Reviews You Can Rely On

The 7 Best Camping Chairs of 2024

We put camping chairs to the test from Helinox, Yeti, Kelty, ALPS Mountaineering, REI, and more to find the most comfortable options
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Best Camping Chair Review
Credit: Trish Matheny
Wednesday April 24, 2024

Sick of a numb bum and ready for comfort? We've bought and tested close to 40 unique camping chairs in the last 8 years with the best 17 models available today in this review. Our team of lounging experts and relaxation enthusiasts spent months rigorously testing each model side-by-side. Comfort scores weighed the heaviest in our assessments, but we also considered other factors like packability and ease of use. We took these chairs camping in the desert, packed them into cars, carried them to family reunions, and napped in them on the beach. Whether you're on the hunt for a reading chair or a sideline seat, we've found the right model for your needs and wallet.

Spending a night in the woods is fun any way you look at it, but it's even better with the right camping gear and one of our favorite tents. Whether you're seeking the best camping stove and the best camping cookware for your kitchen kit or a cushy camping mattress and travel-sized pillow for a good night's rest, we've got you covered. We've also tested the best backpacking chairs if you need to go lighter and smaller than what this review covers.

Editor's Note: Our camping chair review was updated on April 24, 2024, to highlight picks we recommend as alternatives to our award winners.

Top 17 Camping Chairs - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 17
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award   
Price $80 List
$79.99 at Amazon
$300.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$97.39 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$90 List
$62.89 at REI
$100 List
$99.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Fits just about anyone, comfortably padded seat, super robust, plenty of storage, simple to useDurable and sturdy design, amazing comfort, quality fabric and materialsSeats two people, comfortable padded design, stable and durable, easy to set up and take down, handy cup holdersFully padded, backpack straps, easy to set up, stableSeats two people, easy to use, stable design, two functional cupholders, no durability issues
Cons Fairly large and heavy, holds water, not breathableVery expensive, heavyPoor ventilation, heavy, bulkyVery low to ground, narrow frame, no pocketsHeavy, bulky, design lacks padding for added comfort and insulation, armrests are not adjustable
Bottom Line Our favorite among all contenders, this robust chair makes camp lounging a simple and comfortable affairA favorite amongst our group of testers for its superior comfort, sturdy cross-over design, and lasting durabilityLike a portable love seat, this two-person chair is surprisingly comfortable and durable for you and a friendThis low, fully-padded take on a classic lawn chair is great for taking to campfires and outdoor concerts with its backpack strapsThough one of the heavier chairs that we tested, the stable design provides seating for two at a more affordable price
Rating Categories ALPS Mountaineering... Yeti Trailhead Kelty Low Loveseat REI Co-op Outward L... Mountain Summit Gea...
Comfort (40%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Portability (25%)
5.0
5.0
4.0
8.0
4.0
Quality (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Specs ALPS Mountaineering... Yeti Trailhead Kelty Low Loveseat REI Co-op Outward L... Mountain Summit Gea...
Weight 14.1 lbs 13.3 lbs 15.5 lbs 7.3 lbs 15.0 lbs
Weight Capacity 800 lbs 500 lbs 500 lbs 250 lbs 500 lbs
Folded Dimensions (length x width x height) 39" x 8" x 8" 43" x 9" x 12" 34" x 12" x 7" 27" x 23" x 6" 37" x 9" x 6"
Unfolded Dimensions (depth x width x height) 24" x 37" x 38" 30" x 25" x 36" 24" x 44" x 32" 23" x 23" x 27" 58.5" x 37" x 25"
Seat Height (middle) 15" 16.75" 7" 7.5" 19"
Features 2 cup holders, 2 side pockets, storage pocket behind headrest, adjustable armrests Adjustable cup holder, carry bag Seats 2 people, 2 insulated adjustable drink holders, adjustable armrests Backpack straps, DWR finish Carry bag with strap, powder coated steel frame, two cup holders on each arm


The Best Camping Chairs for 2024


Best Overall Camping Chair


ALPS Mountaineering King Kong


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Portability 5.0
  • Quality 9.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
Weight: 14.1 lbs | Features: 2 cup holders, 3 storage pockets, adjustable armrests
REASONS TO BUY
Big and comfortable
Padded seat
Sturdy and durable
Decent storage
REASONS TO AVOID
Bulky
Heavy
Material holds water

