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REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Review

This low, fully-padded take on a classic lawn chair is great for taking to campfires and outdoor concerts with its backpack straps
REI Co-op Outward Low Padded
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $80 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Fully padded, backpack straps, easy to set up, stable
Cons:  Very low to ground, narrow frame, no pockets
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 4, 2021
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 15
  • Comfort - 40% 6
  • Portability - 25% 8
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The REI Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair combines many of our favorite parts of a super low folding chair with the comfort of full padding through the entire seat and back. Two adjustable shoulder straps let you easily carry it like a backpack, keeping your hands free to bring along a cooler full of picnic essentials — or just to walk comfortably without full arms. While all that padding may not be the coolest on a hot summer day, it is exceptionally comfortable. Lacking any pockets, you'll be glad you're close to the ground to set things down. If you like stable chairs that are low to the ground, this one is very comfortable.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $80 List
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Pros Fully padded, backpack straps, easy to set up, stableFits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to useComfortable, portable, well-ventilated, stable, great storage, easy to use, inexpensiveEasy to set up, tall angled back, supportive, high seat height, less expensiveSimple and easy to use, reasonably portable, good features, inexpensive
Cons Very low to ground, narrow frame, no pocketsFairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathableLow back height, slightly lower seat height, cup holder not ideal for thin beveragesVery tall seat, limited pockets, no locking mechanism, less supportive, long when packedSlouchy, narrow seat, durability concerns
Bottom Line This low, fully-padded take on a classic lawn chair is great for taking to campfires and outdoor concerts with its backpack strapsOur favorite among all contenders, this robust chair makes camp lounging a simple and comfortable affairIt's tough to complain about this versatile and portable chair, especially considering the priceA tall chair with a simple set up that's easy to use and less expensive to buyAn inexpensive chair that's easy to use and like, with an attached cooler to keep refreshments cold and at hand
Rating Categories REI Co-op Outward L... ALPS Mountaineering... REI Co-op Camp X GCI Outdoor Comfort... Portable
Comfort (40%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Portability (25%)
8.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Durability (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
2.0
Ease Of Setup (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Specs REI Co-op Outward L... ALPS Mountaineering... REI Co-op Camp X GCI Outdoor Comfort... Portable
Weight (pounds) 7.3 lb 14.1 lb 8.0 lb 8.3 lb 6.3 lb
Weight Capacity (pounds) 250 lbs 800 lb 300 lb 300 lbs 225 lb
Folded Dimensions (inches) 27" x 23" x 6" 39" x 8" x 8" 33" x 7" x 7" 45" x 7" x 5" 35" x 8" x 8"
Unfolded Dimensions (inches) 23" x 23" x 27" 24" x 37" x 38" 21" x 31" x 31" 25" x 35" x 37" 34" x 20" x 36"
Seat Height (in middle, in inches) 7.5" 15.0" 11.5" 15" 11.5"
Features Backpack straps, DWR finish 2 cup holders, 2 side pockets, storage pocket behind headrest, adjustable armrests 1 uniquely shaped cup holder, "stowable" armrest pouch, adjustable armrests Beverage holder, small sleeve pocket Built in 4-can cooler pouch, mesh up holder, side mesh pocket

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Outward Low Padded is a classically folding camping chair with a hook closure and backpack straps for easy setup and portability. It's fully padded (seat and back) has no pockets but is low enough to set your items on the ground.

Performance Comparison


Enjoying being closer to the fire pit as the sun goes down on a...
Enjoying being closer to the fire pit as the sun goes down on a chilly day.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


If you hate getting in and out of a chair that's super close to the ground, the REI Outward Low Padded is not the chair for you. On the other hand, if you're sold on the idea of using the earth as your side table, this fully padded folding chair is one of our favorite lowdown options. A rigid frame adds stability and support while the padding — evenly distributed through the entire seat and back — maintains comfort even through hours of campfire enjoyment. Wooden armrests might not be "cushy", but they do lend a lot of support when you finally decide to vacate your short throne. They don't splay outwards though like most camping chair armrests, giving this chair a more narrow overall seat and feeling. The front of the seat sits 10 inches from the ground, while the middle section is about 7.5 inches off the lawn. Impressively, this low chair doesn't really sag when sat in, offering a unique combination of support and padded comfort that we rarely see in the world of camping chairs.

When it comes to being comfortable and low to the earth, we love the...
When it comes to being comfortable and low to the earth, we love the fully padded REI Outward Low.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Portability


Despite its low stature, the beefy build of the Outward Low Padded doesn't quite qualify it for the lightweight category of camping chairs. Tipping the scales at just over 7 pounds though, it's definitely on the lighter side of the median chair weight we tested. It doesn't compact very small, but what it lacks in compactness, it makes up for with ease of carrying. Skipping the carrying case that so many others come standard with, a single hook clips the two sides of the folded chair together and tightens with a tug. Adjustable backpack straps made of wide webbing allow you to carry it hands-free across your back. We're big fans of how easy this chair is to carry, despite its packed up bulk and unremarkable weight.

We appreciate the ease of transport of this simple folding chair...
We appreciate the ease of transport of this simple folding chair, and how stable it is on any reasonably level surface outdoors once you get to your destination.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


Though a 250-lb weight capacity is nothing to scoff at, it's the standard minimum among competing camping chairs. The Outward Low Padded is made of 300D ripstop nylon with a DWR finish to help repel light rain or spills. Aluminum poles add strength without weighing it down too much. By connecting the front poles together and back poles together with two bracing bars, this chair feels solid and stable, easily withstanding our jumping, plopping, and standing tests. Even after carefully inspecting every stitch and joint, we have no immediate worries about its longevity.

Solid wood armrests add support and classy looks to this low chair.
Solid wood armrests add support and classy looks to this low chair.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Setup


Just like the folding chair set up at a high school graduation, the Outward Low Padded folds shut in just a single direction, making it one of the simplest models to set up even in a relatively simple-to-use category. Hindered only by the narrow opening of the hook holding it shut, getting up and leaving is very easy.

A simple hook with an adjustable strap holds the chair closed for...
A simple hook with an adjustable strap holds the chair closed for transportation and storage.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Features


When it comes to features, this chair keeps it simple. Aside from the functionality features we already discussed (like padding and backpack straps), there are no extras on this chair. Its total lack of cupholders and pockets is only mitigated by your willingness to instead set your drink on the ground when you need to use both hands.

A top handle makes it easy to hoist onto your shoulders for...
A top handle makes it easy to hoist onto your shoulders for hands-free transportation.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


Compared to many others in this review, the REI Outward Low Padded is a hair on the expensive side. For anyone not convinced they'll enjoy this small chair, we think it's worth sitting in before purchasing. However, if you adore this style of a close-to-the-earth folding chair, we think its comfort and ease of transportation are worth the investment.

Conclusion


The REI Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair is a fully padded model that's sure to please anyone who's already over the moon about sitting this close to the ground. From its comfortably stuffed seat and back to its super convenient backpack straps, this is our favorite outdoor shorty folding chair.

Easily take the Outward Low anywhere without using your hands.
Easily take the Outward Low anywhere without using your hands.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg