Camping chairs are a varied beast. From the buy-one-get-one-free petrol station 'festival' folders to the surprisingly well-made high-end picnic deckchairs, there's a whole world of mobile seating out there. The central requirement might be simple – keeping your bottom off the damp, cold ground outside your tent – but the variations between the best camping chairs are considerably more complex.
As usual, the cheapest camping chairs should be given a wide berth in general, often breaking after just a few uses, thus bad for your wallet and your green ethics. Beyond that, the big questions are portability and then performance – the latter having seen massive innovation over the last few years. That said, even the humblest stool will make a huge difference to your camping comfort, allowing you to rest weary feet, eat and drink with ease, as well as socialise in comfort of an evening.
From recliners to heaters, featherlight folders to love seats, there's something out there that's perfect for you at nearly every price point. We've tried to cover a wide range of the best camping chair options below, all guaranteed to make that cup of tea or cold drink taste even better...
Choosing the best camping chair for you
For the most part, these types of folding chairs are lightweight and portable. But some are heavier than the average, and that’s because they’re packing in more padding or other goodies to deliver higher levels of sitting comfort.
So if you're driving to the campsite and can afford to take heavier gear, you literally have your pick of the best camping chairs listed below as weight won't matter. If you're heading to the park or beach for the day and want a portable chair to carry with you on foot, you’re best off sticking to one of the lighter camping chairs featured.
We'll highlight the weight of each different model (you can find this information in the spec section), and point out which ones we’d recommend for car camping, for example, or for more portable use. Maximum seat load is another thing to look out for, as some camping chairs hold more weight than others. The most common materials used on these types of folding chairs are polyester and PVC coated polyester fabric, which are wipe clean. Frames are usually either aluminium or steel.
So that just leaves nifty little extras such as built-in cup holders and padded headrests, both of which take your relaxation to new levels. Ready to put your feet up? Then let’s take a look at the best camping chairs and discover which is the ideal one for you…
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The best camping chairs to buy now
Mesh clothing has long been a revelation for fitness fans, and here it graces the humble camping chair. The Trekology YIZI Go has multiple mesh panels to encourage greater airflow around your body as you sit. It's perfect for hot weather camping, or for those glorious heatwave days at the beach or park.
There's more to enjoy, including the deep bucket seat. Fair warning, though, if you've had a few ales you might have an interesting time trying to wrestle yourself out of this one. Or maybe that’s just us…
A rather clever feature is the adjustable height, so you can tailor it to the person sitting in the chair. That means kids are catered for with this versatile folding chair too. It sits well on sand as well as grass and paving, and packs down into a weather-resistant carry bag when not in use. Also comes in red, green and blue.
If you don't want to sacrifice comfort, this Alpha Camp Oversized chair is the best camping chair for you. It's big, padded, and very heavy duty, so it'll last. There are also enough built in features that once you're set up and sat down, you don't need to move again. Fancy a cold drink? Take it out of the cooler bag and pop it into the stable cup holder. Want to read a magazine? There's a side pocket to store those in too (also useful for stashing your phone safely). As you might expect, you won't want to strap this onto your hiking backpack for a multi-day walking trip. It's heavy and bulky, although it does fold up to 9.05" x 38.58" (23x98cm) to pop into your car boot, this is still very much one for the glamping crowd.
The Nemo Stargaze Luxury recliner packs plenty of envy-inducing tech trickery. As the name hints, the chair not only reclines, but acts more like a hammock than a chair, allowing you to rock gently beside your campfire. Setup is slightly more onerous than a standard camping chair, but nothing too excessive (under a minute), and the auto-recline and supportive headrest more than make up for that. Aluminium poles keep weight down to a reasonable 3.2kg, and with a padded carrying case it's an ideal car-camper or festival seat for those who demand extreme comfort from their camping gear...
