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This is the ultimate review and buyers guide of the 10 best backpacking chairs in 2021.
In this comprehensive article I’ll cover:
- Real-life field-testing – Back to back comparisons
- Build Quality & Durability
- Value for money and Best Buys
- Lots more…
Looking for the perfect backpacking chair to sit back, relax and while away the hours?
Want something that’s comfortable, great value for money, versatile, and will last from season to season?
If your answer was a resounding yes, then we have you covered – you’re in the right place.
Our team here at TopNotch researched 39 of the very best selling backpacking camp chairs on the market to find our Top 10 Contenders for 2021.
So make a cuppa and enjoy our review. We’ll help you choose the best product to make any outdoor gig more comfortable than ever.
- Best High Weight Capacity Backpacking Chair
- Best Backpacking Chair
- Best Most Versatile Backpacking Chair
- Best Outdoor Chair
- Best Smallest Camp Chair
- Best Canopy Chair
- Best Camping Chair for Bad Back
- Best Heavy Duty Camping Chair
- Best Lightest Hiking Chair
- Best Lightest Ground Chair
- Buyers Guide:
- How To Choose The Best Backpacking Chair
- TopNotch Top Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results
- Our Final Verdict
- Conclusion: Best Backpacking Chairs
Let’s take a look.
A new generation of backpacking chairs has revealed itself – these are superbly lightweight and compact, a far cry from the bulky, awkward camping chairs of the past.
And The Good News?
Technology and innovation have converged to a place where ultralight materials are now readily available and more affordable than ever. The great news is, it’s now possible to have a degree of comfort and luxury without ever compromising on space and weight.
Whether you’re looking to go camping with your family for the first time or you’re going to a festival with a group of buds, we’ve shortlisted the best backpacking chairs for 2021.
Best High Weight Capacity Backpacking Chair
1 – Trekology Chair
- Easy to set up
- Useful features
- Extra weight capacity
- Requires assembly
- Less robust
The Trekology YIZI GO Portable Camping Chair is a practical, robust and versatile collapsible chair with a very appealing price tag.
Although the Trekology YIZI Go is slightly heavier than other chairs in our review, it punches well above its weight with added features for you.
It’s lightweight, compact, and folds up easily. Plus – it can withstand the highest capacity of any chair on our shortlist – up to 300 lbs…
… that’s possibly you AND a loved one if you like.
Its deep seat is comfortable, offering superior back support. The side mesh panels allow air to flow through the chair which will help cool you down on hot and humid days, making it the perfect choice for hot weather hiking.
The chair is easy to set up, has plenty of storage, and comes with its own handy stuff sack. With a folding design, it’s compact and lightweight, making it ideal for camping, backpacking, and hiking.
It does require assembly, a downside of course.
Mercifully no tools are required.
The lightweight aluminum pole system with a permanently interconnected shock-corded main frame allows you to guide the connected poles directly into the frame.
The chair then pops up, you just need to attach the seat fabric and you’re good to go – making this one of the best backpacking camp chairs we’ve reviewed.
Read Full Review: Trekology Chair (YIZI GO Portable) Review
Best Backpacking Chair
2 – ALPS Mountaineering Weekender
- Somewhat heavy
The Weekender is a comfortable, durable ground chair with handy features, making it one of the best backpacking chairs we’ve had the pleasure to review.
While the back is not as high as on the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger, the soft material and cushioning make it a comfortable chair for backpacking.
Best of all…
Buckles and straps for adjusting the chair are easy to reach, enabling you to find the perfect sitting position without undue effort. Straps also go under the chair to attach to bleachers or canoes to ensure you stay in place, making it a very versatile chair indeed.
For a legless, portable hiking chair, it offers superior comfort, durability, and versatility. The Weekender also has a super handy back mesh pocket which is great for storage.
As the least expensive chair on our list, we think the ALPS Weekender could well be the best ultralight backpacking chair your money can buy.
Read Full Review: ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat (2020) Review
Best Most Versatile Backpacking Chair
3 – Crazy Creek 2.0
- Ultra-lightweight camping chair
- Thin when fully extended
The Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger is one of the best backpacking chairs in this review. Comfort, style, versatility, and durability: this lightweight chair has it all.
