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Published Mar. 9, 2022

Camp chairs bring comfort to the rustic places of the world. These weather-resistant, lightweight chairs are designed to be slung over a shoulder, rolled into a pack, or even clipped onto a belt. Ideal for people fishing along the banks of a Carolina estuary, plein air painters looking to give Thomas Cole a run for his money, backpackers section hiking the Adirondacks, or simple car camping trips with the family, camp chairs come in many designs that favor any number of outdoor uses.

While there are many camp chair designs available, the chairs most commonly come in folding varieties with cup holders on their arms, as folding stools, or sometimes as folding rockers or loveseats. Some are designed to be lightweight,  while heavier options tacitly demand car camping. Read on for a run down of the best camp chairs you can buy.

How We Picked The Best Camp Chairs of 2022

Methodology

With so many camp chair designs available, I looked for a few specific criteria to determine which ones really deserve a place in your pack (or car trunk). To inform my picks I used my years of experience camping around America with countless camp chairs. As I write this article I’m actually sitting on my GCI Outdoor Packseat (my pick for the best tripod camp stool), which I often use at home office when my body needs a break from my desk chair. Each pick was compared to similar camp chairs from other manufacturers, to ensure they’re a true best camping chair. 

Build quality was of utmost importance in my picks, because who wants to buy a camping chair that falls apart after one day at the beach? However, rugged builds are often heavier, and total weight is another important factor. Some of the better complex camp chairs, such as camp rocking chairs that use pistons, are heavy enough to prohibit them being really useful for packing in. But heavier builds didn’t always result in a cut, as these can still be great car or RV camping accessories. Features like extra drink holders are also nice in a camping chair. Lastly, real weatherproofing, along with a rugged build, is a major bonus, because who doesn’t want to sit in the middle of a river in a lawn chair?

The Best Camp Chairs Reviews And Recommendations

Best Overall: Helinox Chair One Original Lightweight

Helinox

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Why It Made The Cut: A very lightweight camp chair that’s compact enough to pack in, and comfy enough that you’ll want to car camp with it too. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Seat Height: 10 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 320 pounds
  • Packed Dimensions: 4 x 4.5 x 14 inches

Pros:

  • Only two pounds
  • Aluminum alloy foundation gives good sturdiness
  • Shock corded poles make it easy and quick to assemble

Cons:

  • Low enough to the ground that it could be hard getting in and out for some
  • Somewhat pricey

The Helinox Chair One deserves a spot at the head of any camping chair best of list. This two-pounder is small enough that it can easily find a place in a camping backpack, yet is also comfy enough to justify keeping on hand for non-ultralight day use. Using aluminum alloy poles that are shock-corded like a tent’s, the Helinox veritably jumps into shape when you pull it out of the bag, making for an especially easy setup when you’re setting up camp after a long day hike. It’s also rated for 320-pound capacity, so it’s sturdy enough to hold most campers (plus their dogs). 

With a ten-inch seat height, this chair isn’t very high off the ground. This can prove troubling for folks with bad knees. But the low height is usually justified by the chair’s light weight. For a higher seat height, Helinox makes an (also superb) Sunset Chair with a significantly higher back and neck/head rest, at 3.25 pounds. If you’re not interested in backpacking, then it’s probably the better buy.

Another great chair by Helinox that any serious backpacker has to consider is the Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight. At just 1.2 pounds and 13.5 inches packed, it’s an incredibly lightweight backpackers’ chair that you can justify carrying for weeks in the woods.

Basically, if you’re looking for a great camping chair, whether for backpacking or beach lounging, don’t commit to the contents of that shopping cart until you give Helinox’s line of camp chairs a look.

Best Budget: Coleman Camping Chair With Built-in 4 Can Cooler

Coleman

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Why It Made The Cut: This value camping chair is both rugged and well equipped.

Specs:

  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Seat Height: 18 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
  • Packed Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 38 inches

Pros:

  • Cooler can fit up to four cans with a drink holder on the opposing arm
  • 24-inch-wide full-sized chair can support larger people
  • Easy to fit in trunk
  • Very affordable

Cons: 

  • Not practical for carrying on hikes
  • Not the most durable out there

The Coleman Camping Chair is a classic of campsites all over America. That’s because at its price point, the Coleman just can’t be beat. With a four-can cooler on one arm, and a classic mesh drink holder on the other, the Coleman is locked and loaded to accommodate your beverage needs. It doesn’t fold down to a tiny packable size ready for multi-day backpacking excursions, but for car camping, sports events, or the beach, it’s chair enough for almost anybody with a car trunk. 

Folded up in its bag, the Coleman measures 38 inches long and weighs ten pounds; it slings over the shoulder for easy transport. It’s not the most rugged camp chair out there, but its alloy supports and polyester seating material are quite weatherproof. The low asking price also ensures that you won’t need to worry too much about affording a replacement if it breaks after a few years.  All in all, the Coleman is a solid budget camp chair available for a very reasonable asking price. 

Best Camp Stool: GCI Outdoor Packseat

GCI Outdoor

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Why It Made The Cut: This 1.4 pound, tri-leg pack stool slips into a carry bag for easy portability.

Specs:

  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Seat Height: 20 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Packed Dimensions: 3 x 4 x 15.7 inches

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Folds for great portability
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Could be sturdier

The GCI Outdoor Packseat shines as a comfortable, highly portable stool to take into the natural world; and it’s still ready for active tasks, like fishing, birdwatching, or sketching. With three shock corded legs that break down for easy portability in its shoulder slung pack, the 1.4-pound packseat is a highly mobile stool. It’s got a tri-cornered seat that’s quite comfortable to perch on. The legs are reinforced with a lower tear-resistant fabric connector that keeps the stool sturdy and capable of supporting its 250-pound weight capacity.

