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Kelty Camp Chair Review

This is a no frills chair at a low price that unfortunately offers little comfort
Kelty Camp Chair
Photo: Backcountry
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $30 List | $29.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, large dimensions
Cons:  Uncomfortable, bulky
Manufacturer:   Kelty
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 6, 2020
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Comfort - 35% 2
  • Size & Weight - 30% 6
  • Stability - 20% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The Kelty Camp Chair comes with a low price tag and a similar design to other taco-style chairs in our review, however, its comfort is lacking. It offers a broader seat than other foam chairs in our review, so it can be accommodating to larger users, but this doesn't translate into comfort, in our opinion. The rigid supports are positioned so they dig into the back/armpits while squeezing the ribs and thighs. While the price might be attractive, there are other options on the market for a similar price that are more comfortable.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Kelty Camp Chair
This Product
Kelty Camp Chair
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $29.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$110 List$119.95 at Amazon$75.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$38.99 at Amazon
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Pros Inexpensive, large dimensionsDeep comfortable seat, lightweight, surprisingly stableExtremely lightweight, comfortable positioningComfortable, spacious feel, stable on soft groundInexpensive, comfortable, easy to set up
Cons Uncomfortable, bulkyTakes longer to set upPricey, smallHeavy, non-intuitive set-upRough fabric, not one of the lighter models
Bottom Line This is a simple and budget-friendly model, but it isn't comfortableThis chair blends weight, comfort, and stability seamlessly for a great priceThe lightweight design of this chair is coupled with a high level of comfort but also a rather high priceSturdy and comfortable, this is a great all-around camp chairThis easy to setup chair ranks above average in comfort and is a fraction of the price of most similar models
Rating Categories Kelty Camp Chair Big Agnes Skyline UL Helinox Chair Zero TravelChair Joey Sunyear Compact
Comfort (35%)
2
9
7
8
6
Size & Weight (30%)
6
8
10
6
7
Stability (20%)
5
8
7
9
7
Ease Of Use (15%)
9
7
8
5
7
Specs Kelty Camp Chair Big Agnes Skyline UL Helinox Chair Zero TravelChair Joey Sunyear Compact
Main Material Polyester and closed-cell foam Nylon with aluminum frame Polyester with aluminum frame Nylon with aluminum frame Nylon with aluminum frame
Measured Weight 24 oz 29 oz 18 oz 37 oz 35 oz
Legs? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Packed Size 19.5 x 17 x 1.5 in 3.5 x 4 x 17 in 4 x 4 x 13.5 in 4 x 5 x 14.5 in 4.5 x 5.5 x 14 in
Seat Height (butt to ground) 0 in 9.5 in 7 in 10.5 in 9 in
Seat Width (at edge) 17 in 18.5 in 18 in 19 in 18.5 in
Base Size (width x depth) 17 x 19.5 in 15.5 x 13.5 in 13.5 x 10 in 14 x 15 in 13.5 x 12 in
Features Folds flat Color-coded frame, hub-less pole design Slits for breathability, small hubbed pole design Mesh, ski pole snow basket style feet, hubbed pole design Mesh back, pocket, hubbed pole design

Our Analysis and Test Results

Kelty makes plenty of budget-friendly camping equipment that works well, but this Camp Chair is not among the better designs they offer. While it has a tall back, it rolls the user up inside the chair, putting painful pressure on the side ribs or armpits. We believe the reason this model collapses on the user more than others with similar designs is due to the lack of structure in the foam. Our overall recommendation would be to keep shopping because there are other inexpensive models out there that feel more comfortable.

Performance Comparison


While this chair is easy to set-up and will keep you off the ground...
While this chair is easy to set-up and will keep you off the ground, the lack of comfort is disappointing.
Photo: Lauren DeLaunay

Comfort


Comfort is really the metric that matters most for a chair, and, sadly, the Kelty is not up to par. The larger seat is appealing, but it just doesn't perform as expected. The squeezing caused by the chair folding in on the user is painful and even restricts breathing a bit by exerting pressure on the side ribs. All foam chairs will feel tight around the body due to their construction, but this model is noticeably worse.

Adjusting this chair to sit is easy, but we didn't like the way it...
Adjusting this chair to sit is easy, but we didn't like the way it folded and squished the user's body.
Photo: Lauren DeLaunay

Size & Weight


The Camp Chair is one of the lighter chairs we tested, in-line with the other foam models in our review. This makes it a reasonable weight to carry into the backcountry. Just like other similar models, the Kelty is basically a rectangle of foam and isn't very packable. Because of the thinner foam used on this model, you can roll it up, but there aren't any straps incorporated to keep it that way. When rolled, however, it could be strapped to the top or back of most backpacking packs.

This chair is light enough to bring anywhere, but the square foam...
This chair is light enough to bring anywhere, but the square foam shape isn't very packable.
Photo: Lauren DeLaunay

Stability


The stability of a foam chair depends mostly on the human who is getting into it and very little on the chair design itself. There's really nothing to fall out or off of since the chair rests your bum right at ground level. Sitting in the Kelty, like every other foam chair, does require you to be comfortable getting on and off the ground. It also requires body tension to stay upright.

Chairs of this design are stable by nature since you're sitting on...
Chairs of this design are stable by nature since you're sitting on the ground. As long as you can get up and down you'll be good to go.
Photo: Lauren DeLaunay

Ease of Use


The Kelty chair is super easy to use. You simply open it like a book, clip two buckles, and take a seat. We did note that the buckles on this model are attached so that you need to pull upward to tighten the straps, which is ergonomically more difficult than on models where the tightening is done by pulling down away from your body.

The Kelty chair can be attached to a bench for added versatility.
The Kelty chair can be attached to a bench for added versatility.
Photo: Lauren DeLaunay

Value


This is by far one of the least expensive chairs in our review, but it doesn't offer much in return for your money. If all you need is a foam pad for the ground, this model may meet your needs, but we think you can find better comfort for a similar price elsewhere.

Conclusion


Overall we did not enjoy our time in the Kelty Camp Chair and have to recommend you look elsewhere. Its price is right, but when you consider that there are more comfortable chairs of similar design, weight, and price on the market, there isn't much reason to consider this one.

Elizabeth Paashaus