Chair

Best Backpacking Chair

Written by: Dave NartinJanuary 15, 2020Updated: February 14, 2020

Guide Overview

Backpacking isn’t just about the hike. It’s also about the camaraderie, like sitting around the campfire or enjoying a meal during a break in the hike. It’s also nice to be able to sit and take a break and rest your muscles.

To do that, a comfy camp chair is a great addition to your backpack. But you don’t want to add weight and bulk. So the best backpacking chair combines comfort, lightweight materials, and a convenient packed size and shape.

How do you find a hiking chair that combines all your needs? We’re here to help with a look at the best camping chairs. Let’s start with a look at the features you should consider to help you make the best choice possible.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Chair

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Size

The size for your hiking chair has several components to consider. While you may think you need to find the smallest camping chair, that depends somewhat on your size. Some people actually need an extra large camping chair

When thinking about size, then, there are several factors:

  • Packed Size: Compact camp chairs should not take much space in your backpack, or you can look for a small folding chair that straps on the outside of your backpack. Either way, you want to look for folding chairs with a small size for packing. 
  • Weight capacity: This depends on your size, so you need to be sure the chair can handle your body weight.
  • Back height: Tall people or those with a long torso will want a tall camping chair, as a back that’s too short will be uncomfortable.
  • Seat height and width: Large people will want to choose extra large camp chairs, so the width of the seat is important. Consider hip and waist width when choosing. But it’s also a good idea to pay attention to the seat height, or how far off the ground the seat is when you’re sitting in it. Tall people will probably want a higher seat so their knees aren’t folded up under their chin. And some of us just don’t like to sit right on the ground. 

Capacity & Style

Those who will be hiking with their significant other may want to look for a different style than the solo hiker. A two-person camping chair means that only one of you has to carry a chair, but it likely also means more weight in your backpack than if each of you carried a chair. 

Other styles that some people like include lounge camping chairs, which allow you to recline and sit in more comfort than a simple lightweight folding chair. If you’re looking for the best camping chair for a bad back, you may have to look at a lounge chair. Similar to double seat camp chairs, however, added comfort can mean added weight and bulk. 

 Weight

Some people want a lightweight camp chair that’s under two pounds, ensuring you aren’t adding too much extra weight to your pack. Others don’t mind a bit of extra weight if it means a more comfortable chair. Still others want an ultralight backpacking chair, which usually weighs only a few ounces, ideal for long hikes. Be sure you understand what the chair weighs before choosing.

Material

The choice of material and its comfort is somewhat of a personal preference. There are options for breathable fabric, or a ventilated chair, if you’re often hiking in hot weather. Or, opt for the durability of ripstop nylon if your chair will get a lot of wear and tear. Waterproof is another choice if you’re hiking in wet conditions. And then there are choices like cushioning on the seat, or a machine washable fabric. 

Function

There’s also the question of function when you’re looking for a chair. If you’ll only be taking short breaks, then a portable foldable stool may be enough for you. 

If you plan to use your chair on overnight trips, your foldable chair should allow you to sit comfortably for several hours. Do you want to sit in it to cook? Do you want to recline to watch the stars? Is swiveling a luxury or a necessity? How you’ll use your portable chair is important to consider before making your final selection.

Characteristics

Finally, there are some important characteristics to consider when choosing the most comfortable camping chair for you.

If you don’t mind sitting on the ground, and you want the versatility of a chair that lays flat to serve as a sleeping pad, then you don’t need a chair with legs. Either a chair that sits on the ground or a low profile camping chair will be a good choice.

If you camp in wet weather or you have other reasons for being high off the ground, you’ll want a chair with long legs. Decide what characteristics are important to you as you make your choice.

Now, let’s look at the best Backpacking Chairs.

Checkout Our Other Buying Guides

Best Backpacking Chairs

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Helinox – Zero Ultralight Compact Camping ChairHelinox Zero Ultralight Compact Camping ChairHelinox Zero Ultralight Compact Camping ChairHelinox – Zero Ultralight Compact Camping Chair

This ultralight backpacking chair weighs just 1.1 pounds and packs down to the size of a water bottle, about 4x4x14 inches. When it’s set up, it measures 20.5 inches wide, with a seat depth of 19 inches, and an overall height of 25.5 inches. The seat sits 11 inches off the ground.

The foldable chair fits over an aluminum frame and sits on four poles. The material of the seat and the included carry bag is made of a durable, lightweight ripstop polyester. It’s machine washable and constructed to resist ultraviolet rays. 

The frame is made of an advanced proprietary aluminum alloy. It’s lightweight but has a weight capacity up to 260 pounds. To set it up, there’s an internal bungee cord that self-assembles the poles on which the chair sits.

