Finding the best camping chair for you is a bit of a balancing act. As you get smaller and more compact, comfort levels tend to go down. A tiny collapsible stool might be the easiest to carry around, but it's not the best for relaxing on of an evening. For this guide, we've found a range of options for different priorities, from compact camping chairs that offer more comfort than you'd expect, to luxurious but bulky armchairs with pockets, drinks holders and even built-in heaters.
The central requirement might be simple – keeping your bottom off the damp, cold ground outside your tent – but past that there are myriad options. 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.
While you're in the process of improving your outdoors mealtime setup, you might also want to explore our pick of the best camping tables, camping lanterns, and the best camping cookware sets. All sorted? Read on for our pick of the best camping chairs for 2021.
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The best camping chairs to buy now
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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...
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 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.
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…