For campsite holidays, beach trips or even wild camping adventures alike, a camping chair is the item you always thank yourself for bringing. Easily forgotten, but rarely regretted; after a long day of outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking or mountain biking, a seat to sink into and rest your weary limbs can feel like a luxury. This is certainly true when the only other option might be a soggy forest floor, or hardened ground that offers no respite for your worn-out hindquarters.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a camping chair. With everyone’s varying needs, it can be a pretty subjective task. Luxury add-ons aside, specifications are ever-broadening and span from ergonomic support, to weight capacity, and terrain-type, amongst other things. Certainly, there are also factors to avoid; we’ve all experienced the hot mess of using a festival camp chair or a petrol station favourite. Images of sinking into mud, plastic bag DIY seats, and canvas-less frames come to mind. For these reasons, here’s a list of our campsite favourites, including a how-to-guide to avoid dead weight, wasted money, and sore bottoms.
How To Choose A Camping Chair
Choosing a camping chair generally requires three main considerations: your primary use for the chair, your size and height preference, and your design preference. These preliminary considerations will help narrow down your search, avoiding endless internet sprawling, and leaving you more time to get excited about your trip.
In terms of your primary use, thinking about the type of camping trip is key. If you‘re going on a backpacking or bikepacking trip, a lightweight and unassuming design will be handiest. You’ll want something that can easily attach or fit inside your backpack, without weighing you down on your travels. Or perhaps you‘ll have a basecamp to come back to, or you‘re going road tripping, in which case, maybe comfort is key, and weight less of an issue. As long as it can pack away neatly and easily, these latter trip types can generally afford more luxuries in terms of camping chair comforts.
Thinking about your primary use in terms of location and weather is also beneficial. Am I camping in a muddy forest or a sandy beach? Which chair is less likely to sink into the sand? Which will be the easiest to clean mud off? Is it going to rain? Which chair is the most waterproof?
Once you’ve decided on your main priorities, more general features of camping chairs enter the mix. These include the size, weight, and maximum load of each chair, and will vary based on your personal specifications. Depending on your type of trip, remember to note down the difference between the chair’s packed weight, and its standing weight. This can be important in terms of having a light backpack if you’re on a multi-day hiking trip, for example.
Finally, there are more individualised design preferences. These can range from specialised lumbar support for those with back needs, to fitted coolers, for those with beer needs. Some more luxurious than others, these are very much trip and budget dependant, and down to each person. Materials used in the design of the chair might also be worth considering, some prioritising warmth and comfort, whilst others might focus on sustainability and durability.
In this list, we’ve tried to find an even-spread of options for 2021, encompassing a variety of styles, tailored for all terrains and personal needs.
Best Camping Chairs 2021 | Our 10 Favourites
- Helinox Chair One
- Vango Joro
- Nemo Moonlite™
- Sea To Summit Air Chair
- Nemo Stargaze™ Recliner
- Robens Pathfinder
- Kelty Low Loveseat
- Quechua Reclinable Folding Chair
- Snow Peak Low Beach Folding Chair
- Therm-a-rest Trekker
BEST BUY: Helinox Chair One