Geosettr
Hiking

10 Best Backpacking Chairs in 2020

No innovation of man, robot or sentient parrot will ever replace the wonder of backpacking in the great outdoors. The smell of nature in your nostrils and the feel of dirt between your fingers can revitalize your mind and soul as you remember the importance of life without an Instagram filter over it. So often now do we take a picture and post it online rather than taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature with our own eyes.

We all need time to reconnect with the elements but it doesn’t always have to be a survivalist slog where you come back unshaven and starving. Backpacking and camping can be a civilized affair and often the best survivalists are the ones who go out into the wilderness prepared and ready.

You know to bring your tent and sleeping bag but one of the most overlooked camping essentials is a comfortable lightweight camping chair so you can catch your breath and take it the natural wonder that surrounds you.

Knowing which is the best backpacking chair to take with you is not always so easy though. There are many cheap alternatives that may not survive your dynamic journey to the top of a mountain or just be so heavy that you may not reach the summit at all.

Even if you’re not a globe-trotting wayfarer, you can get your breath of nature from the beach. Even that supplies its own set of problems though as your chair can keep sinking in the sand and the entropic mistress called back pain can start to creep up on you from your compromised lumbar support.

You should never settle for these problems ruining your relaxing time outside, especially when we’ve looked at 10 of the absolute best backpacking chairs available in 2020 from amazon.com. So sit back and take a look at the best ways to sit back.

View The Best Backpacking Chair Below

1. Sportneer Folding Camp Chair

Sportneer Folding Camp Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

Many camping chair manufacturers claim their backpacking chairs to be the lightest weight and most durable but the Sportaneer Folding Camp Chair is clearly the best. Offering the best balance between strength, size, and comfort, the Sportaneer’s frame is made from heavy duty aluminum and weighs as little as 2 lbs. Even with such a low weight it can support an incredible 350 lbs. The 60D nylon fabric molds into a curved backrest that provides maximum comfort and plenty of support when sitting for long periods. It has sweat proof protection for hot climates or days at the beach and the breathable mesh will help keep you cool. Many backpacking chairs are built from high denier fabrics but the Sportaneer purposefully uses the smaller 60D fibers to ensure you get the most accommodating and comfortable seat possible. The Nylon is still strong and durable against the elements but never sacrifices comfort.

Pros:
+ Close to ground for maximum stability
+ Ultralight backpacking chair
+ High support weight capacity
+ Curved backrest provides maximum comfort

Why We Like It – The Sportaneer’s aluminum frame uses a tent pole-style design with interlocking bars and an internal cord for fast assembly in tough environments. The non-slip leg grips will make sure you sit safely and in comfort anywhere. It folds down into a small size carry bag (14.2” x 5.25”) which can be attached to your backpack, bicycle or mountain goat with ease. This is one of the best light weight camp chairs you can get.


2. Helinox Collapsible Camping Chair

Premium Quality - Helinox Collapsible Camping Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

 

One of the first things that jump out about the Helinox chair is the massive range of colors and designs available. This is not just a range of pastel colors either, it comes in stripes, camo, patterned designs and something called RealTree Coyote, which looks as great as it sounds.

The frame of this Helinox chair is made from proprietary aluminum alloy, which makes the Helinox chair one of the best for strength whilst still remaining portable. The chair weighs 2.1 lbs and can support up to 320 lbs of weight capacity.

Whilst this is not quite as much as the Sportaneer Folding Camp Chair, the Helinox chair comes with a 5-year warranty and UV resistant material to make sure it withstands long days out in the sun. The Helinox chair has an airy and comfortable fabric seat that is made from 600-weave rip-stop polyester which ensures immense durability and protection in multiple environments.

It is even removable and washing machine safe for easy cleaning of the camp seat. The Helinox chair frame uses an internal bungee cord for a quick set up and fold down and can be easily stored in its 4.5” x 14” size carrying case.

Pros:
+ Huge choice of designs and colors
+ 5-year warranty
+ Machine washable
+ Airy and comfortable fabric seat

Why We Liked It – This Helinox chair comes with a 5-year warranty and UV resistant material, which is perfect for summer. It is made from 600-weave rip-stop polyester, making this Helinox chair one of the most luxurious and ultralight backpacking chairs.

3. MARCHWAY Folding Camping Chair

MARCHWAY Folding Camping Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This nifty little backpacking chair can be assembled in under a minute with its built in shock cord. A corrosion-resistant, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame houses the shock cord internally for a speedy and sturdy set up every time. The stability of the Marchway is enhanced by the tight fit of the seating canvas and additional Velcro fasteners.

Marchway does warn that the last attachment of the CORDURA nylon seat requires some force to secure, but this is only to ensure the backpacking chair retains unprecedented stability and strength when being moved in its fully assembled form. The CORDURA nylon has been strengthened further with Rip-stop technology to ensure it can handle tough environments and handling.

The corners of the frame have been reinforced as well, making the Marchway folding camp chair one of best for strength, reliability and well-deserving of the Great Value title. Despite all of these additional securities and features, the aircraft grade aluminium means this chair still only weighs as little as 2 lbs, making it one of the most lightweight camping chairs.

Pros:
+ Velcro and reinforced corners add unrivaled stability
+ Ultralight backpacking chair
+ Aircraft grade aluminium.

Why We Like It – It can support weights up to 250 lbs, which is not as much as some other chair models on our list, but the Marchway makes up for this in stability and hold multiple times over. It comes with breathable mesh on the sides to make sure you stay cool and can fold down into a 14.2” x 5.2 packed size.


4. Nice C Folding Chair

Nice C Folding Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This backpacking chair is undoubtedly the king of beach lounge chairs. Even the most pristine of folding camp chairs are put to the test when it comes to remaining stable and secure in the sand. The Nice C backpacking chair tops them all with its unique pan-shaped feet that gives the best weight distribution and allows the chair to rest on top of even the finest ground and sand without sinking.

Straps run from leg to leg on this low-sitting chair which provides additional back support and stability on difficult terrain. It should be mentioned that such a low to ground sitting model may not be for everyone, as getting up may be problematic for the older users. However, the Nice C is so comfortable it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to get out of it in the first place!

The cool and breathable meshing keeps you relaxed during long rests whilst the 1000D industrial strength polyester protects you from any amount of sand or dirt. The U-loop sewn polyester is designed to provide protection from fraying and therefore weakening, meaning longer lifespan for your chair. It is one of the very few backpacking chairs that come with cushioned armrests so you can really sink into your seat and enjoy your sea-side view.

Pros:
+ Pan shaped feet are best for use on sand
+ Comfortable, cushioned ushioned armrests
+ 3-month money-back guarantee through amazon services.

Why We Like It – The Nice C is the only backpacking chair on our list that has a frame made from heavy duty steel, not aluminum. This means it is the heaviest at 6.2 lbs and probably not as suitable for mountaineering or long foot-based travel. But all the weight is worth it for a beach chair that will make you never want to leave your sandy retreat.


5. Sportaneer Backpacking Chair

Sportaneer Backpacking Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This chair ticks all the boxes of basic functionality for a backpacking chair whilst adding in a few new features that set it aside from the other chairs. The frame is made from heavy duty aluminum, keeping it light at 2 lbs but still able to support 350 lbs of weight capacity.

The Sportaneer goes a step further by adding a choice of 3 height setting notches to ensure you can find one that fits best to you for maximum comfort. Many sitting or back injuries happen through people using items that are not properly adjusted to their shape or size.

The Sportaneer Backpacking Chair will make sure this is never an issue for you. The 60D nylon seat is extremely comfortable and is the same material that earned the Sportaneer Folding Camp Chair the title of Best Overall on our list.

Pros:
+ Storage pouches
+ Ultralight backpacking chair
+ Height adjustable.
+ Comfortable nylon seat

Why We Like It – This backpacking chair differs is with the quick-snap bungee cord to allow for fast set up and the inclusion of two attached storage pouches on either side. These are ideal for keeping valuables or sealed beverages off the ground and safely stored away.


