The Best Camping Chairs of 2019
WE AGGREGATED reviews of THE BEST CAMP CHAIRS. HERE’s OUR FINDINGS.
We researched the best camping chair available by reading hundreds of consumer and professional reviews, and narrowed the dozens of options for the camp chairs that could span the expanse of activities and locations.
Whether you’re camping, backpacking, concert-going, lakeside dozing, or barbecuing, there’s nothing like sitting down and taking it easy after a full day of activity.
With as many options for camp chairs as there are, it’s no easy feat to wade through the data to find the best option for your lifestyle. We did the research for you, so you can spend less time pouring over websites, and more time kicking back in your new favorite chair.
Designed as a folding chair, the dual-lock system on the Kijaro Dual Lock allows the chair to lock in place when set up (it won’t collapse on you!). It locks components together when folded for easier transportation (it won’t open on you!). The fabric across the back panel and seat panel are both flat and stretched tightly, eliminating a slouch-inducing “sag” that other camp chairs can cause. The angle of the back panel to the seat panel is designed to produce a “correct” posture, which provides lumbar support and helps with back pain. For those who prefer a better posture, no-sag seats, and sturdy construction, this chair was an absolute favorite. It also scored well with taller folks (but was a little difficult for shorter people).
A few reviewers mentioned loose bolts that caused a failure upon the first few uses, but Kijaro’s customer service department was quick to fix or replace.
The Kijaro Dual Lock also features an attached carrying strap (in addition to the storage bag with a strap) to make transportation easy, and mesh cup holders for convenience. Some did find the 9.5 pounds mildly difficult to carry, but most were pleased with the ease of transportation and weight. Multiple bright color options were also applauded. (Bonus: Kijaro also makes a larger version of this chair that is rated up to 400 pounds.)
The seats are made of a heavy-duty 600-denier ripstop, and the frame is constructed from tough steel. The Kijaro Dual Lock was applauded as a sturdy chair that was perfect for evenings on the porch, working a stall at local farmers markets, watching the sunset at the beach, on the sidelines of highschool football games, and RV trips to Yellowstone National Park.
Overall, the Kijaro Dual Lock was the best value for the quality, ease of use, and comfort available out of all of the camp chairs we reviewed.
We also liked that the fabric across the back panel and seat panel are both flat. Fabric stretched tightly eliminating a slouch-inducing “sag” that we saw in other camp chairs.
The angle of the back panel to the seat panel on the Kijaro Dual Lock is designed to produce a “correct” posture. This provides lumbar support and helps with back pain. For those who prefer a better posture, no-sag seats, and sturdy construction, this chair was an absolute favorite. It also scored well with taller folks (but was a little difficult for shorter people).
The Kijaro Dual Lock earned these ratings: Outdoorgearlab (5/5), Target (5/5), Amazon (4.4/5), Walmart (4.8/5), Field and Stream (4.6/5), Cabelas (4.3/5), Outside Pursuits (4.8/5), Wayfair (4.5/5), Gearhungry (4.8/5), New York Magazine’s Strategist (Best Sturdy Camping Chair), Switchback (#6), ChairInstitute (4.2/5), Academy (4.4/5).
Reviews for the Kijaro Dual Lock:
- Gearhungry said, “The aggressively modern profile might strike some as out of place in the wild, but no one will argue with how comfortable this champing chair is.”
- Amazon users were generally happy with the no-sag seat, the comfortable angle of the back rest, the higher seat (good for tall people!), and the easy to use quick-release dual-lock system to lock the chairs in place when they’re set up, or packed away. There were a few concerns about loose bolts or ripping fabric, but overwhelmingly, the Kijaro Dual Lock won rave reviews.
- New York Magazine’s Strategist called out the sturdiness, heavy-dutiness, and flatness of the seat (read: no sagging!). They also focused on the primary component, the dual-locking legs: “They lock the chair in place when you fold it as well as unfold it. This is great because it stops the chair from collapsing on you by chance.”
Compare prices on the kijaro dual lock and kijaro dual lock XL
BEST HEAVY-DUTY CAMPING CHAIR:
Of all the heavy-duty camping chairs on the market, the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong is far and away the most highly praised (and highly purchased) camp chair out there. Out of the 8 media review sites we looked at, 7 of them gave the King Kong high reviews — and it has 4.7/5 stars on Amazon. Reviews praised the weight rating (800 pounds!), the sturdy construction (powder-coated steel and 600-denier ripstop fabric!), and the comfortable design of the King Kong.
