If you're going on a backpacking trip, a backpacking chair is a lifesaver if sitting on the dirt or a rough log isn't your thing. Since you don't exactly know what critters are crawling on the ground, keeping off the ground might be a good idea. Plus, it's a comfortable way to relax and enjoy nature after a long hike.
But with all the different kinds of backpacking chairs that are available, it can be hard to choose one. Luckily, we compiled a list of our 9 best backpacking chairs. Our favorite pick is the Helinox Chair Zero, because it weighs only one pound, is super compact, and has a deep comfortable seat! Check out the rest of our list, and make sure to go through our buying guide reviewed by an outdoor guide for useful information on picking the perfect chair.
My name is 박 (Pak). I am a first-generation Korean American who has worked in the outdoors for 6 years as a guide. Now I'm enjoying traveling around with my bicycle and spending time outdoors with my dog Gaara.
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Table of Contents
Here are several features that you'll want to look for in a backpacking chair. Keep these in mind to help you decide!
Since backpacking chairs are made more for portability than comfort, it's important to keep in mind that these chairs don't normally come with support features for your back, neck, and head. Most go only as high as your lower back. While some include a full backrest, there are a few that go higher, supporting your neck and head.
If you need back or neck support, find a chair with a taller back, deep seat, or adjustability. Deep seats allow you to fully recline and sit in different positions comfortably while providing full back support. Some seats are adjustable to provide optimal support for your back.
However, if you don't need much support, you can just go with a compact backpacking chair for easy carrying! Some of the most compact chairs expand to hang low like a hammock.
Since you're looking for a chair that you can easily carry along with you on a backpacking trip, you want to go for one that is lightweight. Some can weigh as little as a pound, and we recommend not going over three.
When it comes to weight, even a few extra ounces can make a big difference. Make sure to factor in all the other things you'll be lugging around so you don't end up with too big of a load.
Since backpacking chairs have to be set up, choose one that you find easy to assemble. While some are user-friendly with self-expanding and self-folding features, others require a bit more work.
If you're looking to save time, opt for a chair that already has folding mechanisms built-in. These require minimal setup since all you have to do is unpack and unfold. Just make sure to avoid rainy weather to prevent rust from forming on the metal hinges. It is good practice to disassemble your chair before heading to bed to avoid rust or it being blown away.
Other backpacking chairs are more compact because they come with detachable legs, poles, hubs, and even tripods. These may require more time to put together and take apart. Some chairs can be combined with sleeping pads, and others have no legs but are thicker and heavier to protect you from the ground.
The size of a folded backpacking chair is significantly different from its dimensions as an actual chair. Because of this, you want to pay attention to the dimensions of both the folded and assembled product. It's good to take a look at the weight it can hold, too!
Sometimes, a backpacking chair can be about a foot long in its folded state but doubles that length when expanded. Because of this variation in size, you want to consider both and pick what works for you. Some chairs may be small but aren't compact for easy portable carrying. So be mindful of how the chair packs up so you can envision it being packed with your outdoor backpack.
Also, keep in mind that most backpacking chairs come with a case that has straps, so you have the option of carrying it on its own. However, if you want to stuff it inside a bigger bag along with other things, you may want to go for something that folds into a much smaller size.
You also want to make sure you choose a chair that is durable. No one wants a product that immediately falls apart. This disappointment can be avoided by scrutinizing the frame material.
Many backpacking chairs are made from some type of fabric. You want to consider the quality and strength of the fabric to avoid the chair breaking. While cheap, thin fabrics are likely to tear after some time, stronger ones, like nylon and Oxford material, are more durable.
Aluminum or carbon fiber frames are lightweight and ideal if you plan on taking your chair with you on hikes or break camp frequently. Camping chairs with aluminum or carbon fiber frames are also easier to carry, whether in their own case or packed in a larger bag.
These are less heavy-duty materials than steel, so the weight capacity is important. Nothing can be more frustrating than a broken chair when you want to relax after a long hike. To combat this issue, camping gear companies also construct their chairs out of aluminum alloys like DAC brand or aircraft aluminum for extra durability.
Titanium and steel frames are much more durable than aluminum and carbon fiber. These camping chairs often have a higher weight capacity than aluminum or carbon fiber frames and can handle frequent use. Titanium frames are rust-resistant, although steel frames are vulnerable to rust and need to be kept dry.
However, bear in mind that these frames are often heavier than their aluminum and carbon fiber counterparts. If you want to take your chair on a hike or break and move camp often, these chairs may be too cumbersome to carry around. They may also be too heavy to pack in backpacks.
You want to look for a chair that is durable enough to withstand wind and rain. Materials like strong polyester or Oxford cloth can give you a chair that is both waterproof and windproof. If you often go hiking in wet climates, rust-resistant metal may also be worth considering.