Pros:

  • Ultra lightweight, making it ideal for carrying on long hikes.
  • Packed size is small.
  • Comes with a carry sack for carrying in a backpack.

Cons:

  • Maximum weight capacity of 260 pounds.
  • Seat height is only 11 inches.
  • Ultra lightweight, making it ideal for carrying on long hikes.
  • Packed size is small.
  • Comes with a carry sack for carrying in a backpack.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 260 pounds.
  • Seat height is only 11 inches.
REI Co-op – Flexlite Air ChairREI Co-op Flexlite Air ChairREI Co-op Flexlite Air ChairREI Co-op – Flexlite Air Chair

This chair sits over an aluminum frame with four poles that serve as the chair legs. The chair material itself is ripstop nylon with a water repellent finish. It can withstand light rain and will repel light stains.

It has an included carry sack that it folds into for carrying in a backpack. It folds down to a weight of one pound and a size of 5 x 16 inches. When set up, it’s 19 x 22 x 22 inches, with a weight capacity of 250 pounds

Pros:

  • Aluminum frame makes it lightweight.
  • Folds down to a packed size that’s good for long hikes.
  • Fabric seat with a water repellent finish is a bonus.

Cons:

  • Poles sink in sand or dirt.
  • Maximum weight capacity of only 250 pounds.
  • Aluminum frame makes it lightweight.
  • Folds down to a packed size that’s good for long hikes.
  • Fabric seat with a water repellent finish is a bonus.
  • Poles sink in sand or dirt.
  • Maximum weight capacity of only 250 pounds.
Alite – Monarch Butterfly ChairAlite Monarch Butterfly ChairAlite Monarch Butterfly ChairAlite – Monarch Butterfly Chair

This chair weighs just over 1 pound, at 1 pound 4.8 ounces. It has a unique design in that it balances on two rubber feet. This allows you to recline in it, and rock back and forth on the feet. Setup is similar to some tents, with an aluminum hub and pole system.

When set up, it measures 23 inches high, 21.5 inches wide and 17 inches deep. Seat height is 7 inches. Maximum weight capacity is 250 pounds.

The chair includes a carry sack that sits 4.5 x 12 inches in your backpack or storage closet. 

The chair material is lightweight nylon and has breathable mesh panels on the sides.

Pros:

  • Unique design allows you to rock on the rubber feet.
  • Lightweight with a carry sack.
  • Easy setup with a hub and pole system.

Cons:

  • Seat height is only 7 inches off the ground.
  • Not everyone will like the rocking chair feature.
  • Unique design allows you to rock on the rubber feet.
  • Lightweight with a carry sack.
  • Easy setup with a hub and pole system.
  • Seat height is only 7 inches off the ground.
  • Not everyone will like the rocking chair feature.
Crazy Creek – Hex 2.0 Original ChairCrazy Creek Hex 2.0 Original ChairCrazy Creek Hex 2.0 Original ChairCrazy Creek – Hex 2.0 Original Chair

This ultralight backpacking chair is extremely packable, making it ideal when space or weight are a factor. Its design does not include legs, which makes it versatile for much more than hiking. Two pads are held together with adjustable straps, serving as a seat and a back when set up. And it weighs only 21.9 ounces.

It can be used in concert seats, on boats, at the beach, or for any type of hiking or camping. It can even be folded out flat to serve as a sleeping pad.

Cushioning comes from 8 millimeter high-density cored closed-cell foam, providing insulation and comfort. The outer shell is ripstop nylon that’s water-resistant and breathable, but seals out sand and dirt. 

When open flat, it’s 33 inches long and 17.5 inches wide. It rolls up to a diameter of 4 inches. There’s an attached strap for carrying and a built-in hanging loop to clip it to your backpack.

Pros:

  • Easy to pack and set up.
  • Versatile enough to be used anywhere, including as a sleeping pad.
  • Rolls up for easy carrying.

Cons:

  • No legs means you’re sitting on the ground.
  • Cushioning may not be enough for larger people.
  • Easy to pack and set up.
  • Versatile enough to be used anywhere, including as a sleeping pad.
  • Rolls up for easy carrying.
  • No legs means you’re sitting on the ground.
  • Cushioning may not be enough for larger people.
Helinox – Swivel ChairHelinox Swivel ChairHelinox Swivel ChairHelinox – Swivel Chair

This durable chair with a seat height of 15 inches will keep you up off the ground and away from the elements, while also giving you a comfortable spot to rest, cook or visit with friends.

The chair seat sits on an aluminum frame with four poles that serve as legs. The frame is made of advanced proprietary aluminum alloy. That makes it lightweight but strong. The maximum weight capacity is 320 pounds. As the name indicates, its has a swiveling design.