For an ultralight backpacking chair, look no further than the PowerLounger.
Weighing in at just 22 oz and rolling up to a compact 5.5 inches in diameter, this chair is a perfect blend of comfort and practicality.
The straps are easy to reach and easy to adjust for varying angles, while seated. An in-built carrying strap and buckle make packing and carrying ultra-easy.
And if that isn’t enough to love already…
What makes the Power Lounger super versatile is that it also doubles up as a sleeping mat.
The closed-cell foam padding gives extra insulation and comfort, while the outer layer made of durable 210D coated ripstop nylon protects you from the ground.
The 70D coated ripstop nylon is impressively hardwearing. It is water-resistant and easy to keep clean.
The HEX 2.0 PowerLounger is highly packable and perfect for an ultralight camping chair – ideal when the weight of your backpack is a concern.
Read Full Review: Crazy Creek Chair (Hex 2.0) Review
Best Outdoor Chair
4 – REI Flexlite
- Comfortable wide seat
- Good ventilation
- Good back support
- Time-consuming to assemble
As far as hiking chairs go, the REI Co-op Flexlite Chair is a lightweight, sturdy and comfortable chair you’d be more than happy to take along in your backpack.
Comparing the REI Flexlite Chair vs Helinox Chair Zero, it’s quick to assemble, and while it’s a little heavier than the Chair Zero (822g versus 482g)…
…it’ll save you a good few dollars.
The aluminum hubbed pole system is easy to deploy, and the open mesh nylon ripstop back allows plenty of ventilation for your summer chillouts.
The Flexlite sets up the same way as most 4-legged designs, but the fabric tends to stretch more, meaning it’s more ergonomic and adds to the comfort factor – which frankly, has to be the overriding concern when you’ve taken the perhaps tough decision to add this extra weight to your backpack.
Handy features include:
A mesh side pocket provides extra storage. In addition, loops are attached to the stuff sack making it easy to attach to the outside of a backpack. It packs up small enough to carry easily inside too, should you choose.
Folding chairs like the REI Co-op Flexlite are ideal for camping. This chair is light enough to be very versatile, allowing it to be used in varying conditions, although one member of our team notes it can be complicated to set up (really Steve!!!) and with tiny feet, it can feel less sturdy than the Chair Zero.
Best Smallest Camp Chair
5 – Crazy Creek Original Chair
- Less lightweight than the PowerLounger
- Less comfortable
- Not breathable
- Too stiff to roll up
The Crazy Creek Original is one of the most versatile backpacking chairs on the market and a time tested favorite.
It’s simple and practical design makes it extremely lightweight and portable, and the attached strap featuring a loophole makes it easy to clip on to a backpack or pack away when not in use.
The two sections of closed-cell foam are covered in a thicker Denier fabric for increased protection, with carbon fiber webbing to hold the chair’s shape. The outer shell is incredibly durable, protecting it from wet or uneven ground.
The Crazy Creek Original Chair is ideal for those who don’t necessarily need a conventional chair, but still want something comfortable to sit on around the campfire or to rest tired legs after a long hike.
For people who prefer not to sit on the ground…
…this might not be the best choice for a backpacking chair. The design means it can potentially be pretty difficult to bend your legs while sitting, and perhaps getting out of the chair could be problematic for some people.
Whilst it may not offer as much support as some of the other chairs in our review, it’s both lightweight and versatile – and along with fool-proof set-up, it’s one of the best choices for an ultralight backpacking chair.
Read Full Review: Crazy Creek Original Chair Review
Best Canopy Chair
6 – TravelChair Joey
- Good height
- Good value
The Joey is an excellent backpack camping chair that is stable on a variety of terrains and provides a comfortable and robust seat.
This chair excelled in comfort and stability. Its wide, sturdy anti-sink feet are ideal on any surface, gaining purchase easily and preventing it from tipping over easily.
