After a long day in the wilderness, I like to sit back and relax next to the warmth of the campfire.
But, since I tend to pack light, I’m stuck seated on an uncomfortable log that’s probably infested with creepy critters. And, if I lay down in my tent, I’ll just fall asleep before the sun sets.
My best option to chill by the glowing fire? A camping chair!
The foldable furniture that has been a staple in the soccer mom community over the past few decades is now becoming a must-have item on the campsite. The ever-increasing technology of the outdoors industry has made these chairs comfortable, tough, and affordable.
So, take a seat as we find the best camping chairs of 2019!
What Makes A Camping Chair “The Best”...For You?
Before diving into the multitude of camping chairs on the market, we need to figure out what you’re hoping to get. You should consider each product's ability to meet your outdoor needs; more specifically, the comfort, portability, durability, and affordability of each product.
What kind support are you looking for in a camping chair? Do you want to chillax by the warm campfire for hours or do you just need a 15-minute break after a long day of hiking?
Since every camper is different, you’ll want to figure out your own specific comfort levels before considering purchasing a camping chair.
If you are like most of us, you only plan on bringing a chair car camping, or perhaps a short walk from your vehicle.
Yet, some long-distance hikers like to have a place to rest on the edge of the trail, so weight can be a big issue.
Another factor that is incorporated into a camping chairs portability is its ease of setup. While most products nowadays are “stow-and-go,” you’ll want to read other user reviews to ensure that there aren’t any hitches along the way.
Maybe you need your outdoor throne for other purposes than mere camping. Perhaps you are going to bring it to your kid’s sports game? Maybe to the next music festival?
Heck, you might just want a place to store your beer when you’re hanging out in the backyard! Keep in mind all the places you might need to use your chair.
Affordability - Price
Of course you don’t want to shell out half a paycheck on a camping chair, but you also don’t want to be a cheapskate and skimp for a bottom-of-the-barrel bigbox chair that will have your back aching for days.
Use the overall price as a last resort when purchasing your camping chair. Be wary that just because something costs more, doesn’t always mean it’s better quality.
Lower back support is inadequate and it’s hard to sit upright
7 lbs. 3 oz and easy setup
Built-in cup holders
Extreme curved lumbar support
12 lbs. and awkward folded shape
Great as long as you are close to the car
Cushioned, but lacks support
8.3 lbs. and easy set up
a built-in 4-can cooler, adjustable arm rests
Breathable mesh, but lacks support
9.3 lbs. with lockable backing
2 cup holders, organizer with zip & mesh pockets, carry strap attached to chair, carry bag
19.3 lbs. and awkward setup
Not great in all situations
6.3 lbs chair can go almost anywhere
A Throne For Stargazers
Not meant for long-term use
1.1 lbs with extremely simple setup
Anywhere and everywhere
Not meant for longterm use
1.6 lbs with extremely simple setup
Anywhere that is not the ground
Reclined back comfort, insulated fabric to stay warm
15.4 lbs - not very portable
Anywhere and all-weathers
Comfortable, but nothing special
10.5 lbs and simple setup
Anywhere you want to relax with two people
Best All-Arounder Chair: REI Co-op Camp X
Comfort: The lower back support is inadequate and it’s hard to sit upright.
Portability: 7 lbs. 3 oz and easy setup
Usability: Built-in cup holders
REI is at it again with a lightweight, portable solution to relax in the outdoors: the Camp X camping chair.
Composed mostly of polyester and nylon mesh, this chair provides your body with ventilation, without sacrificing overall durability since the “X Web technology” allows for up to 300 lbs of support. The thick-walled steel tubing also offers plenty of structural integrity.
Yet, there are some downfalls that you should be aware of before you kick back in the Camp X. The 10.5” seat height may make taller people feel like they are in the upright fetal position as their knees will be jammed into their neck.
In conjunction with low seat height, the lower back support is not very... supportive and it’s hard to sit upright. But, if you are shorter individual (like myself), and don’t mind sitting a little closer to the ground, then you shouldn’t have an issue with these design flaws.
