Camping chairs are as unique as the people that sit in them. Unfortunately, many on the market are now are cheap and very poorly made. Most of us have had an experience buying a cheap chair from the local department store only to have it disintegrate after a weekend outside. Worse still, some of them seem to simply explode during the first few hours of use.
Doing a bit of research before purchasing as well as planning to invest a little bit more money can be the difference between finding a chair that reliably meets your needs and one that crumples under your weight the first time you sit in it. Rest assured, we have found the best camping chairs out there that cover all kinds of outdoor activities. We’ve also developed a quick guide to best direct you towards the perfect chair for your body and weekend plans.
What Kind of Chair Do you Need?
Not all chairs are built for all activities. It’s important to consider what kinds of activities you get up to on the weekends that will influence what kind of camping chair characteristics to look for. What particular qualities does each activity require and how can your camp chair make your life better?
For us it seemed a perfect fit to match each chair with a human personality, highlighting the exact characteristics it would have if it too were a fly fisherman, a weekend warrior or a football fan. Therefore, let us present to you the easy to follow basic guide for choosing the best camping chair for your personality and activity style.
The Beverage Holder
Serious weekend warriors only should apply. If you envision the perfect weekend sitting by the lake, in your backyard, or in front of your camper with a beverage in hand, there are camping chairs out there with these things in mind. This means having more than one cup holder, but even two holders is might not be enough! There are chairs that come with attached cooler bags, holding up to 5 cans of beer in a temperature controlled environment even on the hottest days.
The Beverage Holder style of camping chair are meant to be slightly more stationary than some other models due to their additional cup holding features, however they are still very foldable and very portable, just maybe not over long distances. Look for brands that are sturdy, because who knows what shenanigans you’ll get up to with all those beverages in tow.
If finding the right camping chair typically includes long contemplative moments sitting in each model in the camping store, putting your feet up and closing your eyes, it’s likely that you plan on using your new camp chair for some serious relaxation. You’ll want to keep an eye out for chairs which come with additional cushioning in the back and seat areas.
Most importantly, you’ll also need to be on the lookout for chairs that include a foot rest for serious reclining. Again, these are built with a few more features and therefore have a bit more bulk than other models on the market. Rest assured they can still pack up into a carrying case and fit into your trunk. We expect that you’ll find a nice spot in the shade, and keep it parked there all afternoon.
The Sports Spectator
Rain or shine you are going to be at the sidelines of your local soccer team, or watching your children play in their little league baseball tournament. The characteristics to look for as a Sports Spectator cover a wide variety of areas, because you’ll never know what you need when you are so dedicatedly out in the elements.
First, look for chairs that come with an umbrella, or brands that have the option for attachment. This will protect you in the sun or in the rain. The chair will also need to be more portable (preferably under 10 lbs), but have a few additional features such as a cup holder and a storage zipper.
Perhaps you are a fisherman, hunter or spend a lot of weekends on your quad exploring the great outdoors. If you fall into one of these categories you’ll need a chair that has extremely sturdy design, built to withstand the elements. Having a chair that can be forgotten in the rain, or used as a submersible in a lake is essential.
It should be easy to dry out and made out of high quality canvas. A real outdoorsman would be ashamed to sit in a low-quality disposable chair that might only serve as firewood come Sunday. Instead they prefer to bring a durable and extremely serious camp chair with them in the bush.
There are only two keywords to focus on when you are looking for the perfect backpacking camp chair: lightweight and compact. These chairs typically can fold down into tiny packages, smaller than a loaf of bread. They also are extremely lightweight, so you won’t regret lugging it all the way into the backcountry. These chairs are sleek and sexy, with extremely intricate designs that make them the envy of everyone sharing the fire with you.
Watching someone pull a small package from their pack, only to be relaxing in a comfortable chair by the campfire only 30 seconds later will surely inspire even the most thrifty of backpackers to find their own perfectly lightweight and portable backcountry option.
