The Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner is a camping chair with a swinging, suspended seat and the ability to recline using just your bodyweight. This brand is known for making genuinely different outdoors products (no mean feat, these days) and the Stargaze is an excellent example of the kind of innovation Nemo excels at.
It's far from the most compact or lightweight option on the market, but it's not trying to be – you'll find plenty more backpacking-friendly chairs in our best camping chair guide, if that's what you need. It's also not the cheapest, with an RRP of USD $249.95 / GBP £249.99. So what does it deliver? I tested on out on a camping (alright, more like glamping) trip in Dorset to find out. Read on for my full Nemo Stargaze Luxury recliner review.
Nemo Stargaze Recliner review: design and setup
The innovative part of the Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner is that the seat section is entirely suspended, hanging off two points of the sturdy feeling aluminium frame like a hammock. The chair's body combines mesh for breathability and flexibility with solid fabric sections. Nemo has also integrated a drinks holder, velcroed-on head cushion and small pocket in which you could stash your phone.
Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner: specs
Weight: 7lb 2oz / 3.23kg
Packed size: 23.5 x 6.5 x 6.5in / 60 x 17 x 17cm
Dimensions: 27 x 36 x 44in / 68 x 92 x 112cm
Carry case: included
This chair is available in four or maybe five colourways, depending on your country, but all are in the predominantly grey / black colour family. Sorry, Twilight / Smoke / Graphite. The Fortress / Goldfinch is about as vibrant as it gets, with aqua and buttercup yellow piping and straps on the dark body.
Setup is a straightforward and speedy affair: two poles are slotted into their pouches, the outer frame is snapped into place (internal pole elastics mean you don't need to figure out what goes where), and the chair is hung off the two tallest poles.
Packed down, this isn't especially small or light – although comparable with other non-lightweight camping chairs. To make up for the less portable size, Nemo has provided a stylish, enclosed carry bag rather than the half-arsed drawstring efforts you find with cheaper chairs. There are top and side handles for easy carrying, and the large zip opening makes it easy to get your packed-down chair neatly inside.
Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner review: comfort and usability
Assuming you feel like you've pretty much mastered how to sit in a chair by now, the Stargaze might make you reassess. Because the seat is entirely suspended, it takes a second to figure out how to get into it – there are, in fact, markers on the 'arms' that say "Place hands here", but you'll probably only spot them once you've sat down. Otherwise, it feels like trying to manoeuvre yourself into a hammock.
The Nemo Stargaze naturally puts you in an upright seated position, and if you want to recline, you need to pop your hands back on those rests before pushing your back backwards, and the chair will adjust with you. Don't just push your bum back in the chair, because, despite the fact that the design has been re-engineered since it first launched to offer a lower centre of gravity, it is still not especially difficult to flip over (allow me to refer you back to my 'So you think you know how to sit in a chair?' point above.)
Initial toppling potential aside, it's in fact an extremely elegant solution for a reclining chair. Using friction and bodyweight to change the amount of recline to your exact preference is neat, clever and extremely effective once you've got used to it.
For relaxing about camp, the Stargaze is supremely comfortable. The swinging design is soothing and satisfying, and the shape fits the body well. While it's ideal for chilling out or reading, the lack of stability is not such a good choice for eating, especially if you need to balance your food on your lap. It's fine for drinking though, and the cup/can/bottle holder is stable enough for some swinging without spillages, provided your chosen receptacle isn't entirely open-topped.
Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner review: verdict
I've never sat in a camping chair like the Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner. The design is genuinely innovative, and it's not invention for the sake of it either – it's hugely comfy and relaxing in use. Yes, the price is high, but the build quality is excellent and Nemo has gone out of its way to ensure all the elements are up to scratch, from the smart and practical carry case to details like the cup holder and tech pouch. The ultimate glamping camping chair.