A camping trip with friends and family isn’t complete (in our humble opinion) without bringing along a camping chair to cozy up with around the campfire on your adventure. No matter if you’re camping at a local state park, viewing wildlife while visiting National Parks or heading into the backcountry for a true wilderness experience, choosing the right camping chair for your trip can level up your experience in the great outdoors.
To help you pick out the most comfortable — or stylish, durable or lightweight — camping chair for your packing checklist, we’ve talked to experts for their advice on what to look for when buying a chair for the campground. They’ve weighed in on everything from durability and fabrics to weight and accessory features.
“First and foremost, making a decision on a camping chair depends on the use case,” says Patrick McCluskey, chief engineer and product sustainability lead at Nemo. “You’ll want to consider questions like: Are you going to be setting it up and taking it down frequently? Are you going to be backpacking the chair in somewhere? Are you just taking it on a short hike? These types of considerations will help you determine how heavy your chair should be and [how] much comfort you can afford to carry.”
He adds that price is another huge factor to consider. “If you want to maintain your comfort level but reduce weight, then typically the cost goes up. Lighter chairs require more specialized materials, like high-grade aluminum and low denier fabrics — which ultimately impact the price of the chair.”
Material and durability
“I am really picky when it comes to finding a chair that I enjoy sitting in,” says Ashleigh McClary, a gear expert and senior account manager at Backcountry. “I like for there to be comfortable fabric right at the edge of the chair. I’ve noticed there are a lot of camp chairs that rub on the bottom of my legs when I sit in them and they’re not comfortable.”
When it comes to comfort, McClary says you’ll want to consider where you’ll be using the chair and the type of fabric the chair is constructed out of. “I’ve found the most comfortable fabric in camp chairs to be nylon or poly-nylon blends that are in most ultralight chairs. Sometimes mesh and canvas aren’t as soft and can cause discomfort when wearing shorts,” she says. “And if somewhere really hot, you’ll want to opt for a chair with light and preferably ventilated fabric.” In cold weather, McClary recommends this heated chair pad from Coleman that can help keep you cozy in chilly temps.
McCluskey adds that the type of material camping chairs are made of also has an impact on the longevity and durability of the product. “Nylon is somewhat detrimental compared to polyester fabrics because it absorbs a lot of water,” he says. “When nylon absorbs water, it’s going to stretch and so your seat is going to get pretty saggy and it might even start to interfere with the performance of your chair poles.”
Our experts also recommend considering the material of the frame. While steel tends to hold more weight and provide extra durability, McCluskey says it also has its setbacks.
“I personally tend to stay away from chairs that have steel components,” says McCluskey.
“Because you’re using chairs outside, they’re going to get wet at some point. And if they have steel on them, they’re going to rust. Alternatively, I think aluminum is a really good choice. It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any other metal that’s out there. ”
If you aren’t afraid of extra weight or the overall size of your camping chair, you have a lot more flexibility in choosing a chair with all sorts of creature comforts, from side pockets and cell phone holders to a canopy or extendable footrest.
“I like to have all the accessories on my camping chairs,” says McClary. “I love amenities like cup holders or anything that makes the chair unique, like if it has a rocking feature or a hidden cooler somewhere on there.”
To help you find the most comfortable, stylish or practical camping chair for any given adventure, we’ve rounded up 22 of the most highly recommended camping chairs on the market.
$49.95 at REI
REI built this chair with comfort and practicality in mind. It’s one of the quickest-drying, most breathable and most durable camp chairs you can find on the market. The mesh webbing fabric on the back and base of the chair helps distribute weight for maximum comfort and heavy-duty steel tube legs can hold up to 300 pounds.
A chair built for both comfort and durability, no matter if you’re at the campground or a backyard BBQ. Its sturdy steel frame and wide leg base help prevent this chair from tipping over when you take a seat in it.
$74.95 $71.10 at Amazon or $74.95 at Kelty
A camping chair you really can’t go wrong with (in our personal opinion). It comes with adjustable armrests, an oversized drink holder and polyester fabric seat back and base — all of the basics you’ll find in a solid camp chair.
“For all-day comfort and support, my favorite is the Hondo Base Camp chair,” says McClary. This camp chair’s extra-sturdy frame and woven mesh fabric can hold up to 500 pounds and it's built to prevent unwanted pressure points on the seat base and lower back when sitting for long periods of time.