The removable seat and its zippered carrying case are both made of rip-stop polyester that is resistant to ultraviolet rays and is machine washable.

Setup is accomplished easily with a single internal bungee cord that assembles the poles into the frame and legs. When set up, it measures 20.5 inches wide, 20 inches deep and 29 inches high. It weighs 2.9 pounds and is 4×5.5×15.5 inches when it is packed away in its case.

Pros:

  • Weight capacity of 320 pounds.
  • Great seat height, putting you 15 inches off the ground.
  • The swivel feature is a nice bonus.

Cons:

  • Weighs 2.9 pounds for carrying.
  • Poles can sink in soft ground.
  • Weight capacity of 320 pounds.
  • Great seat height, putting you 15 inches off the ground.
  • The swivel feature is a nice bonus.
  • Weighs 2.9 pounds for carrying.
  • Poles can sink in soft ground.
Grand Trunk – Micro Camp StoolGrand Trunk Micro Camp StoolGrand Trunk Micro Camp StoolGrand Trunk – Micro Camp Stool

This is a stool rather than a chair, making it a bit different than sitting in a chair, but also making it extremely packable.

It’s lightweight, at just 22 ounces, with a weight capacity of 250 pounds. Unfolded, its dimensions are 12X13X14.5 inches. Folded up, it measures 7.5X15X2 inches.

The seat is Oxford nylon mounted over aluminum tubing that creates collapsible legs. It has cargo net storage under the seat and a stuff sack for carrying and storing.

Pros:

  • Lightweight so easy to carry.
  • Bonus storage under the seat.
  • Folds flat making it easy to pack.

Cons:

  • A stool may not be comfortable for some.
  • No back means no back support.
  • Lightweight so easy to carry.
  • Bonus storage under the seat.
  • Folds flat making it easy to pack.
  • A stool may not be comfortable for some.
  • No back means no back support.
Travelchair – Joey ChairTravelchair Joey ChairTravelchair Joey ChairTravelchair – Joey Chair

This chair has a strong anodized aluminum frame with a weight capacity of 300 pounds. But it’s still compact and lightweight enough to serve as a hiking chair. The seat is made of heavy duty nylon with breathable mesh inserts to provide breathability.

A unique feature is the rubber disk feet that prevent the legs from sinking into soft ground. 

The seat height is 16 inches, getting you up off the ground. The weight is 2.3 pounds, with open dimensions of 21x21x28 inches and folded dimensions of 4X4X14 inches.

Pros:

  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds.
  • Breathable mesh inserts make it cool.
  • Rubber disk feet prevent sinking in soft ground.

Cons:

  • Weight of 2.3 pounds is a bit heavy.
  • Takes some work to assemble.
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds.
  • Breathable mesh inserts make it cool.
  • Rubber disk feet prevent sinking in soft ground.
  • Weight of 2.3 pounds is a bit heavy.
  • Takes some work to assemble.

The Top Choice in Backpacking Chairs

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These are all great backpacking chairs, but we like the Helinox Swivel Chair best. Here’s why we selected it as the winning product:

  • Great seat height of 15 inches, meaning you’re off the ground. 
  • Weight capacity to 320 pounds makes it ideal for every size of hiker.
  • Packed size is still manageable at 2.9 pounds.
  • The swivel is a nice feature.
  • The seat size is good for all body types at 20.5 inches wide, 20 inches deep and 29 inches high.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to fix a broken camping chair

A:

If you have a broken camping chair, you don’t necessarily have to throw it out and get a new one. Depending on the nature of the break, you can fix it.

If the brace is loose or bent, flip the chair upside down and loosen the brace with a screwdriver. Fix the bend in the brace and replace the screw. Or, if it’s loose, tighten the screw to ensure the brace is strong enough to hold you again.

Q: How to make a camp chair

A:

If you’re really handy, you can make your own camp chair. The simplest version is constructed from three posts, crossed to make three poles that serve as legs, with three pegs on top to which you attach fabric.

Or, if you’re in the woods without a chair, you can make yourself a seat with branches, flat rocks, or logs.

Q: How to repair a torn camping chair

A:

If your camping chair gets torn, you have a few options for repair. If it’s separated at the seam, it’s a fairly straightforward job to re-sew the seam. Do it yourself or ask a friend who’s good at sewing. If it’s a matter of holes in the chair or a tear away from the seam, you can sew a new cover and wrap it around the chair to cover the hole or tear. Or, you can contact a reputable upholstery company and see about an inexpensive and easy repair.

Dave Nartin
Founder at Mountain Leon
Hi. Im Dave. Mountain Lion is the name of this travel blog. It came from my love for both the English and Spanish language, my favourite animal (Lion), and my favourite activity (mountain climbing). Enjoy!