The aluminum frame and thick ripstop nylon material have a 300 lb weight capacity, and the shock cord technology makes it very easy to assemble.
Users of the Joey rave about its comfort…
…particularly compared to chairs made of a flimsier material such as the Helinox Chair Zero. For ventilation and breathability, the Joey has mesh panels that will keep you cool on a warm day.
Standing at 16 inches off the ground, it is also easy to get in and out of and makes for a comfortable sitting position after a hard (but hopefully exhilarating) day on the trails.
The Joey is a sturdy, comfortable and durable chair, although weight is quite a drawback given that it’s marketed as a lightweight hiking chair.
At 38 oz, it’s one of the heavier chairs on our list, making it perhaps more suited for camping than a lightweight chair for backpacking.
Read Full Review: TravelChair Joey Review
Best Camping Chair for Bad Back
7 – Big Agnes Camp Chair
- The tall back gives support
- Feet sink in soft ground
The Big Agnes Big Six is a high backed, tall chair, making it easy to get in and out of, and ideal for users with a bad back.
The fully shock-corded color-coordinated pole system makes assembly really easy and quick.
It’s the most expensive chair on our list and also the heaviest, but it does have some noteworthy features.
It combines luxury and convenience – wider, deeper seats and pre-bent poles provide ergonomic comfort to your body shape, and a built-in headrest adds further comfort to this chair.
While it folds up compactly into its carry bag, at 49 oz, the Big Agnes Big Six is still a heavy chair to carry with you all day.
If you’re looking for lightweight hiking chairs or just a lighter chair to carry in your backpack, the TravelChair Joey might be a better option.
But as far as folding hiking chairs for bad backs go, or if you need a comfortable chair with a higher backrest, the Big Agnes Big Six could be a good choice for you.
Read Full Review: Big Agnes Big Six Review
Best Heavy Duty Camping Chair
8 – Helinox Swivel Chair
- Easy setup
Featuring a unique swivel design, the Helinox Swivel Camp Chair could very well be one of the best backpacking camp chairs on the market today.
Mesh vents give the Helinox Swivel Camp Chair ventilation and breathability, great on hot days, however, our testers agreed the placement of the vents could be better.
And if that’s not enough:
The removable chair seat and its carrying case (which can also be used as a pillow) are made from durable, UV-resistant rip-stop polyester. Both can be machine-washed and line dried.
Setup is super easy and fast thanks to a single internal bungee cord which auto-assembles the poles.
This chair blends comfort, portability, and functionality, although the legs of the swivel base can be a little unstable on some surfaces.
At 15 inches off the ground, the seat height and the mobility of the Swivel means it’s well suited to camping, cooking and even fishing and photography.
The downside, in a nutshell…
…the Swivel is expensive, and it’s heavy – three times heavier than the Helinox Zero – which makes it less appealing as a backpacking chair. It’s also not as comfortable as some of the other backpacking chairs available on the market.
Still, given its versatility, it could be a great buy for the right camper.
Read Full Review: Helinox Swivel Chair Review
Best Lightest Hiking Chair
9- Helinox Chair Zero
- Needs level ground
Weighing less than 500 g, the Chair Zero is the lightest backpacking chair on our list. It also has the smallest volume when packed, taking up no more space than your average one-liter water bottle.
It is one of the pricier options though, so you need to be happy to pay a premium for this ultra-light camp chair.
A deep, nylon scoop-seat supports you in a slightly reclining position. At 11 inches off the ground, it sits low enough to allow cooking and relaxing.
The four legs are made from anodized DAC aluminum poles which feature a single internal bungee cord to enable a fast setup process, allowing for easy and quick assembly and disassembly.
…the Helinox Chair Zero does need a flat surface which might not always be readily available when backpacking or camping. This can make it wobbly and less robust than some of the other chairs available.
It sits so low to the ground, so those with mobility issues may struggle to get in and out of the chair.
Being so compact and lightweight, the Helinox Chair Zero is the smallest folding camp chair we’ve reviewed. It’s a great backpacking chair, and also a great choice for those who want an ultralight backpack chair.
