When buying one of the best camping chairs you've got to balance portability and compactness with comfort and features. Often it's true to say that the smaller you go with a camping chair, the less comfortable and feature-packed it is – but not always.
Figuring out exactly what your needs are first is a really smart idea. For example, if you want your camping chair to be super portable, as you're going to be travelling with it on foot while camping in the wild, then opting for something that is super lightweight and compact makes sense.
However, if you're looking for a camping chair to take away with you in your RV or caravan, then suddenly large, more feature-laden camping chairs with things like pockets, drinks holders and even built-in heaters are unlocked, as your vehicle can do the heavier lifting for you.
The central requirement might be simple – keeping your bottom off the damp, cold ground outside one of the best tents going – but past that there are myriad things to consider. 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. 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.
All sorted? Read on for our pick of the best camping chairs for 2023.
The best camping chairs to buy now
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The simplest way to describe the Helinox Chair Two is this: it’s like a chair crossed with a tent. Very light, and super easy to transport when packed away, during assembly lightweight alloy poles clip together to support a comfortable, hammock-style throne with a high back. A further ingenious addition is the headrest wrap, a full-width velcro sleeve affair, which means you can create a pillow by stuffing the chair’s carry bag with anything that’s to hand (like a fleece). The downside to using larger items for this purpose is that the extra weight makes the chair top-heavy and thus it overbalances easily, but this is easily avoided. Helinox say the high-back on Chair Two works best for people standing 5 foot 7 inches (170cm) and under, although testers taller than this didn’t report major issues, and the maximum capacity is a generous 145 kg, which should be sufficient for most people.
Aside from the clever design and high comfort levels, the main claims to fame of the Helinox Chair Two are the impressively small packsize and light carry weight. It’s so portable you end up taking it many more places than most chairs, even if there’s a fair walk involved, and it’s very handy for simply keeping in the car boot, just in case.
On the downside, the pitch time of the Helinox Chair Two is slightly longer than your standard camping chair. Not very much, to be fair, but there is a certain amount of fiddling around required. Unrolling the fabric, removing the tangle of poles, clicking them into place, then hooking the fabric on takes a few seconds (but you very quickly get the hang if it).
If you want a genuinely portable, very well made camping chair, this is an excellent - albeit premium priced - options. The Helinox Chair Two combines that portability and low weight with a genuinely premium experience (there are many cheap clones available), and in spite of that lightweight build, it still feels like a robust, quality product that will last well. This is certainly helped by the high-quality aluminium poles - the fit and finish is a thing of beauty.
If you're looking for all-round comfort in a small packed size, the best camping chair is the Trekology YIZI Go. It packs down impressively small and light but the deep bucket seat provides a surprising amount of comfort. In fact, you can even recline in it – although one of our testers noted that you might have trouble wrestling your way out of this seat after a few ales. The Trekology YIZI Go also has multiple mesh panels to encourage greater airflow around your body as you sit, making it perfect for hot weather camping, or for those glorious heatwave days at the beach or park. 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.
Our Trekology YIZI Go camping chair review focuses on the fixed version, but this range is also available as an adjustable-height version (opens in new tab) that you can tailor to suit the person sitting in the chair. Our 5'8" tester was perfectly happy in the fixed model, but if you're much taller, or want something that'll work for kids too, the adjustable version would be a good shout.
It's pricier than most of our best camping chair picks, but 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. Head to our full Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner review to find out more.
Don't read too much into the 'deluxe' bit of the name; the Kestrel Deluxe from Trail Outdoor Leisure is very much a budget option, albeit one that packs an impressive number of features for its low price. With a higher back than other camping chairs in the brand's range, it's perfectly comfy and supportive to sit in, and it features a lightly padded sear section and areas of breathable mesh all over the shop, including under the front of the seat so that you don't have to contend with a hard canvas edge digging in your knees. There's even a padded cup holder!
It's a bit bulky and doesn't pack up very small, but when you consider that for this sort of price the best you can hope for is that it won't collapse the first time you sit down in it, this is a real bargain. Find out more in our Kestrel Deluxe high back camping chair review.
Next up is the Coleman Sling chair, which we think is the best folding camping chair for when you need some extra seating in the back garden. In its collapsed state it's still pretty chunky, which means it's not such a good choice for actual camping unless you've got plenty of spare boot space. What it does offer is a high quality, robust and very smart looking chair – and the aluminium frame means it's much lighter than it would appear, too. The generously sized seat is comfortable to sit on, and the fixed, slightly reclined position is ideal for relaxing in. In our minds, this is the kind of chair you'd store in your shed and crack out when you need additional seating for a back garden gathering. It's stylish enough and sturdy enough to feel a lot more purposeful than your average camping chair. Head to our Coleman Sling chair review to find out more.
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.
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. The only slight drawback is that it's on the pricier side, especially compared to the similar Trekology Yizi Go higher up this list.
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. Take a look at our Trespass discount codes for ways to save on your order.
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 pop into your car boot, this is still very much one for the glamping crowd.
If you need something that'll deliver proper support on your camping excursion, the Vango Hampton chair is our top pick. This sturdy contraption has a high back, solid armrests, and can be adjusted to seven different reclined positions, depending on exactly how relaxed you want to be. While it doesn't pack down super small, it does fold completely flat, which is a boon for storage. That bigger folded position, plus the lack of carry bag, means this isn't one for lugging down a trail to the beach, for example, but if you don't need to carry it far it's an excellent option. You can even add a footstool.
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. We tested out another chair in the range – head to our Vango Radiate DLX review to see what we thought.
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.
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. It's not the biggest seat on our list and it sits closer to the ground than many, so if you're especially large or tall you might For the very reasonable price, this is an excellent camping chair.
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...
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.
How we test the best camping chairs
At T3 we place a high value on the authenticity of the product advice we offer, and each of the camping chairs featured here has been extensively field tested by our outdoor-expert reviewers. The chairs have been taken out on camping trips and various al fresco adventures, and put through their paces on a variety of terrain types, to assess how easy they are to transport and put up. Each has then been tested against a set of criteria, including design, features, functionality, stability, build, material quality and robustness.
How to choose 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…