There’s a reason the tagline for this website is “adventures in extreme relaxation.” I like adventuring, and I like relaxing just as much (if not more…?)
Aside from a portable hammock, the best gift I’ve ever received was a teeny tiny camping chair. Intended for backpacking and super lightweight, the chair packs down to a super reasonable size and can be stuffed inside or clipped to the outside of a backpack. When you stop for a snack or small rest, it’s a quick, 30-second set-up and a helluva lot better than sitting on the ground. It’s one of my most prized outdoor possessions, and I’ll always sacrifice the extra weight on my back for a comfy place to park my booty before, during, and after a long day.
I say all that in the hopes of you fully appreciating my love of sitting and relaxing in general. And with that, I present you with the best portable camping chairs—whether you’re fireside in a camp ground or just gathering around a grill in your friend’s backyard this summer.
Listen, I’m not going to waste your time with 5 chairs that look alike and are priced similarly. These are the best chairs in each category based on price, quality, functionality, design, and—rather importantly—customer reviews.
- Best Overall Camp Chair: REI Co-op Camp X Chair ($49.95)
- Best Budget Camp Chair: Amazon Basics Camping Chair ($31.25)
- Best Luxury/Reclining Camp Chair: NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair ($249.95)
- Best Luxury/Head Support Camp Chair: Big Agnes Big Six Camp Chair ($189.95)
- Best Lightweight Camp Chair: REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair ($99.95)
- Best Couples Camp Chair: Kelty Low Loveseat ($139.95)
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REI Co-op Camp X Chair
I’d be remiss to start this list with any other camp chair. This is a great option for a well-priced, all-around, high-quality camping chair. It holds up to 300 lbs and has a cup holder on one arm rest and a drop-down storage pocket on the other, both of which will come in handy. What else can we say? This is a great base-line option for a well-made, affordable camp chair, and with REI’s awesome return policy, there’s no risk if anything goes wrong.
Amazon Basics Camping Chair
Another top entry-level camping chair is made by Amazon, of course. Slightly less expensive than REI’s model, it does have one extra feature: a cooler pouch hanging from one armrest that holds ice and 3-4 drinks. Pretty nice! It also has a single drink holder and storage pocket on the other armrest. At 8 lbs, it’s about 1 pound heavier than REI’s chair. One other thing to consider is that the backing is made with more fabric than mesh, which means it’ll take longer to dry out if it gets wet.
NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair
If you want a bougie recliner at your campsite, this chair’s the one for you. It ain’t cheap, but it sure is fancy. The chair provides a rocking motion as you recline, alongside head and neck support, padded armrests, a cup holder, and mesh storage pocket. The NEMO Stargaze has the same rating as the REI Camp X Chair (4.3 out of 5 stars) but has twice as many reviews on REI’s website. What can we say? People love luxury.
Big Agnes Big Six Camp Chair
This chair might look funky, and there’s a simple reason for that: it has no armrests. Weird? Maybe. But it does have even higher ratings (4.5 out of 5 stars on REI’s website), and if you’re wondering how, it’s thanks to this chair’s higher back that supports your head and neck. Are you swapping one element of comfort for another? Absolutely. Because after a long day, when it’s time to relax, that thing comes in handy. It also only weights 3 lbs 3 oz, so it’s very easy to take with you on the go.
REI Co-op Flexlite Air Chair
On the flip side of big and bougie is this small and light camp chair – perhaps better described as a hiking or backpacking chair (or even a kid’s camp chair). Weighing in at just 1 pound (!), it packs down to 5×16 inches and is a perfect companion on hiking trails and backpacking trips. It holds up to 250 lbs and I much promise is much more comfortable than any log and will provide more relief than a plopping down on a rock. It is my favorite piece of outdoor gear. #lazy.
Kelty Low Loveseat
Couples who camp together, stay together. This loveseat is a great camp chair for some fireside snuggles and will help keep you warm on cool nights by borrowing the body heat from your loved ones. The chair holds up to 500 lbs, so climb on in, friends.