One complaint that we found from users was occasional unwelcome pressure on the back of the legs, caused by a “sagging” seat putting more pressure on the back of the legs closer to the front edge of the seat. A few owners modified the King Kong by elevating the seat panel to alleviate pressure.
The Alps Mountaineering King Kong earned these ratings: Amazon (4.7/5), Outdoor Gear Lab (82/100, Editor’s Choice Award), Besttentcotsforcamping (#9/10), Weekendrvcamping (Best Max Weight Capacity), Campsaver (4.7/5), MidwayUSA (4.9/5), Switchback Travel (#4), Sportsman (5/5), Outside Pursuits (4.8/5). See our Sources section.
Reviews for the Alps Mountaineering King Kong:
- Outdoor Gear Lab has awarded this their Editors’ Choice Award for multiple years, and calls it their “favorite camping chair overall.” They praise it’s sturdiness, long lifespan, simple set up, spacious armrests and “exceptional comfort.”
- Amazon users were thrilled with the hearty build and worry-free construction of the King Kong. Lime Green Medic said it best: “They say it's rated for 800 pounds. I'm going to say that's accurate, based upon the sheer size and amount of material used to make this chair… I weigh in at a whispery 400 [pounds], and it doesn't creak, it doesn't moan, it doesn't feel like it's going to collapse like EVERY OTHER CHAIR I'VE OWNED.” (A few did note that the chair could “sag” when seated, and added elements to lift the seat up, relieving pressure off of the legs.)
- Campsaver buyers praised the overall comfort, carrying bag (comes with backpack-like carrying straps!), and the heavy duty construction. They were exceptionally happy with how comfortable and sturdy it felt for heavier users!
Compare prices on the alps mountaineering king kong camping chair
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACKING & CAMPING CHAIR:
When weight matters, the Helinox Chair Zero saves the day. The lightweight world (especially backpackers) could not sing enough praises about this 1 pound, 1 ounce chair. Rated to 260 pounds, the lightweight chair could carry its own weight on any trail — although, other users found it better for concerts, days at the park, or throwing in the beach bag.
The Helinox Chair Zero is easy to assemble with a single shock-cord pole that locks into place once it’s unfolded. The frame is made of lightweight (but still sturdy) aluminum, and the seat is made out of ripstop polyester for durability.
Another plus? The Helinox Chair Zero compacts down to 4”x 4"x 14" in its stuff sack — about the size of a Nalgene water bottle.
The only downside to the Helinox Chair Zero is the price. At $120, it’s not an investment to be taken lightly. But from every source we spoke to, it’s an investment worth making.
The Helinox Zero earned these ratings: Backpacker Magazine’s Editors' Choice Award 2017, REI (4.5/5), Outdoor Gear Lab (4/5), Besttentcotsforcamping (8.7/10), Amazon (4.4/5), Trailspace (4/5), Backpackers.com (Best Ultralight Foldable Backpacking Chair, 4.5/5), Gearweare (9/10).
Reviews for the Helinox Zero:
- Backpacker Magazine tested out the Helinox Zero on a 5-day trek through wet tundra in northern Colombia. They loved it so much, one gear tester turned into a gear thief - she neglected to bring her own, so she stole a free chair whenever she saw it in camp! “The moment we sat down, this trail accessory closed the gap between nice to have and need to have.” No wonder it won the Editor’s Choice Award, and Gear of the Year for 2017.
- Amazon users praised the lightweight and were pleasantly surprised at the comfort from such a weight-saving chair. They praised it as a great backcountry chair, but warned that it’s not going to feel like your living room La-Z-Boy.
- REI reviewers defended the “necessary luxury,” as one called it, “[T]he best "extra 1lb" I've carried backpacking.” They were also thrilled at the lighter design that still took the highlights of the Helinox Chair One (which we also highly recommend as a less expensive version of this chair) and substituted weight-saving features.