All in all, if I were to leave you with one reason that the REI Co-op Camp X rises above the competition, it would be it’s versatility.
Weighing just over seven lbs, you’ll be able to tuck it away in your car to bring to the campsite or pack it next to the cooler for the sports field. Also, it comes with a unique built-in cup holder, that fits everything from beer cans to coffee mugs, and a cinch pocket to store the your phone and keys.
That way, you can rest easy and still be within arms reach of everything you need.
Runner Up: The Strongback Elite
Comfort: Extreme curved lumbar support
Portability: 12 lbs. and awkward folded shape
Usability: Great as long as you are close to the car
If pure support is what you are after, then you may want to consider the Strongback Elite as your next camping chair. Although it’s a little pricey and folds into an awkward shape, the patented, lumbar-supporting design will allow you to relax in comfort.
Best Budget Chair: Coleman Oversized Quad Chair
Comfort: Cushioned, but lacks support
Portability: 8.3 lbs. and easy set up
Usability: a built-in 4-can cooler, adjustable arm rests
Like an employee who works hard, never complains, and clocks-in/clocks-out at the same exact time everyday, you know exactly what to expect with the Coleman brand products: reliability.
The oversized Quad Chair is no different. Sure, it’s not the fanciest of models (or not even the most flashy), but at a price tag of under $30 and with Coleman’s reputation for durable outdoor equipment, you can take a load off your feet, and your bank account.
The cushioned polyester seat allows for maximal comfort, but you may experience a slouching feeling in your lower back, as is common with most folding chairs. This downfall holds even truer for taller people with broad backs, as the poles supports may dig into your shoulder blades. Also, weighing 8.3 lbs., you’ll have to stick close to the car with the Quad chair.
Still, Coleman has included a multitude of features that outweigh the Quad chair’s cons. There is a built-in 4-can cooler, mesh cup holder, side storage pocket (big enough for an iPad) adjustable arm rests, and a one-year warranty.
If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, easily portable, extremely versatile camping chair, check out the Coleman Oversized Quad chair.
Runner-Up: Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
Comfort: Breathable mesh, but lacks support
Portability: 9.3 lbs. with lockable backing
Usability: 2 cup holders, organizer with zip & mesh pockets, carry strap attached to chair, carry bag
From the tailgate to the campfire, the Kijaro Dual Lock folding chair is a great budget choice to rest your weary legs. The breathable mesh backing will keep you cool on the hottest of days, but you may not get the best overall support as the design may leave you prone to slouching.
The material is durable ripstop polyester and breathable mesh on the seat back, providing a comfy rest for even the largest of campers. The chair is built with a dual locking mechanism, fixing it open or shut depending on what you need.
Great budget chair for quick sits, lacks the luxury of longer rests.
Best Recliner: Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chair
Comfort: Ultimate Relaxation
Portability: 19.3 lbs. and awkward setup
Usability: Not great in all situations
You can finally kick up your feet and experience astronaut-like weightlessness in the Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chair. The double bungee design allows for a smooth, relaxing recline at the campsite, or just out your back door.
The Infinity Zero is composed of a powder-coated steel frame and durable, outdoor-grade textaline, which is meant to withstand the harsh outdoor elements. Yet if you keep it out in the backyard too long, the color will fade over time. I suggest storing it away (folds up to 5.5” thickness) until you are ready for your next relaxing camping vacation.
Still, one major issue with the Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chair is the inconsistency of manufacturing. Some of the hardware attached may be defective out of the box, and can be frustrating when all you are trying to do is relax. In case you do end up purchasing this recliner, be sure to assemble it before you head out into the wilderness as Caravan Sports provides a comprehensive 60-day warranty.
All in all, the Infinity Zero Gravity Chair is top of the class in relaxation and affordability when it comes to camping recliners.
Adjust the headrest, kick up your feet, and slip into the tranquility of the outdoors.
