We tested all our camping chairs while car camping and hanging out at backyard barbecues with friends and family. In each of these scenarios, we primarily focused on long-term comfort and durability (they saw daily exposure to the wind, rain, and sun). Although we frequently packed and moved the chairs, we usually didn't carry them for more than five or ten minutes. In addition, we wanted to make sure that they could stand up to an array of potential uses. Testers brought them climbing, hiking, to the beach, and even to a handful of game nights.
Testing comfort sounds fairly straightforward, but it's also highly subjective, so we did our best to cast a wide net of preferences when considering every model. We sat in these chairs in the shade and in the sun. We evaluated the armrests, lumbar support, and headrests of each model. We had our friends of all sizes, heights, and ages get in and out of these chairs, lounge for hours, and even take naps. We considered the seat height and how that affects each one's comfort as well as the ability to easily get in and out of the chair. We looked at ventilation features for each model and tested them by sweating in the sun on hot days in these chairs. Chairs that a wider variety of testers found comfortable scored higher. Some models were loved by certain folks and not so much by others, and we made note of that too.
To score each model on its portability, we weighed and measured them. But we didn't stop there. We actually carted these chairs around all over the place, from tossing them in the back of the Subaru to carrying them ten minutes down the beach. While dragging these pieces of furniture around, we noted which ones had handles or carrying cases and if those features were helpful or looked good but didn't function well.
We hope that whichever option you decide to purchase lasts you for years of relaxing. However, our testing periods last just a few months. In order to pack as much wear and tear as we can into those few months, we do things you probably won't. We practically jumped into each one during our 'plop' test, repeatedly slumping as we imagine you might at the end of a long day of outdoor adventuring. We sat in them and bounced and rocked violently to see how they withstood the extra abuse. We stood in them to better understand how pressure points on the fabric affect overall performance. And we piled more people and dogs into each one than they are rated to hold to understand how each model reacts under pressure (please do not try this at home!) We also left them out in the sun and the rain for weeks on end and made a note of any wear and tear we observed during all this.
Ease of Use
Not only did we evaluate how easily each model is to set up, but we also considered breakdown and features. Some are super simple and straightforward, and some involve several steps and a small carrying case. Some were easy once we got the hang of it but confusing and/or difficult at the start. So we did this a lot to get a good sense of really how much of a pain or a joy each one is to use regularly.
We spent a ton of time hanging out in these chairs and dragging them to every event and location we thought we might sit at. We put each one through the wringer to find out which models are the best. We even took notes on each chair's unique features to improve our experience. Over the years, this has resulted in testing and retesting a lot of chairs. We hope that our sit-down observations help you find the right piece of furniture for your life.