6. Sunyear Camping Backpack Chair

Sunyear Camping Backpack Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

The Sunyear’s frame is made from aircraft grade 7075 Aviation alloy, making it one of the best heavy duty and strongest aluminum frames available. Regrettably, it is made from aviation alloy does not make it flight ready to leave the ground, but it does mean it weighs as little as 2.1 lbs and can support up to 250 lbs of weight.

What sets the Sunyear apart from other backpacking chairs is the larger deep seat design. The soft 500D Nylon seat is purposefully enlarged to allow more room and movement whilst sitting and means you can lie back further for a more comfortable rest.

The internal frames shock cord allows for quick assembly and is noticeably tighter than other shock cords. This allows for better integrity and holds when moving the chair in its assembled form. The rubber leg tips have also been enlarged to allow for better weight distribution and balance.

Pros:
+ Larger deep seat design for added comfort
+ Tighter shock cord for moving whilst assembled
+ Strongest grade aluminum

Why We Like It – This chair has quite a low ground height to minimize risk of tipping and is fully washing machine safe. It also features side pockets and can collapse down to a packed size of 13.8” x 4.3” for easy traversal.


7. Moon Lence Outdoor Folding Chair

Moon Lence Outdoor Folding Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This versatile folding chair has a wider leg span than other models, which gives it excellent stability. The Moon Lence is also available with larger foot-tip sizes to deal with harsher terrain and ground such as mud or sand. The anti-skip design means the feet grip the ground and distribute weight better for a more stable hold.

Its high strength aluminum alloy frame can support up to 242 lbs of weight whilst weighing only 2 lbs itself. The bungee cord tent-pole design allows for super-fast assembly and deconstruction, making it one of the best backpacking chairs to have on the go or to whip out for a quick break halfway up a hiking trail.

Yet with the breathable meshing of the seat and wide range of colors available, this chair is also great for concerts, tailgating in parking lots or just lazing in the local park.

Pros:
+ Versatile
+ Waterproof
+ Range of colors

Why We Like It – The 420D oxford nylon seat is waterproof and therefore one of the best chairs for beach or lakeside fishing and can be wiped down clean with ease.


8. 8 Nice C Camping Backpack Chair

8 Nice C Camping Backpack Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

The Nice C has a frame made from aviation grade aluminum and can support weights of up to 250 lbs. The ultra-light weight of the frame keeps the chair at an easy 2.1 lbs in weight and folds down to a 14” x 5” carry case. The aluminum has been treated with anti-rust and corrosion measures to ensure you get a longer lifespan out of this chair.

The seat material is made from 600D industrial grade mesh nylon and uses the Nice C U-loop anti fray sewing technique to ensure longer life and better durability. The nylon comes with added Rip-stop and anti-slip properties whilst remaining breathable for maximum comfort.

It is fully washing machine safe and comes in a selection of colors and designs. The Crane style is quite possibly our favorite out of all the chairs on our list with its elegant artwork that is likely to have heads turn all-around your campsite.

Pros:
+ Rip stop and anti-slip material
+ Available in Crane design
+ Available in double packs
+ Breathable for maximum comfort

Why We Like It – The Nice C is available in double packs, meaning you’re saving money if you’re buying for the whole family and every chair comes with a 3 month money back guarantee.


9. Trekology YIZI Go Portable Camping Chair

Trekology YIZI Go Portable Camping Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

The Trekology YIZI Go is one of the best backpacking chairs for hot climates. The mesh panels have been designed for greater airflow whilst sitting, which means no more peeling your sweaty self off the material. The YIZI Go uses a deeper seat design to allow for better lower back support and more comfortable experience.

The 600D engineer grade polyester seat protects against sweat and the side pockets allow you to store refreshments and valuables safely. The carry case doubles as an additional storage space by clipping to the bottom of the chair when assembled.

These clips are also used as pack straps when the case is being used to carry the collapsed chair. This means you can easily attach your packed away chair to your backpack, bike or helicopter if you’re the type of person who has access to one.

