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The 9 Best Camping Chairs In 2021
If the idea of sitting around a crackling campfire, swapping ghost stories, and toasting marshmallows reaches a profoundly deep and nostalgic spot in your memory, rest assured you’re not alone. Camping satisfies an itch that resides deep down in our collective unconscious.
But while the experience of camping may feel eternal, there are elements of it that have changed over the years. Camping chairs, thankfully, are one of those elements.
Today’s camp chairs are stronger, lighter, and vastly more comfortable than the chairs our parents sat in around the campfires of yesteryear. The butts of our generation are grateful for it.
In anticipation of the upcoming camping season, we rounded up some of the best camping chairs of 2021 and found great options for every need and budget. If you’re planning a camping trip this summer, consider planting your keester in one of these:
1. ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
You’ve probably owned a camping chair that fell apart after a single season of use. This is not that chair. The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair is one tough piece of equipment.
This chair is made with 600D polyester fabric around a sturdy powder-coated steel frame. It can hold up to 800 pounds, so don’t worry about breaking this thing. You won’t.
The King Kong has a compact, foldable design, and a handy carrying case you can easily sling over one shoulder. At 12 pounds, it’s a little on the heavy side, but that’s the price you pay for this kind of strength and durability.
With a little care, you’ll be taking this chair on picnics and camping trips for decades to come. It’s simply one of the best and strongest camp chairs on the market today.
2. Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair
When you want a chair that’s equally suitable for gazing out at the ocean or gazing up at the night sky, the NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair is what you’re looking for. With an auto-reclining design, you can activate simply by shifting your body weight, this is a chair made with late-night stargazing in mind. It’s also comfortable, with great head support and the ability to balance on uneven ground.
The Stargaze Recliner is made with breathable, water-resistant nylon mesh on an aircraft-grade aluminum suspension frame. It combines the best elements of a rocking chair and a hammock, all rolled into one.
The NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds, despite the chair itself weighing a trim six pounds. It’s light enough that you’ll have no trouble carrying it wherever your adventures may take you.
3. Moon Lence Ultralight Portable Camp Chair
The Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight Portable Folding Chair is an all-around solid chair offering excellent value for anyone on a tight budget. It’s simply and efficiently designed, which makes it easy to transport and simple to set up.
The folks at Moon Lence definitely don’t mess around with terms like “ultralight.” This chair tips the scales at a featherweight of two pounds thanks to its high-strength aluminum alloy frame.
The Moon Lence chair gets top marks for comfort too. The fabric is 600D Oxford cloth, and the shape of the seat lets you feel supported but never constricted. The chair’s maximum recommended weight is 247 pounds.
Best of all, this chair is amazingly affordable. There are more durable chairs out there, but for the budget-minded camper, there aren’t many in this price range as light, comfortable, and easy to carry as the Moon Lence Ultralight.
4. REI Co-op Camp X Chair
REI Co-op Camp X Chair is an all-around solid choice for a camping chair. It has a max capacity of 300 pounds, and the frame is powder-coated, heavy-duty, thick-walled steel. This thing has some real confidence-inspiring heft. It’s solid.
The Camp X Chair uses something called “X-Web technology” for weight distribution and seating comfort. What is X-Web technology? I have absolutely no idea, but this chair is pretty comfy though! The mono-mesh and polyester fabric breathes nicely, dries quickly, and feels supportive.
The oversized cup holder is a nice touch too. It’ll hold anything right up to about the size of a Nalgene bottle. Overall, the REI Camp X Chair is a great buy at a very reasonable price point.
5. GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Chair
The very concept of an outdoor rocking chair just makes me happy. It’s a concept the folks at GCI Outdoor have perfected with their Freestyle Rocker. By combining the portability of a camp chair with the rock-ability of a rocking chair, they’ve basically made my dreams come true.
This is a great chair. It has a mesh backrest for extra comfort and a sturdy powder-coated steel frame that supports up to 250 pounds. The CGI Outdoors Freestyle Rocker doesn’t fold up quite as compactly as some other camping chairs, and at 12 pounds it’s not exactly light.
