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Sick of a numb bum and ready for comfort? We've bought and tested over 30 camping chairs in the last 10 years to bring you the best 15 models available today in this review. Our team of lounging experts and relaxation enthusiasts spent months rigorously testing each model side-by-side. Comfort scores weighed the heaviest in our assessments, but we also considered other factors like packability and ease of use. We took these chairs camping in the desert, packed them into cars, carried them to family reunions, and napped in them on the beach. Whether you're on the hunt for a nap chair or sideline seat, we've found the right chair for your needs and wallet.
Camping is fun any way you look at it, but it's even better with the right gear. Whether you need a stove and cookware for your kitchen kit or a mattress and pillows for a good night's rest, we've got you covered. We've also tested lighter and smaller backpacking chairs if the ones in this review are too big for your needs.
Editor's Note: This review was updated on May 14, 2022, to add in two new chairs and to ensure that all other information is current and correct.
The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong is our favorite camping chair and one of two we deem the most comfortable. The King Kong has consistently been the first chair snagged whenever our test team gathers around a campfire. The slightly padded fabric makes it ideal for long lounging sessions, and the seat itself is exceptionally roomy — if a bit slouchy — with an incredibly stable frame. The listed weight capacity is 800 pounds, and as a result, the reinforced fabric is very durable. Testers appreciated all of the functional storage features, including two cup holders, two side pockets, and an additional small pocket behind the headrest. The setup of this chair is super simple and only takes a matter of seconds.
All this comfort and added reinforcement do come at a cost. With extra features come several extra pounds, making the King Kong one of the heaviest single-person models we tested. It also lacks a headrest, so it's not the ideal chair for an afternoon snooze. On the other hand, we think this model will stand up to all of your needs for camping, tailgating, fishing, or anything else. If you need a comfy chair or use a camping-specific chair regularly and don't mind a bit of bulk, we highly recommend the King Kong.
Adaptable cup holder less stable for skinny drinks
Despite what we would describe as a somewhat uninspiring appearance, the REI Co-op Camp X is a surprisingly versatile chair. Though it sits slightly lower and has a shorter back than similar models, this geometry doesn't detract much from its overall comfort. Height adjustable armrests and extremely breathable mesh help make it an excellent experience for whoever sits in it. The Camp X is also more durable than it looks, with strategic reinforcements that support the body without creating awkward pressure points. It quickly sets up and packs up with a simple accordion fold and slides relatively painlessly back into a durable carry bag that can be carried over your shoulder or with the hand strap.
While we like that we can fit a big 1-liter Nalgene water bottle into the cup holder, these pockets are not the most secure for smaller drink containers like a 12-ounce glass bottle or can. The odd shape can also get easily caught when putting the chair back into its carry bag. The seating platform also sits a bit lower than others, which could be an issue for taller folks. This isn't the most supportive chair, with a typical seat slouch and an upright back. Still, we think this is an impressively versatile, comfortable, portable chair that also happens to be one of the most affordable options we tested.
The GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro is a simple chair that offers solid performance for less than you might expect. It has a fairly tall seat and back to match widely-splayed arms, offering plenty of space to sit high above the ground. It's not the most supportive seat we tested, but it's above average among its competition, leaving slouchy folding sports chairs in the dust when it comes to supporting your full weight. The angled back continues that level of support without making you feel like you're collapsing in on yourself the longer you sit. A mesh panel helps keep air flowing across the spine even on a hot day, while a single cup holder perfectly fits your favorite refreshing 12-ounce canned beverage.
If you have an oversized tumbler you like to drink from, there's nowhere to stash it on the Comfort Pro. Additionally, there are no large pockets for snacks, books, or magazines — just a single small pocket that's sized to hold your smartphone. With full-length crossed steel bars running the entire back of the chair, this chair becomes a rather long package, made slightly more awkward by its carry strap's lack of adjustability. And for those with shorter legs, the 20-inch high front edge may lead to dangling feet. But if you're taller, larger, or older and want a supportive seat that's easy to get out of, this budget-friendly option easily fits the bill.
