Saggy bottoms, bad backs…do camping chairs have to be a pain in the posterior?
No! We’ve been testing exhaustively (!) to find a camping chair that’s both supportive and upright enough for eating at a table, and slumpy enough for lazing with a book.
Here are the best camping chairs we’ve found.
Latest update: March 2021
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The best camping chair?
Our Top Pick
The best chair (for us, at least) would have a taut seat, a strong and supportive backrest, be made of aluminium for lightness and fold up reasonably small.
So, the best we’ve found are directors’ chairs, and the best of these for sturdiness has been the Coleman Deck Chair. Good support with a backrest and strong seat. Not exactly chairs for lounging in, but you could definitely read a book, play a board game or eat a meal in comfort.
This chair just seems built to last. It’s smart, simple and very supportive.
It has an aluminium frame, a sloping back and padded armrests, which incorporate carrying straps when it’s folded (to 13 x 53 x 75 cm).Weighs around 2.5kg, can carry 113kg and costs around £40. Available in khaki or green.
Best for your back
Some of our Favourites
This affordable MP Essentials camping chair costs around £35. It has a fold-out table and pocket storage. A choice of three colours too
Aluminium construction makes it very light, plus nice padding and support. Folds to 85cm x 45cm x 15cm, weighs 2.5kg and can carry 120kg.
Now this is a good idea. The Uquip Woody has a swivel table that also pivots so you can use it for your iPad or to rest a book.
It’s made from powder-coated aluminium and weighs around 5kg. It packs into a nice bag 86 x 53 x 13 cm. Can carry up to 120kg. Around £50. Very popular, so apologies if they go out of stock.
We love how portable the Trekology range is. This updated version of the classic YIZI is our favourite.
Weighing only 2.1lbs(960g), it can hold upto 135kg, this guy punches well above it's very dainty weight. Packs down to only 36 x 11 x 15 cm in it's bag, there's a lot to love here.
Best for Dining
He’s called Sidney and he weighs just under 6kg. Plus he can carry a weight of around 120kg. Packs to 120cm x 33cm and a bag’s included.
Helinox are famous for their virtually weightless chairs. They’re quite expensive and, for us, not all that comfortable because your bum is lower than your knees. However, they pack small enough to go in a rucksack, so they have their place.
The Robens Observer chair is cheaper than Helinox, but comes in only two colours. It can carry up to 120kg and weighs 1.2kg.
Nowhere near as well made as the Helinox, but a close second.
Need to lounge?
If you have the space (and the need to relax!), then an adjustable lounger is the answer. You can use it with the back straight at dinner time and lie back for a snooze afterwards. They’ll make quite a big pack-size, of course.
We’ve tried a few of the floor chairs (like this Highlander) that have no legs and use your body weight and two straps to keep the back in place. They won’t suit you if you’re looking for absolute comfort, but they’re extremely lightweight and small.
For an extra bit of cushioning, there are bulkier (and heavier) options like the BonVivo. This one is nice because, as well as having a few reclining positions, it can be used flat as a padded mat for lying on. It weighs around 3kg, though.
For ultimate loungeability, you’ll need a zero gravity chair. These are the ultimate in feet-up-snooze-and-relax, but although they’ll fold more or less flat, they’re weightier and bulkier. These Denny chairs are around £130 for two, and can support 120kg. Some people prefer a rocking chair, so we made a guide to the best rocking camping chairs too.
Camping chairs to avoid
Stylish Outwell Gorman Hills. Better than many, but still not quite supportive enough.
Lots of camping chairs use a folding, concertina-type construction. Great for packabilty, but they tend not to make the seat fabric taut enough.
We thought we’d found a good compromise in Outwell’s Gorman Hills camping chairs. They felt comfortable in the shop and, with their choice of colour and rounded armrests, were a stylish change from all that camping khaki.
A week of sitting on them, though, and the lower back twinges kicked in. We found ourselves perching on the more solid front edge of fabric to eat at a table, but more often than not, we’d slump backwards and have to hold a plate on our knees.
So, we'd always avoid any chair where the seat material isn't held completely taut. That applies to most camping chairs with this concertina-type fold.