The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong is our favorite camping chair and one of two we deem the most comfortable. The King Kong has consistently been the first chair snagged whenever our test team gathers around a campfire. The slightly padded fabric makes it ideal for long lounging sessions, and the seat itself is exceptionally roomy — if a bit slouchy — with an incredibly stable frame. The listed weight capacity is 800 pounds, and as a result, the reinforced fabric is very durable. Testers appreciated all of the functional storage features, including two cup holders, two side pockets, and an additional small pocket behind the headrest. The setup of this chair is super simple and only takes a matter of seconds.

All this comfort and added reinforcement come at a cost. With extra features come several extra pounds, making the King Kong one of the heaviest single-person chairs in our lineup. It also doesn't offer a headrest, so it's not the best pick for an afternoon snooze. That said, we think this chair will stand up to all of your needs for camping, tailgating, fishing, or anything else. If you're shopping for a comfortable chair or use a camping-specific chair regularly and don't mind a bit of bulk, we highly recommend the King Kong. Those looking to maximize comfort in a lightweight package should check out the Helinox Sunset, which also offers a personalized headrest.

Read more: ALPS Mountaineering King Kong review

camping chair - matt hoffman enjoys his breakfast of champions while relaxing in the...
Matt Hoffman enjoys his breakfast of champions while relaxing in the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong during a sunny morning in Tuolumne Meadows.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Best Bang for Your Buck


REI Co-op Skyward


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 6.0
  • Portability 7.0
  • Quality 6.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
Weight: 7.3 lbs | Features: 1 cup holder, 1 mesh pocket
REASONS TO BUY
Unique and comfortable design
Excellent ventilation
Simple to use
Lightweight and easy to transport
Great price
REASONS TO AVOID
Cupholder lacks stability
Backrest is low

Despite what we would describe as a somewhat uninspiring appearance, the REI Co-op Skyward is a surprisingly versatile chair. Though it sits slightly lower and has a shorter back than similar models, this geometry doesn't detract much from its overall comfort. We love the extremely breathable mesh, which only serves to heighten the comfort of this chair by increasing ventilation during the heat of summer. The Skyward is also more durable than it looks, with strategic reinforcements that support your body weight without creating awkward pressure points. It quickly sets up and breaks down with a simple accordion fold and easily slides back into a durable carry bag. The bag can be carried over your shoulder, or there's a loop on the top.

While we like that we can fit a big 1-liter Nalgene water bottle into the cup holder, the oblong shape of the Skyward doesn't offer much stability for beverages in aluminum cans or glass bottles (although utilizing a koozie can be helpful). The seating platform is more compact and sits somewhat low to the ground, which is a bonus for shorter bodies but could be an issue for taller folks. Due to the lower backrest that promotes a slouching posture, we wouldn't recommend this option as one of the most supportive in the review. Still, we think this chair offers an intuitive design that is comfortable and easy to use without skimping on overall quality. It also happens to be one of the most inexpensive options we tested. If you're looking for more support without breaking the bank, the Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair is the one to get.

Read more: REI Co-op Skyward review

camping chair - the skyward makes it easy for gus to kick back, relax, and enjoy a...
The Skyward makes it easy for Gus to kick back, relax, and enjoy a slow morning in Tuolumne Meadows.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Best on a Tight Budget


GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro


63
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 6.0
  • Portability 6.0
  • Quality 5.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
Weight: 8.3 lbs | Features: 1 cup holder, 1 smartphone pocket
REASONS TO BUY
Simple setup
Tall seat and back
More supportive
Inexpensive
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited pockets and features
Very long packed up
Not great for short people

The GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro is a simple chair that offers solid performance for less than you might expect. It has a fairly tall seat and back to match widely splayed arms, offering plenty of space to sit high above the ground. It's not the most supportive seat we tested, but it's above average among its competition, leaving slouchy folding sports chairs in the dust when it comes to supporting your full weight. The angled back continues that level of support without making you feel like you're collapsing in on yourself the longer you sit. A mesh panel keeps air flowing across the spine even on a hot day, while a single cup holder perfectly fits your favorite refreshing 12-ounce canned beverage.

