The REI Co-op Camp X is a very good all-around camping chair option that's versatile, simple, and thoughtfully designed. It's made mostly of mesh but with key additions to increase its durability without compromising breathability. It is also a bit smaller and several pounds lighter than many of the other models we tested, so it is easier to carry around. We love its unique cup holder, which can hold a wide variety of bottles and even coffee mugs, though it struggles a bit to stabilize skinny drinks like 12-ounce glass bottles. And with a pretty low price tag, this chair holds exceptional value across the board.Editor's Note: We added a bit more information on other recommendations to this review on November 3, 2022.
Cons: Low back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beverages
Compare to Similar Products
REI Co-op Camp X
$49.95 at REI
$62.73 at REI
$42.99 at Amazon
$45.00 at REI
$39.97 at Amazon
|Pros||Comfortable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use, good price||Fits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to use||Carrying strap is built-in and easy to use, set-up is casual, exceptional support for your back, lightweight||Easy to set up, tall angled back, supportive, high seat height, less expensive||Simple to use, attached cooler storage, inexpensive|
|Cons||Low back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beverages||Fairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathable||Fabric can get dirty easily, cup holders could be larger||Very tall seat, limited pockets, no locking mechanism, long when packed||Not vary durable, difficult to fit in bag, poles feel rickety, "headrest" difficult to use|
|Bottom Line||It's tough to complain about this versatile and portable chair, especially considering the price||Our favorite among all contenders, this robust chair makes camp lounging a simple and comfortable affair||Taking the slouch out of camping chairs, this highly supportive model is easy to get in and out of||A tall chair with a simple set up that's easy to use and less expensive to buy||This chair is cheap and offers a tiny attached cooler, but it's slouchy and rickety|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Camp X||ALPS Mountaineering...||Kijaro Dual Lock Fo...||GCI Outdoor Comfort...||Coleman Cooler Quad|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Camp X||ALPS Mountaineering...||Kijaro Dual Lock Fo...||GCI Outdoor Comfort...||Coleman Cooler Quad|
|Weight||8.0 lbs||14.1 lbs||9.8 lbs||8.3 lbs||8.2 lbs|
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs||800 lbs||300 lbs||300 lbs||325 lbs|
|Folded Dimensions (length x width x height)||33" x 7" x 7"||39" x 8" x 8"||45" x 7" x 7"||45" x 7" x 5"||38" x 8" x 8"|
|Unfolded Dimensions (depth x width x height)||21" x 31" x 31"||24" x 37" x 38"||25" x 35" x 37"||25" x 35" x 37"||39" x 37" x 23"|
|Seat Height (middle)||11.5"||15"||15"||15"||14.0"|
|Features||1 uniquely shaped cup holder, "stowable" armrest pouch, adjustable armrests||2 cup holders, 2 side pockets, storage pocket behind headrest, adjustable armrests||2 cup holders, side pocket, carrying strap||Beverage holder, small sleeve pocket||Built in 4-can cooler, side pocket, mesh cup holder, adjustable armrests|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Camp X is a simple, mostly-mesh folding chair that's a touch smaller than average. It comes with a carry bag with both a shoulder strap and top grab loop and features a versatile-shaped/sized cup holder and a drop-down pocket for additional storage.
This model's seat is made with mesh and reinforced x-shaped webbing (known as REI's X-Web technology), which helps distribute weight more efficiently in the seat. This makes the chair feel more supportive and stops the mesh from stretching too far over time. Made more of mesh than solid fabric means good ventilation on hot days and a quick dry time on wet ones. The back of the chair is lower than many other similar chairs, though most of our testers didn't mind. This makes it an easy choice for shorter folks, though even our taller testers were surprised to learn it doesn't detract from the overall comfort as much as they had feared. In fact, some particularly broad-shouldered testers appreciated this additional maneuvering space.
With that being said, this is a much more traditionally slouchy chair with a fairly upright back, which may or may not be your cup of tea. It also has a seat height of just 11.5 inches, which is on the low end for this type of chair. However, our shorter testers appreciated that their feet touched the ground when sitting, unlike some other models. It doesn't have adjustable armrests, though we hardly noticed, and the arms and frame are sturdy enough to use to push yourself up. At the end of the day, a ton of our testers boasting a wide variety of shapes, sizes, abilities, and ages really enjoyed the comfort of this chair.
The Camp X is so versatile due to its lower back height, which significantly boosts its portability. It weighs just 8 pounds, which is on the lighter side of chairs we tested, and much lighter than most other similar-styled chairs in this review. The Camp X is also simple to pack up and carry in its storage sack and easy enough to grab that carrying it without the sack is no problem for short distances.
Though the shoulder strap isn't adjustable, it is quite wide, which helps to distribute weight better. The carry bag also has a top handle for a quick grab out of the car or garage. In general, toting this relatively small but full-sized camp chair around is pretty easy. With a packed length on the shorter side of models we tested, we never had an issue tossing this little chair in the trunk to take along to the next campground.
The Camp X is made of polyester and nylon mesh fabric and a steel frame. It feels very sturdy to sit in and has a weight limit of 300 pounds, which is about average among similar chairs we tested. Many of the high-stress areas of the chair, like the cup holder and the corners of the fabric that are sewn around the steel frame, are reinforced with plastic trim. The carry bag is thick and reinforced, unlike some of the flimsy competition. This is greatly appreciated, as so many manufacturers often skimp on construction when it comes to the carry bag, allowing it to rip open and become useless far before the chair dies.
Impressively, the superfine mesh is not only comfortable but also durable. Backed up by REI's X-Web reinforcements and with a lower center of gravity than many other contenders, this chair is quite sturdy and tough while still being lightweight and breathable. We did find numerous complaints online of the bolts that connect the joints sheering off after several years worth of use. We didn't have this issue during our several months of testing through multiple seasons, but if that ever changes, we'll be sure to note it here.
Ease of Use
Like the majority of the traditional models, this chair is easy to set up in just a matter of seconds with a simple unfolding motion. A few notable features include the single oddly-shaped cup holder and one drop-down pocket for storage. The tapered shape of the cup holder can fit mugs, one-liter water bottles, and soda cans. The drop-down pocket conveniently velcros to the underside of the armrest, so it is stored out of the way or un-velcros to hang vertically and could double as another cup holder (though a deep one).
We also had no more issues than you'd anticipate using this chair in the sand. It sinks very slightly, but not so much that you'd easily notice, and the feet can easily be emptied of residual sand before the trek home. In general, this chair fits back into its bag with relative ease. However, sometimes the large, oblong cup got in the way. Things got a lot smoother once we realized it needed to be tucked into the chair during folding to more easily slide into the storage bag.
Should You Buy the REI Co-op Camp X?
The REI Camp X is a reliable and versatile seating option that's also great on a budget. It is a top performer in ease of set-up and also performs pretty well across the board. We appreciate how simple and affordable it is and recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to spend a ton of money but wants to have a reliable and versatile outdoor chair.
What Other Camping Chairs Should You Consider?
If you are looking for an affordable camping chair like the REI Camp X, you should also consider the GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro. This model offers plenty of support, quality ripstop polyester fabric, and — like the REI Camp X — a mesh backrest for improved breathability. If you're a fan of the x-shaped, sturdy design and want a little more room in the seat, check out the REI Co-op Camp Xtra.
— Maggie Nichols
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