Finding The Best Folding Camping Chair For You
There are so many different kinds of portable folding camping chairs nowadays. We have hiking chairs, beach chairs, recliner chairs, zero gravity chairs, and the “regular” camping chair. The only thing they have in common is that you can sit on them, and they fold.
Some are better for short or tall people, some have better back support than others and some are better for backpacking and hiking. As you’ll see soon, there are even chairs with built-in coolers.
Today we’ll be taking a look at a few different styles and what each of them does well and not so well. I will also list a couple of accessories that I use myself with my camping chair that makes me a happy camper.
So why should you listen to me when it comes to folding camping chairs? Well, it feels like I have tried every chair out there. Every year I camp with people that have bought new chairs and since I can’t stop trying them out, I know a thing or two. That said, it’s all preferences. I can guide you to the chair that is right for you if you know what you’re looking for. If you’ve no idea what you’re looking for except for a seat to relax on, scroll down to “What To Consider” and we’ll go through that.
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A Closer Look At Each Chair
First out is the TravelChair Slacker. It’s more of a backpacker/hiking chair but sometimes I use it in and outside the RV. It made the list because of how easy it is to use and lightweight style.
I used to go on hikes and every time we would take a break I would ask my wife, why don’t we have small folding chairs we can put on our backpacks? My wife got tired of hearing me whine and bought us two of these. I’ve had it for about two years and it has held up great with regular use.
The stool supports up to 275 pounds, so it’s a good choice for bigger people. What’s neat is that the seat height is more than 17 inches, which you wouldn’t expect from such a compact folding stool.
Since it only weighs slightly above two pounds, it’s lightweight enough to bring with you on a hike. A 16 oz water bottle weighs about one pound, so it’s like carrying two water bottles. A velcro strap makes it easy to pack up and down.
Around the RV I use this as a footrest most of the time but it’s definitely comfortable enough to also use as a camping chair at the campfire for a few hours.
The frame is made out of steel and the fabric is polyester, and for me (weighing 180 lbs) it’s very sturdy.
I recommend the TravelChair Slacker Chair for hikers and backpackers that don’t weigh more than 250 lbs. I love my Slacker because it has a clear purpose and it often gets used at the campground because it’s so easy to fold up and down.
- Comfortable for its size
- Supports 275 lbs
- Velcro Strap
A chair with a cooler? Yep, Coleman knows what people want. The Portable Camping Quad Chair is a chair you could spend all day in. Drink holder, storage pocket on the side, and a cooler with space for up to 4 cans. It’s the ultimate camping chair, and it’s comfortable enough to relax in for hours.
It’s easy to fold up and down, and relatively lightweight at 7.8 lbs. The seat is cushioned and the design provides great back support. It’s a great camping chair for big people, which becomes even more clear with the 325 lbs weight capacity it offers.
It’s made out of steel and polyester, and a carrying bag is included with the camping chair, making it easy to transport and store.
The Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair is available in four different colors.
I would’ve liked to see a mesh back like on the Kijaro below, but that’s because I get sweaty in the heat and I like how my back can breathe through the mesh.
This is the chair in today’s comparison with the most frills, so if you think you could use a built-in cooler on your camping chair, this should be your choice. Coleman has made enough camping accessories to know what works and not, and the comfort and durability of this chair will not let you down.
- Most Frills (Cooler, Drink Holder, Side Storage)
- Carrying Bag Included
- Good Back Support
- Supports 325 lbs
This is the chair I currently own and have used for about two years now. It’s the one that has the features that fit for me and my wife, and we’ve been very happy with them.
The Kijaro Dual Lock has a couple of features that make it stick out when compared to the others. First off is the feature in the name, dual lock. It locks both when folded up and down. To unlock it, you push a button. When set up and locked, it makes it easy to move around without it starting to fold up, and when folded up and locked, it makes it easier to stuff it into the included carrying bag.
It’s a very comfortable chair and it has a cup holder on each side, but also a storage pocket on the right side that zips and closes. The seat height is 19 inches so it’s great even for tall people.
A detail I have noticed when comparing this one to other folding camping chairs is that the feet are more heavy-duty and sturdy than others. It won’t move when you get in and out of it which is another small detail but something that bugs me with lower quality chairs.
My favorite feature with the Kijaro is the big mesh back. It makes it very comfortable to sit in for a long time since the mesh will let your back breathe and it reduces heat.