Compare prices on the helinox Chair zero camping chair
BEST BUDGET CAMPING CHAIR:
We chose the Coleman Oversized Quad as the Best Budget Camp Chair out of its competitors based on the price and Coleman’s lauded quality.
Designed as a classic folding chair, the Coleman Oversized Quad chair is just what you think of when picturing a summer barbecue or a cool fall tailgate.
The Coleman Oversized Quad features a padded seat and back, adjustable armrests, mesh cup holders, a magazine or tablet sleeve, and a soft cooler pouch (large enough for a small ice pack and up to 4 cans!). At just under 11 pounds, it’s light enough to toss in the car or carry a few down to the fishing hole.
Reviewers expressed their appreciation for the simple but comfortable design of the Coleman Oversized Quad with additional padding, extra storage, carrying case to make transportation easy — but most of all, they loved the quality for the price. (We did find reviews from previous years with complaints of quality issues like material ripping or legs breaking within the first few uses. However, more recent reviews ring positive with quality assurances!)
The Coleman Oversized Quad earned these ratings: Forbes (Best Gear for Tailgating), Amazon (4.4/5), Wirecutter (The Best Chair For Camping And Tailgating), Strategist (Best Rated Beach Chair), Outdoorgearup (4.4/5), Gearhungry (4.8/5), Bed, Bath & Beyond (4.2/5), Outdoor Gear Lab (3/5), Walmart (4.6/5), Switchback Travel (Best Budget Camping Chair), Icechest Guide (5/5). See Sources for more details.
Reviews for the Coleman Oversized Quad:
- Wirecutter said it was the most comfortable of all the upright chairs that their 9 testers used. “[W]e concluded that the Coleman chair is far more durable than the cheapest chairs of this design, and also more comfortable and functional than similar chairs that cost more than twice as much. With ample beverage storage, a wide seat that testers of all sizes appreciated, and an affordable price, this is the F-150 of camp chairs: big, tough, and widely beloved.”
- Amazon users were generally happy with the comfort, larger size, height, and adjustable armchairs. Although rated to 325 pounds, multiple comments were made by people 350+ pounds who were happy with the construct and comfort of this chair. There were a few complaints of armrests breaking, although it seemed to happen more so when the armrests were used to push up from the chair.
- Gearhungry praised the overall comfort, attached cooler and sleeve, and the budget-friendly price. They point out that you can pay a lot more for other camping chairs, but this chair made them question why they ever would.
Compare prices on the coleman oversized quad chair with cooler
BEST ROCKING CAMPING CHAIR:
If you’re going to bring a chair, why not bring a fun one? We researched the most popular “specialty” chairs and found that the Alite Mayfly Rocking Chair was highly reviewed and highly praised.
The Alite Mayfly Rocking Chair is a diverse chair, as it has an optional front leg-bar that can be removed, leaving a rocking chair supported by the back leg-bar and your own two feet. The Mayfly sets up quickly and easily; it’s frame is made from aluminum poles and designed like many lightweight tents, with easy but weight-saving attachment system. The material is durable 210-denier ripstop nylon that held up well against New England trails, rambunctious middle school boys, and hundreds of campfires.
The Alite Mayfly Rocking Chair packs down small, too. Some compared it to the size of a Subway footlong sandwich. It also comes in at a mere 1 pound and 10 ounces for easy transport for backcountry sports, or an easy beach tote add-on.
The downside? All that durability makes the Alite Mayfly Rocking Chair not the least expensive chair. It’s worth it if you enjoy the novelty (and the lightweight comfort!), but may not be the best for budget picks.
The Alite Mayfly earned these ratings: Amazon (4.4/5), REI (4/5), Outside Magazine (Best Camp Chairs), Backpacker Magazine (Thumbs Up), Campsaver (4.8/5), Moosejaw (4.9/5), Backpackers.com (Best Rocking Backpacking Chair), Trailspace (3/5), Backcountry Gear (5/5), and Walmart (4.6/5). See Sources for more details.
Reviews for the Alite Mayfly Rocking Chair:
- Backpacker Magazine tested out the Alite Mayfly on Vermont overnights, at Little League games, and lots of campfire rings. They appreciated how the chair promoted ergonomic posture (no slouching), and the lightweight that made it easy to take on multiple trips.