A rocking chair built without bowed legs so you don’t have to worry about roots, rocks and uneven ground getting in the way of your comfort. This chair’s kickback rocker feature acts like the suspension system you’d find on a mountain bike. All you have to do is lean back and relax while the spring-loaded shock on the back of the chair absorbs all the pressure.
Looking for the comfort of a classic front porch rocker you can take into nature? This camp-friendly rocking chair is your pick. Its steel legs can withstand the wear and tear of rocking on top of rocks, sticks and muddy ground and can support up to 300 pounds of weight.
$249.95 at REI and Nemo
“This is one of my favorite chairs because of its ability to recline and swing, plus having a cupholder and storage pocket — it’s hard to beat,” says McClary. Recliner meets rocker in this stargazer-friendly chair. The swinging and reclining design takes relaxation to a new level by allowing campers to lean back, relax and look up at the night sky. Its low center of gravity and extendable design also make this chair perfect if you’re looking for a customizable fit for extra comfort.
If you want durability and comfort in the outdoors, look no further. This super-sturdy camp rocker can withstand the elements because of its rust-resistant steel frame with powder coating. You also get bonus features including an attached drink holder and an ergonomic seat design.
$69.95 at REI
Known for its size and durability, this chair ranks high on the list of the most popular backpacking chairs on the market. Its lightweight aluminum frame reduces unwanted weight when trekking this chair into the wilderness and its oversized pole pockets help make this chair super easy to set up.
Don’t sacrifice space while in the backcountry (or frontcountry, for that matter). This extra-large yet lightweight chair is perfect if you want some extra room or are looking for a wide-fitting seat base. Bonus: Sales from this chair benefit the Yampa River Fund,
which supports conservation efforts for the Colorado River Basin.
Not many ultralight camp chairs come with all the amenities like a side pocket for your phone, drink and accessories. However, this compact camp chair packs in all of these features without adding a ton of additional weight.
Clocking in at only 1 pound 8 ounces, this chair is a super-lightweight option that doesn’t skimp on comfort and durability. Its high-back design gives campers more support for leaning back while seated and its nylon resin hubs are engineered to be as strong and secure as backpacking tent poles. This chair also comes in a smaller size: the Helinox Chair Zero
Don’t worry about sandy or soft ground keeping you from enjoying a seat around the fire, in the backyard or at a festival. This chair features anti-sink disk feet help the chair legs from sinking into the ground on sandy or soft ground and packs down to just over 2 pounds, making it super portable.
Kid-sized comfort that you can bring on any camping trip. Both fun and practical features — like glow-in-the-dark print and a locking frame so it’s extra secure — make this a great option for kids who want their own seat around the campfire.
$39.95 at REI
This no-frills, kid-sized version of a classic camp chair is perfect for roasting marshmallows or relaxing around a bonfire for campfire storytime. You don’t have to worry about shoving this option in a fussy chair bag either — it comes with a pre-attached strap that keeps the chair closed when folded and doubles as a shoulder strap for easy transport.
A classic camp chair feel with more room to spread out and relax. Built-in accessories like an insulated cup holder and a media pocket that’s perfectly sized to hold your cell phone turn up the luxury dial on this chair.
This chair feels more like sturdy outdoor furniture than a camp chair. Its super-breathable and super-strong frame can withstand wear and tear from water and dirt to banging around your van or truck bed while setting up and packing down camp. We also love that the chair bag has built-in backpack straps for easy transport.
Luxury comforts make this chair a unique choice for a camping trip. It features a faux leather seat and headrest, mesh back for extra breathability and an extra-wide seat base for additional space and comfort.
Comfort and style make this camping chair stand out. Its oversized dimensions and armless design let you stretch out and relax. The entire chair is covered in thick padded polyester fabric and features a super-long seat base, making it an ultra-comfortable sitting experience.
“The Stoic Fireside Five O’Clock chair is one of my favorite and go-to camp chairs,” says McClary. “I love the extra-large size and insulated storage compartment for keeping drinks cold."
Two companions (dogs included) can easily fit in this low and slightly reclined loveseat. Its unique padded roll-tote storage, which comes pre-clipped to the back of the chair, means you don’t have to fuss with a frustrating chair bag. Simply collapse the seat, clip the roll tote carrier closed and carry it away.
A double camping seat version of Sierra Designs’ Oversized Folding Chair
, this chair provides enough space for you and a fellow camper. It comes with a hanging side pocket for storing camping accessories along with the media pocket and insulated cup holder you can find on the single-seat version of the chair.