Read Full Review: Helinox Chair Zero Review
Best Lightest Ground Chair
10- Kelty Camp Chair
- Wider seat
- Awkward to use
- Not breathable
- Not durable
The Kelty Camp Chair is one of the most ultralight backpacking chairs featured in our review.
The softer fabric and additional padding make it a good contender for the best backpacking chair compared to the Crazy Creek Power Lounger or Crazy Creek Original.
However, we were all agreed that the Kelty Camp Chair turned out to be lacking a bit of the comfort factor, and its side straps are awkwardly positioned making any adjustment quite difficult without affecting the set-up of the entire seat.
While the Camp Chair rolls up easily…
… there is no storage pouch or even a strap to hold it in place, unlike the Crazy Creek options.
Durability was questionable given that there is no extra reinforcement around normal wear and tear points, which makes it susceptible to damage during normal use.
The Camp Chair doesn’t score highly on versatility either given that it doesn’t easily fold-out flat like some of our other options.
While this Camp Chair is lightweight, affordable and good for keeping you dry while you sit on the ground, that’s pretty much where the benefits end.
There are some fantastic lightweight hiking chairs available on the market but unfortunately, we don’t think the Kelty Camp Chair is one of them, despite its compact size and appealing (at first glance) price tag.
Read Full Review: Kelty Camp Chair Review
Why Trust Us?
We’ve specifically chosen outdoor enthusiasts with decades of experience to put all our reviewed products through their paces. Our findings are thoroughly checked; we field test, sift through hundreds of critiques, and real customer reviews to bring you the best product recommendations.
This review is authored by Alex Winters. As a seasoned camper and hiker herself, Alex spends a lot of time outdoors, which is why she is well qualified to tell you all about camping chairs. As a long-distance hiker, she knows that when it comes to pitstops, your chair can make or break the whole trip.
That’s why we rate the products against a wide range of metrics in our reviews. We know what makes a great backpacking chair, and we want you to be confident when you make your choice.
How To Choose The Best Backpacking Chair
You may think (like we did prior to producing this review!) that a camping chair is a luxury item, or that it’s not a true necessity for a hiking trip. But our field testing has convinced us that backpacking chairs are actually a great accessory, and not just for hiking and camping either.
More comfortable than perching on a rock or sitting in the dirt, there are some very good reasons for having ultralight camping chairs on your kit list.
Everyone knows that comfort can make or break a trip – and not just at the end of the day when you’re relaxing around the campfire. Having a light enough chair that can set up easily and pack down small can make your whole backpacking experience so much more rewarding.
When choosing a chair, here are some important factors to take into account:
Type Of Chair
Taco Style/ Ground Chairs
Taco style seats are designed to be used to sit on the ground or very close to the ground. They have a basic, timeless design, and fold up like an “L.” These chairs don’t have legs – you can use your own legs to create a comfortable angle to sit at. Straps and buckles adjust the seating position.
Taco style chairs tend to be made of very durable fabric as they are designed to be used directly on the ground; they are versatile because they can be used on any surface, still affording you a degree of comfort and protection from the dirt.
Depending on the model, they offer varying degrees of padding, insulation, and breathability. Some styles – like the Crazy Creek PowerLounger – fold flat and can also double as a sleeping pad.
Folding/ Tent Style
Foldable seats offer a bit more comfort than a ground seat, as well as sitting higher off the ground. They often have a tent-style setup, usually with lightweight poles and mesh seats, some of which can be removed and machine washed.
Sitting heights and back heights can vary, and many come with stuff sacks making them easy to pack and carry in your rucksack.
Common construction materials are lightweight aluminum poles, and durable ripstop nylon or polyester.
What does this mean for you?
Foldable chairs are more comfortable than other chair types but with the pole set up, they are slightly heavier and more expensive than the taco style chairs.
Foldable chairs come in a variety of set-ups, with anything from 2 to 4 legs. The Alite Butterfly had two legs, meaning you had to use your own legs to find balance. The Helinox Swivel Chair has four legs but allows you to (as the name suggests) swivel.
Pole legs tend to be thin with narrow feet, which means that this style of chair can be susceptible to sinking into soft ground.