Weight: 13.3 lbs | Features: 1 cup holder, FlexGrid fabric to support an upright spine
Back-pack style carry bag
Cross-over design to increase stability
Fabric conforms to your body
If you're looking for a luxurious camp chair to enhance your glamping experience, look no further than the Yeti Trailhead. This ultra-durable and ergonomic design features maximum comfort, making our testers want to trade this camp chair for their office chairs. The FlexGrid fabric is supportive of the body while also allowing for breathability due to the perforated material.
Everything about this chair speaks to luxury, from the intuitive and easy setup to the cross-over style, which enhances stability and sturdiness. The carry bag is thoughtfully designed and features not one but two straps, allowing for options depending on how far you need to carry. Even the zipper on the carry bag is heavy-duty and designed to last. Unfortunately, this chair is large and weighs 13.3 pounds, and the price tag is a bit shocking. However, our testers are certain you won't be disappointed in this investment if you want to purchase something for the long haul.
Weight: 15.5 lbs | Features: Seats two, adjustable armrests, two cup holders
Stable and durable
Simple to set up
Great cup holders
Heavy and bulky
The Kelty Low Loveseat amazes us with its incredibly comfortable two-person design. This model was very stable, with a lower seating height than most traditional camping chairs. While the feet of our shorter testers rested comfortably on the ground, Kelty also makes a version that's several inches taller. Made of durable materials, this chair can stand up to the trials of seating multiple people and even dogs for extended periods. After three straight years of regular use and some severe sun exposure, it's fading a bit but is still as comfortable as the first day we got it. This chair has grown on our lead tester the longer she has owned it, a credit to its impressive longevity and comfort.
Aside from the overall size and weight, our biggest complaint was how popular the Low Loveseat was with our friends, leaving us less time to enjoy its outstanding attributes. As a padded chair, it's also less breathable on a hot day, but with light colors, we hardly noticed. For its comfort and durability, as well as its ability to seat a couple of friends, we think this chair is worth considering.
Weight: 3.24 lbs | Features: Mesh sides, carry bag converts to a pillow
Great back support
Compact and lightweight
The Helinox Sunset features a high back frame, ergonomic design, and 14-inch legs that allow for amazing comfort and back support within a compact and lightweight package. Our testers were pleased they didn't have to sacrifice performance for a highly packable chair. This is one we reached for again and again when space was tight, or we needed to be weight conscious.
We love that the well-designed carry bag also serves a dual purpose due to its ability to be converted into a personalized headrest. Simply stuff the carry bag with a puffy jacket or extra layer, and voila, comfort just got better. While this chair does not feature armrests or boast an affordable price tag, we're confident its durable design will last you for years to come. Measuring 18.5 inches long and weighing in at only 3.24 pounds, the Sunset is the standard for lightweight and compact performance.
Weight: 9.8 lbs | Features: 2 cup holders, side storage pocket, carrying strap
Carry strap attached to the back
Locking mechanism increases stability
Easy to get in and out of
Not overly durable
Very long when packed
For anyone sick of that sports chair slouch, the Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair is the model you've been waiting for. The frame holds the seat and back fabric taut by locking open to give a firm foundation and one of the tallest seat heights that we tested. A comfortably angled back panel helps this chair retain a cozy feeling rather than a severe rigid feel. All this added support and height make it among the most natural chairs to stand up out of. And feel free to leave the annoying carry bag at home. This chair has an adjustable shoulder carry strap attached to the back. Once locked closed, it's a simple matter to hoist it up and head out without carrying an additional storage bag.
This interesting design makes the folded package exceptionally long — just shy of four feet. This length makes it less ideal for stuffing in the trunk, though it's still more than doable. The Kijaro also isn't remarkably durable. We had issues with a broken lock mechanism and a gradual loosening of the frame and poles. That, combined with some sloppy seams, gives us long-term durability concerns. But this chair does offer some excellent support and might be precisely the type of comfort you've been missing on your outdoor excursions.
