Best Backpacking Chairs

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

41 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
548 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best backpacking chairs

Last Updated December 2019

When you’ve been hiking all day long, a backpacking chair offers a comfortable alternative to sitting on the ground no matter where you are. The lightweight and compact design makes one easy to carry with you and simple to set up when you need a rest.

The style and construction of backpacking chairs vary widely, from simple stools to large camping seats with armrests and cupholders. There are various fabrics that differ in durability, as do the legs and frames. The right style of chair for you is a matter of preference, but finding one that is lightweight and easy to carry for long periods is crucial.

Though most backpacking chairs are fairly affordable, it’s important that yours be lightweight and comfortable. To learn more about the types of backpacking chairs available, continue reading our buying guide. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at our recommended options.

Just because a backpacking chair is lightweight doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable. There are many options made of comfortable fabric that provide excellent back support.

Key considerations

A good backpacking chair should be lightweight, compact, and sturdy on a variety of surfaces. Your backpacking chair will spend more time on your back than you will spend sitting on the chair, and you won’t always have a flat patch of grass to set it up on.

Size, weight, and capacity

  • Size: A chair that does not fold down to a small form is a camping chair, not a backpacking chair. Buy the wrong chair and you will likely regret hauling it over mountain trails.

    While the comfort of your chair is important, it isn’t as important as your ability to easily stow it in your backpack or attach it to the outside of your pack. Most manufacturers list the dimensions of the chair when it’s folded up — the smaller the better.

  • Weight: Backpacking chairs typically weigh between one and four pounds. Lighter is better, so long as the chair is sturdy and able to support your weight.

  • Capacity: The weight capacity of backpacking chairs varies, with most capable of supporting at least 250 pounds. You should be sure that the chair you purchase can easily support your weight.

Stability

A backpacking chair should be sufficiently stable on a variety of surfaces. The most common chairs have either three or four legs; a few have two. You should also consider the size of the feet, because chairs with small feet can more easily sink into soft surfaces.

  • Four legs: A chair with four legs offers a very secure seat, but on uneven surfaces it’s possible that not all the legs will make contact with the ground at the same time, resulting in a wobbly chair. If you can find a level enough surface, these are highly stable chairs.

  • Three legs: These chairs have a smaller footprint and so may feel less secure in general, but it isn’t possible for a chair with three legs to wobble because all three legs will always be in contact with the ground on any surface.

  • Two legs: Then there are the rare two-legged chairs — the least stable option. These models require that you keep yourself upright by balancing with your feet. While this may sound strange, it can be relaxing and comfortable.

Lightweight but sturdy

This compact chair folds down easily and can be carried without issue while backpacking — it weighs 3.55 pounds and comes with its own mesh bag. The removable Terragrip feet keep the legs from sinking in mud or sand. The seat can be tossed in the machine, the aluminum legs won’t rust, and the chair can support up to 300 pounds.

Backpacking chair features

Backpacking chairs vary in their construction and design, as well as a few other features. Choosing what you’ll sit on after hours of sweating and climbing is a great time to be picky about your options.

Materials

Like the rest of your gear, a backpacking chair should be sturdy and rugged enough to withstand the elements, as well as several hours crammed inside your backpack. The fabric should be durable, quick to dry, and tear resistant. Polyester is one of the most popular options because of its durability. Mesh panel can allow for extra breathability to keep you cool. Aluminum is the most common material for the legs and frame since it is affordable, lightweight, and won’t corrode.

Style and comfort

Backpacking chairs come in a range of shapes. Some provide back support, others are simple stools, and some have no legs and rest on the ground.

  • Camp chairs have four legs and armrests, often with cupholders. These are highly comfortable and supportive, but one may be too bulky to carry on a long hike.

  • Rockers have two legs and allow you to keep your own legs limber, but they may not be the most relaxing option.

  • Legless chairs rest directly on the ground and are made of two folding pieces of fabric supported by metal. Like rockers, these allow you to tip back on the corner of the chair. While these are among the lightest designs, they aren’t always comfortable on bumpy surfaces.

  • Square chairs have decent back support and may surround you on the sides as well. These generally have four legs.

  • Suspended chairs stretch the fabric over the ends of the supports for a cushiony experience. These may have three or four legs.
DID YOU KNOW?

Almost all backpacking chairs come with a carrying bag. Those that don’t usually have a streamlined design and don’t need a bag to store them easily.

DID YOU KNOW?

Backpacking chairs may have four legs, three legs, two legs, or no legs at all. Each style has a different level of stability and works best on different surfaces.

Backpacking chair prices

Inexpensive: Backpacking chairs that cost $20 to $40 range from larger camp chairs to simple designs with little support. Chairs in this price range can be somewhat heavy or bulky to carry in a backpack, but there are some compact options available.

Mid-range: For $40 to $60 you’ll find chairs in a range of styles that are made from durable fabrics and lightweight materials for comfort and portability.

Expensive: Chairs that cost $60 to $100 are usually extremely durable and lightweight. There are many designs available at this price, from comfortable camp chairs to two-legged rockers.

Affordable yet comfortable

This ergonomic ripstop nylon, breathable mesh, and aluminum folding chair supports up to 250 pounds, holds up well, and is available in a range of colors. The chair is smaller than some others, but it weighs only a couple pounds and packs into a compact stuff sack that will fit in a backpack or carry-on.

Other uses for backpacking chairs

Backpacking chairs are great for helping you rest after a day of hiking, but that’s not all they can do. When all is said and done,, they’re simply compact, lightweight chairs that can be comfortable in a variety of situations.

  • Car camping: When you have a car full of gear, space can be limited, which makes foldable backpacking chairs a good option for seating when you reach the campground.

  • Picnics and barbecues: If a few unexpected guests arrive, backpacking chairs work in a pinch.

  • Concerts and music festivals: You might have to walk a considerable distance to get to the main stage, and a backpacking chair is easy to carry and has a small footprint.

  • Beach: Most backpacking chairs work just as well on sand as they do on rocks.

Other products we considered

While we love our top recommendations, there are a few other backpacking chairs worth calling out. For a chair with excellent support that still falls into the backpacking weight range, the lightweight Marchway High Back Camping Chair is a good option for the hiker who wants to truly relax at the end of the day. With a generously high back and a padded headrest, this is one of the more luxurious backpacking chairs available. Another popular option is the Helinox Chair One Camping Chair, which is easy to pack and weighs only 2.1 pounds. While this is a more expensive option, we love this chair for its comfortable design, stability, and breathable mesh back. If you’re looking for a compact folding chair that rests directly on the ground, we recommend the Crazy Creek Products Hex 2.0 Original Chair. At just 1.36 pounds, this is one of the lightest backpacking chairs available, and customers find it extremely easy to pack.

Most backpacking chairs are easy to set up and fold away. Backpacking chairs are known for being lightweight and folding down to a compact size.

FAQ

Q. What makes a chair a “backpacking” chair?

A. While there are no specific guidelines or metrics, a backpacking chair should be lightweight to carry and compact when folded. Some chairs advertised as “camping” chairs may work well for backpacking, too.

Q. Is it better to keep a backpacking chair in the backpack or attached to the outside of it?

A. This depends on your preference and the design of the chair. Some models are small enough that they can easily be attached to the outer straps of a backpack, while larger models may feel awkward on the outside of your backpack. Most backpacking chairs can fit inside your backpack if you have available space.

Q. Can I wash the seat of my backpacking chair?

A. Most backpacking chairs use materials that are machine washable, but you should check the manufacturer’s specifications first.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Vukan
    Vukan
    Post Production Editor

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