If you haven’t got room for two sets of chairs in your camping kit, you’ve probably had to compromise – a camping chair that’s not quite supportive and upright enough for eating at a table, and not quite slumpy enough for lazing with a book. So what’s the answer?
Camping chairs to avoid
Lots of camping chairs use a folding, concertina-type construction.
We thought we’d found a good compromise in Outwell’s Spring Hills camping chairs. They felt comfortable in the shop and, with their choice of colour, 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. No-one wants a saggy bottom and a bad back.
The best camping chair
The best chair (for us!) 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 the 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 and costs around £45. Available in khaki or green.
There’s a version with a fold-out table too. Around £50 and some nice colours.
We weren’t so keen on the taller back reclining version (the Sling chair), but we’ve spoken to a lot of campers who love it. It’s a little cumbersome and a bit saggy on the seat, but pretty good for relaxing. Around £45.
Another good contender is the Kampa Chairman – although whoever came up with the name had a rather dodgy idea of who would be sitting and who would be doing the cooking and washing up! Very comfortable and only £35 last time we checked. However, it’s a steel frame and weighs more than 6kg so not quite our top choice.
There are other similar models below. But do let us know if you’ve tried one and loved it…or hated it!
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.
This recliner by Portal Outdoor folds nice and flat to 82 x 65 x 5cm. It’s the most expensive at around £84, but weighs less than 5kg and has one of the most interesting styles we’ve found. Shame it’s steel, as aluminium would have made it lighter still.Westfield Outdoors Diamond chair is wonderfully comfortable. Around £75. Weighs just under 6kg and folds to 112 x 67 x 14cm. Removeable cushion too.
Outwell’s Kenai has an aluminium frame and weighs 5kg. It packs to 110 x 75 x 64cm. Around £60.
A cheaper, lighter option from Outwell is the Plumas, though it only has two back positions. Weighs 3.3kg and packs to 107 x 57 x 13cm. Around £45.
We’ve tried a few of the floor chairs (like this Highlander at around £12) 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 and a great back-up chair (excuse the pun!).
For an extra bit of cushioning, there are bulkier (and heavier) options like the BonVivo (around £35). 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.
The Ditu legless chair has arms and shoulder straps for carrying, but weighs a little more at 3.5kg. Costs around £45 and has a steel frame for a sturdy feel.