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: February 2022
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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
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 STAR GAZING
We really love the idea of a swing chair especially to sit and gaze up at the stars at night, unlike a rocking chair you can rock back and forth on this without any bumps or lumps underneath bothering your flow. We have seen some swing chairs that are almost £500! These ones are a great price and come with a carry case too. We think they can be a bit of a faff to put together and some people did find they are not great if you have a bad back so might be one to avoid if this is the case for you.
BEST FOR WINDY DAYS
Something you might not always consider when choosing your next camping chair is it wind proof? This bucket chair is perfect to stop that gusty wind blowing through any side holes and is very comfy with it's padding through out. Lightweight and folds down into a bag this chair comes in a range of colours and can be ideal for smaller kids and dogs as they can't slip through the gaps!
BEST FOR INSIDE A TENT
If you have a smaller tent and are looking for something to work both outside and inside the tent this beach seat could be the one for you, it has a lower profile than most seats and with it's anti skid foot bars it makes it perfect for surfaces such as sand. The high reclining back on these offers great support and the material is breathable keeping you cool on them hotter days. This chair comes with a carry bag and cup holder. As this is lower to the ground you will find it can avoid some of the wind however if you do struggle to get up from lower chairs this might not be the right choice for you.
LIGHTEST AND SMALLEST
If space is super important to you and weight check out this folding mini chair weighing just 1.8lbs! Easy folding and surprisingly comfy you probably wont want to lounge out on this after a long days hiking but you could take it with you on the hike for some much needed respite and when you are ready for a lounge back at your tent this makes a handy foot rest.
Why not check out our Best Backpack Chairs Article if your looking for a portable chair and bag combo.
BEST FOR REGULAR USE
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.
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.
BEST FOR LOUNGING ABOUT
We had to mention the moon chair and people love the one done by KingCamp. This one comes in a choice of colours and if you like sitting crossed legged or want to be able to shift around a little this might be the chair for you. Folds down easy into it's carry bag and has a pocket on the side too.
HELINOX AND LOOKALIKES
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.
Now these guys are certainly giving Helinox a run for their money, with the orthopedic recommended ergonomic design they have really gone for comfort when they made this chair. With a removable cushion too to support your neck and head. This chair packs really small into its bag, has side pockets and only weighs 1.27kg!
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.
Steve Harding Says - They sell very comfortable, taught seat chairs, in a variety of models and different heights. So ideal for people who are vertically challenged, like me.
So a different height couple can buy a pair of chairs, but suited to the individual.
Rachel Barrett says - We’ve tried dozens, you can’t beat a vango Titan!
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.
More Chair Guides
We are always on the look out for whats new and like to discover the different styles of chair there are so take a look at our other camping chair guides and see which are best suited to your needs.
Here's a roundup of out top picks from each category.
Enhancing your Camping Chair
So you have gone through and hopefully we have helped you decide which is going to be the right choice for you, we wanted to show you a few other accessories and add ons you can consider to make your camping chair experience that little bit sweeter.
Camping Chair Add-ons
A simple yet great accessory for your chair especially if you do not have a cup holder in place of like me like to have somewhere to put all my pocket junk when I sit down! Will fit on most chairs just slide it over the tubes on the side.
Sometimes finding somewhere with a little shade can be a difficult task so why not create your own with this handy umbrella, we love this one as it clamps on easily to most things so even if you don't use it on the chair you could put it on the side of the tent giving you shade when needed. Has two button hinges so has lot's of ways you can adjust it too.
This ground mat is super handy if you find yourself using your camping chair on soft ground like at the beach or on muddy grass. It will fit most folding camping chairs and has 4 pockets to place the feet and a strap to hold it in place. Very durable and easy to clean with breathable polyester material.
If you have the space these, they do fold flat and can be used for a variety of uses as well as a footstool for your camping chair! Strong enough to hold your weight as a step and flat enough to use a table if needed.
Things to consider when buying camping chair.
How often will I use it?
This is more of an overriding question but really think about how often you will be using it, as if it is regular use and you also have it at home for example to use in the garden as well as camping trips then investing in something more robust that may cost more money is something you need to consider so you don't end up buying twice. If on the other hand it is to use once at a festival something cheaper that might not stand the test of time might just fit the bill.
How portable does it need to be?
Most camping chairs are foldable in some capacity but they all fold differently and the size they end up folded does differ allot. Consider where you will need to pack your chair and what space you are willing to allocate to your camping chair when you are on your way on your trip and also where you are going to store it when you are not using it. If space is a premium then look into what folds down the smallest and if space is plentiful like in a motor home you can opt for something larger with probably more padding.
Does it matter what my camping chair weighs?
In the majority of cases the answer to this question is usually yes! Whether you are looking for a camping chair for when you go back packing or you need a selection for the whole family in allot of cases you will be at some point having to carry them, be it across mountains, down to the beach or just from the car to your camping spot. Consider how far on average you think you will need to carry the camping chair or chairs and decide what is a comfortable weight for you or whoever may need to carry the chair needs it to be.
How easy is my camping chair to set up?
When you are buying your camping chair look into how easy it is to set up, if you are not too bothered and always give yourself plenty of time this might not be a consideration however like most of us once you have driven for hours, set up your tent you are more than ready for a sit down and want to simply fold out a comfy easy to set up camping chair in seconds.
How long will I sit in my camping chair?
This really comes down to comfort, when many may say buying something cheap and cheerful does the trick for them if you are planning on regular use and sitting on the chair for more than 10 minutes at a time you really have to consider comfort, be sure to check the size of the seat suites your build as well as the weight capacity. Do you need a head support? Do you prefer a seat with arm rests? All of these things are worth considering when buying a camping chair to make sure you have the comfort for any length of time you are sat on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a camp chair?
There are different types of camp chairs, each with their own pros and cons. A good way to choose the best camping chair is by looking at what you need it for - how often will you use it? What type of terrain do you camp on most frequently? If your answer includes any words like 'constantly,' 'every weekend' or simply 'always', then a more high-end model may be worth considering because they tend to last longer than cheaper models. For an occasional camper who camps primarily on flat ground, there's no reason not to get a less expensive option that costs half as much!
What is the most comfortable camping chair?
The best camping chair is one that you can sit in comfortably for a long period of time. When looking at the chairs, think about how they are constructed to offer support and comfort while sitting. A good rule of thumb is if your back starts hurting after 10 minutes or so, move on to another option until you find what's right for you. There really isn't any wrong answer because everyone has different preferences when it comes to their camping gear-as well as body types. Thankfully there are many options available out there that will suit your needs no matter who you are!
Can camping chairs get wet?
Camping chairs should not be left outside for extended periods of time. If they have to get wet, such as during rain or a storm, it is best to wipe them off and allow the chair fabric to dry before sitting on it again. This will prevent mold from growing and also keep bacteria at bay. To give your camping chair an extra layer of protection against water damage, try spraying waterproofing spray into the seams where possible too!
Do weight limits on camping chairs matter?
A weight limit on a camping chair is important for the safety of those seated in it. The person sitting in the chair should be able to move around safely without feeling uncomfortable or putting too much pressure on one side of their body. In some cases, chairs with higher limits can provide more stability and support than lower-limit models. One way to increase your level of comfort while out at camp, You could invest in an inflatable camping seat that provides you with extra cushioning!
Which ever camping seat you go for they essentially have to tick one box, can you sit on them? Sounds silly but so many camping seats some people find impossible to sit or in some cases get up from! Take your time and don't be scared to send it back if you find it unbearable to sit on.
We hope this helpful camping chair guide assists you to finding the perfect camping chair for you to meet all of your needs.