Teaming up to bring you this review is Maggie Brandenburg and Trish Matheny. Maggie is a seasoned multi-sport athlete and appreciates gear that makes for high-quality downtime when it's time to kick back and relax. She has taught workshops and guided extensively worldwide on topics as diverse as snow camping and expedition kayaking. Over the years, Maggie has spent extended amounts of time living out of backpacks and her teardrop trailer, arrangements where packable comfort items go a long way. Trish spent years living out of a popup camper and can appreciate durable gear that saves space without sacrificing optimal performance. After many years spent adventuring and rock climbing, Trish is happy to trade her former crashpad seat for the comfort of the right camping chair. Maggie and Trish recruited the help of friends and family to test and judge all the chairs in this review. This crowd included children, numerous people over 6 feet tall, several dogs, a dozen senior citizens, and a flock of Girl Scouts, spanning ages 12 to 80 years old.
We've researched and considered dozens of different models during our neverending search for the best camping chairs. We purchase every chair and use them to hang out with our friends for months of use. We cart them on weekend camping trips, set them up at family reunions, spend late nights around the fire pit, watch sporting events, and hang out at all-day backyard barbecues. During our testing period, we paid close attention to details that matter in a camp chair, like how well the cup holders and pockets work. If left out in a rainstorm, does the chair drain or become an unappealing birdbath? We weighed and measured them, carried them all over, and jumped into them to see what they could handle. What follows is a comprehensive discussion of our in-depth findings from months of lounging.
Analysis and Test Results
Camping chairs are a useful luxury item that can be used while camping and barbecuing, hanging out at the sidelines of a soccer game, on the beach, or tailgating and enjoying outdoor concerts. However, not all chairs are made for the same style of use or comfort. We evaluated each model across myriad tests in four mutually exclusive, thorough metrics. How each one performs in every test then determines its score for that metric. Here we break down their performances by metric to get down to the specifics of each model.
Though some gear seems to display a fairly linear correlation between price and performance, we don't find this to be the case for all camping chairs. Some of the best-performing models have moderate price tags, while some of the most expensive options didn't score as well as anticipated. Contenders that exemplify the highest value for the buck in this review are the REI Co-op Camp X and GCI Comfort Pro. Both of these chairs provide above-average comfort for a below-average price. We think the REI Camp X is the better deal for shorter individuals, and the GCI Comfort Pro has more appeal for taller folks. The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong is also worth noting. Though it costs more, it's an investment that pays off in its serious comfort and exceptional durability.
Comfort is our most highly weighted metric, accounting for 40% of the overall score for each camping chair. After all, deciding to buy a chair instead of sitting on a log or the ground means you probably value comfort. So don't waste your money on one that isn't comfortable. Factors we considered when evaluating comfort were armrests, lumbar support, a headrest, back ventilation, and the chair's overall design.
There are several chairs that we think are exceptionally comfortable. The King Kong is roomy, slightly padded, has large armrests, and is cozy in that slouchy kind of way while offering pretty good support in a tall, spacious seat. Similarly, the Kelty Low Loveseat is comfortable with large padded seats but is much lower to the ground and fits two people instead of just one.
If you prefer a less slouchy, flatter, and more supportive seat, the Kijaro Dual Lock locks into place, stopping the seat from sagging. The GCI Comfort Pro has a similar shape and design, but it lacks the locking mechanism of the Kijaro and so is slightly less supportive because of it. Still, it offers more support than most in this category, making it easier to get in and get out of. Perhaps the most comfortable of all the chairs that feature a locking mechanism is the Yeti Trailhead. This camp chair stood apart from the competition thanks to its innovative FlexGrid fabric that offers a ton of comfort while also alleviating pressure points and conforming to your body. We also think the Helinox Sunset Chair is surprisingly comfortable, offering a high back and supportive shape that increases rest day comfort while lounging around in camp.
This metric is the second most important rating criteria that we evaluated, accounting for a quarter of each product's overall score. Given the variety of ways you can use a chair, it is mandatory to choose a product you won't mind moving and transporting. Factors that affect a chair's portability are its packed size, weight, carry bag, and overall transporting experience.
Thanks to their light weights and compact designs, the Helinox chairs are the clear winners in this category. The Sunset Chair breaks down and folds into a surprisingly compact carry bag. Despite having a high back and being impressively durable, this model weighs just 3.24 pounds and is the lightest chair we tested. If that's not enough, its carry bag can also double as a pillow for a personalized headrest.
The REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer is similarly lightweight, weighing just a few ounces more and packing away into a case nearly as small. We also appreciate the REI Co-op Outward Low Padded. It's fairly lightweight, and though it doesn't fit into a small compact package, it has backpack straps to help you easily carry it hands-free. While not as packable considering weights that exceed 13 pounds, the Yeti Trailhead and ALPS Mountaineering King Kong also feature a backpack-style carry bag that makes portability a bit easier.
Weighing in at 8.0 pounds, the REI Camp X is also a somewhat light model. It's also a bit shorter than most traditional chairs, and we always felt that bringing it with us was worth it.
Like most things you spend money on, you want your chair to be durable. To properly test these chairs' ability to stand up to real-life abuse, we stood on them and plopped very heavily into them. We sat in them and bounced up and down and in every direction. Some chairs barely moved. Some chairs nearly fell over. And some chairs had some creaky results that made us question how long they would last if consistently treated this way. We also scrutinized every seam, pole joint, and material to see any wear and tear or potential flaws.
It should be no surprise that the only chairs rated to hold over 500 pounds got our best durability scores. After several months of testing, the steel frames and 600-denier nylon fabric construction of the King Kong and the Kelty Loveseat didn't show any wear or tear. Their frames didn't shift or creak under load. And while their high denier fabric is not as breathable as the mesh that some of the other chairs have, it is more durable than most. Since both of these chairs were very popular with our testers, they sustained several ember burns from being around so many campfires. Despite these small melted holes, the fabric showed no other signs of strain or wear.
Though its mesh appears thin and less substantial, the REI Camp X has proven quite durable. It has a 300-pound capacity which is about average for this group, but it feels very solid and stable even when jumping into it. And though we don't recommend leaving your chair out for full seasons of UV exposure, this is one of the few models we've actually done this to. After over a year and a half of sitting outside in a high elevation environment (5000 feet above sea level), the only difference in this chair is a slight fading of the canvas-like material. Another camp chair that features a perforated and breathable material that also resists damaging UV rays is the Yeti Trailhead. This luxurious chair is rated to 500 pounds and returns your investment by providing a durable cross-over frame that increases sturdiness and stability with grippy feet that hold the chair in place.
Ease of Use
Ease of use encompasses how hard it is to set up and take down each chair and how well the features work to enhance (or not) the overall experience. After all, the odds of you wanting to take a chair with you anywhere are probably lower if it's challenging to set up or the features are aggravating. Fortunately, most of the chairs we tested were reasonably straightforward — even the more complex packable chairs were a cinch after a small learning curve.
Most of the traditional models, like the ALPS King Kong, GCI Comfort Pro, and REI Camp X, only require pulling apart two opposing vertical frame pieces to be set up. The REI Outward Low Padded simply unfolds like an old-school folding chair. The GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker is also impressively easy — just pull the two sides away from each other with a large labeled handle, and you're good to go. While the Yeti Trailhead is somewhat more involved than simply pulling opposing corners, the instructions make it easy to follow along.
The super-portable models have a more elaborate setup. The Helinox Beach and Sunset, ENO Lounger, REI Flexlite Camp Dreamer, and Nemo Stargaze all have a separate frame and fabric seat that had to be assembled. Most of them aren't difficult, but it's more involved than setting up any of the traditional chairs.
Two chairs that we specifically wanted to call out in this category are the ENO Lounger DL and Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner. These chairs have several poles in an odd configuration that we found complicated. It was always a long process to get everything to fit back into its designated storage bags, and it never quite went how we wanted. These were the chairs we would leave set up and drag around to avoid dealing with disassembly and reassembly. That said, as with anything, the process gets easier the more you do it.
The luxury of having a comfortable seat while camping or lounging in your backyard can add a lot to the outdoor experience. In addition to making relaxing, eating, and drinking more comfortable, you can maximize your lounging enjoyment. To find the best overall competitor in our fleet, we rated each one's comfort level, size, portability, durability, and ease of use. Whether you're car camping, lounging around the campfire, or sunbathing after a dip in the deep blue, the best model for you will ultimately depend on your lifestyle.
Our comprehensive review directly compares some of the...
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