Unfortunately, there's nowhere to stash your favorite oversized tumbler on the Comfort Pro. Furthermore, there are no large pockets for snacks, magazines, or books — just one small pocket that's sized to hold your smartphone. With full-length crossed steel bars running the entire back of the chair, this chair becomes quite a long package, made slightly more awkward by the lack of adjustability of the carry strap. And for those with shorter legs, the 20-inch high front edge might lead to dangling feet. But if you're taller, larger-framed, or older and want a supportive seat that's easy to get out of, this budget-friendly model easily fits the bill. Shorter folks might prefer the inexpensive REI Co-op Skyward, which sits lower to the ground.

Read more: GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro review

camping chair - the carry bag makes this affordable chair easy to transport, simply...
The carry bag makes this affordable chair easy to transport, simply sling it over your shoulder and you're good to go.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Most Luxurious


Yeti Trailhead


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Portability 5.0
  • Quality 9.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
Weight: 13.3 lbs | Features: 1 cup holder, FlexGrid fabric to support an upright spine
REASONS TO BUY
Highly supportive
Backpack style carry bag
Cross-over design to increase stability
Fabric conforms to your body
Comfortable armrests
REASONS TO AVOID
Very expensive
Heavy

If you're looking for a luxurious camp chair to enhance your glamping experience, look no further than the Yeti Trailhead. This ultra-durable and ergonomic design features maximum comfort, making our testers want to trade this camp chair for their office chairs. The FlexGrid fabric is supportive of the body while also allowing for breathability due to the perforated material.

Everything about this chair speaks to luxury, from the intuitive and easy setup to the cross-over style, which enhances stability and sturdiness. The carry bag is thoughtfully designed and features not one but two straps, allowing for options depending on how far you need to carry. Even the zipper on the carry bag is heavy-duty and designed to last. Unfortunately, this chair is large and weighs 13.3 pounds, and the price tag is a bit shocking. However, our testers are certain you won't be disappointed in this investment if you want to purchase something for the long haul. Those who aren't ready to invest can still enjoy a comfy, stable, and durable seat at a fraction of the price with other options like the top-performing ALPS Mountaineering King Kong.

Read more: Yeti Trailhead review

camping chair - rest days just got better with the yeti trailhead, our favorite...
Rest days just got better with the Yeti Trailhead, our favorite luxury camp chair.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Best Two-Person Seating


Kelty Low Loveseat


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Portability 4.0
  • Quality 8.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
Weight: 15.5 lbs | Features: Seats two, adjustable armrests, two cup holders
REASONS TO BUY
Two-person capacity
Comfortable
Stable and durable
Simple to set up
Great cup holders
REASONS TO AVOID
Gets warm
Heavy and bulky

The Kelty Low Loveseat amazes us with its incredibly comfortable two-person design. This model was very stable, with a lower seating height than most traditional camping chairs. While the feet of our shorter testers rested comfortably on the ground, Kelty also makes a version that's several inches taller. Made of durable materials, this chair can stand up to the trials of seating multiple people and even dogs for extended periods. After three straight years of regular use and some severe sun exposure, it's fading a bit but is still as comfortable as the first day we got it. This chair has grown on our lead tester the longer she has owned it, a credit to its impressive longevity and comfort.

Aside from the overall size and weight, our biggest complaint was how popular the Low Loveseat was with our friends, leaving us less time to enjoy its outstanding attributes. As a padded chair, it's also less breathable on a hot day, but with light colors, we hardly noticed. For its comfort and durability, as well as its ability to seat a couple of friends, we think this chair is worth considering. If you're shopping for a one-person design, the REI Co-op Skyward sports a breathable mesh that's great for hot weather.

Read more: Kelty Low Loveseat review

camping chair - whether seating one person or two, this versatile and high quality...
Whether seating one person or two, this versatile and high quality camping chair is sure to be a hit.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Most Packable


Helinox Sunset Chair


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Portability 9.0
  • Quality 6.0
  • Ease of Use 4.0
Weight: 3.24 lbs | Features: Mesh sides, carry bag converts to a pillow
REASONS TO BUY
Great back support
Compact and lightweight
Durable frame
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
No armrests

The Helinox Sunset features a high back frame, ergonomic design, and 14-inch legs that allow for amazing comfort and back support within a compact and lightweight package. Our testers were pleased they didn't have to sacrifice performance for a highly packable chair. This is one we reached for again and again when space was tight, or we needed to be weight conscious.

