How To Select The Best Backpacking Chair – No Need To Sacrifice Comfort In The Woods

Introduction

Some backpacking purists might look down their noses at anyone who suggests taking a chair on a trip. You should reduce weight as much as possible, right? Why do you need to take a chair? Well, if you can take a small, lightweight chair, why sacrifice your comfort?

If you’re thinking about trying a chair for your backpacking trips or maybe if you’re wondering which one to buy to replace your old one, here is my guide to help you decide which is the best backpacking chair for you.

**You'll find our more detailed reviews below, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Buyer’s Guide

Outdoor Portable Folding Camping Chairs

There are quite a few different camping and backpacking chairs on the market and a lot depends on the type of activity you want one for.

If you are more interested in short walks in the country and just want something comfortable to sit on while you rest, your requirements will be different from someone who is keen on extended hikes and who wants to cut weight and bulk down to a minimum.

There are some features that are important when choosing a backpacking chair whatever the use and there are other features that might be more or less important for you depending on what the chair is for. Here are the things you will probably want to consider:

Weight

Couple On Vacation, Sitting On Backpacking Chairs In Front Of Their Tent

One of the most important things to think about is how much a backpacking chair weighs. If you are a casual backpacker or enjoy car camping trips, a slightly heavier chair will be ok. If you are a serious backpacker who likes to cover longer distances, you will need the lightest chair possible.


Size When Packed Away

Big Agnes - Helinox - Chair One

Backpacking Chair Packing - Via Amazon.com

Kijaro Dual Lock Chair

Camping Chair Packing - Via Amazon.com

Just like weight, the size of the chair when packed away might be important to you. If you need to keep your kit to a minimum but aren’t willing to completely abandon the comforts of a chair, you will need to find the smallest-sized chair available.


Comfort

Let’s be honest, if you’ve made the decision to take a chair on your backpacking trip at all, there’s only one reason – and that’s because you don’t want to sacrifice a certain level of comfort on your trip, even if that entails carrying just a little extra weight.

This means that if you’re going to take a chair with you, it needs to be comfortable or you might as well not take one at all. If your chair is not comfortable, you could just as well sit on the floor.

Things that may affect the overall comfort of a chair might include size when set up, height, material, sturdiness and so on. The comfort of the chair should not be overlooked or there’s no real point taking one with you.


Ease Of Setup

TravelChair Slacker Chair Folding Tripod Camp Stool

>> TravelChair Tripod Camp Stool << Via Amazon.com

Some chairs are very easy to set up; others might take a bit more time. At the end of a long hike, you might want to just collapse into your chair without first having to wrestle with it to get it ready. Ease of setup should be something you consider when choosing the right chair.


Maximum Weight Supported

Helinox Ground Chair

>> Helinox Ground Chair << Via Amazon.com

Some outdoor chairs are small and flimsy and quite clearly not designed to take the weight of a larger individual. If you or the person who will be using it is a slightly heavier person, you will need to make sure the chair is capable of supporting the necessary amount of weight.

Related to this is the size of the seat. If the seat is too small, a larger person might not be able to fit comfortably in the chair.


Stability

Big Agnes - Helinox - Chair One Stability In Mountain

Via Amazon.com

Depending on the kind of terrain you intend to be using your chair in, the stability of the chair can be an important aspect to consider. If you will be using your chair in the mountains, on beaches or other similar uneven areas, you need to know your chair won’t keep tipping over.

Remember, this will also affect how comfortable a chair is. If you constantly have to fight to keep the chair upright, you’re not going to be comfortable at all. In this kind of situation, it might have been better not to have bothered with a chair at all.


Material Of The Fabric

ONWEGO Ultralight Camping and Outdoor Chair

Ripstop Nylon Fabric - Via Amazon.com

Firstly, you need the fabric to be tough and durable to make sure your backpacking chair is going to last. After this, the fabric might have other properties which may be useful. If the fabric is waterproof, flame-retardant, washable and so on, these can all prove to be big advantages.

Many tough materials can be used for the fabric of the chair and good choices are various versions of tough polyester, especially the kinds that are resistant to tears.


Material Of The Frame

TrekUltra Camping Fold Up Chairs with Bag

Aluminum Shock-cord Structure - Via Amazon.com

The material the frame is made from is also important. Most backpacking chairs have frames that are made of aluminum, a material that offers several advantages. It is lightweight, strong, doesn’t rust, is tough and durable and doesn’t chip easily.

Reviews

**You'll find our more detailed reviews below, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

#1. Big Agnes - Helinox - Chair One

Big Agnes - Helinox - Chair One

Via Amazon.com

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Helinox Chair One is a deluxe outdoor chair suitable for backpacking, camping, fishing or other uses. It includes DAC aluminum poles, the fabric is made of 600D polyester and it is capable of supporting up to 320lbs. It weighs 1.9lbs and packs down to 14”x4”x5”.

