As much as we love backpacking adventures, it can get a little exhausting carrying your pack on your back day after day. Having a comfortable camp is crucial to maintaining your energy levels, and ensuring that you wake up feeling ready to hit the trail in the morning.
You need to be careful though – too much extra gear will weigh you down and hinder your progress. So what are the best options for creating comfy camps but not bogging yourself down? Backpacking chairs are a great bit of gear that make all the difference to your tea breaks on the trail and your evening camping set-up, yet the best ones only weigh a couple of pounds. Unlike normal camping chairs, which you would have no chance carrying!
Here, we’ve searched high and low to bring you the best backpacking chairs currently on the market. With so many options out there, choosing the right one for you can be a little daunting, so we’ve highlighted some key things to look out for when you’re shopping around, and we’ve whittled down our list to our top three to help you decide. Because who says you can’t bring a touch of luxury to your backpacking experiences?
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Best for Portability
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Best for Mountaineering
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Setting the bar high, the first item on our list of the best backpacking chairs around is the Sportneer Backpacking Chair. The frame of this chair is constructed from aluminum, making it strong and lightweight, plus there are rubber feet on the ends to stop you from sliding around on slippy ground. The 600D fabric used for the seat itself is abrasion- and water-resistant, and it has mesh panels to stop you from overheating and to allow for rapid drying.
Not only is this chair super durable, but it’s lightweight and portable too, weighing just 2 lbs and folding down into its 14 x 5.5-inch carry bag. The set-up couldn’t be easier either – the shock cord pole system snaps together intuitively in seconds, leaving you with the sturdy frame.
This chair isn’t the tallest out there – the seat is 13.8 inches tall and the back reaches 26 inches – so bear this in mind if you have back issues. But don’t let the small size fool you, this is one strong chair that can hold up to 350 lbs.
Overall, this is an excellent lightweight, reasonably priced, durable backpacking chair that we bet you’re going to love!
If you’re after a simple campsite seat and you don’t want to shell out a fortune, then we’d recommend the ALPS Mountaineering Stool.
This stool is constructed from sturdy steel and durable 600D polyester, plus the enhanced center support and webbing system around the legs mean it can hold up to 250 lbs, which is pretty impressive for its size.
It’s super convenient too and takes only seconds to assemble via a simple unfolding mechanism. It folds down into an included carry bag or, if you prefer, simply use the carry strap that attaches directly to the stool itself. Just watch out that the Velcro strap that keeps the seat folded is attached, as the strap is a little on the short side.
The lack of back support will certainly put some people off, and it does make this a less comfortable option than a traditional camping chair, but if you’re after something light and simple that won’t break the bank, then this is a great option.
The TravelChair Joey is a cleverly designed camping chair that won’t let you down and has some nice extra touches.
The frame itself uses a shock-cord system, which makes set-up super simple and losing poles much harder – winning. The poles make up the frame and are constructed of anodized aluminum which, combined with durable ripstop nylon seat material, provides a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. And don’t worry about muddy ground if your weight nears that limit, the feet won’t sink in thanks to the rubber disk feet that increase surface area to prevent sinkage.
The seat has breathable mesh inserts to stop you from overheating, and the seat is a whopping 16 inches high so that your back will be fully supported and you can really stretch your legs, making for one very comfortable seating experience overall.
Packing down to 4 x 4 x 14 inches, this makes for a great backpacking chair, although we wish it weighed a little less – 2.3 lbs is about as heavy as we’re willing to go with a backpacking chair. It’s also a tad on the expensive side compared to other similar models, but you do get some extra features for the extra dollars, so the choice is up to you.
Introducing our first ground-level camping chair, the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0. This innovative camping chair has no legs and can be placed anywhere – from the forest floor, to sandy beaches, to grassy patches.
It’s constructed from ripstop nylon alongside EVA closed-cell foam padding, which not only makes it super comfortable but makes it incredibly lightweight too. As well as weighing a meager 1.4 lbs, this chair rolls up to a 4 x 16-inch tube that can easily be popped into a backpack plus, in case there’s no room in your pack, it comes with an integrated hanging loop so you can clip it on the exterior instead.
Although the nylon used could be more durable, the carbon-fiber stays, reinforced wing connections, and nylon webbing all make for a decent weight capacity of 250 lbs. Plus, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty in case that nylon doesn’t hold out on you.
This chair does lack the height of traditional chairs, restricting leg-stretching capacity, but it has adjustable side straps so that you can find the right position for you. Overall, that avoids carrying those hefty frames altogether.
Helinox are a reputable brand in the world of outdoor camping chairs, and the Helinox Chair One is one of our favorites.
The aluminum alloy frame and 600-weave ripstop polyester seat are super durable and result in a maximum weight capacity of 320 lbs. Plus, we love that the seat fabric is removable and machine washable (so is the carry case) so you don’t have to waste time hand-cleaning when you get back from your trip.
Set-up is very simple thanks to the internal bungee cord system that moves poles into place. It also has a decent seat height of 14.5 inches, so you can stretch your legs after a long day of walking in the wilderness.
One thing to note with this chair, however, is that it’s prone to leaning backward as the feet are quite close together. It rarely tips, but the lean can be a little disconcerting. It’s also a little on the expensive side, but it does come with a 5-year warranty so that you can be sure to get your money’s worth. Oh, and we love that it’s available in a huge range of colors.
The Mountainsmith Sling Back Chair is another floor-based option and is a great choice for anyone that prioritizes a light weight over seat height.
