Found! The perfect camping chairs

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?

Outwell’s Spring Hills – better than many concertina chairs, but still not truly supportive

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.

Vango’s Malibu. Look at the slumpy seat.

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

Coleman deck chair

Coleman deck chair – comes in a sand colour too

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.

The taller back Sling chair.

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.

The Kampa Chairman – a bit too heavy and gendered for us!

Another good contender is the padded back 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!

Royal camping chair

Another nice-looking camping chair, this time from Royal. The steel frame makes it heavy, though, at around 9kg. One of the sturdiest and around £35.

Towsure directors’ chair

Towsure’s basic camping chair with table and storage for around £35. Weighs 3kg and folds to 78 x 48 x 16cm.

Campart folding chair

A slightly different design for the Campart folding chair, with a nautical feel! It packs to 86 x 59 x 9cm and weighs 4kg. Around £50.

MP Essentials camp chair

Mp camping chair

This cheaper MP Essentials chair costs 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.

The cheapest chair?

This traditional folding camping chair is by Marko and costs under £12. If you’re only camping once in a while, maybe this is all you need. A steel frame but weighs only 2.4kg.

Carp fishing chairs

Those lucky anglers get all the comfiest chairs, but that comfort makes them heavier. If you fancy a fishing chair, then make sure you get one with longer or extendable legs or you’ll be at ground level. The downside is that they don’t fold flat. 

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.

Kampa Modena recliner

Nice fabric on this streamlined comfort recliner from Kampa. Pack size: 98 x 59 x 8.5 cm. Weight: 5.2 kg. Around £50

Airgo Mirage chair

The Airgo Mirage is comfy and costs around £40. Weighs 5.6kg and makes a pack of height 118cm.

Zero gravity?

Zero gravity chairFor 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 £35.

Portal Outdoor chair

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 recliner

A bit bulkier and heavier than the others, but the backrest on the Westfield Outdoors Diamond chair is wonderfully comfortable. Around £75. Weighs just under 6kg and folds to 112 x 67 x 14cm. Removable cushion too.

Outwell Kenai chair

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.



Legless comfort?

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!).

Comfortable and adjustable – the Bonvivo floor chair

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.

Got a favourite chair? Or one you’d warn people not to buy? Do tell…leave a comment below.

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One Comment

  1. Mark Pittam

    Avoid the Sunncamp Steel Deluxe Chairs. I purchased two whilst in Norwich and used them for the first time a few weeks ago only to have them break on myself and my partner. My chair snapped where the beams cross and have a metal stud going through the middle. My partners chair broke where the fabric is held by plastic.

    70 quid down the drain for that rubbish!

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