If you're looking for something cheap that does the job, try the Kentucky Classic Camping Chair from Hi-Gear. This is quite simply a great all-rounder, with a few added extras that elevate it from the competition. There's all the important things you need from a great camping chair: it packs down small, is super-simple to open and close, there's a durable steel frame and it comes with a handy carry-bag for easy transportation. A quilted seat and rounded back adds a touch of luxury without impacting on the weight or bulk too much, and will be more than welcome if you've spent a long day hiking in the hills. One final touch is the insulated drinks holder, perfect for when it's time to relax with a cold beer.
The Robens Pathfinder Lite is one of the lightest chairs in our best camping chairs roundup. And we think it's one of the most stylish too, in an old-school riviera kind of way. We've taken this chair everywhere so far this summer, from the campsite to park to the beach and the riverbank, and it hasn't let us down. The Pathfinder Lite is ideal for hot weather camping, or chilling at the beach or park during a heat wave, because it has full mesh panels. They encourage greater airflow, so you stay cooler when sitting and don't succumb to a yucky build-up of sweat.
In terms of comfort, you can really sink into the soft fabric back yet still feel supported. This Robens camping chair is easy to get out of too. You may think that’s an odd thing to say, but if you've ever sat in a deep camping chair you'll know that getting out of those things is no easy task if you want to do so with an ounce of grace. Finally, unfolding and folding the Pathfinder Lite is simple and fast, and it comes with a carry bag that attaches to the base of the chair. Handy, as that means there's no chance of the bag blowing away on the breeze.
Available in a range of cheerful colours, the Coleman Kickback is a tub-style chair that'll take you from the beach to a festival and anything in-between. For the style of chair it's nice and lightweight; it packs up small and comes with a carry bag for easy toting. The seat is made from robust polyester, with a sturdy steel frame. It's not completely devoid of features either – there's a handy pocket on the back of the seat for you to pop a book or magazine in. For the very reasonable price, this is an excellent camping chair.
Camping chairs can be a little, well, samey, sometimes. Luckily Vango has completely solved that problem by producing the Radiate Embrace – a normal-looking camping chair that contains heating elements. Those heating elements aren't any old wire nonsense either, they're made from wonder-material Graphene. Frankly, if that doesn't impress the Joneses opposite then they're not worth speaking to again.
The chair needs to be connected to a 5V/2.1A power source (like a power bank), then at the touch of a button, warmth will radiate forth and banish the coldest campsite evening. The only problem will be turfing other people out of it so you can sit down yourself. Technically impressive, highly practical for the chillier evenings in spring and autumn, and downright luxurious after a long day outdoors, this is an absolute must for the camper who has everything.
The Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat is essentially a normal camping chair, just double-sized into a sofa-style edifice that'll seat two in comfort. For couples this is obviously a good idea, others maybe less so, but each arm has a drinks holder, so that's one argument fewer at least. The 19mm steel frame can support up to 500 pounds (a hefty 226 kilos), so there's no danger of an unwanted collapse ruining your otherwise perfect evening under canvas. As an emergency garden of campsite sofa for the summer months, this is in a class of one...
Need a portable seat for younger kids or a toddler? Try this Kids’ Camping Chair from Hi-Gear, available in navy with a super-cool shark print, or pink with a cute panda design. This outdoors chair for kids packs down into a small carry case, making it easy for your little one to carry to and from the campsite, beach or park – if you can get them to. It's also sturdier and less flimsy than many kids' options. The fabric is water-resistant, and features a supportive high back design with arms. Finally, there's a built-in cupholder, ideal for holding drinks safely, or stashing colouring crayons, small toys, or any other treasures.
Light and easy to carry if you’re walking to a wild camping spot, or to the beach or park. This classic folding chair-meets-stool can also be used at festivals, where you want something quick to whip out to give your legs a break during all that standing around between bands. Similarly, you might want to consider it for use on a multi-day hiking trip, as it folds down small (not much bigger than an umbrella) and feels featherlight in a backpack. So it might be the cheapest camping chair in this buyer’s guide, but it’s also one of the most versatile.
The Vango Kensington is handsome, with a padded seat and back rest for enhanced comfort. That should be good news for those of you who, upon setting up your tent, plan on doing a lot of sitting down while chilling on your holiday. The armrests are hard for good reason: they provide you with greater support when you're getting up, as you can push down against them and launch yourself onto your feet. Excellent if you need a helping hand standing up after a long day's hiking.