- REI reviewers praised the wide, comfortable seat, the stability, and the low-to-the-ground seat that was still easy for older hikers to get in and out of the chair. They agreed that it was worth the extra weight to carry this chair out on the trail.
- Moosejaw buyers also praised the lightweight construction and comfort, but agreed that on uneven terrain, the chair could sink into the earth, causing the bottom of the seat to touch the ground.
Compare Prices ON THE ALITE MAYFLY CAMPING CHAIR
Other Camping Chairs we Considered
We considered over a dozen different models of camping chairs to come to our winners. Here are some models that we liked a lot and that were highly rated by customer and professional outdoor reviewers alike. They didn’t make our winners list because they have specialty features that may not appeal to everyone (afterall, not everyone is 6’6”!) but we think that they are worth your consideration if you know there are specific things you are looking for in a camping chair.
If you’re planning to be on rocky ground in the backcountry, qw like the Travelchair Joey. It's designed with a wide construction that allows for versatility on uneven ground.
Best Camp Chair for Tall People or People with Bad Backs:
If you’re 6’6” and need lumbar support, many taller reviews with self-described “bad backs” like the Strongback Elite. It’s not necessarily the best pick for everyone, but it’s the pick that was a favorite among taller reviewers who wanted lumbar support.
Why We Didn’t Choose the REI Co-op Camp X
We reviewed dozens of camp chairs, but of course, we couldn’t include every popular chair in our list of winners. While there were several options with good reviews, like the REI Co-op Camp X, in the end, we chose other options because they best fit our criteria for each of our categories.
While the REI Co-op Camp X did win over several reviewers (including Outside Magazine, Outdoor Gear Lab, Gearjunkies, and Switchback Travel), we found multiple reviews with mentions of quality issues like structural damage (brand-new chairs breaking!) or material ripping quickly.
However, more recent reviews have revealed positive comments about the quality of the REI Co-op Camp X. We at Treeline Review are monitoring these consumer and professional reviews, and will report back when we can gather more accurate data!
view the rei coop camp x camping chair
I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I have been sitting in chairs my entire life. (Kind of.)
I’ve guided hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and (mostly) rafting trips in Alaska and Colorado for close to six years years. Most recently, I managed a hiking and rafting program on the Chilkoot Trail and Taiya River in Southeast Alaska. Camping — whether out of the truck on the side of remote Canadian highways, or in the backyard near the White Mountains — is no foreign concept to me. As a raft guide, however, I prefer what some might call “glamping” — the more comfortable, the better. (After all, I can haul anything in that raft!) While my favorites are camp-rocking chairs, I also love a good loveseat by the water, or a Crazy Creek in the alpine.
For the past four years, I’ve managed a section of Backpacker Magazine’s annual Fall Gear Guide, been a gear-tester for several other publications, and written about hiking, skiing, and rafting locations globally.
My favorite places I’ve sat (thusfar) has either been overlooking a purple sunset over a slot canyon in Northern Utah, or in a massage chair at a post-ski onsen in Myoko, Japan.
How we Researched
The five winners were popular and well-reviewed across different platforms, from third parties such as Backpacker Magazine, Backpackers.com, Gear Junkie, Gear Hungry, Gearweare, Wirecutter, and Strategist. In addition, each of these camping chairs were well reviewed and highly recommended by everyday users on platforms such as REI, Backcountry.com, and Amazon. From these latter sites, we verified reviews against FakeSpot, a site which flags falsified or tampered reviews, to verify authenticity.
To ensure that we were reviewing only the best chairs to put our feet up, we researched the most popular camp chairs, and collected the top contenders into our five groups (Best Overall, Budget-Friendly, Heavy-Duty, Best for Backpacking/Camping, and Best Specialty Chair).
After considerable review of these third parties, real-life customer feedback, our own expertise, and opinions from multiple camp-chair enthusiasts who have sat all over the world, we narrowed our list to our top five contenders.
To be considered for each of these categories, we measured each chair against a standardized criteria. The chairs had to be:
How we chose the winning camp chairs
From the overwhelming amount of camp chairs on the market, it was a challenge to whittle our selections down to these five winners. We were looking for chairs that could bridge across a variety of activities, while possessing sturdiness, quality, and staying relatively reasonable in price.