Pros:
+ An enhanced lower back support
+ Multi-functional case with pack straps
+ Best for use in high heat

Why We Like It – The aircraft grade aluminum frame keeps the weight low at 2 lbs and is able to support a weight of up to 300 lbs. An internal shock cord is housed within the tent-pole frame design and makes for speedy assembly and collapsing.


10. G4Free Portable Camping Chair

G4Free Portable Camping Chair

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

The G4Free literally stands higher than any other chair on this list. The high strength 7075 aluminum alloy frame puts you further from the floor than any other model on our list. The back support of the chair rises so far up that it includes a padded headrest. This chair is undoubtedly the best for senior users or people with back problems that may have difficulty getting up from some of the lower sitting chairs.

It weighs 2.8 lbs, which is more than most standard models of backpacking chair but then none of those come with a headrest. It can support weights up to 220 lbs and is ideal for long sitting activities such as fishing. Side pockets and the additional carry case can be used for item storage such as valuables or fishing supplies with ease.

Pros:
+ Padded headrest
+ Made from high durability material
+ Good storage pockets and space.

Why We Like It – The 900D oxford nylon material is some of the most robust and durable available, making it one of the best chairs for dealing with rough environments whilst retaining style and comfort. Mesh panels line the sides of the chairs to ensure the G4Free is versatile in warmer environments and keeps you comfortable no matter what.


Backpacking Chair Buyer’s Guide

There can be many things to consider when buying a backpacking chair. For some buyers, having a simple perch to stay off the ground is all they require. Mountain climbers or hikers, however, may require a backpacking chair that is more robust, durable and lightweight in order to carry it over many miles.

It is important to have an idea of what you expect your chair to endure so you can make your purchasing choice appropriately. The last thing you want is to get to an ice cavern at the edge of the earth and discover that your chair legs were bent when that passing family of snow cougars attacked.

We’ve broken down some of the factors that make up the best backpacking chairs so you can make the right choice and never get caught off guard when you’re relaxing.

Deniers / Thread counts

A folding camp chair stands on the shore against the background of the autumn landscape. Concept: outdoor recreation in autumn, good for human health.

On almost all backpacking chair descriptions you will see a measurement ending with the letter D. This is known as the Denier count or thread count. In the same way that silk or cotton fabrics have a thread count to determine how soft or well made they are, backpacking chairs use a Denier count to measure the thickness of the fibers or cords woven together to make the fabric meshing of the seat.

The higher the Denier number, the thicker the fiber. The thicker the fiber, the more durable and heavy duty the material tends to be. This is not always an exact rule as there are differences between polyester and nylon but it stands as a decent enough guide to help you determine whether a chair with 600D oxford nylon is enough for your planned hike through a forest. Chairs with as low as 60D stand to likely be softer and more accommodating to bare skin but will likely last less time against the elements than say a 600D fabric.

A higher denier rating is definitely recommended for heavy weather as many of them come with a level of waterproofing. Some brands of backpacking chairs will also use “Rip-stop” technology in their weaves which is ideal if you’re going to be traveling through wooded areas where trees or rocks can easily snag you.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t bother with any of the low-end denier counts though. Our voted Best Overall chair, the Sportaneer Folding Camp Chair only has a Denier rating of 60D and it won best voted because of the superior comfort and versatility the 60D fiber offers. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your chair relaxing at the beach or around your campsite, a high denier chair probably isn’t as suitable.

Take some time to consider which denier will work best for you. If either high or low deniers seem extreme you can always purchase a chair with 300D to get a happy medium between comfort and strength.

Supporting weight capacity

man is sitting in the chair at the camp in mountains

It should be noted that the supporting weight capacity of a chair is considered to be the amount of weight a chair can support before it breaks. While this sounds self-explanatory, you need to be aware that a backpacking chair that claims to support 200 lbs of weight is likely to only support anywhere from approximately 150 lbs to 180 lb comfortably. Repeated use of your chair at its maximum capacity is likely to shorten the lifespan of it. If you are a larger build user or want to have multiple people sit in the chair at one time (which we do not recommend for safety and balance reasons) then it will be worth paying for a chair with an increased supporting weight.

