The car is packed. You’ve got plenty of supplies for s’mores. Your tent, stove, axe, and fire kit are ready to go. You are almost ready for your camping trip, but what’s missing? Camping chairs!
As anyone who has stayed in the great outdoors for even a short while can tell you, a good camping chair can make the difference between a great camping trip and a backwoods disaster. Even a small chair can save you from having to sit on the ground or an uncomfortable log – just because you’re trying to get in touch with nature while you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to get that close!
If you don’t own any camp chairs or are looking to replace your old, worn out ones, 2016 is a great time to do it. New developments are being made all the time to help even the most intrepid outdoor adventurers stay comfortable while they unwind around the fire. Here’s a quick guide of what to look for when picking out a camp chair, and a list of some of our favorites this year!
What to Consider When Purchasing a Camping Chair
With a wide variety of selections, each of your options for purchasing a camping chair will probably be as unique as you are. To help you find the best fit, it’s a great idea to make a list of what you are looking for in your camp chair. Here are some considerations to help get you started:
What Will You Be Using it For?
Despite their name, camping chairs are often used for a lot more than just camping. From fishing, to tailgating, to spending a day at the beach, to seeing an outdoor concert, camping chairs are useful in many situations. When purchasing your camping chair, make sure that it’s versatile enough to use in a wide variety of conditions.
If you are going to be carrying your camping chair for long distances (or even short ones, for that matter), you don’t want it to be overly heavy. Many upscale, more luxurious camping chairs tend to be heavier, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort to make weight; there are plenty of camp chairs that are designed to be lightweight while still giving you a place to relax.
Similar to weight, it is extremely important to consider the size of your camping chair, especially if you will be doing something like backpacking or hiking. Many standard camp chairs are fairly bulky, so finding something that collapses down to a fraction of its size will help you keep your pack small.
Most traditional camping chairs come with one cupholder and one storage pocket, but depending on what you’ll be using your chair for, you may want more bells and whistles than that. Many manufacturers add special features to their chairs, like coolers, footrests or umbrellas. If camping in style is your thing, make sure to identify which features are important to you to help guide your search.
It should come as no surprise that camping chairs come in a variety of different styles for different applications. Traditional camping chairs (the ones you are used to seeing on beaches or around campground fire pits) often have four legs, two armrests, and fold up in a long bag.
Portable camping chairs of much smaller, lighter weight and lower to the ground than their traditional counterparts. They also take more time to assemble, but it’s a tradeoff for not having to carry a heavy chair. Finally, backpacking chairs are the smallest and most portable camp chairs, but they are certainly not the most comfortable. They usually have no legs and are simply a foldout seat, but on the trail, comfort often takes a backseat to portability.
Best Camping Chairs of 2016
Now that you know what to look for in a chair, here are some of the best camping chairs of 2016. This list consists of traditional and portable camp chairs, so if you are looking for a great backpacking chair, check here or here.
Coleman Oversized Quad Chair
If you’re looking to camp in comfort, Coleman has got you covered. This trusted camping brand has produced a chair that is great not only for camping, but for tailgating, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying a picnic in the park. It comes with a built in armrest cooler that holds up to four cans, so your drinks stay cold while you stay comfy. Special features make this chair a standout, and high quality craftsmanship means that it will last you for many seasons. The only downside to this chair is that it is not very light, so while it may be perfect for a casual camping trip, it is certainly not recommended for the trail.
Buy it here.
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
This fan-favorite is sure to help you get comfortable, no matter where you’re staying. The padded seat accommodates campers of all sizes, and the chair is extremely easy to set up. With 2 cup holders, 2 side pockets, and extra storage built in behind the headrest, this chair will hold everything you could want, so be careful — you may never want to leave it! Some buyers have complained that the chair is difficult to put back in its bag, and it is certainly on the heavier side, but these small sacrifices are made in exchange for comfort that will give you a truly luxuriant camping experience.
Buy it here.
Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
This chair is the best of all possible worlds: the price is affordable, and the chair is lightweight, but doesn’t sacrifice comfort. Dual lock technology makes setup and breakdown a breeze, while the ergonomic seat improves posture and comfort. The breathable mesh back will be your friend on those hot summer camping trips, and the wide selection of colors is sure to please the whole family. The construction is extremely sturdy, and will offer campers a solid foundation. The chair also comes in XXL size in order to offer comfort to campers of all shapes and sizes.
Buy it here.
Helinox Chair One
Helinox’s lightweight design makes it a favorite of folks who are trying to conserve space and pack light. The chair itself is one of the most comfortable portable chairs on the market, and at just over 2 pounds, it is the right size for almost any pack. Many buyers say that the chair is exceptionally sturdy, and can hold almost anyone despite its size. Set-up and break down take less than 30 seconds, and the chair is easy to store and carry.
Buy it here.
Alite Designs Monarch Chair
If you are truly looking to pack light, this chair is your best bet. At less than a pound and a half, you will hardly notice it in your pack and it requires very little effort to set up. The two-legged design may be a drawback for some, since it requires you to use your heels to balance while you’re sitting, but this is a small tradeoff for such a light design. The ripstop nylon canvas and aluminum frame display quality workmanship, and customers say that the chair is sturdy and durable. Anyone who needs a small, portable chair should certainly consider this one.
Buy it here.
TrekUltra Tour One Camping Chair
TrekUltra chairs are a popular alternative to Helinox chairs. They are cheaper, and some buyers even claim that they are more comfortable than their competitor. They fold down easily, and are advertised to hold up to 350lbs. Quality workmanship and durability make this chair a favorite of backpackers and campers everywhere. This chair offers 2” of extra back height, making it easy to relax and get comfy no matter where you are!
Buy it here.