Sit By the Campfire in Comfort With These Tried
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Sit By the Campfire in Comfort With These Tried

Aug 31, 2023

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When you’re camping, tailgating, or grilling in the backyard, your mission is clear: maximum relaxation. Sure, you could sit on the ground or at a hard picnic table, but with so many affordable and reliable camp chairs on the market, why would you?

Camping chairs are a fairly broad category of products, and your average outdoor retailer likely has options ranging from stool-style chairs to luxurious two-person loveseats. To help you narrow your search, we tested and evaluated all types of portable outdoor seating, from ultralight camping chairs and plush recliners to two-seaters and swings.

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To find the best camp chairs, we relied heavily on feedback from our testers, who vary ages, heights, and weights, and used some of these chairs in campgrounds, on backpacking trips, and at all-day sporting events around the country. We also tried out a few in-house, setting them up in the office and in Central Park to see how they felt.

We took into account the team's likes and dislikes about the chairs we tried, as well as online reviews from past buyers. We evaluate each chair's materials and fabrics and the brand's reputation and warranty, both in person and based on specs. Finally, we made sure to keep price in mind, so you can find a long-lasting and comfortable chair no matter your budget.

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Trailhead Collapsible Camp Chair


Yeti's Trailhead camping chair immediately stands out for how comfortable it is to sit in—and how expensive it is. Yeti uses a flexible fabric that is spread tight against the frame and accommodates your body as you sit down. That fabric is intensely durable, with a weight limit of 500 pounds—the highest of any folding chair we tested.

Beyond the comfort of the seat, the most impressive part of the Trailhead is the sturdiness of the frame. While its strength is certainly a winning feature, the locking mechanisms that keep the chair open and in perfect shape take the cake. This lock—which takes a bit of elbow grease to put into place—allows you to shift around and even set it up on uneven ground without risk of it folding back in while you’re lounging.

While the heaviness of this camp chair might prevent me from using it on a long journey, the carrying case with backpack straps makes it easier to take with me while keeping my arms free and shoulders comfortable. While the price means not everyone can have this camp chair, if you can swing it, it really is better than the rest.

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Wonderland Chair


For a classic fold-up camping chair, the REI Co-op Wonderland stands as a great mixture of comfortable and durable. In regards to comfort, I noticed almost immediately the slight wider seat that gave me enough room to actually adjust my body around to find the right spot. The wooden arm rests also happen to feel significantly better than most made of fabric or plastic.

The Wonderland camping chair has a polyester fabric seat treated to be water repellent, and the steel tubing feels noticeably sturdy. While the chair is too heavy to take with you on a hike, the carry strap and lock-in clip make it easy to sling over your shoulder to and from different locations.

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Kickback Rocker


GCI has staked its claim as the king of camp comfort with its Rocker line of chairs, and the Kickback is our current favorite. Pistons on the back legs help with the rocking motion, and we found the resistance stiff enough that we wouldn't accidentally tip the chair over backward—but not so aggressive that it felt like the Kickback was pitching us forward.

Both our 6-foot-2 and 5-foot-5 testers liked the seat height and had no problems sitting down and standing up from the chair. We also like that it has the usual cup holder and phone pocket on the armrests.

Despite that it's a little unwieldy when carried over the shoulder, the strap didn't dig in, though we’d still recommend using it for light activities such as car camping, backyard hangs, and picnics. Some padding in the seat and backrest would be nice, but the fabric has some slack that makes it comfortable to sit in.

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Chair with built-in cooler


The fewer things you have to lug to your campsite, the better. Thanks to this affordable camp chair's built-in insulated cooler, you can leave the kombuchas in the heavy cooler in the shade while you stash a few cans (with ice, of course) in your chair.

Cooler aside, we also like the Coleman chair's side pocket (don't leave those bottle tops in the woods) and cushioned backrest. The fact that the chair holds an impressive 325 pounds makes it ideal for big and tall buyers. It's certainly not the lightest camping chair on this list, but we were still surprised with the relatively reasonable 8.5 pounds, especially considering the table attachment.

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Deluxe Lounge Chair


Another favorite among our testers, the Deluxe has a wide and broad sitting area that doesn't pinch or press into your hamstrings, shoulders, or hips. The steel supports are also large and the feet are widely spaced, giving the entire chair a stable, confident feel.

The steel frame allowed our testers to use the reclining back confidently and lounge in the chair at just about any angle. The adjustable cup holders accommodate anything from a soda can to a beer growler (yes, you can have up to 64 ounces of beer in your cup holder).

