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Kelty Camp Chair Review

The is an inexpensive, no frills chair that's great for lightweight adventures.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $30 List | $22.46 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, lightweight, large dimensions
Cons:  Not as versatile, no stadium straps
Manufacturer:   Kelty
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 7, 2020
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Size - 30% 8
  • Stability - 25% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Kelty Camp Chair is a taco-style folding chair with a similar design to other chairs in its class. It offers decent padding, a high back, easy-to-use straps, and it's lightweight. Add that to the low price tag, and it's no surprise we've awarded this seat one of our Best Buy Awards. Our testing team happily recommend this chair to adventurers seeking a low-cost option with above-average comfort and simple yet effective construction.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kelty Camp Chair may not be the most comfortable chair we tested, but its overall performance versus its price definitely make it stand out. It's simple, easy to use, and lightweight, making it a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts who don't want to spend an arm and a leg for backcountry comfort.

Performance Comparison


The easy set-up and comfort of the Kelty Camp makes you feel at home just about anywhere.
The easy set-up and comfort of the Kelty Camp makes you feel at home just about anywhere.

Comfort


In this review, we have two styles of chairs: "taco-style", or folding, and "tent-style." Of the taco-style chairs we tested (like this one), they all have a similar level of comfort. These chairs sit you directly on the ground, which is undeniably less comfortable than being elevated, but they do allow you to adjust your angle of recline, which tent-style chairs do not.


The Camp Chair from Kelty stands out among the taco-style chairs because of its size. The back and leg portions are longer than others in our review, which adds a surprising amount of comfort. Our testing team found that this little detail was worthy of adding a point for comfort.

Checking out the plush padding and easy-to-use buckets on the Kelty
Checking out the plush padding and easy-to-use buckets on the Kelty

The lateral straps on this chair are in a nice, low location that allows the arms to move freely. The straps are easy to adjust so you can change the angle of your recline, and the amount of padding is on par with the other chairs of this type that we tested.

Size


Because the goal here is to have a seat in the backcountry, size and weight are incredibly important. This category is mostly focused on weight, which we measured by placing each chair on our own scale, but we also paid attention to packing measurements, especially for taco-style chairs.


The Camp Chair is one of the lightest taco-style chairs out there, which helped it take home a Best Buy Award. While the Crazy Creek PowerLounger is a bit lighter (2 ounces), it has a different style that may not appeal to everyone. Out of the three chairs that we tested with this very distinct build, this one from Kelty is the lightest by a decent margin.

One thing we do want to mention about these taco-style chairs is their packing size. While nearly all of the tent-style chairs we tested fold easily into a sack, the taco-style ones like the Camp Chair tend to be a bit more of a pain to pack. This seat, like its contemporaries, is hard to roll or stuff into a bag; we generally found that this chair took up much more room in our packs than a tent-style chair. And even though most tent-style chairs are a bit heavier, there are a few in our review that are even lighter.

Stability


One of the first things our testers usually comment on when sitting in a new chair is the stability — or lack thereof. While this applies more to tent-style chairs than taco-style chairs like this one, it's something that comes up across the board. This is because, as a backpacking category, there's a focus on small and light — which often means far less stability.


The Camp Chair by Kelty has a similar level of stability to the other taco-style chairs in our review. This type of chair utilizes the user's body tension to stay upright. We find that this setup is incredibly stable — as long as you stay seated! Proper tension requires fully relaxing into the back — there's no real option for sitting forward and maintaining support. That being said, you never have to worry about falling out of this chair, as it's already on the ground.

Adjusting the Kelty chair is a breeze.
Adjusting the Kelty chair is a breeze.

Versatility


We love our old-fashioned camp chairs, but between their size and weight, they're just not suited for backcountry travel. All the chairs in this review have a range of possible uses, and the Camp Chair is no exception.


One thing we love about taco-style seats like this one is that they give back protection without elevating the user off of the ground. While being higher up is almost always more comfortable, these seats can be used in stadiums or outdoor concerts where a tent-style chair with legs is not allowed. On top of that, they are more stable on uneven surfaces than chairs with legs, though they can't keep you up and away from sand, mud, or water. The Camp Chair could be seen as either highly versatile or not worth the space it takes up, depending on what you will be doing. Keep in mind that it also does not have stadium straps or a pocket, as other similar models do, so, despite its attributes, it receives just an average score in this category.

The Kelty chair is a great addition to any campsite  bench  or stadium seat.
The Kelty chair is a great addition to any campsite, bench, or stadium seat.

Value


The Kelty Camp Chair is one of the least expensive chairs in this review; in fact, it's merely one-fifth of the price of the most expensive models we tested! With a high level of comfort compared to other taco-style chairs, it's no surprise that we awarded this seat our Best Buy Award. The generous size, ease of adjustment, and low weight all add up to a great contender for your next outdoor chill session.

Conclusion


We'd happily recommend the Camp Chair to anyone looking for a budget-friendly seat that's a whole lot nicer than sitting on the ground. If saving bucks and protecting your back is what you're after, this could be an excellent choice. While tent-style chairs may be more comfortable, not every occasion calls for an elevated throne. If being close to the ground doesn't bother you, then this chair is a true winner.

Easy comfort in the Kelty Camp Chair
Easy comfort in the Kelty Camp Chair


Lauren DeLaunay