Americans who camp three or more times annually has increased by 72 percent in the last five years, according to the 2019 North American Camping Report. One reason for the outdoor activity's growing popularity? Comfort! And camping chairs go a long way toward ensuring a relaxed, pleasurable experience in nature.
But you don't need to be a camper to appreciate portable seating. Boasting lightweight yet hard-wearing material and collapsible construction, camping chairs have really become summertime essentials for all outdoor excursions-to the beach, the little league baseball field, the family reunion at the park, wherever you please to plant yourself. The best camping chair models even include a few bells and whistles, to keep beverages chilled and gadgets handy, for instance.
The one caveat: Camping chairs tend to be closer to the ground than regular chairs, which could pose a challenge to folks with mobility concerns-so test to confirm you can sit and stand with ease. (Note: All our top picks can be returned via Amazon if they don't meet your needs.)
Keep reading to get to know the key features in a quality camping chair as well as the five top-rated options:
- BEST ALL-AROUND: ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN: Helinox Chair One
- BEST FEATURES: Kijaro Dual Lock Portable Camping and Sports Chair
- BEST PRICE FOR QUALITY: Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair
- BEST PORTABLE ROCKER: GCI Outdoor Freestyle Portable Folding Rocking Chair
- Durable materials. A heavy-duty camping chair will have a steel frame, with rust-resistant powder-coated steel a plus for maximum longevity. If you want a light yet sturdy chair, look for an aluminum alloy frame. Resilient polyester is the fabric of choice for most camping chair seats and backs; it's also machine washable.
- Portability versus weight. Camping chairs range in weight from two pounds to nearly 20 pounds. For outings where you won't need to tote the chair for very long, a chair weighing five to nine pounds shouldn't feel like too much a load and ought to provide comfort and good back support. If you'll be hiking far with the chair, purchase one in the two- to five-pound range, and make sure it comes with a strap and a carrying bag for compact portability.
- Convenient accessories. Consider how you'll use the chair when checking out its extras, such as an insulated drinks holder or a carrying pouch. Removable cushions and padded seats, headrests, storage pockets, and even adjustable sun shades may be included. Of course, accessories add weight, so if streamlined portability is a priority, go with minimal to no add-on features.
We scoured professional and customer reviews to find the five best camping chair options on the market today.
1. BEST ALL-AROUND: ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair ($67.49)
Expert reviewers consistently hail this snazzy number from Alps Mountaineering for its durable construction. The frame is powder-coated steel, while the 600D polyester fabric, often used for camping bags and backpacks, make it highly resistant to tears. It weighs a moderate 5.4 pounds and can hold up to 325 pounds of weight. A shoulder carry bag, cup holder, adjustable armrests, and side pockets for storing snacks, magazines, or binoculars are included. Amazon customers agree with pro reviewers, giving the King Kong 4.6 out of five stars for its “ruggedly built” design and comfort. The King Kong chair, which has a limited lifetime warranty, is available in khaki, deep sea blue, and salsa red. Available on Amazon.
2. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN: Helinox Chair One ($99.95)
At just 2.1 pounds, this chair “weighs less than a bottle of wine,” according to the brand, so it easily goes where the fun is. The frame is constructed of a proprietary aluminum alloy to be super-strong and ultra-light; combined with durable, machine-washable, ultraviolet-resistant 600D polyester, the Helinox has a 320-pound capacity. Featuring a removable seat, a carrying case, and a five-year manufacturer's warranty, it earns a 4.4-star review on Amazon, with comments like “The. Best. Chair.” Available in black on Amazon.
3. BEST FEATURES: Kijaro Dual Lock Portable Camping and Sports Chair ($29.99)
At 9.5 pounds (with a 300-pound capacity), the Kijaro is on the heavy side, but it's a sturdy, well-constructed chair that Amazon customers give 4.4 stars, noting its great design for sporting events. The arms and seat lock open and shut (with an easy push mechanism) for great back support, and there's no shortage of extras, including a carrying bag and strap, two mesh cup holders, a zip pocket organizer, and cell phone holder; the ripstop polyester fabric even comes in eight cool colors. The chair is covered by a limited one-year warranty (learn the details on its website). Available on Amazon.
4. BEST VALUE: Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair ($24.99)
Founded in 1900, Coleman has long been the company campers rely on, and this chair is no exception. With its classic, durable design and reasonable price, it's the #1 seller in its category on Amazon. The steel frame can hold up to 325 pounds (the chair weighs in at 7.75 pounds), the tough polyester fabric comes in four colors, and a cushioned seat, built-in four-can cooler pouch, mesh cup holder, and side pocket for snacks and gadgets are included. The fully collapsible Coleman has more than 5,000 customer reviews and rates 4.4 stars on Amazon, with especially high marks for comfort, sturdiness, and support. Warranties vary so contact the brand for details. Available on Amazon.
5. BEST PORTABLE ROCKER: GCI Outdoor Freestyle Portable Folding Rocking Chair ($54.99)
Not only a great camping chair, the GCI is a great portable rocking chair thanks to a patented spring-action rocking technology for smooth motion. The powder-coated steel frame can bear up to 250 pounds, and while the chair weighs a hefty 12.1 pounds, its patented Eazy-Fold mechanism collapses for easy storage and carrying (handle included). Other features include padded arms rests and a built-in drinks holder; it comes in indigo and cinnamon, and has a limited lifetime warranty. With 4.7 stars on Amazon, customers praise its relaxing comfort, perfect for chilling out after a long day's hike. Available on Amazon.