When you reach the campsite after a long day on the trail, there’s nothing quite so comforting for your weary, aching muscles as sinking happily into your backpacking chair for some rest and relaxation time. Whether you’re planning a 3-day camping trip or a lengthy outdoor adventure, your gear won’t be complete without the best backpacking chair to keep you comfortable and supported on the road.
If you’re not sure exactly what features you need to look for, or what your options are when selecting the best backpacking chair, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for the complete guide to choosing the best backpacking chair, including the top 5 chair options for any campsite.
Let’s get down to business!
Here’s what you need to know to pick out the best backpacking chair for your next trip.
The very first thing you need to consider when selecting the best backpacking chair is the comfort factor. It may seem like an obvious point, but if the chair isn’t comfortable for you, it’ll be pretty useless and probably remain untouched in your gear. Ultimately, the comfort of the best backpacking chair comes down to its height, width, and weight capacity.
First, consider the height of the chair’s back. If you are taller than average or have a longer torso, you’ll probably want a taller back that offers comprehensive support. You’ll also want to take the height of the seat into account, or how elevated the seat is above the ground. If you have longer legs, you’ll want a seat that is higher up to give your legs plenty of room to extend and stretch. If you have shorter legs, a shorter seat height will work just fine.
Don’t forget to consider the width of the chair’s seat when picking the best backpacking chair. Choose a width that is comfortable for you to sit in, gives your waist plenty of room, and allows you space to move around. Additionally, the weight capacity of your chair is essential. Most of the best backpacking chairs range in weight capacity from 250 up to 320 pounds.
Naturally, the best backpacking chair needs to be highly portable and easy to take on the road along with your other gear. Portability is a matter of the weight and the packed size of the backpacking chair. The best backpacking chairs generally shouldn’t weigh over 2 pounds. Considering that you will also be carrying gear like a tent or tarp, sleeping bag, or a change of clothes, your chair shouldn’t take up so much room that you feel like you overpacked. To be safe, stick around the 2-pound point in terms of chair weight, and you’ll be set.
The other portability aspect you need to take into account is the backpacking chair’s packed size. The vast majority of backpacking chairs break down into small packing sizes.
You can affix some models to the outside of your gear too, but outside hanging gear can be a real pain after several hours on a tough trail. It ultimately comes down to a matter of preference, but when picking a backpacking chair, you need to ensure you can either fit it into your gear or secure it on the outside with relative ease.
No one likes to get to the campsite after a long, sweaty day on the trail and find themselves grappling with their backpacking chair. Likewise, another point to bear in mind when picking out the best backpacking chair for your outdoor needs is ease of setup.
The best backpacking chairs either require no setup at all or feature an integrated collapsible pole system.
Durability is an important factor to consider when hunting for the best backpacking chair. The durability of your chair really comes down to the chair fabric’s material and the material the frame is designed from. The chair fabric needs to be very sturdy and able to hold up well against an array of terrain conditions to ensure it lasts you for many backpacking trips to come.
You should look for chair fabric with properties like a waterproof and washable design, as well as flame-retardant components. Many of the best backpacking chairs are designed from variations on polyester. Tear resistant polyester is among the most durable chair materials available.
Next, you need to consider the material of the actual frame of the backpacking chair. Most chairs are manufactured with aluminum frames, which are not only very light to carry, but highly durable. Aluminum is a quality chair frame material to look for because it is rust resistant, strong enough to hold up well in rough terrain, and wards off chips and nicks well.
Stability is one of the most critical elements to consider when picking the best backpacking chair for your next trek. If you’re going to be backpacking in rough, wilderness settings, you need to ensure that your chair is stable enough to stay in place without tipping over.
Will you be backpacking in the mountains? Will you be camping on the beach or on level terrain?
Consider the terrain of the regions you typically backpack and camp in to ensure the chair you pick is durable enough to hold up in these conditions.
Check out the top 5 best backpacking chairs every outdoor enthusiast needs to know about.
The first best backpacking chair on our list is the incomparable Helinox Chair One, ideal for everything for backpacking to camping to fishing adventures. We love that that the frame features durable DAC aluminum with 600-denier polyester chair fabric that will last you for many treks ahead. The chair holds a high weight capacity, up to 320 pounds, but weighs a mere 1.9 pounds so it won’t weigh down your pack.