We love that the well-designed carry bag also serves a dual purpose due to its ability to be converted into a personalized headrest. Simply stuff the carry bag with a puffy jacket or extra layer, and voila, comfort just got better. While this chair does not feature armrests or boast an affordable price tag, we're confident its durable design will last you for years to come. Measuring 18.5 inches long and weighing in at only 3.24 pounds, the Sunset is the standard for lightweight and compact performance. If you're on a tight budget, the GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro is a great pick featuring armrests, but it's not nearly as lightweight.

Read more: Helinox Sunset Chair review

camping chair - the final corner requires a little muscle to snug the fabric into...
The final corner requires a little muscle to snug the fabric into place but well worth the portability and lightweight structure that's designed to easily travel with you.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Best Seat Support


Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Portability 7.0
  • Quality 6.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
Weight: 9.8 lbs | Features: 2 cup holders, side storage pocket, carrying strap
REASONS TO BUY
Very supportive
Carry strap attached to the back
Locking mechanism increases stability
Easy to get in and out of
Angled back
REASONS TO AVOID
Not overly durable
Stains easily
Very long when packed

For anyone sick of that sports chair slouch, the Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair is the model you've been waiting for. The frame holds the seat and back fabric taut by locking open to provide a firm foundation. A comfortably angled back panel promotes relaxation rather than rigidity. All this added support, along with one of the tallest seat heights we tested, make the Kijaro among the most natural chairs to stand up out of. And feel free to leave the annoying carry bag at home. This chair has an adjustable shoulder carry strap attached to the back of the frame. Once locked closed, it's easy to hoist it up and head out without carrying an additional storage bag.

The interesting design of this chair makes the folded package exceptionally long — just shy of four feet. The length makes it less ideal for stuffing in the trunk, though it's still more than doable. While previous iterations made us think twice about durability, we experienced no issues during our recent testing period. Time to ditch those chairs that promote slouching and experience the comfort of ergonomic and upright support the Kijaro is known for. Those who want both great back support and packability should check out the Helinox Sunset.

Read more: Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair review

camping chair - trevor hobbs enjoys upright and ergonomic support while reading his...
Trevor Hobbs enjoys upright and ergonomic support while reading his guidebook.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
80
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
Best Overall Camping Chair
$80
Editors' Choice Award
77
Yeti Trailhead
Most Luxurious
$300
Top Pick Award
76
Kelty Low Loveseat
Best Two-Person Seating
$140
Top Pick Award
70
REI Co-op Outward Low Padded
$90
70
Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat
$100
69
Helinox Sunset Chair
Most Packable
$170
Top Pick Award
68
Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
Best Seat Support
$50
Top Pick Award
66
REI Co-op Skyward
Best Bang for Your Buck
$60
Best Buy Award
65
Helinox Beach Chair
$170
63
GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro
Best on a Tight Budget
$47
Best Buy Award
61
ALPS Mountaineering Rendezvous
$60
57
GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker
$75
57
REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer
$100
55
ENO Lounger DL
$140
53
Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury
$300
51
Coleman Cooler Quad
$45
45
Mountain Summit Gear Cooler
$75

camping chair - hanging out outdoors in the rei flexlite camp dreamer (blue, left)...
Hanging out outdoors in the REI Flexlite Camp Dreamer (blue, left) and REI Outward Low Padded (green, right).
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

How We Test Camping Chairs


We've researched and considered dozens of different models during our neverending search for the best camping chairs. We purchase every chair and use them to hang out with our friends for months of use. We cart them on weekend camping trips, set them up at family reunions, spend late nights around the fire pit, watch sporting events, and hang out at all-day backyard barbecues. During our testing period, we paid close attention to details that matter in a camp chair, like how well the cup holders and pockets work. We weighed and measured them, carried them all over, and jumped into them to see what they could handle. What follows is a comprehensive discussion of our in-depth findings from months of lounging.