Reviewing the Top Camping Chairs
Coleman Quad Chair with Cooler
Dimensions: 24 x 37 x 40.5 inches
Specific features: Armrest cooler, storage pocket, supports up to 300 lbs
Best use: Hunting, car camping, cabin, picnic, quading
For the epic weekend that lies ahead, the Coleman Quad Chair will hold on to you and up to 5 cans of beer in its own armrest cooler and companion beer cozy. You’ll never have to get up and go to the cooler ever again! This chair is meant for extreme relaxation, and should withstand most shenanigans, because of its durable and heavy duty steel construction.
It can hold up to 300 lbs of beer drinking power, plus has a handy storage pocket in addition to its cooler pocket to hold a remote, a newspaper or anything else you might need to have within easy reach. Plus, both the seat and back support are padded to ensure extreme comfort over the course of an afternoon. Basically, this chair covers all the bases and makes the rest of your buddies look like chumps.
Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 13 in
Specific features: Steady on variable surfaces, supports up to 250 lbs, extremely compact
Best use: Backpacking, traveling, basecamp
Never fall into your tiny foldable camping chair ever again, because the Therm-a-Rest Treo is actually built to be of realistic height for an average sized person. This may seem shocking, because some of the best folding chairs still fall short (no pun-intended) for most of us. This chair is equally as compact as other foldable chairs on the market, by disassembling into its own tripod.
What puts this in a class above the rest, is it’s patent-pending design which allows it to sit much higher than others on top of the tripod when fully assembled. It’s also extremely simple to put together, a quick set up awaits you as soon as you arrive at camp after a long day trekking through the backcountry.
Related: If you are looking to get cozy at camp without adding bulk, why not also get the Matador Pocket Blanket which packs up so small that it fits into your pocket and is water resistant.
Eureka Curvy High-Back Chair
Dimensions: 26 x 45 x 32 in
Specific features: Supports up to 300 lbs, back and neck support, side pocket
Best use: Car camping, picnic, festival
Foldable camping chairs tend to have one main fault across the market; their subpar ability to provide adequate back and neck support. Thankfully, we can rely on the Eureka Curvy High-Back Chair to not only provide us with superior comfort through its ergonomic design, but also pay particular attention to our neck and back support.
Most people consider this one of the most comfortable chairs they have every purchased and vouch for its durability and solid construction. It can support up to 300 lbs and tends to fit the taller segments of society better than the vertically challenged ones.
It would be perfect for a weekend picnic or festival but when compared to more compact options it becomes a bit impractical to carry over any long distances. However, this chair was built for comfort rather than portability.
Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
Dimensions: 26 x 35.5 x 37 in
Specific features: Color selection, breathable fabric, locking mechanism
Best use: Car camping, cabin, tailgating
The team at Kijaro decided after years of frustration to finally design a folding camp chair that didn’t sag when set up and actually looked sturdy, reliable and able to offer serious support. They have patented a special dual locking system that stretches the chair fabric and locks it into position every time it’s set up.
Comfort, safety and even aesthetics were their goals during development. Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair comes in a surprising number of colors, to make sure that you can color coordinate with your local sports team, or even your favorite outfit.
Related: Because the Kijaro team developed the chair sitting in the side lines of a little league game, in the rain, there is also thankfully the Sport-Brella Versa-Brella that attaches perfectly to the Dual Lock chair.
Big Agnes Helinox – Chair One
Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 25 in
Specific features: Supports up to 320 lbs, extremely lightweight, compact
Best use: Backpacking, trekking, base camp
Perhaps the most lightweight and compact folding full-size chair on the market. It only weighs 1.9 lbs, which is nearly a 10 lbs difference with some other options. It almost assembles itself with a quick draw cord, and despite its small size can still support up to 320 lbs. Campers and backpackers around the country have been putting the Big Agnes Helinox through its courses; in every environment, situation, and sport.
There are basically zero complaints; this chair holds up during some of the most extreme conditions. It is so loved by serious outdoor enthusiasts because it packs up smaller than their weekend newspaper, but is easy to assemble in under 30 seconds and its construction holds up over time. It is stable in a variety of ground conditions; think sand, rocks and gravel. It will surely become a staple in your backpacking gear.