Like foldable chairs, stools will give you height off the ground but lack the back support that a chair can provide. They frequently have a tripod design, which makes them super compact and lightweight.
Without back support…
…they are less comfortable, and so not ideal for sitting for long periods of time.
When choosing the best ultralight camping chair for you, there are a few metrics to take into account, depending on what you’ll be using the chair for.
Ideally, the best hiking chair will pack away inside your backpack. Many chairs come with their own stuff sack, and some backpacking chairs like the Helinox Chair Zero pack up smaller than a one-liter water bottle!
If space-saving is important to you, you’ll probably be looking for the smallest camp chair you can find – this may be your overriding concern.
If you’re not planning on carrying the chair inside your backpack, features that attach hiking chairs, stools, and pads to the outside of your backpack are also an option to look out for.
If you’re planning on car camping, then packed size might not be such a priority.
If weight is really critical, you might want a camping chair that can double up as your sleeping mat, like the Crazy Creek PowerLounger.
We think a product under 2 lbs will make for the best ultralight camp chair.
If you’re not walking far, or if you are planning to car camp and you’re not looking for the lightest camp chair, your main consideration won’t be weight – you’ll probably be choosing based on comfort level.
Comfort is important because the primary reason you’d pack a chair in the first place is to be comfortable.
If you’re carrying a chair on your back all day, you’ll probably want to have a snug chair to sit in when you rest. Bottom line is that if it’s not comfortable, you’ll leave it behind next time you travel – we’re trying to save your cash here.
Comfort does come down to personal preference. Consider whether you want a full-on hiking seat or an ultralight backpacking stool, or if you’d be happy with just a pad to sit on the ground.
Do you need breathable fabric?
Do you need insulation? Or
Think about where you’ll be using your chair, the height you want to sit, and what level of comfort you want.
The Helinox Swivel, TravelChair Joey, Big Agnes Big Six and the REI Co-op Flexlite Chair all scored very highly for comfort. Generally, we found the taco style chairs less comfortable on account of being close to or on the ground, but the ALPS Weekender Seat did score well.
In the wilderness, tough terrain can be a challenge for outdoor equipment. Having a chair that lasts is all-important.
All the chairs we’ve reviewed scored highly for durability – an important consideration when choosing a chair.
The Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger came out on top for durability, making it a great backpacking seat to have with you in rugged terrain.
Being versatile is also an important aspect of any backpacker chair. A multi-functional product can be a lifesaver.
Overall, when considering versatility, we took into account features, variety of uses, seat height, stability, and suitability for different terrains.
We liked that the Hex 2.0 PowerLounger can be used on any surface and can also double as a sleeping mat – a great feature when space is at a premium.
While somewhat heavier, we liked that the Helinox Swivel Camp Chair can be used for so many activities beyond just sitting – making cooking, fishing, and even photography so much more comfortable!
Value For Money
Value is not the same as price – we see it as a balance between performance and cost, and between luxury and practicality. We’re seeking out affordable products that perform best for the money. In this review, we measure whether or not the products justify their price tag.
Whether you’re looking for a lightweight multi-purpose chair or a luxury camping chair for relaxing around the campfire, you’re sure to find a chair to meet your needs in this list, whatever your budget.
We judged comfort based on its construction materials, breathability, ventilation, and insulation, as well as seat height and back height.
On a hot day, having breathable fabric is essential, so chairs with a mesh seat are very much appreciated. None of the taco-style ground chairs had particularly breathable fabric.
But wait, let me tell you something…
With its mesh seats and panes, the chair which offered excellent ventilation was the TravelChair Joey.
Depth of seat was also a factor:
The deeper seats and the fabric of the Big Agnes Big Six tends to provide a more ergonomic and more comfortable sitting position. The back height of the Big Agnes Big Six meant that it was our pick for those with bad backs. The taller back height of the Crazy Creek PowerLounger was also highly rated for comfort.
Chair height is another all-important factor when considering comfort.
Depending on what you want to use your chair for, or how easy you find it to get in and out, you’ll have a different opinion from the next person on comfort.