It's so comfortable that one tester remarked, "My wife, who is six months pregnant, was happy to spend half a day at a bike race as long as she got to use the chair." That La-Z-Boy level of comfort makes this an excellent option for car camping and RV use.

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Chair Zero Large


The Helinox Chair Zero L isn't inexpensive, but that's probably because it's made with high-quality, ultralight materials. The camping chair weighs just over one pound, but the aluminum frame can hold up to 265 pounds.

It also packs down small enough to strap to the side or top of your hiking backpack for overnight adventures, and the shock cord woven through the poles ensures a quick and easy assembly if you arrive at camp in the dark. Both our shorter testers found it comfortable, though our 6-foot-1 tester with longer legs reported that his knees felt a little too close to his chest when sitting.

For most people, the biggest downside is likely the low back height. Still, it's a reasonable trade-off if you’re working toward shedding weight from your backpacking setup but aren't keen to sit on the ground all night.

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Rio Swinging Hammock Lounger


Swinging chairs aren't just for chilling on your front porch. They’re ideal for buyers who experience back or butt pain when sitting in one spot for too long. Because the chair swings, it's easy to adjust your seating position or rest your feet on a nearby cooler or bench. It also allows the chair to automatically balance your weight if you tuck a leg under your body or lean a bit forward, which can cause stationary chairs to tip.

Usually, swinging chairs have more pieces and parts than a standard chair, but the Rio foldable hammock chair manages to stay minimal in both weight and size. While it's too heavy for backpacking, it's a reasonable size and weight for slinging over your shoulder to walk from the parking lot to the sidelines or throwing in a wagon for beach days.

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Infinity Zero Gravity Chair


The flatpack style of chair doesn't lend itself well to extreme portability. That being said, if you’re mostly car camping out of your truck or driving to a friend's BBQ, you’ll love the extra size and support these chairs offer. We especially like the Infinity zero gravity chair, which reclines nearly flat if you’d rather stare at the clouds than at your fellow campers. Fortunately, you can lock it into position to ensure against unexpected tipping, and the head- and footrests extend far enough in both directions to support taller users.

Our testers didn't have any ongoing gripes with this chair, though one complained of feeling a crossbar under the seat. The chair distributes weight quite well, and we never felt off-balance while reclining. However, we did find it quite awkward to get out of the chair while reclined, so be sure to put it back into the upright position before getting up.

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Lightweight Folding High Back Camping Chair


If you’re one of those people on the fence about buying a generic folding chair, don't be. The Marchway high-back chair has stellar reviews and weighs in at 3.5 pounds, making it usable (though not ideal) for easy backpacking.

The tall back provides enough support for our 6-foot-plus tester, and the carrying case can double as a head or low-back pillow with some clothing stuffed in (though it doesn't attach to the chair).

The Marchway High-Back Camping Chair is very similar to the far pricier (but also well-loved) Helinox Sunset chair, though this one comes with the bonus of rounded arm flaps. While they don't provide support, they do add a bit of padding, so your arms aren't digging into the sides of the fabric.

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Camping Directors Chair


Do a quick online search for director chair-style camp chairs and you’ll see that most options look relatively similar. They also have the same downside, which is a general lack of portability. They fold just like a movie director's chair—hence the name—but usually don't pack down vertically.

That's why we’re keen on the SunnyFeel camp chair, which packs into the size of a (slightly heavy) tote bag and comes with a storage sack. Unlike other similar camp chairs, you can sling the SunnyFeel over your shoulder rather than awkwardly carrying it just above the ground. But like similar products, it has features like a pop-up table, cup holder, padded backrest, and a large side panel with multiple pockets.

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Dreamer Chair


Certainly an unorthodox approach to camping chairs, the Trippy Outdoors Dreamer is the option for those who need flat storage (or to feel a little bit like a hipster). Despite the weight, I could easily hold it in one hand as I walked, though it may be more difficult for longer journeys.

That said, the actual assembly and subsequent storage process for the camping chair is incredibly easy. Sliding the wooden plank it makes an instant seat and storing the seat plank on the back makes for a flat chair you can put in the trunk of a compact car.

The chair itself isn't the most comfortable option—the seat height feels a little low and the back plank and seat lack any cushioning. The two-piece construction also makes the chair feel a bit wobbly when leaning from side to side. The chair looks to shine the most at the beach, where you can dig the wood into the sand, and the aesthetic is a perfect match.

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