Some chairs are made of breathable material like nylon mesh or Flexgrid fabric, which is also UV-resistant. Breathable seat materials are best for camping in summer or in a hot climate. They'll keep you from sweating in the seat.
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Suntime Sofa Chair
Best Chair for Portability
Best Chair for Light Packers
Folding Camping Chair With Adjustable Pillow & Carry Bag
Best for Small Size When Folded
Best Backpacking Chair for Durability
Camping Backpacking Chair
Best for Lower Back Support
Portable Compact Ultralight Camping Folding Chairs
Best Chair for Water Resistance
Best Full-Size Chair for Backpackers
Low Sling Beach Chair for Camping
Best for Uneven Surfaces
Compact Low Profile Outdoor Folding Camp Chair With Carry Case
Best Chair for Sitting on Any Surface
Weighing only 1.2 pounds, this chair is easy to carry on long and short treks. You can pack this chair in a larger bag or carry it in the provided carrying case with ease. The DAC aluminum alloy frame makes this chair lightweight without compromising on durability.
Some reviewers commented that the chair was too low to the ground and not comfortable for people with a larger frame, between 160 and 220 pounds. However, many customers love how small the Chair Zero folds up. They pack it easily into larger bags. They also say that it is easy to store and find it to be very durable.
The Cliq Camping Chair is the size of a one-liter water bottle when folded, and is ready to use after unfolding and extending the legs. The fabric of the seat is made from waterproof, tearproof ripstop ballistic nylon and the frame is made from aircraft aluminum alloy. The result is lightweight, with a weight capacity of 300 pounds.
Some reviewers feel that the Cliq Camping Chair is heavy, too low to the ground, and uncomfortable since there is no support for the neck and head. On the other hand, many reviewers remark that this product is convenient, sturdy, and truly does set up fast.
Despite weighing only two pounds, Moon Lance's chair can hold up to 400 pounds. The high-strength aluminum alloy frame is responsible for its strong, lightweight design. The square frame and rubber feet provide extra stability. It also has two side pockets attached that easily fold back up into its included carry bag.
A few reviewers say that this backpacking chair is too low to the ground. But, most reviewers say that this chair is suitably durable, the deep seat is comfortable, and it unfolds easily. They also point out that it's great for hiking and backpacking because of how light it is.
The Yizi Go Portable Camping Chair from Trekology boasts a deep fabric seat for supporting the lower back and allowing you to comfortably recline. This two-pound chair is easy to store in a backpack with the included storage case.
A few reviewers say that this chair cannot withstand heavy use. However, most customers find this chair to be lightweight and highly portable. Even people who are above the weight limit of the chair have used it and are happy with the support.
REI's Flexlite Camp Chair is made from tear-resistant nylon that is treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating. This water-repellent coating keeps this chair dry in inclement weather and guards against stains. This model has an updated seat to offer comfort to most body types.
Several reviewers feel that this product is not very stable and needs to be planted on solid ground. They also say that the carrying bag is flimsy. But, many other customers find this chair to be sturdy, light to carry, and very comfortable for people of all sizes.
This lightweight chair has a built-in headrest, tall back, and deep seat, so you have support for your back, neck, and head. Most backpacking chairs only offer partial back support, so this chair is a welcome change. It only weighs three and a half pounds, so it's easy to carry.
Some reviewers feel that this product is difficult to set up and take back down, it is too narrow, and is uncomfortable to sit in for long periods. However, many other customers love the stability, sturdiness, lightweight design, and how well it fits into their packs for easy transport.
Several reviewers say that this chair is difficult to set up, and have had issues with its durability. On the other hand, many other reviewers like that the chair is wider than other brands and how compact it is. Most customers also liked the clip that can be attached to the carrying case.
The Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 chair is made from foam and a waterproof nylon outer layer. This 15-inch wide ground chair provides padded protection from dirt and sand. It rolls up for easy storage and sets up in seconds, perfectly designed for sitting around a cozy campfire or taking a break on a seaside hike.
Some reviewers say that this product does not have enough padding in the seat and back and it is too narrow to be comfortable. However, many reviewers love that this chair is sturdy, rolls up, and doesn't require setup. They also find that the chair can double as a rocking chair and it keeps sand away.
If you're going on a camping or hiking trip, you might want to grab one of these. They'll make the outdoor life much more comfortable!
For more choices in backpacking chairs, check out Amazon's best sellers list for camping chairs below.
No. 1: Helinox | Suntime Sofa Chair
No. 2: REI | Rendezvous Chair
No. 3: Cliq | Folding Camping Chair With Adjustable Pillow & Carry Bag
No. 4: Moon Lence | Backpacking Chair
No. 5: Trekology | Camping Backpacking Chair
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