Cleaning and caring for your chair

To get the most life out of your chair, you should care for and clean it as much as you would the furniture in your living room. After all, when you’re camping in the wilderness, the world becomes your living room! Some models of backpacking chairs have fully removable seats to allow for easy cleaning.

Make sure to find out whether your seat is washing machine safe or not and be sure to follow any cleaning instructions carefully. For most non-machine chairs a simple damp or soapy cloth with suffice to get rid of any acquired mud, sand or fishing smell. Many of the best backpacking chairs come with sweat or corrosion protection to ensure longer life but these still need to be cleaned and cared for.

Types of Camping and Backpacking chairs

a young couple on vacation in camping

There is a handful of different styles of backpacking chairs available, however, we highly recommend the free-standing tent pole style of chair that all the models in our list use. Here is a quick overview of some of the others.

Fold-out chair / Taco Chairs

These are essentially a camping mat or sleeping pad with a back to it. These sleeping pad chairs offer little to no back support and only really accomplish keeping you from sitting directly on the ground. You might get use out of one of these sleeping pad chairs with small children at the beach but other than that we don’t recommend them.

Inflatable Chairs

You heard right, inflatable chairs are more associated with festival-goers or glampers. The more expensive of these chairs come with self-inflation features but will forever be susceptible to punctures or tears even when not inflated. These chairs are comfortable but are often prone to tipping over.

Tent pole / traditional Camping chairs

Our obvious and clear favorite is the camp chair. All the chairs in our list are of this design because they offer so much versatility, mobility, and strength. Whether you are a casual camper or a wild wayfarer, this design of the backpacking chair will tough things out with you and last longer, giving you a reliable chair with the best value for money.

Do I really need a chair? I mean there’s a perfectly good log over there, can’t I just sit on that?

You absolutely could just go sit on a log, rock or very still marsupial but it’s unlikely you’d want to sit there for very long. Investing in a quality backpacking chair ensures that you get a comfortable and reliable place to sit no matter where you are. In the event of rain or snow, you definitely want to be sitting on a dry and elevated surface in order to keep warm. You should also consider that prolonged sitting on a rough surface may lead to back pain, which is the last thing you want during traveling. Buying a chair that fits your shape perfectly will provide a means to avoid this.

How much weight should I carry for backpacking?

According to many camping blogs and websites, the average recommendation is 15%-20% of your body weight. There are other factors to consider in this as well, such as the weather and temperature of where you will be backpacking or hiking. Cold temperature areas will require thicker and heavier clothing and this will add to your overall weight, meaning your pack should weigh slightly less.

Is bringing a backpacking chair a good idea if I’m trying to reduce my pack weight?

Most professional brand backpacking chairs, including many on our list, weigh as little as 2lbs. This is a small portion of your overall carry weight and we think it’s worth it. Having a chair means you will get the most out of your resting time during your journey. You are less likely to injure yourself in prolonged, uncomfortable seating positions and with a better rest, you will have better potential to travel further.

Can you use all backpacking chairs at the beach?

The short answer is yes but bear in mind that some models of backpacking chairs have smaller feet and are likely to sink into the sand more. Either position your chair away from sandier areas or invest in a chair with wider feet.

Try this: Place your chair on top of a spread out beach towel to reduce the amount of sand sinking.

Conclusion

Whichever backpacking chair or portable chair you decide to purchase, you can take comfort in knowing that you will never again suffer the wet bum of sitting on the ground. You can sit around the campfire, elevated and sophisticated with perfect back support whilst still drinking in the night air of the wilderness. For those who seek to conquer mountains and walk further than they ever have before, the kingdom that is your campsite awaits you, but your throne is already packed.

Related posts

How Fast Can a Bear Run?

Greg Roberts

10 Best Compasses of 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Greg Roberts

External Frame Backpack Benefits & Guide

Greg Roberts

10 Best Heated Socks in 2020

Greg Roberts

How to Pack a Backpack Efficiently & Effectively

Greg Roberts

Our Guide to Hiking the Oregon Coastal Trail

Greg Roberts