I actually sub my pack seat out for my desk chair on long writing days when I need to change up my posture. It’s great to keep in the trunk of the car for an easy carry-in stool for park visits, or to bring along for watercolor sessions in the park. While I haven’t taken my Packseat backpacking, it’s light enough that I could justify it for a one- or two-night trip. It doesn’t feel like it will last forever, but after almost a year of use, it’s going strong with no signs of deterioration.

Best Camp Rocking Chair: GCI KickBack Rocker Chair

GCI Outdoor

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Why It Made The Cut: With a surprisingly well-designed piston system, the KickBack is incredibly comfy.

Specs:

  • Weight: 10.6 pounds
  • Seat Height: 17 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Packed Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.9 x 34.8 inches 

Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Great rocking sensation

Cons:

  • Too heavy for packing in

For excellent car or RV camp luxury, the GCI KickBack Rocker Chair takes a novel approach to seating. Using pistons instead of curved rails, the KickBack keeps its rear legs firmly planted on terra firma, while still allowing you to comfortably rock. It’s a novel design for a rocking chair, but one that’s especially well suited to the uneven terrain you’ll find in many campgrounds.

Folding up, the KickBack is easy to sling over your shoulder, however its 10-plus pound weight makes it impractical for packing in. But this chair isn’t meant for backpackers. Paired with an RV and a mobile grill, you’ll bring the experience of the back deck along for the ride. 

At a rented beach house one summer, I had a great experience rocking back and forth in the KickBack and staring up at the stars at night. It’s truly a relaxing chair that allows you to bring the comforts of a home with you, wherever your car or camper takes you. 

Best High-End Camp Chair: YETI Trailhead

Why It Made The Cut: With an exceptionally rugged build and great comfort, the YETI Trailhead is a camp chair that’s meant to last.

Specs:

  • Weight: 13.3 pounds
  • Seat Height: 16.75 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Packed Dimensions: 11.75 × 9 x 43 inches

Pros:

  • Supremely comfortable
  • Very sturdy with high weight certification
  • UV resistant

Cons:

  • Expensive

Securely cornering the high end of the camp chair market is the YETI Trailhead. With a locking frame that can support up to 500 pounds in its very comfortable proprietary “flexigrid” fabric, the Trailhead is made for supporting aching bodies back from long hikes. 

The chair uses a special UV-resistant design to ensure that it can weather prolonged exposure to the elements. It comes with a drink holder that can be affixed to either the left or right arm rest, rather than incorporating a drink holder into the arm. It’s a chair that’s made for longevity, and at its price point it guarantees delivery. It’s a solid investment if you’re looking for a stylish and comfortable chair to last for years.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Camp Chair

Your Camping Style

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when you’re strategizing what sort of camp chair you need is what type of camping you go for. If you’re interested in collecting the gear you’ll need for multi-day backpacking treks into the mountains, it’s better to look for as light a chair as you can find. Ultra-light chairs are available that weigh about a pound or less. Folks looking for chairs to bring with them on RV trips may not need to focus on weight as much; they can afford to bring heavier chairs that put more emphasis on comfort, or look for special features like rocking pistons.

Price

Camp chairs come at many price points. Not everyone needs to spend $300 on a camp chair. Often, good camp chairs can be bought for well under $50. Sometimes higher-priced chairs guarantee more dependability and comfort. Paying more up front can give you a chair that you’ll be able to use for years,  saving you money in the long run. Consider your budget before you buy.

Comfort And Height

For older hikers and those with joint issues, a chair that doesn’t put too much stress on your body can be an absolute salvation on the trail. Hikers with bad knees will likely want to look for chairs with a higher seat height, as they will be easier to get in and out of. Chairs with ergonomic details like a headrest or neck support can be very helpful, as well as chairs made of malleable fabric that avoids pressure points.

FAQs

Q: Do I need a camp chair?

While many campers make do with logs or boulders, a camp chair can be an excellent creature comfort to retreat to after a long day on the trail. They can relieve pain in aching joints, and give you a place to sit off the wet ground. All in all, camp chairs make your camp feel more like home.

Q: Is Yeti Trailhead worth the price?

The YETI Trailhead is a supremely comfortable camp chair designed for long term use and longevity. The hefty price tag comes with a promise that you’ll be using your YETI for years of outdoor relaxation.

Q: Is an ultralight camp chair worth it?

Ultralight camp chairs are great additions to a backpacker’s gear list. Many hardcore trekkers need to prioritize lightweight gear that will take up as little room as possible in their hiking pack. Some ultralight chairs weigh as little as one pound and fold to very small dimensions. The Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight,  at 1.2 pounds, is an excellent option for backpackers who want to pack some comfort.

Q: What’s the most comfortable camp chair?

The YETI Trailhead is an extremely comfortable camp chair, but with its piston rockers the GCI KickBack Rocker Chair is the most comfortable camp chair I’ve ever sat in. The Helinox Sunset Chair is another high-backed camp chair that delivers excellent comfort, while being light enough to pack in. 

Final Thoughts

Camp chairs are like a portable patio that can come with you into the wilds of the world. The best camp chairs offer extreme comfort that’s easy to set up anywhere, and are ready for whatever conditions you find yourself in. Some camp chairs prioritize lightweight builds, while others lay on the features and comfort. The best camp chair for most users is the Helinox Chair One, which delivers excellent comfort with a very light frame that’s easy to pack on day trips. For those who want to prioritize creature comforts, the GCI KickBack Rocker Chair is a great mobile rocking chair, while the pricey YETI Trailhead is a supremely comfortable and sturdy static chair. Hardcore trekkers, on the other hand, may want to consider the Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight.

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