We looked at three taco-style ground chairs for sitting on the ground. Our review also included folding chairs which ranged from a standard 11 inches off the ground to 20 inches for the Big Agnes Big Six.
Packed size and weight are also critical factors to judge a backpacking or camping chair.
Compact, light chairs that can pack down small are what we’re ultimately looking for in our quest to award the title of the best lightweight camp chair.
Long-lasting and durable outdoor equipment is the holy grail, and quite rightfully we expect our investments to last and see us through many seasons of adventures.
Durability is an important factor when selecting a backpacking chair. We want to know that when we get to our destination, our equipment will still function and serve its purpose.
In our review…
…we’re looking for sturdy legs, robust feet, strong fabric that will not rip, and we also consider weight-bearing capacity. For taco style chairs that are used on the ground, the outer shell needs to be rugged and durable enough to protect it from the ground.
Weak points on camping chairs often occur at weight-bearing points and pressure points where supporting rods or poles are in contact with the fabric of the chair.
The final factor we took into consideration when rating backpacking chairs was versatility.
Given how precious space is, lightweight chairs that could multitask definitely achieve additional points, saving the need to take more than one item with you to serve each purpose. If you could eat, sleep, read, cook, rest and relax in a chair – it became a winner in our eyes.
Some chairs have handy extra features like storage pockets or stuff sacks that could double as a storage pouch.
We really liked the fact that the Crazy Creek PowerLounger could double up as a sleeping mat. This means that you don’t necessarily have to pack or carry a separate sleeping mat with you on hiking or camping trips – saving you space, weight and money.
We also took into consideration the versatility of conditions that the chairs might cope with. While the Helinox Chair Zero seems to need an entirely flat surface in order to be stable, the TravelChair Joey has sturdy anti-sink feet which make it excellent for soft, uneven surfaces like mud, sand and grass and other uneven surfaces.
Think about it:
While we’re talking about backpacking chair reviews here, there are a variety of alternative activities that a lightweight backpack chair would come in handy for.
Having a versatile chair that can be enjoyed in a wide variety of scenarios is ultimately going to be more valuable, and you’ll end up getting good use and good value from your chair.
If you want a compact camping chair but aren’t planning on hiking far from the car, there are plenty of camping chairs to choose from where weight isn’t the defining factor.
Packed size is still important when car camping, but comfort is probably your chief consideration.
Folding hiking chairs that are great for car camping would be the Helinox Swivel Camp Chair or the TravelChair Joey.
If you have a bad back, however, we’d recommend the Big Agnes Big Six.
A truly great application for backpacking chairs in the summer is an outdoor music or sporting event.
Something lightweight and compact like the taco style chairs is ideal, and that’s why we love the ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat.
It’s comfortable, pretty lightweight – making transportation easy, and the straps can attach easily to bleachers, giving you a much more comfortable seat to enjoy the show.
At The Beach
When we think of summer, our thoughts go straight to the beach. But the beach can prove quite a challenging setting for your choice of seat – most chair legs will sink right into the sand the moment you sit down.
Put another way..
You’ll want a lightweight chair that you can transport easily over the dunes. Taco-style chairs are a great solution for this.
If you want more height, you’ll need a chair with wide feet – that’s why we choose the TravelChair Joey, with its specially designed anti-sink feet. The rubber disk feet make this chair much more stable on soft surfaces like sand and mud.
Hiking with all your camping gear in a rucksack or backpack.
The dimensions of your chair when it is packed away.
A storage bag for your chair.
Light-weight durable nylon fabric in a crosshatch pattern, with interwoven reinforcement threads that provide extra durability.
Lightweight fiberglass or aluminum poles which fold in sections and are held together with an internal bungee or elasticated cord.
TopNotch Top Tips
- When deciding which camping chair is the right pick for you, you need to consider exactly where you’ll be using it and how
- Packed size and weight are particularly important if you’ll be using it as a backpacking chair – whereas comfort might be your priority if you’re looking for more of a car camping chair
- Plan your budget and stick to it – it’s easy to get carried away and pay more than you need to
- Choose one of our Top 3, you simply can’t go wrong
- Sit back, relax and enjoy your new purchase for years to come
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What type of backpacking chair should I buy?
