We love a good camping chair for convenient, comfortable seating during hangs at the local park, beach, backyard, and of course, campsite. Addmitedly, a bit of a luxury for real outdoorsing, most pack weight-conscious hikers and ultralight backpackers might gloss over including a camping chair on their trip into the backcountry, but we’ll happily make room for one on our trips. Thanks to recent design innovations by outdoor brands we know and trust, it’s becoming much easier to find a comfortable camping chair that takes up minimal space and weight when stored in a backpack.
Scroll on to get straight to our top picks for the best backpacking chairs. If you're keen to learn more about seating options for backpacking trips first, then stay put as we tackle the basic rundown of backpacking chair requirements.
What Makes a Good Backpacking Chair?
Priority number one here is the overall packed weight of our camping chair. We want that number as low as possible—anything below two pounds is a good starting point. A low-weight camping chair will provide a little less overall comfort than a full-size camping chair, but certainly more than a stray log or hardpacked campsite ground.
Even the most mammoth backpacking packs have their limits, so it’s important to consider how well a camping chair packs down. Once in their included stuff sacks, a longer, skinnier packed sized will make it easy to fit the chair in an exterior backpack pocket or lash to a backpack’s daisy chain with web straps or shock cord.
Design and Features
While weight and packability make up the two most essential considerations of your ideal camping chair, it’s important to consider the chair's design and functions to see if it suits your needs. For example, one chair may provide a seat height that hovers your bottom a short distance from the ground, while another may serve as a barrier between your body and the cold, wet earth. If you’re a big fan of lounging, consider the angle that the seat’s backrest provides your body and if it has one at all.
Best Camping Chairs for Backpacking
Best Ultralight Backpacking Chair: Helinox Chair Zero
The comfort, portability, and pack weight of Helinox’s ultralight chair can be tough to beat. Its lightweight aluminum frame suspends a ripstop polyester seat, resisting tears while supporting a weight limit of 265 pounds. If you’ve got extra pack weight and room to spare, the brand offers many accessories to add additional features like cup holders and even an insulated cover. And, for only six more ounces, Helinox’s new High Back ($170) version of the ultralight seater adds seven and a half inches of back support.
Weight: 1 lb
Seat Height: 8.5”
Price: $130 SHOP NOW
Most Stable Backpacking Chair: Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair
It makes perfect sense that the Colorado tent makers with a dependable reputation also make a remarkably stable and comfortable chair for camping. The genus of their chair design lies in the curved, lightweight aluminum poles that make for a more stable sit and frame that comes together without bulky, plastic hubs where poles meet. Ripstop polyester with a waterproof coating will keep it dry from unexpected showers and support up to 275 pounds.
Weight: 1 lb 11 oz
Seat Height: 15”
Price: $130 SHOP NOW
Most Adjustable Backpacking Chair: Nemo Moonlite Reclining Chair
Adjustability isn’t a common feature found in lightweight camping chairs, so it’s refreshing to see that feature in Nemo’s offering. Just dial in the tension of the chair’s pair of webbing straps to set your desired reclining angle and relax! Below deck, a frame of round and ovalized aluminum tubing provide just the right amount of flex and support with a weight capacity of 300 pounds while pronounced “feet” tips help the chair from sinking deep into softer surfaces.
Weight: 1 lb 14 oz
Seat Height: 10.5”
Price: $150 SHOP NOW
Best All-Around Backpacking Chair: REI Co-op Flexlite Air
America’s go-to outfitter tends to learn a thing about the design of products it vends, which is why their one pound camping chair has made our pick as the best all-around option. The REI Flexlite Air Chair features much of the same features as its competitors, lightweight aluminum frame, ripstop nylon seat, but at a considerably lower pricepoint. The 250 pound weight limit could be a deal breaker for some, in addition to hinting to a less robust design, but it’s certainly a great option for many campers.
Weight: 1 lb
Seat Height: 11”
Price: $100 SHOP NOW
Most Compact Backpacking Chair: Kelty Camp Chair
You’ll have to excuse us if we loosen our definition of what constitutes a chair for Kelty’s legless camping chair. The minimalist flat-packing ground chair cushions bums with closed-cell foam padding and a series of internal composite stays give it some structure. It’s perfect for converting a stump or log into a lounger, as well as any mostly-flat surface.
Weight: 1 lb 1 oz
Seat Height: 0”
Price: $35 SHOP NOW
Most Unique Backpacking Chair: Sea To Summit Air Chair
Odds are, you’re already hiking around with an inflatable sleeping pad that would perform well as a camp chair if you had this ingenious “chair” from Sea To Summit. Adding just 8-10 oz to your backpack, the Air Chair cradles your folded inflatable or closed-cell foam sleeping pad to create a seat to relax in. Once seated, the reclining angle is easily adjustable by way of two tensioning straps that run the length of the chair.
Weight: 8-10 oz
Seat Height: 0”
Price: $60-65 SHOP NOW
Most Minimal Backpacking Chair: Therm-a-Rest Z Seat
For the outright mimilast backpacker that still wants a dedicated seat at the lightest possible weight, the Z Seat from OG Seattle camping mattress brand is truly impossible to beat due to its meager 2 oz pack weight. The closed-cell foam sit pad folds up in the same Z pattern as its bigger brother, the Z-Lite Sol, with its packed size taking up just a little more than the average one liter water bottle. Rumor has it, a certain Field Mag gear writer even uses theirs to cushion a home office chair.
Weight: 2 oz
Seat Height: 0”
Price: $22-25 SHOP NOW
Best Budget Backpacking Chair: Trekology Yizi Lite
To put it lightly, there is a ton of stuff on Amazon. While we can’t vouch for the reliability of this compact, lightweight camping chair, we can’t help but notice its impressive packed size, weight, and price. Despite its suspicious 200 pound weight capacity, the chair comes with handy features like a side pocket and ground sheet for stability on soft surfaces–an accessory usually sold separately.
Weight: 1 lb 10 oz
Seat Height: 9.8”
Price: $50 SHOP NOW
Best Backpacking Stool: Hillsound BTR Stool
Disclaimer: a stool isn’t really a chair but we thought it was worth including just one. This backpacking stool comes from Vancouver-based brand Hillsound, whose product’s acronym aptly describes how we feel about camp seating: Better Than a Rock. Both 14” and 17” versions of the stool is offered, catering to comfort and packed weight needs of each and every #ultralight fanatic.
Weight: 12.2 - 14.1 oz
Seat Height: 14-17”
Price: $69-75 SHOP NOW