To test all these camping chairs, we used four comprehensive metrics:
  • Comfort (40% of overall score weighting)
  • Portability (25% weighting)
  • Quality (20% weighting)
  • Ease of Use (15% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


Teaming up to bring you this review is Maggie Nichols and Trish Matheny. Maggie is a seasoned multi-sport athlete and appreciates gear that makes for high-quality downtime when it's time to kick back and relax. She has taught workshops and guided extensively worldwide on topics as diverse as snow camping and expedition kayaking. Over the years, Maggie has spent extended amounts of time living out of backpacks and her teardrop trailer, arrangements where packable comfort items go a long way. Trish spent years living out of a popup camper and can appreciate durable gear that saves space without sacrificing optimal performance. After many years spent adventuring and rock climbing, Trish is happy to trade her former crashpad seat for the comfort of the right camping chair. Maggie and Trish recruited the help of friends and family to test and judge all the chairs in this review. This crowd included children, numerous people over 6 feet tall, several dogs, a dozen senior citizens, and a flock of Girl Scouts, spanning ages 12 to 80 years old.

Less time setting up means more time relaxing.
Less time setting up means more time relaxing.
Enjoying an evening outdoors in the Comfort Pro (grey) and Kijaro...
Enjoying an evening outdoors in the Comfort Pro (grey) and Kijaro Dual Lock (yellow), two models of similar design. The Kijaro provides top-notch support, while the GCI chair saves you dollars.
Enjoy life from the comfort of your camping chair.
Enjoy life from the comfort of your camping chair.

Analysis and Test Results


Camping chairs are useful luxury items that can be used while camping and barbecuing, hanging out on the sidelines of a soccer game, on the beach, or tailgating and enjoying outdoor concerts. However, not all chairs are made for the same style of use or comfort. We evaluated each model across myriad tests in four mutually exclusive, thorough metrics. How each one performs in every test then determines its score for that metric. Here we break down their performances by metric to get down to the specifics of each model.


Value


Though some gear seems to display a fairly linear correlation between price and performance, we don't find this to be the case for all camping chairs. Some of the best-performing models have moderate price tags, while some of the most expensive options didn't score as well as anticipated. Contenders that exemplify the highest value for the buck in this review are the REI Co-op Camp X and GCI Comfort Pro. Both of these chairs provide above-average comfort for a below-average price. We think the REI Camp X is the better deal for shorter individuals, and the GCI Comfort Pro has more appeal for taller folks. The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong is also worth noting. Though it costs more, it's an investment that pays off in its serious comfort and exceptional durability. Finally, the Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat is worth mentioning; it provides two seats, upping its value by decreasing the price-per-seat cost.

camping chair - the mountain summit gear loveseat comfortable seats not one but two...
The Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat comfortable seats not one but two happy campers, thereby reducing the cost per seat and increasing the overall value.
Credit: Trish Matheny


Comfort


Comfort is our most highly weighted metric, accounting for 40% of the overall score for each camping chair. After all, deciding to buy a chair instead of sitting on a log, crashpad, or the ground means you probably value comfort quite a bit. So don't waste your money on one that isn't comfortable. Factors we considered when evaluating comfort were armrests, lumbar support, a headrest, back ventilation, and the chair's overall design.


There are several chairs that we think are exceptionally comfortable. The King Kong is roomy and slightly padded, has large/adjustable armrests, and remains cozy in that slouchy kind of way while offering pretty good support in a tall, spacious seat. Similarly, the Kelty Low Loveseat is comfortable with large padded seats but is much lower to the ground and fits two people instead of just one. Though the Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat doesn't offer the same padded comfort as the Kelty, it is still quite comfortable and offers a higher position above the ground that some of our taller testers appreciated.

camping chair - though the kelty low loveseat is low to the ground, most folks found...
Though the Kelty Low Loveseat is low to the ground, most folks found it to be super comfortable and easy to use.
Credit: Trish Matheny