The only thing I would’ve liked to see different is better cup holders. It’s made out of mesh and pretty deep, so when I put a can in there it goes a little bit too deep, making it hard to grab.
At 9.5 lbs, it’s not a chair that I bring with me on hikes or carry around too much, but that’s okay. It’s the chairs we put outside our RV and spend tons of time on eating breakfast, watching the sunset, and relaxing around the campfire. It has been the most comfortable chair for those purposes.
Also because it snaps into place the back of the chair is tight and sturdy making it solid like a real chair and really nice for your back. If you have a bad back and need support this is a great camping chair for that.
Note that the Kijaro Dual Lock is available in 9 different colors.
- Mesh Back
- Lots of Colors to Choose From
- Dual Lock Feature
- Cup Holders and Storage
- Very Comfortable
- Supports 300 lbs
- Good For Tall People
If you came here looking for the most heavy-duty camping chair on the market, this is it. The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair is made extremely well and is the camping chair in today’s comparison that is best for big people.
With an impressive 800 lbs of weight capacity, it kicks the competition out of the water. It might sound like a marketing ploy, but take a look at the structure of this camp chair and you’ll understand how it can support such high weights.
The steel frame is very rigid and the feet are big blocks to make sure you can sit and relax without worrying about something breaking.
The chair is made out of steel and strong polyester fabric to make sure that each piece supports the advertised weight capacity.
There are two cup holders and storage pockets on both armrests. In addition, there’s a mesh pocket on the back behind your head for bigger items.
A heavy-duty chair has a lot of pros and a couple of cons, one con being that the chair weighs 12.5 pounds so it’s not the first chair choice for a hike. But at the campground, you’ll be sitting in the most sturdy and durable chair.
If you’re a big person, have a bad back, or just like sturdy camping chairs I would argue that this is one of the best folding camping chairs on the market. ALPS Mountaineering makes quality products so you won’t have to go buy a new chair every other year, because this one will last.
Last but not least, the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair has three different colors to choose from.
- Heavy Duty
- Great Brand
- Sturdy and Durable
- Very Comfortable
- Good for Big People
- Supports 800 lbs
- Cup Holders and Storage
Next up, a beach/camping chair. I decided to add this to the list because I have been so impressed with it. A friend of mine owns one and let me use it for a couple of days and I only have good things to say about it.
So what makes it a beach chair? To me, a beach chair means that it’s low to the ground, so your butt is almost touching the sand. This one doesn’t go that far down but is still down there to where I class it as a beach chair. For tall and people with bad knees, this kind of chair can be hard to get out of, so take that into consideration.
The coolest thing about the GCI beach/camping chair is that it’s a rocking chair, yes you read that right, it’s a rocking chair. Spring-action rocking technology will let you sit in a rocking chair on the beach, and it works. It’s water and sand proof so it won’t be destroyed after a day on the beach.
Don’t worry about getting too sweaty in this chair on the beach, as the mesh back will let your back breathe and beach breezes will keep you nice and cool. The chair also has a drink holder made out of fabric, which I like more than mesh as it’s more sturdy. Drink holders made out of fabric don’t have the problem I have with mesh can holders where the can disappears in the hole.
A problem with a majority of camping chairs when you put them on a beach is that the feet sink into the ground. This is not a problem with a beach chair like this because it’s designed to sit on top of sand and dirt and not dig into it. It’s still sturdy enough to where you can rock the chair without falling over.
The GCI Outdoor Waterside Beach Rocker weighs 10.8 pounds even with the rocking technology so it’s easy to carry to the beach. It folds up and down extremely easy and has a handle to carry it with.
- Rocking Chair
- Best for beaches
- Mesh Back
- Drink Holder Made out of fabric
- Folds up and down easy
- Supports 250 lbs
The Helinox Chair One is a very impressive camping chair that only weighs 1.9 pounds. How, you might ask? By using lightweight aluminum and covering it mostly in mesh, they were able to make it so light that you’ll want to watch it when it gets windy or it might take off. This is a minimalist camping chair.
Chair One folds up and down with ease and the seat folds down once you sit down. It’s not a chair for very big people, as the seat isn’t huge, but it does support up to 320 pounds.
A nice looking carrying bag is included with the purchase and will make the chair easy to store and transport.
So what makes it so great? Well, it’s so lightweight you could even bring it with you on a hike. There’s a lot of mesh so the material can breathe and you won’t get sweaty like with closed fabrics, making it even more hiker friendly. The feet are somewhat thin so I recommend putting some tennis balls on each foot to stop the chair from sinking into the ground. Other than that, it’s comfortable and the weight makes it easy for kids to carry it around and set it up as well.
