The best camping chairs

The best chairs for camping, beaches and the garden.

an empty camping chair overlooking the sea

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

Camping chairs are a staple of the British summer, synonymous with the warmer months. The reason for their ubiquity is how simple they are. They provide an excellent way of enjoying the great outdoors without having to do much else – not only are they comfortable, but many come loaded with drink holders. Once you’re down, there’s no reason to get up.

While camping chairs are great for gardens and adding some extra seating to a barbecue and beer party, they aren’t used exclusively for cultivated English garden pursuits. Some manage to find their way to festivals (if you can remember what they are), beaches, and even campsites – being carried from car to tent awning to bring a little luxury to the outdoor living experience.

Rumour has it that some can even found in the wild, on trails, mountainsides, and moors alike, strapped to backpacks in tight, compact packages, promising the carrier a place to sit at the end of their arduous trek.

If you’re looking for a new camping chair, don’t settle. Aim high, and look only for the best. To help you, we’ve gathered together some recommendations, pointing you to the best and brightest camping chairs available today.

What to look for in a new camping chair:

While the camping chair is, in many ways, a basic and simple object, there are a few key points to note when looking for a new one. The first thing to look for is fabric tautness, which dictates how much fabric sages when under a load – this sag can make or break a camping chair, so looking for a robust frame that’ll hold everything in place is key. The second thing to note is the maximum capacity, as chairs all carry varying maximum loads and exceeding these may damage the chair and the sitter.

The third thing to consider is chair weight and size – this will determine the activity a chair is best suited to. For example, the Helinox Chair One is ideal for hikers and backpackers as it’s small, compact, and lightweight. However, if you’re going to only use a chair in the garden or at a campsite within walking distance of your car, a large luxurious chair like the Outwell Acadia Signature Lounger will be a fine choice.

The best camping chairs in detail:

Editoru2019s pick
Outwell Catamarca
Price: $70.26

For a sturdy and comfortable camping chair, look no further. The Catamarca XL has a solid steel frame for strength and taut polyester fabric for comfort. Consequently, it has a maximum user weight limit of a massive 150 kilograms. At four kilograms, the chair itself is no lightweight but the trade-off benefits are thoroughly worthwhile for relaxing summer campers.

Weight 4.1kg
Max user weight 150kg
Pack size 96cm x 23cm x 20cm
Opened size 96cm x 90cm x 62cm

Best recliner

The Outwell Acadia Signature Lounger is something like a portable armchair. The fabric of the seat holds tightly to the frame, the well-padded backing offers extra comfort. The headrest is adjustable to support the head and neck. It's a large chair, so itu2019s best used at a campsite accessible via vehicle, or even in your own garden at home.

Weight 6.3kg
Max user weight 150kg
Pack size 100cm x 68cm x 21cm
Opened size 114cm x 85cm x 68cm

Most comfortable
Vango Thor Oversized Foldable Camping Chair
Price: $97.27

Imagine a camping chair with padding enough to sink into; solid and stable like your favourite chair at home. Well the Thor from Vango is it. Like the Samson above, the Thor has a steel frame capable of taking up to 180 kilograms. Meanwhile, the fabric is called DuoWeaveu2122; the idea being that it provides both soft comfort and durability. Mission accomplished.

Weight 6.3kg
Max user weight 180kg
Pack size 105cm x 30cm x 25cm
Opened size 93cm x 87cm x 80cm

Sustainability award

The Bel-Sol camping chair is made from recycled PET bottles. Often people consider an eco-friendly option as a compromise on quality but that is not the case, at least here. This camping chair has an adjustable backrest and has a maximum user weight of 120 kilograms. It also looks great and is very comfortable to sit in.

Weight 5.3kg
Max user weight 120kg
Pack size 97cm x 23cm x 21cm
Opened size 105cm x 51cm x 47cm

Best lightweight camping chair
Helinox Chair One

Rrp: $109.95

Price: $99.95
Alternative retailers
Outdoor Gear Exchange$109.95View offer

The Helinox Chair One is a highly regarded product in the camping market. This is because of its extremely lightweight design, which incorporates light, but very strong, steel tubes to build up the frame of the chair. The seat itself sits very close to the ground, which also helps to reduce the amount of material needed in the construction. The result is an item that folds down to a very small, hike-friendly package.

Weight 0.96kg
Max user weight 145kg
Pack size 35cm x 12cm x 10cm
Opened size 66cm x 52cm x 50cm

Best budget camping chair

This is probably the design most think of when it comes to camping chairs. It's a basic seat, but it does the job well, being affordable, foldable, and even packing a cup holder and chiller to boot. While the frame design does mean a little sag develops in the seat underweight, it's nevertheless a comfortable and reliable chair.

Weight 3.6kg
Max user weight 102kg
Pack size N/A
Opened size 97cm x 91cm x 61cm

Best moon chair

Zempire is one of the brands in the world of camping and glamping. Its Moonbase Chair really is the essence of Zempire: big, luxurious, and a real quality item. While it canu2019t match the Vango chairs above, the Zempire moon chair also features a steel frame (maximum user weight 120 kilograms) and durable yet highly padded 600D polyester fabric.

Weight 6.92kg
Max user weight 120kg
Pack size 108cm x 48cm x 20cm
Opened size 89cm x 60cm x 60cm

Best deck chair

Coleman's Deck Chair is a great choice for those looking for a seat with taut fabric and a long-life. The design of the chair's frame ensures that the seat is tight even under the pressure of weight, and the thin padding adds a nice, if not excessive, bit of insulation into the mix. The rust-proof frame and 600D fabric should ensure this one lasts for many years to come.

Weight 2.6kg
Max user weight 113kg
Pack size 75cm x 53cm x 13cm
Opened size 78cm x 62cm x 53cm

Best inflatable chair

We make no apologies for the fact this inflatable chair is rather expensive. We knew youu2019d mention the price but the fact is, this inflatable armchair from Outdoor Revolution is wonderful. Itu2019s doesnu2019t flop like a damp old sock, as cheaper options do. The Campeze is rigid and seriously comfortable - the pictures don't do this chair justice. Itu2019s big when inflated though, so make sure youu2019ve got the space for it.

Weight 5kg
Max user weight 120kg
Pack size N/A
Opened size 85cm x 105cm x 75cm

So, what is the best camping chair?

This all depends on your need. For backpackers and trekkers in need of a comfy seat, go for the Helinox Chair One. For those at a campsite, the Coleman Deck Chair is as comfortable as it is functional.

However, those who are sticking to the garden, the Outwell Acadia Signature Lounger is for you. It’s comfortable for long periods and highly robust.

William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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