If you prefer a less slouchy, flatter, and more supportive seat, the Kijaro Dual Lock locks into place, stopping the seat from sagging. The GCI Comfort Pro has a similar shape and design, but it lacks the locking mechanism of the Kijaro and is slightly less supportive because of it. Still, it offers more support than most in this category, making it easier to get in and get out of. Perhaps the most comfortable of all the chairs that feature a locking mechanism is the Yeti Trailhead. This camp chair stood apart from the competition thanks to its innovative FlexGrid fabric that offers a ton of comfort while also alleviating pressure points and conforming to your body. We also think the Helinox Sunset Chair is surprisingly comfortable, offering a high back and supportive shape that increases rest day comfort while lounging around in camp.

camping chair - the yeti trailhead features a flexgrid fabric that offers all day...
The Yeti Trailhead features a FlexGrid fabric that offers all day comfort by conforming to your body and alleviating pressure points.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Portability


This metric is the second most important rating criterion that we evaluated, accounting for a quarter of each product's overall score. Given the variety of ways you can use a chair, it is mandatory to choose a product you won't mind moving and transporting. Factors that affect a chair's portability are its packed size, weight, carry bag, and overall transporting experience.


Thanks to their light weights and compact designs, the Helinox chairs are the clear winners in this category. The Sunset Chair breaks down and folds into a surprisingly compact carry bag. Despite having a high back and being impressively durable, this model weighs just 3.24 pounds and is the lightest chair we tested. If that's not enough, its carry bag can also double as a pillow for a personalized headrest.

camping chair - the carry bag for this lightweight camp chair also doubles as a...
The carry bag for this lightweight camp chair also doubles as a personalized headrest to maximize comfort.
Credit: Trish Matheny

The REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer is similarly lightweight, weighing just a few ounces more and packing away into a case nearly as small. We also appreciate the REI Co-op Outward Low Padded. It's fairly lightweight, and though it doesn't fit into a small compact package, it has backpack straps for hands-free carrying. While not as packable considering weights that exceed 13 pounds, the Yeti Trailhead and ALPS Mountaineering King Kong also feature a backpack-style carry bag that makes portability a bit easier.

camping chair - the king kong is perhaps not the most packable at 14.1 lbs, but the...
The King Kong is perhaps not the most packable at 14.1 lbs, but the backpack straps definitely helped us commute to a pretty vista for sunset.
Credit: Trish Matheny

The ENO Lounger DL and the Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury also score well in this metric because of their similar abilities to be broken down into smaller segments and stuffed into a small carrying case. At 4.6 and 7.7 pounds, respectively, they're also reasonably light. The ALPS Mountaineering Rendezvous is also a reasonably portable chair with a low profile.

camping chair - the nemo stargaze recliner is a large chair that breaks down to be...
The Nemo Stargaze Recliner is a large chair that breaks down to be toted around in its convenient carrying case.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Weighing in at 7.3 pounds, the REI Skyward is also a somewhat light model. It's a bit shorter than most traditional chairs, and we always felt that bringing it with us was totally worth it. Our testers also love the Kijaro Dual Lock, which has a built-in carry strap on the back of the frame that locks into place so you can still toss it over your shoulder if you forget your carry bag.

camping chair - one of the lightest and most packable camp chairs compared to one of...
One of the lightest and most packable camp chairs compared to one of the heaviest and highly featured camp chairs that we tested.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Quality


Like most things you spend money on, you want your chair to be made from high-quality materials and thusly durable. To properly test these chairs' ability to stand up to real-life abuse, we stood on them and plopped very heavily into them. We sat in them and bounced up and down and in every direction. Some chairs barely moved. Some chairs nearly fell over. And some chairs had some creaky results that made us question how long they would last if consistently treated this way. We also scrutinized every seam, pole joint, and material to evaluate any wear and tear or potential flaws.


Unsurprisingly, the chairs rated to hold 500 pounds or more scored well here. After several months of testing, the steel frames and 600-denier nylon fabric construction of the King Kong (rated to 800 pounds!) and the Kelty Loveseat didn't show any signs of wear or tear. Their frames didn't shift or creak under load. And while their high denier fabric is not as breathable as the mesh that some of the other chairs have, it is more durable than most. Since both of these chairs were very popular with our testers, they sustained several ember burns from being around so many campfires. Despite these small melted holes, the fabric showed no other signs of strain or wear. Another chair worth mentioning is the Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat, which features a solid and high-quality design that holds up to 500 pounds. Our testing team more than doubled that weight limit without permanently damaging the overall structure. Though the fabric is thinner and less padded than the Kelty Low and King Kong, the durability remains high.