A: This very much comes down to personal choice. We think that a chair that weighs under 2 lbs is ideal, also something that folds up small so that it can fit in your backpack. Straps that can be used to pack the chair smaller or attach to the outside of a backpack are also features to look for. Ease of set up and comfort are also a factor, but ultimately the deciding factor will depend primarily on what you’ll be using the chair for.
Q: How do I care for my Backpacking Chair?
A: Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintaining your chair. Most backpacking chairs will come with clear instructions for use and cleaning. Generally, always make sure you pack up the chair when it is dry and clean to prevent rust and mildew. Most seats are easy to wipe clean, and some covers are removable and machine washable – check the labels. When not in use, keep your chair in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
Q: Do I need a backpacking chair?
A: Strictly speaking, you could just sit on the ground, a rock, or a tree stump. Less comfortable of course, particularly if it’s wet or cold, or if there are no suitable ‘perches’ nearby. For these reasons, we think a camping or backpacking chair is an essential piece of kit even for a minimalist backpacker. Materials are now super lightweight, and chairs can fold up to less than the size of a water bottle, making them a convenient item to add to your kit list for extra comfort (and happiness!).
Q. How do I carry a backpacking chair – where do I put it?
A: Depending on the chair type, and your personal preference, you can carry the chair inside your backpack or attach it to the outside. Most foldable chairs come with a handy stuff sack, some of which double up as storage pouches or pillows. Some models come with straps making them easy to attach to the outside of your backpack.
There you have it. You have all the knowledge you need to buy that all-important Backpacking Chair with confidence.
We want you to know that you’re buying the right Backpacking Chair for your needs and to short cut this process we’ve also included the top 10 choices to satisfy whatever your needs will be. We’ve included links to the Top 3 both at the beginning and the end of this review.
Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results
Value For Money
When you’re considering value for money, you’re balancing a range of factors, not just the cost. We’ve looked at ten products that range from under $20 to $150. Two of the chairs really stood out for offering outstanding value, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the cheapest – more that they offer the best performance for the price.
Value of Money Rating
Some special mentions before we dive into the results:
Trekology YIZI GO Portable Camping Chair: Packing a lot of features at a super affordable price, we think the Trekology Yizi Go is a great camping chair. Comfortable, easy to set up and disassemble, and with plenty of storage, at 34 oz, this light camp chair offers great value for money.
TravelChair Joey: Given how stable and comfortable this chair is, we think you’d get a lot of value from the TravelChair Joey. It’s a little on the heavy side perhaps – so this chair might not be your first choice for backpacking.
There were very clear winners in this category. We reckon the Trekology YIZI Go is the best buy from this list. Based on how comfortable and lightweight it is, it ticks many boxes and offers great value for money. Runner ups are the Rei Coop Flexlite and the Travel Chair Joey, which, at a mid-range price point, both offer terrific value for money.
Alas, we weren’t particularly impressed with the Kelty Camp Chair.
The bottom line with chairs – pun most definitely intended – is comfort. To be worthy of making it into your backpacking kit, you need to choose a super cozy chair. Let’s take a look at the chairs on our list from most comfortable to least.
Some special mentions before we dive into the results:
TravelChair Joey: In our opinion, the TravelChair Joey is the most comfortable chair on this list. Its wide anti sink feet also give great purchase on a range of surfaces – a well-deserved winner in the comfort category.
Trekology YIZI GO Portable Camping Chair: While the back is not as high as on the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger, the soft material and cushioning make this a well designed and comfortable chair for backpacking.
Overall, our top picks for comfort go to the TravelChair Joey, with the REI Co-op Flexlite, ALPS Weekender Seat and Trekology YIZI Go also scoring highly.
Again, we were disappointed with the Kelty Camp Chair.
When space and weight are at a premium, size can be a determining factor on what you take with you in your backpack. So let’s see how our chairs fared when we rated them on packed size.
