors with a significant other? Check out this Kelty Love Seat. It’s designed for two-person use with a double-width seat and a 400-pound weight capacity. The double chair is made of padded 600D polyester and boasts a low-slung position for reclined comfort. The armrests are adjustable, and two cupholders on either side offer a place for refreshments.
Although it’s twice as big as a normal chair, the Love Seat actually packs up quite neatly. It comes with a padded roll-tote storage bag that has straps for transportation, and it weighs just 15 pounds (despite its size). When unpacked, the bag can be used as a ground cloth or firewood hauler.