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
We thought we’d found a good compromise in Outwell’s Woodland Hills camping chairs. They felt comfortable in the shop and, with their black material, 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
We carried on looking and now have a £30-50-ish contender for the ‘best chair’ award – the Coleman deck chair. It gives 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 £40.
There’s a version with a fold-out table too. Around £50.
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 teeny bit saggy on the seat, but pretty good for relaxing. Around £45.
One more option we’d recommend is the MP Essentials at around £35. It has a fold-out table and pocket storage. Aluminium construction plus nice padding and support. It’s a bit bigger so not as easy to store away, however.
Need to lounge?
If you have the space (and the need to relax!), then an adjustable lounger is the answer.
Coleman make the neat Kickback reclining chair at around £70. It’s adjustable to seven positions and isn’t too bulky (though, obviously, high-back chairs take up more room). It folds to 14 x 13 x 68 cm and only weighs 2.5kg, though.
Bigger people could consider the Kampa Firenze Luxury Plus, which has a wider seat and high back.
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. Price from around £40.
We’ve tried a few of the floor chairs (like this Highlander at around £11) 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 £40). 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.