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Considered by many to be a luxury item when backpacking, a chair can really add to both your comfort and happiness at camp — there is nothing worse than sitting on sharp rocks or dirty, wet ground while you try and cook or eat. So while a chair may add a pound or two to your overall pack weight, it’s worth it to have a significantly more enjoyable trip.
When choosing a chair to take backpacking, you will definitely want to take weight and pack size into consideration. Durability will also be important as you don’t want something that will break down on your first night on the trail. And while you may not be able to bring a luxury recliner like you could car camping, most backpacking chairs offer plenty of comfort for hours of staring at the fire or watching the sunset across the lake.
We’ve picked the best backpacking chairs for you, whether you are headed out for an overnight trip or for a few days deep into the backcountry.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Helinox Chair Zero
Weighing just 510 grams (one pound), the Chair Zero offers an ultralight solution for some extra comfort on your next backpacking trip. With a packed length of just 35 centimeters (less than 14 inches or about the size of a large water bottle), the chair will easily slide inside your backpack or strap to the outside compression straps. The seat includes just two parts — the ripstop polyester seat and single shock-corded pole structure frame — that makes for quick and easy setup. Four reinforced pole sleeves on the back of the seat simply slide into the corresponding poles on the base frame. The chair puts you 11-inches off the ground and can support up to 265 pounds.
Best Budget: Alps Mountaineering Ready Lite Low Chair
The seat on the Ready Lite Low Chair is made from a durable yet breathable 420-denier honeycomb ripstop material that attaches via reinforced corners to a lightweight aluminum frame. The frame includes a bottom piece with numbered holes to match the corresponding poles — just line up the numbers and insert. The chair comes in its own carry bag for easy transport and weighs just over two pounds. The carry bag includes instructions on the lid in case you need help assembling the chair. This low profile backpacking chair will hold up to 250 pounds in weight.
Best Lightweight: Alite Designs Monarch Chair
Designed to be used anywhere, the Monarch Chair features a unique two-legged base that allows you to balance on uneven surfaces by using your legs as support. Made from a collapsible tent pole base and durable ripstop nylon seat, the chair packs down into a 12-inch package — about the size of a Nalgene bottle. The backpacking chair weighs just 1.3 pounds so won’t weigh down your pack and can hold up to 250 pounds in weight. The Monarch Chair comes in a variety of fun colors to match your style or mood.
Best for Versatility: Therm-a-Rest Uno
The Therm-a-Rest Uno is sleek and lightweight at just over two pounds. This multi-functional chair packs completely into its own disc-shaped base that easily slips into a backpack. The chair includes a set of four shock-corded poles, a fabric seat, and an ABS plastic base. To put the chair together, the poles fit into corresponding holes on the base and corner pockets on the fabric seat. Then all you have to do is sit back and relax with the comfortable 21-inch seat back height — the chair will hold up to 250 pounds. If you don’t need a chair at the moment, the Uno can be converted into a side table for use at camp.
Best for Stargazing: Nemo Stargaze Recliner Low
If you don’t mind a little extra weight for some added luxury at camp, the Stargaze Recliner is a dynamic chair that both swings and reclines for the ultimate relaxing experience. The low profile seat sits close to the ground and swings smoothly and gently on any surface. When you are ready to recline, simply lean back and shift your body weight to activate the bungee-supported auto-recliner. The sturdy frame is made from aircraft grade aluminum and can hold up to 300 pounds. The seat is made from a mesh material to keep you cool in the summer heat, while padded armrests up the comfort factor. The chair includes a no-spill cup holder and a stash pocket for your phone, snacks, or a book.
Best Inflatable: Crazy Creek Air Chair Plus
The Air Chair Plus from Crazy Creek inflates in seconds to give you back support and 2.5 inches of cushioning against the hard ground. Side straps let you choose your lounging position and can support up to 250 pounds in weight. To save room and weight in your pack, the chair converts into a full length, 70-inch-long sleeping pad for use at night. When you want to lie down, all you need to do is inflate the leg extension that is stowed inside the seat cover and unclip the buckles on the side straps.
Once deflated, the chair rolls up into a compact four-inch diameter package for easy transport. The backpacking chair/sleeping pad combo weighs just under three pounds so it won’t add much to your overall kit. Made from a 210-denier coated ripstop nylon, the outer shell will stand up to rough rocks and protect you from wet ground.
Best for Happy Hour: Leki Breeze
Weighing just under 2.5 pounds, the Leki Breeze makes campsite happy hour that much more enjoyable thanks to a cup holder that can be attached on either side and a carry bag that doubles as a cooler at the base of the seat. The flexible bucket seat features mesh panels for extra ventilation on hot days. The shock-corded, single piece base is constructed of lightweight aluminum and fiberglass reinforced plastic for strength and stability. Rubber feet use six teeth to give the chair extra grip in uneven terrain.
Best for Lounging: Kelty Linger Low Back
Tired of sitting on logs or rocks at camp? Lightweight and strong, the shock-corded aluminum frame on the Kelty Linger Low Back is quick to set up. The chair’s carry bag slips onto the lower supports of the base so you don’t lose it at camp — this also acts as a pocket to hold your stuff when lounging. The foldable seat is made from a strong 600-denier fabric with mesh panels and slips onto the frame easily via the reinforced pole sleeves at the back.
A 14-inch seat back height offers plenty of support and comfort. When you are ready to pack up, the chair stows easily into its carry bag, and with an 18-inch pack size, fits into any backpack. Weighing two pounds, seven ounces, the chair can hold up to 250 pounds in weight.