Packed Size Rating
Some special mentions before we dive into the results:
Helinox Chair Zero: Packing down to just 4 x 4 x 14 inches, the Helinox Chair Zero requires less space than a 1 liter water bottle, the same as the Travel Chair. But at 17 oz, this is the lightest chair on the list, making it the clear winner for packability.
Trekology YIZI GO Portable Camping: At 34 oz, the Trekology YIZI Go is an average weight, but packs up pretty small at just 11 x 4.3 x 6 inches, making it easy to carry with you on your adventures.
The lightest backpacking chair by far was the Helinox Chair Zero. Weighing only 17 ounces, this is one light chair.
We were also impressed with the REI Flexlite, weighing 29 oz, but providing many more comfort points, and the taco-style Crazy Creek PowerLounger at 22 oz which comes with a strap specifically for packing down as small as possible.
Without a doubt, the heaviest chair was the Big Agnes Big Six, weighing in at 49 oz and packed size measuring 21 x 3.5 inches.
If you’re looking for a lightweight backpacking chair, this probably isn’t for you.
You want your backpacking chair to stand the test of time. That’s why we also rated our chairs against durability and workmanship. Let’s see how they stood up.
Some special mentions before we dive into the results:
Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger: The PowerLounger is one of the most durable chairs on our list. The comfortable foam pads provide additional insulation, and the outer layer is made of 210D coated ripstop nylon.
This hard-wearing fabric will protect you from the dirt, while being easy to clean, breathable and water-resistant. A clear winner for you, right here.
TravelChair Joey: Stable on a variety of terrains and with sturdy anti-sink feet, this chair has an aluminum frame and a thick ripstop nylon seat, making it extremely durable.
ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat: The ALPS Weekender is a robust camping chair, with hard-wearing nylon fabric making it very durable.
Due to their sturdy set up and robust materials, the most durable of the chairs we reviewed was the Crazy Creek PowerLounger and the TravelChair Joey. The Alps Weekender was a close contender.
The Kelty Camp Chair again disappointed us with its flimsy construction.
When you’re spending the money on backpacking gear, the more versatile your equipment can be the better. Let’s see how our backpacking chairs performed, from most versatile to least.
Some special mentions before we dive into the results:
Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 PowerLounger : The PowerLounger is extremely versatile and was easily the winner in this category. It can be used on any surface, and we love that it also doubles up as a sleeping mat.
REI Co-op Flexlite Chair: The REI Co-op Flexlite Chair is ideal for backpacking and camping. This chair is light enough to be very versatile, allowing it to be used in varying conditions. A well deserved runner up in this category.
ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat: This chair can be used anywhere, and we particularly love the features of the ALPS Weekender Seat. It has a handy storage pouch on the back, and the straps mean that it can be attached to bleachers and kayaks to give extra comfort.
While a lot of the chairs we reviewed impressed us with their versatility, the Crazy Creek PowerLounger really stood out because it could double up as a sleeping mat. Not having to pack or carry a separate sleeping mat with you on hiking or camping trips means you save space, weight and money, making it the clear winner.
We also recommend the REI Co-op Flexlite Chair, Trekology Yizi Go, and the ALPS Weekender.
The Big Agnes Big Six was so bulky that it came in last – being so heavy means it isn’t particularly versatile.
Our Final Verdict
Are you ready for the final results? Have you decided which is the right backpacking chair for you?
Well, before you make up your mind lets look at our TopNotch overall ratings:
Conclusion: Best Backpacking Chairs
Ultimately, the best backpacking chair is one that meets and exceeds your expectations through durability and quality design.
We judged our chairs on four main factors: comfort, packed size, durability, and versatility.
Did your favorite backpacking chair make it onto the list?
We hope you enjoyed our review, we’re sure you’ll agree, Alex worked hard on it.
All that’s left is for the team here at TopNotch to wish you many hours of happy camping and best of all, sitting in your lovely backpacking chair after a hard but awesome day in The Great Outdoors.
We’re all agreed, that’s where it’s at.
Here are our top 3 All-Time best Backpacking Chairs.