As we researched, we narrowed our criteria to meet five main themes: overall, budget, lightweight, specialty, and heavy-duty.
Our winners met all of our basic criteria. Then, we judged each chair relative to its own specific category. For example, for the Best Heavy-Duty chair, it needed to meet the weight ranges of a larger adult, without sacrificing comfort, budget, or packability. For the Best Lightweight Chair, we looked for quality weight-saving materials, without compromising design, comfort, or versatility.
How to Choose a Camp Chair
There are a multitude of chairs to choose from, so how did we pick our finalists? To whittle down the field, we created criteria for our contenders of key features these camping chairs must include:
What’s a camp chair worth if it’s not easy to store and take with you on your adventures? We searched for chairs that were easy to stow, didn’t take up too much space, and came with carrying cases for ease of transport and storage.
While some of our choices were certainly not weight-conscious (Our Heavy Duty pick weighs 13 pounds!), we did take weight into consideration (our lightweight choice is 1.1 pounds!). Our choices had to be within a reasonable amount of weight to transport - easy to stow in the car, in the RV, in a backpack, or just to carry down to the beach.
On the other hand, we were also conscious of the weight ratings of each chair. We looked for chairs that were rated to hold the average adult (a minimum of 250 pounds), and found that our winners were often rated far above that, and had even been tested to weights far beyond those ratings.
When considering camp chairs, we looked at materials and frame constructions. Our winners were all constructed with quality materials and designed to handle uneven terrain, bear weight evenly and securely, and withstand wear and tear from a variety of climates and ecosystems. Materials and frame constructions were high on our list of priorities.
We chose our finalists for their versatility across the board; we wanted chairs that you could take with you just about anywhere to do just about anything. While we did hone in on a few specialties (lightweight backpacking and a rocking chair), we have used both specialized chairs in a variety of other situations - outdoor theaters, river trips, family reunions, even July 4th barbecues. We searched for chairs that you can toss in your car and have for any occasion.
All of the camp chairs we considered met these basic criteria. But when deciding the best camp chair for you, we developed a set of questions to help you find features or additions to your chair that are important. For more on how to choose the camp chair for you, see our How to Choose a Camp Chair story.
Care and Maintenance
Our friends at Travel Chair wrote the most thorough chair care and maintenance piece we found. Here’s what they had to say:
If you have removable fabric, check the fabric tag for specific instructions. In general, you should be remove dirt and grime with gently, non-detergent soap (using a dishcloth also works!), and then rinse.
If you do machine wash, make sure it’s only in a washer WITHOUT an agitator. (It turns out an agitator can rip seams.) Use the gentlest setting.
Use cold water when cleaning.
Don’t use fabric softeners, bleach, or laundry detergent.
Don’t dry clean your camp chair; it can strip the fabric of its water-resistant treatments.
General Maintenance & Care
While using your chairs in the sun is great, avoid storing them in direct sunlight (aka, against the side of your house). The more UV exposure, the faster the fabric on chairs can deteriorate.
Never put chairs away wet - that’s how they collect mildew or mold!
Be careful around open flames — the materials may not catch on fire, but they may melt.
If zippers, closures, or pulls get stuck, don’t force it — ease the problem out gently.
Completely dry out your chair before storage.
If the material tears or gets a hole, you can sew it by hand or with a sewing machine. Additionally, you can use a temporary patch with gear-repair tape. (Careful with this, though — if you try to remove tape from some rips, it could cause the rip to worsen.)
To treat wood, use a gentle sponge to wipe off dirt and grime — or even finely sand it down, if need be. If you want to reseal or re-waterproof, apply a few coats of Dutch oil, Tung oil, or Marine Varnish for protection.
If sand or grit gets into tension lock systems, remove the extensions and carefully release/extend a few times while rinsing the component with clean water. Of course, let the extensions dry before repacking.
- Appalachian Mountain Club
- Backpacker Magazine and Backpacker Magazine
- Backpacking Light
- Best Tents Cots for Camping
- Camping Addict
- Chair Institute
- DPM Climbing
- Gear Hungry
- Gear Junkie
- Gear we Are
- Gear Report
- New York Magazine
- Outdoor Gear Lab
- Outside Pursuits
- Section Hiker
- Switchback Travel
- Trip Savvy
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