But it’s still reasonably portable and has a convenient handle to help you cart it around. If you ask me, it’s worth a little extra effort to be able to rock back and forth by the campfire.
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6. Kelty Low Loveseat Camp Chair
So you want to cuddle by the campfire? The Kelty Low Loveseat Camp Chair has you covered. This camping chair for two is comfy, cozy, and perfect for a romantic camping trip.
True to its name, the Low Loveseat has a slightly lower profile than a typical camp chair. That’s actually a nice perk, as it keeps you from feeling like you’re leaning too much into your campfire. It also has an ever-so-slightly reclined seat, which helps for getting extra cozy.
The rigid steel frame is covered with quilted 600D polyester fabric for a little extra cushion. It might not be your couch at home, but it’s surprisingly soft and comfortable. The Low Loveseat has a 400 pound recommended maximum weight.
7. Coleman Camping Chair
Coleman has been making outdoor gear for more than 100 years. They make some solid, budget-friendly camp gear that I’ve always had a soft spot for it. The Coleman Camp Chair is practically an archetype of what a camping chair is supposed to look and feel like.
Made of polyester with a steel frame, this chair has a lightweight (8.8 pounds) collapsible design and comes in a handy carrying bag. The maximum load of the Coleman Camping Chair is 325 pounds, and it should stay strong through several seasons.
The latest model of the Coleman Camp Chair has an integrated four-can cooler built onto one of the armrests. I personally don’t imagine I’ll ever use it, but if you want to drink four beers without having to get up, boy is this the chair for you.
8. Helinox Chair Zero
The Helinox Chair Zero is a marvel of engineering with an innovative design and almost impossibly lightweight frame. Weighing just over a pound and packing down to roughly the size of a 32 oz water bottle, this is a chair you can toss in your backpack and take anywhere.
Of course, the big question is, how does it feel to sit in this chair? As it turns out, it feels pretty good! The ripstop polyester seat is taut and supportive, although the chair’s low profile – the seat is 11 inches off the ground – takes getting used to.
Perhaps just as importantly, despite its light-as-a-feather design, the chair feels sturdy and stable. It’s made with anodized DAC aluminum poles, allowing it to hold up to 265 pounds with ease. It’s not made for giants, but an average-sized camper should have no trouble.
9. YETI Trailhead Camp Chair
A mainstay of tailgates, festivals, and campgrounds far and wide, the YETI Trailhead Camp Chair is one of the strongest camp chairs on the market. It’s made with an alloy steel frame and YETI’s trademark FlexGrid Fabric, allowing it to hold up to 500 pounds.
The Trailhead Camp Chair is also resistant to tears, abrasions, chipped paint, and even UV rays. This thing can take a beating. It weighs about 13 pounds and folds right up into its handy carrying bag.
It’s fair to point out this chair isn’t cheap. But there are times when you really do get what you pay for, and the YETI Trailhead Camp Chair is a piece of equipment you could easily find yourself sitting in for a decade.
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Camping Chair FAQs
Camping chairs are difficult to categorize, but there are numerous variations in size and design. In addition to four-legged folding camp chairs – which you might call the “classic” camp chair design – other options include rockers, scoop-style chairs, three-legged chairs, and backless camp stools.
For most people, the two biggest criteria when picking out a camp chair are strength and comfort. A chair should be sturdy and durable enough to use for a long period of time without breaking, tearing, or collapsing. It should also be comfortable enough to sit in for a long period of time without pain or discomfort.
There may also be other features to consider, including ease of setup and portability. Weight and dimensions can also be important, especially for backpackers.
Camping chairs are available to fit practically any budget, although one does tend to get what one pays for. You can get a camping chair for $20, but don’t expect it to be comfortable, or to last more than a season.
That being said, it is possible to get a solid mid-range chair for under $100. Premium camping chairs that cost several hundred dollars should last you years or even decades.