Quality tested and approved thanks to five friends that were willing...
Quality tested and approved thanks to five friends that were willing to pile onto the King Kong in order to exceed the 800 pound weight limit.
Figuring out how to fit all the friends.
Figuring out how to fit all the friends.
Doing our due diligence to fully push the limits of this chair.
Doing our due diligence to fully push the limits of this chair.


Though its mesh appears thin and less substantial, the REI Skyward has proven quite durable. It has a 300-pound capacity which is about average for this group, but it feels very solid and stable even when jumping into it. And though we don't recommend leaving your chair out for full seasons of UV exposure, this is one of the few models we've actually done this to. After over a year and a half of sitting outside in a high-elevation environment (5000 feet above sea level), the only difference in this chair is a slight fading of the canvas-like material. Another camp chair that features a perforated and breathable material that also resists damaging UV rays is the Yeti Trailhead. This luxurious chair is rated to 500 pounds and returns your investment by providing a durable cross-over frame that increases sturdiness and stability with grippy feet that hold the chair in place.

camping chair - plastic trim on the skyward helps to strengthen the mesh design and...
Plastic trim on the Skyward helps to strengthen the mesh design and increase the overall quality.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Ease of Use


Ease of use encompasses how hard it is to set up and take down each chair and how well the features work to enhance (or not) the overall experience. After all, the odds of you wanting to take a chair with you anywhere are probably lower if it's challenging to set up or the features are aggravating. Fortunately, most of the chairs we tested were reasonably straightforward — even the more complex packable chairs were a cinch after a small learning curve.


Most of the traditional models, like the ALPS King Kong, GCI Comfort Pro, and REI Skyward, only require pulling apart two opposing vertical frame pieces to be set up. The Mountain Summit Loveseat is similar to these traditional frames, yet features seating for two people and is easy to set up and break down despite its heavier design. The REI Outward Low Padded simply unfolds like an old-school folding chair. The GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker is also impressively easy — just pull the two sides away from each other with a large labeled handle, and you're good to go. While the Yeti Trailhead is somewhat more involved than simply pulling opposing corners, the instructions make it easy to follow along.

camping chair - the instructions covering the spacious yeti trailhead armrests are...
The instructions covering the spacious Yeti Trailhead armrests are easily removed once you grasp the intuitive setup.
Credit: Trish Matheny

The super-portable models have a more elaborate setup. The Helinox Beach and Sunset, ENO Lounger, REI Flexlite Camp Dreamer, and Nemo Stargaze all have a separate frame and fabric seat that had to be assembled. Most of them aren't difficult, but it's more involved than setting up any of the traditional chairs.

camping chair - the helinox sunset is equipped with excellent instructions and an...
The Helinox Sunset is equipped with excellent instructions and an intuitive order of operations for a setup that is easy for anyone to get the hang of.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Two chairs that we specifically wanted to call out in this category are the ENO Lounger DL and Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner. These chairs have several poles in an odd configuration that we found complicated. It was always a long process to get everything to fit back into its designated storage bags, and it never quite went how we wanted. These were the chairs we would leave set up and drag around to avoid dealing with disassembly and reassembly. That said, as with anything, the process gets easier the more you do it.

camping chair - the fully reclining nemo stargaze saves your neck for stargazing and...
The fully reclining Nemo Stargaze saves your neck for stargazing and provides a potential napping space, even if it is a little tricky to setup.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The luxury of having a comfortable seat while camping or lounging in your backyard can add a lot to the outdoor experience. In addition to making relaxing, eating, and drinking more comfortable, you can maximize your lounging enjoyment. To find the best overall competitor in our fleet, we rated each one's comfort level, size, portability, durability, and ease of use. Whether you're car camping, lounging around the campfire, or sunbathing after a dip in the deep blue, the best model for you will ultimately depend on your lifestyle.

camping chair - kick back and enjoy the view in this comfortable little camp chair.
Kick back and enjoy the view in this comfortable little camp chair.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Maggie Nichols and Trish Matheny