Deserving our favor for several years running, the Alps Mountaineering King Kong is our favorite all-around camping chair. It is a beast when it comes to sturdiness and lifespan, and we expect this model to provide ample seating for your bum through countless adventures. Not only is it durable, but its exceptional comfort allows for premium campsite lounging. It's simple to set up and use and features spacious armrests. The only real downside is how large it is. But if you regularly use camping chairs and are ready to buy one to last several seasons, then don't hesitate to invest in the King Kong. Whether you're settling down beside the campfire at your favorite National Park or cheering on a sporting match from the sidelines, this exceptional chair will keep you comfy and cozy.Editor's Note: We added some new information on alternative choices if this chair doesn't strike your fancy on November 3, 2022.
Cons: Fairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathable
Manufacturer: ALPS Mountaineering
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The ALPS King Kong is a massive, single-person chair with the capacity of several chairs combined — it is rated to support up to 800 pounds. This seat is large and heavy but packs handily into a durable carry bag with two adjustable, backpack-style straps to easily lug it wherever you go. It also features two cupholders, two large side storage compartments, and a bonus mesh storage area behind the head.
The King Kong is the most universally comfortable chair we tested. While certain others had bigger fans for specific reasons, the King Kong is a great fit for everyone. It features a large, well-padded seat with stable and adjustable armrests. Both the seat and the backrest are padded, helping it stay more comfortable for long lounge sessions. Unfortunately, this padding results in the chair's fabric holding water after rainstorms, but unless you leave your chair out in the rain often, we still consider the padded seat a bonus. Like most similar chairs, this one has a slightly slouchy seat with a fairly upright back. Perhaps not everyone's favorite, but universally comfortable and big enough to scooch around and find your ideal position. We also appreciate the simple but ergonomic armrests. They were functional and comfortable for our testers of all sizes, and their straps make them easy to adjust to your perfect height.
The King Kong is also a fairly high chair with a 15-inch seat, making it straightforward to get in and out of. However, this size and height combination did leave some of our short-legged testers feeling a bit out of place in this oversized chair.
As one of the heaviest single-person chairs we tested, the King Kong is no small item to bring with you on long walks. It weighs 14 pounds and has a beefy steel frame that makes the chair somewhat difficult to carry unless it is packed inside its storage bag. The collapsed chair is still over three feet long. Fortunately, ALPS included not one shoulder strap but two to help you backpack-style huck this large chair along for the ride.
Despite the size, we think the oversized and heavy package King Kong is absolutely worth hauling around, considering its comfort and super rugged construction. If you know you're going to be parking far away and walking a mile to the beach or a parade, this might not be the right choice for that occasion. But for more casual affairs, this is an all-award great choice.
If you can live with the lack of portability of this chair, you will be rewarded with its mega durability. The King Kong frame is comprised of 1/2" powder-coated steel bars, and its seat is made from 600D polyester. The widely spaced legs make the chair extremely sturdy, including on uneven or rocky terrain. Neither leaning back onto the rear two legs of the chair nor rocking the chair from side to side revealed any stability issues. It also packs into a reinforced carry bag and the whole package is backed by a lifetime manufacturer's warranty.
The storage pockets of the chair are built from the same 600D polyester, with the added benefit of being lined with a smooth plastic-like material that can be wiped out. Surprisingly, the cup holders of the King Kong are made of just mesh — the only part of the chair that isn't thick and reinforced. We also noticed some of the fabric fraying after rubbing on other surfaces, but the damage was minor and mostly cosmetic.
Ease of Use
This chair is super simple to use, taking only a few seconds to set up and tear down. Assembly is like that of many of the other traditional models we tested. Pull apart two of its legs, and you're done. A few features worth mentioning are the two large side storage pockets that can each easily hold a flat, average-sized magazine. Two small cup holders work fine for cans and skinny bottles but won't hold a standard Nalgene, large coffee thermos, or even a wide smartphone. Another wide but short mesh storage pouch runs the width of the chair behind the head. We can't decide what it is supposed to be for but had success storing small items like keys and lighters.
Although the armrests don't appear to be all that special, the King Kong is one of the few products in this review with satisfactory armrests. We love that you can easily adjust the armrests to support different body types, a simple yet innovative perk. When it is time to break down this heavy-duty chair, it takes some finagling to fit everything back into the stiff carry bag, but nothing overly irritating.
Should You Buy the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong?
Our testers love the King Kong due to its unrivaled sturdiness, size, and durability. ALPS Mountaineering wasn't kidding when they said they wanted to make a camping chair that lasts a long time. If you use camping chairs regularly, the King Kong is worthy of your investment.
What Other Camping Chairs Should You Consider?
While we think the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong is the best option for people who use camping chairs often, whether it is in the woods, at a tailgate, or grilling at a BBQ, we wanted to highlight a couple other options with similar features. If you are looking for a more affordable model, consider the REI Co-op Camp Xtra which features a comparable design and wide seat, just a little shorter back rest. If you are considering maximum comfort and a design that is the epitome of quality and luxury, check out the Yeti Trailhead.
— Maggie Nichols
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