This luxury folding chair is made from a weatherproof and durable aluminium frame, and is covered in Vango's own DuoWeave fabric. It's wipe-clean and durable, so should withstand many a camping trip. However, the best feature is the multiple seating arrangements. You can manoeuvre the Kensington into seven seating options, from straight backed to super-relaxed, depending on whether you’re eating, reading or snoozing. We’ve tested this chair repeatedly and always pack it for car camping trips.
The trouble with large, comfortable campaign chairs is that they tend to be relatively heavy beasts, certainly too heavy to carry all day on a longer overnight trek. But once stopped for the night, tent pitched up, what can you sit on? The answer is the Sea to Summit Air Chair. There is a slight catch though, in that the air chair is borrowing heavily from your sleeping mat to provide the seat.
Basically, you fold your mat into the two end pockets, then attach side straps to keep a comfortable 90 degree angle. Although this is on the basic side, it works quite well, especially in remote basecamp-type scenarios, and is much better than nothing. There's a pretty durable 70D base with 2000mm water head protecting your mat from damage or wet, and side protection too. The only downside is having to de-origami it in order to go to bed, but that's the price of travelling light.
Ingenious construction immediately marks out the Snow Peak Beach Chair as something a little different, something a little more architectural than the usual camping chair. The wooden armrests also hint that there's quality here, and indeed there is. The Beach Chair folds down into a surprisingly compact package, making it ideal for car camping excursions, and indeed trips to the beach, shockingly.
A neat touch is the extended support for each foot, preventing them sinking into soft sand – or the turf of most campsites – or damaging the floor of your family tent, which is also a good thing. There's a handy mesh storage pocket in the backrest, and a comfortable seat in no-fuss Polyester Canvas. For stylish camping in most situations, and even for garden use at home, these durable beauties will see you right for decades.
The MH500 has a lot going for it, especially in packsize and weight. This is not only a very svelte chair, but also only a kilo – ideal for stashing in the car, camper or the camping bag and forgetting about till you need it. The elasticated tubes automatically snap into place, making erecting it a simple and speedy manoeuvre, while the comfortable bucket shape provides lots of support and comfort after a long day enjoying the outdoors. Decathlon has sensibly made this a relatively high seat, so that it can be used to eat round a table as well as a standalone (or sitalone) chair. At a very wallet-friendly price point this is definitely one for the occasional camper, those on a budget, and those that like a solid all-rounder for not much cash.
There's so much to love about Outwell's spacious camping chair, especially the wider seat area, which is coupled with the highest maximum load of any portable folding chair in this buyer's guide.The Campo XL is a looker in the flesh, thanks to its deep claret colour. In fact, it turned quite a few heads when we broke it out during a recent trip – it really stands out in a sea of black, blue and green chairs. It opens almost instantly, just like the Vango, and offers up plush and supportive foam padded armrests.
A carry bag is included, for ferrying the chair between your car and tent, and the Campo XL comes with a detachable fabric cup holder. As it's fabric, it's big enough to house a bottle, cup or glass, so you’ll always have a drink to hand. The Outwell Campo XL is a great option for those of you who want a wider than average camp chair that’s reassuringly sturdy and durable on grass (and paving).
It may look similar to a gaming chair, but Vango’s nutmeg coloured inflatable is a comfortable lounger for inside or outside your tent. It has a very low profile, so not the one for you if you need support to stand up. Inflation and deflation is quick, but there’s no air pump included so you’ll need to buy a battery operated pump separately. Keep the pump handy too, as all inflatable chairs need regular top-ups of air to stay in prime supportive condition. The flocked fabric is a clever addition, as it prevents the sun from heating up the chair and making it too hot to sit upon. Ultimately, the Inflatable Lounger is fun to have around for the kids if you have the budget for a quirky alternative. But if you want a chair that can be pulled up at a camping table for meal times, look further up this list.