We put six of the newest and most popular camp chairs on the market to the test this summer and we’re here to report back. Each chair was tested by at least 10 people, because we wanted varying weights and heights to see if it made any difference on comfort for each chair. While some of the chairs were weight dependent, other chairs fit all body types. Below you can find details of all six chairs we tested, including the three chairs that won our “best all around,” “best backpacking,” and “best value” category. Stop sitting on a log or jagged rock at your campsite and get a chair already!
Photos above each chair description are interactive, click on the yellow buttons to see chair details.
Best all around: Helinox Chair One
The Helinox Chair One easily won our overall best chair for three main reasons: The Helinox was one of the few chairs that all 10 testers found comfortable. The Chair One is not the lightest backpacking chair available on the market, but at about 2 pounds it packs down small enough that you could hike into the backcountry with this chair and be the most comfortable person at camp.
Set-up of this chair is easy and straight forward and packing the chair away isn’t a struggle to get all of the pieces into the bag. The material of the chair is reinforced around the edges so the poles don’t wear through. The poles are made with aluminum DAC (often used in high-end tent/trekking poles) and the chair material is mesh and nylon.
Pros: Overall favorite for comfort, easiest to set-up, sits off the ground, durable, stable
Weight: 2 lbs*
Packed size: 14 x 4 x 5
Seat height: 13.5 in
Best backpacking: Alite Mayfly
If you’re willing to lug a chair into the backcountry then the Alite Mayfly is our top choice of the six we tested. Just like the Helinox Chair One, all 10 of our testers found this chair comfortable. It packs down small enough to bring along on a backpacking trip, especially if you leave the removable stabilizing leg at home to save on weight. Set-up was easy, especially without the stabilizing leg, and the chair easily packs back into its bag without a fight. The material on the chairs is 210 ripstop nylon fabric and mesh and reinforced surrounding the poles. The poles are 7000 aluminum.
One thing our testers commented on was the seat height. When the chair is sitting on all three legs your bottom is basically on or close to the ground. This can be an issue if the ground is cold or wet. It can also make getting in and out of the chair a struggle. We preferred to skip the stabilizing leg to get a little reclining action out of the chair.
Pros: packable, comfortable, lifetime guarantee
Cons: sits low to the ground
Weight: 1 lb 10 oz
Packed size: 11.5 x 4.3 x 4.3
Seat height: 2″
Best Value: Coleman Vertex Ultra Hard Arm Chair
The Vertex Ultra Hard Arm Chair is by far the heaviest and largest of the six chairs tested, but you can’t beat the comfort. In addition to being comfortable it includes some fun accessories like pockets, cup holders, a bottle opener, and wine glass holder. If you’re not worried about weight or space we’d recommend this chair for about half the price of the others tested.
The chair is made of a sturdy steel frame and polyester material. It’s easy to set-up and pack down—the pivoting arms make it a little easier to store. We did have issues with the chair’s bag. The bag strap was uncomfortable and the seams tore on the bag within two weeks of testing.
Pros: lumbar support, fun accessories, comfortable, most affordable
Cons: Not packable, heavy, carry bag is flimsy and uncomfortable
Weight: 10 lbs
Packed size: large
Seat height: 18″
This little chair packs down the smallest of all the chairs we tested. It’s very easy to set-up and the only chair we tested that packs into itself—it’s nice to have one less bag to worry about. The chair has a durable 6000-series aluminum frame, composite base, and a ripstop Dyneema chair sling, which feels kind of like sitting in a hammock.
We think this chair has big potential, but out of our 10 testers most of them found it hard to stay balanced in (especially our taller or heavier testers) even on flat ground. Some of our testers also wished it was a little wider so they could rest their arms inside the chair.
Pros: Packable, made in the U.S.
Cons: Unstable, some testers could feel the poles while sitting
Weight: 2lb 3 oz
Packed size: 4.5 x 10.5/ 11 x 26
Seat height: 13″
REI Evrgn Rocker
As far as we know, this is the smallest rocking chair on the market. Evrgn is REI’s in-house brand that combines style and functionality. This gear isn’t meant to be extremely technical, and let’s face it, most of the time we don’t need an extremely technical camp chair.
The reinforced chair corners fit tightly onto the poles making it just a little more difficult to set-up than the rest of the chairs. This chair uses a polyester seat with a small pocket, aluminum poles, and a sleek-looking bamboo rocker. Most of our testers wanted to love this chair, but found that the angle of this rocker requires a headrest for comfort. We hope to see REI make some minor adjustments to the angle and seat of this chair because it could easily become our new favorite camp chair.
Pros: Rocking camp chair, stylish, packable
Cons: Needs a head rest, requires stable ground for balance
Weight: 5 lbs 6 oz
Packed size: 21 x 11.5 x 4.5
Seat height: 10″
*This chair is not currently available.
Leki, known for their poles, introduced their first chair designs at the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show, and we just had to include one in testing. When you first sit in this chair it wobbles enough that some testers found it a bit precarious while others liked the extra give. None of our testers actually fell out of the chair (even after a few beers) so we’re not too concerned with the stability. However, you would have a difficult time sitting in this chair in sand. The general consensus of our testers was that the Chiller was comfortable. We liked that the seat sat off the ground and that the chair legs were reinforced. Everyone loved that the drink holder was velcro and most used it as a koozie. The drink holder is the perfect size for a bottle or can of beer/soda, but wouldn’t fit anything wider.
The Chiller is easy to set-up and take down, and packs easier than the rest of the chairs into it’s bag. The chair bag has two velcro tabs incase you want to attach it onto the chair as storage or so you don’t lose it. The chair uses high tensile aluminum tubing (like Leki’s trekking poles) and reinforced canvas sling material, making it one of the most durable chairs we tested.
Pros: Comfortable, sits high, easy set-up
Cons: Some testers found it precarious
Weight: 3 lbs
Packed size: 5.5 x 4.75 x 13
Seat height: 18″
*Chair weight was taken packed into the chair bag and may be different than what is on the brand’s website.