Runner-Up: Nemo Stargaze Recliner
Comfort: Hammock-like comfort
Portability: 6.3 lbs chair can go almost anywhere
Usability: A Throne For Stargazers
Gaze into the night sky in comfort (and style) in the Nemo Stargazer Recliner. No matter the surface, you’ll be able to swing back in the chair, supported by strong, aircraft-grade aluminum poles. Don't worry about neck strains trying to get the best view of the constellations as the Stargaze recliner comes properly equipped with a supportive headrest.
Best Lightweight Chair: Helinox Chair Zero
Comfort: Not meant for long-term use
Portability: 1.1 lbs with extremely simple setup
Usability: Anywhere and everywhere
Just need a place to rest your feet on the trail? Well, you won’t have to go searching for a rock or a log since you can simply breakout the Helinox Chair Zero.
Weighing an unbelievable 1.1 lbs., the Helinox Chair Zero is a staple in the ultralight backpacking community. It has a packed size of 14” x 4” x 4”, so it will easily fit into your backpack. Also, with a single shock cord setup, you’ll be able to rest your sore feet even sooner.
Unfortunately, since Helinox was trying to create a simple, lightweight product, comfortability goes to the wayside as the Chair Zero is not meant for longtime use. At only 20.5” wide and 11” off the ground, you may not be able to squeeze into this seat if you are on the greater side of six foot.
Although, it’s not like you will have to do core exercises to hold your position as there is still plenty of overall support.
Unlike the comfortability, the durability of the Chair Zero does not fall flat, despite being super lightweight. The ripstop polyester fabric is long-lasting and the aluminum frame construction will hold tough throughout the years.
So, don’t forget to hit the trail with the ultralight, ultraportable, and ultra-amazing Helinox Chair Zero.
Runner-Up: REI Co-op Trail Chair
Comfort: Not meant for longterm use
Portability: 1.6 lbs with extremely simple setup
Usability: Preferable anywhere that is not the ground
Whether you just need a little extra back support on the sports bleachers, or want to add more cushion to that hard camping bench, you should check out the REI Co-op Trail Chair. This nylon oxford and fiberglass seat is built to last, and at only 1.6 lbs., you can take it with you almost anywhere.
Best Two-Person: Kelty Discovery Low-Love Seat
Comfort: Reclined back comfort
Portability: 15.4 lbs - not very portable
Usability: Insulated fabric, all-weather use
Cuddle up next to the campfire with your partner or take a load off at the back of an outdoor concert in the Kelty Discovery Low-Love Seat.
Unlike many other camping chairs, Kelty has put the comfort of its patrons ahead of portability. So, even though the Discovery Low-Love Seat weighs over 15 lbs., it comes with a quilted, 600-denier thick polyester fabric, which provides top-of-the-line insulation, and the sturdy steel frame that provide you with years of usability.
Although the seat height is only 13.5”, you’ll still be able to relax as the seatback is slightly reclined for optimal comfort and support.
Obviously, with most two-person options, portability is an issue, but still, the Discovery folds down to a mere 34.5” x 11” x 11”, so you should have plenty of room to stow it away in your trunk.
Snuggle up to your partner and re-discover your love for the outdoors (and each other) in the Kelty Discover Low-Love Seat.
Runner-Up: Coleman Quattro Lax Double
Comfort: Comfortable, but nothing special
Portability: 10.5 lbs and simple setup
Usability: Anywhere you want to relax with two people
Don’t have the cash to dole out on an expensive 2-person camping chair? Don’t worry! Coleman has you covered with the Quattro Lax Double. The sturdy steel frame and simple set up will have you relaxing next to your partner in no time.
Whether you want to recline by the campfire, rest your blistered feet on the trail, or simply relax in the backyard, finding a camping chair that fits all your specs is a difficult task.
Remember to look into each product's comfortability, portability, usability, and affordability to determine which outdoor throne is right for you. Hopefully, one of these best camping chairs of 2019 caught your eye, and next time you head to the campsite, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy nature’s show.
Jay toes the line between hiking enthusiast and vagabond as he treks across the world, soaking in it’s natural wonders. When he’s not exploring the trail, he writes articles to help guide others through their outdoor conquests.