The Helinox Chair One is available in six different colors.
- Hiking Friendly
- Great Carrying Bag
- Folds up and down easy
- Supports 320 lbs
By now I hope you’ve gotten a basic understanding of what makes a camping chair good or bad in my eyes, now it’s up to you to consider what you need and where. If you’re not sure about what you’ll need, scroll down and read a few things to consider when buying a camping chair. We’re all different, my wife and I just got lucky that we both liked the same kind of chair. I have seen families where each person has different chairs and opinions about them. But now, let’s get to my recommendations for a few different scenarios based on what I like.
Hiking: TravelChair Slacker Chair – After bringing the TravelChair Slacker on several hikes, I have decided that it’s exactly what I wanted and I haven’t thought of something I would have done differently with this stool. If you do backpacking and extremely long hikes, you might want something with back support like the Helinox Chair One, but for me and my hiking, the Slacker is more than enough.
Camping: Kijaro Dual Lock – The Kijaro Dual Lock has been my favorite chair since I bought it. Mesh back, storage, dual lock functions, and pretty lightweight make it my favorite camping chair around the campground.
Heavy Duty Camping: ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair – If heavy-duty accessories are your thing, the King Kong Chair is here for you. ALPS Mountaineering has created a monster chair that is extremely stable and durable. It’s not light to carry around, but for the person that gets to sit in this chair, it’s worth it.
Beach: GCI Outdoor Waterside Beach Rocker – Who knew that you could make the beach better than it is. GCI managed to do that by creating a rocking chair that can handle sand and water without issues. It’s low to the ground, comfortable, and has a great drink holder. Ah, if only I could be at the beach right now.
What To Consider
Comfort – There’s not one chair that is perfect for all of us, therefore one chair that is comfortable to one person, can be uncomfortable to the next. Seat height, material, armrests, and back support matters and are just a few factors that play into whether a chair is comfortable to you or not.
All the camping chairs we’ve looked at today are comfortable to me, but if you’re a tall or big person I recommend looking at the seat height and seat area measurements and pick one that you believe will fit your body type.
Seat Height – Seat height matters if you’re a tall person, or have issues getting out of low chairs. If that’s the case, you should pick a chair with high seat height. The user experience will suffer if it’s hard to get in and out of the chair.
Frills – Do you usually sit around the campground with your chair and might want a cooler built-in? Or is a drink holder enough? Try to remember what you’ve been missing with other camping chairs and the choice will be easier to make. You’ll always have the option to put a cheap side table next to you where you can put your drink, so don’t overthink it.
Mesh Back – I keep talking about the mesh back, but it’s because it has made such a huge difference for me. Before I had a chair with a mesh back, my back would heat up and sweat and it would get uncomfortable. My Kijaro lets my back feel the breeze and stops me from overheating. Whether you need one or not does also depend on what kind of climate you’re going to be camping in.
Weight Capacity – If you’re a heavy person, pick a chair that supports at least 120% of your weight to make sure it will hold up and be as sturdy as it’s designed to be.
Portability – What kind of camping do you do? Do you pack up and down often, or do you go to a campground and sit there for 3-5 days? The more you have to move and lift your chair, the more its weight will matter.
Durability – Not all camping chairs are durable and paying more will often give you a more durable chair. But why spend a lot of money on something you’ll only sit on 5 days out of the year? If you’re a full-timer, durability should be one of your main concerns.
Camping Chair Accessories
So you’ve got your camping chair, now what? Here are my favorite accessories to go with my chair.
Table: ALPS Mountaineering SideKick – This sidekick table is lightweight and easy to fold up/down and store. I use it for drinks, food, electronics and sometimes even sit on it. It’s sturdy and made by ALPS Mountaineering which is known for heavy-duty quality camping accessories. I truly recommend it.
Foot Rest: Garne T Mini Portable Folding Stool – I haven’t tried this exact one but I have one like it and it works great as a footrest. It’s not sturdy enough to sit on but it can also be used as a table.
Drink Holders: Sunnydaze Outdoor Yard Drink Holder Stakes – I just think these are funny for some reason. I don’t own them but a friend of mine does and they do work as drink holders. I prefer using these instead of the drink holder in my chair. A funny camping accessory that is actually useful and kids love them.