This chair is essentially an incredibly durable 610D nylon strip that relies on your trekking poles to provide its frame. As you use poles that you’re already carrying, this chair adds very little to your overall weight – just an astonishing 0.33 lbs. The lack of poles also means that it can fold up into a very compact parcel, which is great for stowing in your backpack inside the included carry case.
Again, as with all floor-based options, your leg stretching will be restricted, which might be a red flag if you have a bad back. Plus, setting up does take a little getting used to, but once you’ve mastered it, you’re left with an incredibly comfortable, affordable, and ultralightweight chair – perfect for those backpacking adventures!
The MOON LENCE Folding Chair is another popular backing chair, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it have a sleek and stylish appearance, but it’s built to last too thanks to the aluminum alloy frame and durable 600D Oxford cloth seat. The set-up is very simple too, and there are even pull loops to help you stretch the seat over the frame.
Furthermore, it weighs just 2 lbs and breaks down to a nice and compact size of 15 x 5.5 inches. Its ergonomic design and seat height of 15 inches have made it well-known for being one of the comfiest chairs of its type, and the breathable mesh panels stop you from overheating too. Plus, the back support is unrivaled and we absolutely love that it has dual side pockets so you can keep your essentials close at hand.
Unfortunately, the feet of the chair do tend to sink a little in soggy ground, so watch out where you park your chair around the campsite. The weight capacity could be a little higher too but, overall, this is a great backpacking chair that will let you sit back in ultimate comfort and won’t break the bank either.
Introducing the second stool on our list, the Grand Trunk Micro Camp Stool. You might have noticed that this stool is almost double the price of the ALPS Mountaineering Stool – but is it worthy of the extra cost?
One of the most notable things about this stool is its incredibly durable materials – the 1680D nylon seat fabric is the toughest of all chairs on our list, making it ultra-resistant to tears and abrasions (and to water). It’s also the lightest item on our list, weighing in at just 0.62 lbs, making it a great choice for anyone that’s keen to shed some extra weight from their pack.
It packs down nice and compact too thanks to the aluminum pole system used for the frame. Plus, we love the net storage area underneath the seat that means you can really get settled and not have to worry about jumping up to gather your possessions every 5 minutes.
As with all stools, the lack of back support means it probably isn’t the best choice for anyone suffering from back problems, and it is a little on the pricey side. Despite this, if you’re after an ultra-portable stool for backpacking adventures, this is a great choice that won’t let you down.
Introducing another backpacking chair by Helinox, the Helinox Chair Zero. This is a great backpacking chair that’s a good pound lighter than most similar models, weighing in at just 1.2 lbs. It packs down small too, so if portability is a top priority for you, then this chair could be the way to go.
We love that the seat material can be popped in the washing machine too – after all, we all know that backpacking trips can get pretty smelly. there are also compatible rubber feet that stop you sinking into the ground, although these have to be purchased separately, adding to the (already high) cost of the chair.
The weight capacity could be a little higher too but, if you’re willing to pay for it, this is a high-end ultralightweight camping chair that won’t let you down – oh, and it comes with a 5-year warranty too.
There you have it – our top selection of backpacking chairs. But what is it that makes a good backpacking chair? Here are a few things to consider before you make your final decision.
If you’re going to be carrying your load around on your back, you want it to be as light as possible. Stools tend to be lighter than traditional chairs, but ground-level chairs that lack poles are often very lightweight too. Size is also a key factor – how small does the chair fold down? Some chairs fold so small you can pop them in your backpack, while others will need to be carried as a separate item, so make sure that you check out the packed dimensions as well as the assembled ones. Plus, all good backpacking chairs should come with either a carry bag, strap or (ideally) both.
If you’re going to be using your chair out in the wilderness, you want something that you can rely on. In terms of the seat material, nylon and polyester are the most common thanks to their durable and water-resistant nature, but some are tougher than others. Deniers’ (D) is the term we use to refer to how thick individual fibers are – the greater the denier the tougher the fabric. Robust outdoor gear is generally made of at least 600D material, so be wary of anything lower. Aluminum is the top choice for backpacking chair poles as it’s light and tough – you’ll notice all the chairs listed here have aluminum frames.
Finally, how you’ll be using your chair is a huge factor. If it’s just for sitting down during tea breaks and you don’t want to be weighed down, then a stool is a good idea. However, if you’ll be sitting around the campfire for hours, then you’re probably better off with a traditional chair that lets you stretch your legs. Ground-level chairs are a nice compromise, as they provide back support but weight less than chairs, but your legs might get a bit damp in bad weather.
In case you’re still struggling to decide which chair is right for you, here are our ultimate top three backpacking chairs:
Our favorite backpacking chair in terms of portability has to be the Mountainsmith Sling Back Chair. Weighing in at just 0.33 lbs and folding down nice and small, you’ll hardly know you have this chair in your pack – perfect for those long multi-day hiking trips.
It’s also super durable, affordable, and once you’ve got the hang of it, it can be assembled in seconds – what’s not to love?
If you’ll be trekking up mountainsides, poles in hand, then we’d recommend the Grand Trunk Micro Camp Stool. This incredibly sturdy stool will withstand even the toughest of environments, plus it’s an ultralightweight option that lets you stretch your legs after a long day’s hike – perfect
But what’s our absolute favorite? You might have guessed it… it’s the Sportneer Backpacking Chair. This chair is a great allrounder. It’s constructed from durable, breathable materials and has a great weight capacity considering its own light weight.
Plus, we love the rubber feet that stop you from sinking into the ground. We really don’t think you can ask for much more, especially at this reasonable price!