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This is the Ultimate TopNotch Kelty Camp Chair review 2023.
Whether you’re trekking through the mountains, cheering at a sporting game, or hiking through a forest…
…your mission is always to be as comfortable as possible when you get the opportunity.
We get that – which is why we carefully reviewed a whole roster of camp chairs – including the Kelty Essential.
The Kelty is one of the lowest priced of all the lightweight camp chairs we looked at in our 10 Best Backpacking Chair Guide.
But where this Kelty excels in weight and portability, it does lack in comfort to some extent, though it has a similar design to other folding hiking chairs.
In this comprehensive review we’ll cover:
- How we rated our Kelty in areas such as comfort and value for money
- Back-to-back comparisons with the best camping chairs on the market
- Why the Kelty may be perfect for you
- Lots more…
So if you’re looking for a lightweight, affordable chair this is the guide for you!
- Wider seat
- Awkward to use
- Uncomfortable under certain circumstances
- Not very durable
Our Verdict: Kelty Camp Chair
Compared to the other foldable chairs in our 10 Best Backpacking Chairs Roundup, our Kelty is worth your attention if you’re backpacking on a tight budget.
Here’s the deal:
Though the price may be right for those on a tight budget, the Trekology YIZI GO Chair is also affordable and (in our humble opinion) gave us much more bang for your buck.
Unfortunately, our Kelty, although a great weight and price, isn’t necessarily on par with some of our other favorite backpacking chairs that are more versatile and durable. It also doesn’t compare well with the more luxurious and comfortable car camping chairs.
Related: 10 Best Backpacking Chairs
Our Analysis Comparisons and Test Results
On our team “testing trip” in Montana (it was hard work, but someone had to do it), we found the Essential Kelty was perhaps not the best chair of the affordable options.
Our initial impression was pretty favorable; we were really happy with this chair’s tall back.
If you need even more height, try the Crazy Creek Power Lounger which adds an extra 4 inches of height to the back.
We also had some issues with the foam padding material, which gives it a fairly lacklustre structure.
Value For Money
The Kelty is inexpensive, but would be a good backpacking option with its very low weight.
The seat position of the Kelty Camp Chair might also be a bit low off the ground if you’re very tall.
For taller folks, we recommend checking out the chairs which give you more clearance.
Value For Money Rating
For instance, the Travel Chair Joey sits about 16 inches off the ground making it easier to get in and out.
The good news is, while the Kelty is lacking in comfort just a tad, it does have a wider seat than other foam padding chairs, which can be great for larger people.
If it’s a wide seat you’re looking for, try the Travel Chair Joey which compliments its excellent seat with more comfortable fabric and a bit more space overall.
And for anyone hoping to sit beside the fire for a while, this chair also falls short. The biggest problem we found came down to the supports, which are rigid and dig into your back and shoulders.
In addition, the hiking seat squeezes the ribs and thighs.
In the category of foam chairs, our whole team thought the Crazy Creek Power Lounger was much more comfortable.
Packing size is important for anyone hoping to take a chair backpacking, or just save room in their car or pack.
If weight is your primary concern, this lightweight camp chair is just 21 ounces all told – which is perfect if you have to carry it a while.
Packed Size Rating
If you can find room for it in your pack, it’s a great addition for backpacking.
Like the Travel Chair Joey, the Kelty can be attached to the back of a backpack using a carabiner.
Unfortunately, the Kelty also doesn’t come with a handy carrying bag like the Joey Chair.
The Kelty Camp Chair comes with a powder-covered steel frame, which offers great weather resistance and will absorb knocks and bangs without scratching or chipping.
In our tests, we decided that whilst the powder coat was a great finish, the frame itself isn’t as durable as the aluminum frame of the Trekology YIZI GO chair.
As for the fabric, the seat and back is made of 600D polyester, similar to our other ultralight options.
We also noted there’s no reinforcement around usual wear and tear points. This makes us nervous that the Kelty Camp Chair wouldn’t last through tougher terrain – it’s definitely something to look out for.
With the Kelty Essential Chair, you do have a very simple 5 second set up.
You’ll be sitting with a few inches clearance above the ground.
For taller folks, this requires a certain amount of core strength to get in and out of it without too much effort.
While this may work for some people, many of us will want to try a more versatile hiking chair.
Take the adjustable Trekology Chair for example, which sits 13, 14, or 15 inches above the ground, depending on the model.
The other slight downside is that the buckles are attached to the back of the stool so you need to pull upward to adjust the seat.
This is more difficult ergonomically than pulling downward to adjust the seat like on the Original Crazy Creek Chair.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an extra versatile chair, check out the Crazy Creek Power Lounger, which doubles as a sleeping mat!
With its extra length and comfy padded material, we found this was an upgrade from the Kelty camping seat.
The Kelty is super easy to use.
Just open it up, click two buckles, and take a seat.
Our Final Verdict: Kelty Camp Chair
At TopNotch Outdoors, we try to give the most balanced reviews possible, regardless of our personal feelings about a product.
This is one of our Top 10 Camping Chairs, and is extremely lightweight making it perfect for backpacking on a tight budget.
But, if your wallet will allow, we recommend trying a slightly pricier but comfortable choice, like the Trekology YIZI GO Camping chair.
Conclusion: Kelty Camp Chair
Now you’ve read our Kelty Camp Chair Review, you probably have a good idea of where we stand on this chair.
Not only that; you also know about all the features of the Kelty and where it falls short for us.
On our test trip to Montana, our crew wasn’t super happy with this chair, mostly because of it’s uncomfortable seat position and slightly weaker frame.
Which is a big problem for any chair, especially one you’d like to use often.
In our opinion, it’s better to invest your money in a chair you’ll be happier within the long run.
Even at a slightly higher price tag, there are other options that are still affordable but that you can take and use anywhere (as we mentioned in this guide).
After all, what’s the point gf going camping if you’re uncomfortable and can’t relax?
That isn’t much of a vacation, is it?
So treat yourself to the comfort you deserve, and check out one of the other options we reviewed here.
Please follow the links to see more chairs that are more comfortable and durable.
We reviewed the Kelty Essential Chair, but there are a few other versions in the Kelty Line. These include the Kelty Deluxe Reclining Camp Chair and the Kelty Loveseat.
Kelty Deluxe Reclining Camp Chair:
Unfolded Dimensions: 24.5 x 39.5 x 25 inches
Folded dimensions: 39.5 x 9 x 9 inches
Seat height: 19 inches
Weight: 10 pounds 5 ounces
Weight limit: 325 pounds