Related: Equally as lightweight and durable, the Helinox Table One Hard Top is a great campsite addition because it complements all the qualities adventurers have fallen in love with in the Big Agnes camp chair.
Sport-Brella Recliner Chair
Specific features: Umbrella, sun and rain protection, supports up to 250 lbs
Best use: Tailgate, sidelines, beach, picnic
What features do you look for in a folding camping chair? Is it comfort? Maybe you want a recliner? Or perhaps you want an all weather chair that will keep you out of the sun and out of the rain? Rest assured that the Sport-Brella Recliner has you covered, literally!
Not only does it have all the features mentioned already, it also has a 4 beverage capacity through an insulated holder, a cup holder and a storage unit (not to mention an incorporated bottle opener). This is the luxury model of all camping chairs, covering every need you could possibly think of, ever.
GCI Outdoor Wilderness Recliner
Dimensions: 17 x 25.5 x 31.5 in
Specific features: Backpack convertible, supports up to 300 lbs, lumbar support
Best use: Picnic, car camping, sidelines
Sturdy, reliable and adjustable; perfect for all sorts relaxing outdoor activities. GCI Outdoor Wilderness Recliner is one of the more adjustable options on the market and easily folds up into a portable backpack to make carrying it between the car and the baseball field easy. Comes with a storage pocket and lumbar support, plus exceptional adaptability to any reclining position.
Despite how solidly it’s constructed, and its lifespan, it still is extremely lightweight for the style. It’s caused more than a number of domestic disputes as couples try to determine who will be allowed to sit in it at a concert, or during a beach day. In fact, most people’s number one complaint about this chair is that it keeps getting stolen by friends and family. It’s just that comfortable.
Alps Mountaineering King Kong
Dimensions: 38 x 20 x 38 in
Specific features: Supports up to 800 lbs, adjustable armrests, storage pockets, cup holders
Best use: Hunting, sporting events, car camping
If you are tired of buying cheap camping chairs, simply to replace them after every weekend at the cabin or at the end of each summer, The Alps Mountaineering King Kong will hold up to anything you throw at it. Even if you throw yourself and seven friends at it – it’s built to withstand up to 800 lbs! But even if you don’t expect to use the high weight capacity, it’s built to hold up to long term use.
The canvas is sturdy and the frame is held together with screws, unlike many other chairs that are held together by rivets. It’s not meant to be a lightweight option, but it’s meant to withstand being thrown around and hold significant weight. If you think you might get rowdy while camping, this chair is a good bet!
Related: A matching piece to the Alps King Kong chair is the Alps Mountaineering Eclipse Table which sets up quickly and holds food, beverages and games.
REI Camp X Chair
Dimensions: 31 x 31.25 x 20 in
Specific features: All weather, sturdy, mesh backing and support
Best use: Camping, backyard, sport events
The final folding camp chair on our list is a crowd pleaser. It is lightweight, durable, and comfortable. Plus it comes with an excellent warranty through REI. It was designed using an X-shaped webbing throughout the back and seat support. This specific design adjusts to each individual body shape, creating a superior experience in comfort.
REI Co-op Camp X Chair also holds up well in any weather conditions because of the mesh backing. If you are one of the fishermen, or beachgoers that lugs their chair into the water for a refresher, this chair is a perfect bet for you as it allow for maximum saturation while drying out quickly. Importantly, for those of us that forget and leave our chairs out during a thunderstorm, it will easily drain out once the downpour has passed.
What Kind of Chair are You?
After reviewing the options, and considering the wide variety of activities that people now use camping chairs for… what kind of camp chair are you? It wouldn’t be a surprise if many of you even found yourself stuck between two or three categories of camping chairs, but perhaps you need a few varieties to cover all your outdoor furniture needs. We expect some of you might enjoy tailgating some weekends, and back country exploring on others!
Tell us what you are going to use your chair for this weekend.