We also like that this chair packs to compact dimensions at 14 x 4 x 5 inches, so you won’t have to leave too much extra space in your gear to bring it on the road with you. It’s pretty tough to beat the Helinox Chair One, with its compact, lightweight design that is capable of handling easy and rough terrain. Setup is super quick and uncomplicated, for both novices and experts alike.
The only real downside here is that the Helinox Chair One is a bit pricey when compared to some of the other selections on our list. The high quality of the chair is definitely worth the investment though, as is the fact that you won’t have to expend extra costs replacing it anytime soon.
The next best backpacking chair on our list is the Trekology YIZI High Back Portable Camping Chair, that weighs a moderate 3 pounds and has a compact packed size of 14 inches. We were really impressed by the 1000-denier fabric and chair frame designed from aerospace quality aluminum for stability and durability. The chair holds weights up to 300 pounds.
The backpacking chair is an ideal choice for tall campers because the chair back is pretty high and long. We were happy to see the integrated headrest to provide extra head and neck support after a long day out on the trail. In terms of comfort, the Trekology YIZI is definitely one of the best options out there. Besides this, it's a very lightweight backpacking chair and easy to carry for either short or long treks.
The Onwego Portable Folding Camping and Backpacking Chair made it to our best backpacking chair review for its quality price and lightweight configurations. It weighs just 2 pounds and sports a packed size of 14.25 x 5.25 inches, which is great if you are a minimalist backpacker who likes to take as little as possible out on the trail.
We liked the four-legged frame design of this best backpacking chair, which offers additional stability to the user. We would note, that while the chair can technically hold up to 330 pounds in weight, the recommended weight capacity is actually 250 pounds. So, if you would prefer a chair with a higher weight capacity this is something to bear in mind.
The main element this backpacking chair has going for it is its lightweight design and very small packed dimensions. It comes at an affordable price so you can enjoy stability and comfort on the road without breaking the bank. The fabric designed from ripstop nylon is not as durable as we would like, but the aerospace-grade aluminum frame is dependable.
Our next pick for the best backpacking chair weighs just 2 pounds and can support weights up to 240 pounds. We picked this best backpacking chair for its super light, foldable design that is easy to carry on the road and very simple to set up at the campsite. The chair’s fabric is manufactured from 600-denier Oxford cloth and a frame from highly sturdy aluminum.
One aspect we really loved about the Moone Lence Outdoor Ultralight Portable Folding Chair was its ergonomic seat, to offer you premium comfort without compromising the stability and support you require.
The seat fabric is highly breathable and soft to the touch, so your legs won’t get sweaty when you’re sitting at the campsite on a balmy day. The chair is also highly portable and really easy to break down, with mesh and holder components that can be folded to fit with ease in your pack.
Our final selection for the best backpacking chair is the Kijaro Dual Lock Portable Camping and Sports Chair, with a sturdy seat that doesn’t sag when you sit on it. The fabric is manufactured from diamond ripstop polyester, with a quality mesh component for lightweight breathability. The chair can support a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds. When folded, the chair comes to a compact packed size of 6.9 x 4.7 x 45.7 inches.
One of the key features we really liked about this product by Kijaro was its Dual Lock design, which means you can lock it open for sturdy support and lock it shut to fit into your pack with total ease. We also liked the extra accessories included in this best backpacking chair’s design, such as a carry strap and bag for easy transport, an extra organizer featuring zipped pockets, and 2 cup holders so you can stay hydrated when relaxing at the campsite.
While each of the best backpacking chairs in this review offer components to meet a wide range of backpacker needs, the one we feel offers the most versatility, durability, and longevity of use is the Trekology YIZI High Back Portable Camping Chair. We love how lightweight it is at just 13 pounds, with an incredibly compact 14-inch packed size.
What sold us was the durable 1000-denier fabric and aerospace grade aluminum frame, which is sturdy enough to serve you well in just about any terrain you’ll be adventuring in. The extra high back and supportive headrest were additional finishing touches that we really liked as well. For a lightweight, comfortable, and durable option that offers you quality support at an affordable price, it's tough to outdo the Trekology YIZI High Back Portable Camping Chair.