This chair really ticks all the boxes. It’s small and lightweight so it won’t be a big problem to transport, even for any but the most minimalist of backpackers. It’s also really quick and easy to set up so no messing about after an exhausting day of walking.

One of the best things about this chair is that it’s really well made. The poles and the fabric are made to last and you won’t need to worry about it collapsing under your weight. Importantly, it’s comfortable to sit on – and it even looks cool and professional!

The biggest problem with this chair is that it’s not cheap. It’s a well-made, high-quality chair and as a result, you’ll have to put your hand in your pocket to buy one. Another small gripe is that it sits a little low to the ground for my liking.

Overall, a great option for someone looking for a bit of extra luxury on their backpacking trips but who doesn’t mind spending a bit of money to get it. Not the best budget option and also not a good choice if you don’t like your chair to be too low.

Pros

  • Comfortable to sit on
  • Well made, sturdy construction
  • Easy to set up
  • Light and packs down small

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low to the ground

#2. Trekology Portable High Back Camping Chair

Trekology Portable High Back Camping Chair

Via Amazon.com

Quality

Price

Our Rating

This medium-priced portable chair weighs 3lbs and packs down into a 14” storage case. It is made from 1000D Oxford fabric and aerospace-grade aluminum poles and is capable of holding up to 300lbs.

The back of this chair is quite high and includes a headrest at the top making this one of the most comfortable portable chairs out there. It is also small and light enough to carry without too much effort making it a suitable option for backpacking.

On the downside, it takes a little bit of effort to set up and requires some force to bend the poles. It is top-heavy and the feet are too small, meaning it can sink into the ground if you are not sitting somewhere solid so it can be quite unstable.

Another issue with this chair is that although it is small and light, there are other lighter options available so if you want the minimum weight possible, you might want to consider something else.

Overall a good option for someone looking for a mid-priced chair that is small, light and sturdy. However, if you are looking for the lightest possible chair, this is not the one for you.

Pros

  • High back, comfortable
  • Headrest
  • Small and light
  • Good quality

Cons

  • Small feet can sink into the ground
  • Takes some effort to set up

#3. ONWEGO Ultralight Camping and Outdoor Chair

ONWEGO Ultralight Camping and Outdoor Chair

Via Amazon.com

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The ONWEGO camping chair is another mid-priced option. It is very light at less than 2lbs and measures 14.25”x5.25” when packed away. It includes a four-legged design for stability and is designed to take up to 330lbs – although the recommended maximum weight is 250lbs.

The main advantage of this chair is that it is small and lightweight when packed away. For around the same price as the Trekology chair, this model is a whole 1lb lighter. The other advantage is the price. While it’s not a budget option, it is good quality for how much it costs.

A drawback with this chair is that, compared with some of the best backpacking chairs available, it is not the most comfortable. The shape of the seat means you feel like you are leaning forward and maybe just about to tip out. It can also be a bit difficult to get out of.

While it is well made, using aircraft-grade aluminum and ripstop nylon, it is not quite of the same quality as some of the top-of-the-range products on the market.

This could be an appropriate choice for someone looking for a decent medium priced lightweight backpacking chair but is probably not the best choice for someone looking for a premium camping seat.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight, packs down well
  • Good value
  • Four legs for stability
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Not the most comfortable
  • Difficult to get up

#4. TrekUltra Camping Fold Up Chair with Bag

TrekUltra Camping Fold Up Chairs with Bag

Via Amazon.com

Quality

Price

Our Rating

This camping chair from TrekUltra is slightly more expensive than the ONWEGO or the Trekology versions. It weighs 2.6lbs and is made or good quality, rustproof, weatherproof, washable materials. The poles are made of 7075 aluminum and can hold up to 350lbs.

One of the notable features of this chair is the wide feet which help it avoid the problem of sinking into the ground. It is very light and I like the materials it is made from – this is certainly a high-quality chair and retails for less than the Helinox.

I also like the breathable mesh the seat is made of which helps with airflow in hot weather. Its small size and weight also make it a good option for backpacking.

This chair is quite similar to the Helinox in many ways but it loses out in one vital area – it is just not as comfortable since the sitting position forces you to lean forward more. It is also a little hard to assemble at first until the material stretches a little.

This is a good option for somebody who wants a high-quality camping chair but doesn’t want to spend the money on the most expensive versions. If you don’t mind spending the money, more comfortable chairs are available.

Pros

  • Wide feet
  • Mesh back
  • Quality materials
  • Lightweight and packs down small

Cons

  • Uncomfortable position
  • Difficult to set up at the beginning

#5. Ancheer Lightweight Portable Chair

Ancheer Lightweight Portable Folding Ground Chair

Via Amazon.com

Quality

Price

Our Rating

This budget option from Ancheer is made from 1000D Oxford cloth and 7075 aluminum. It weighs around 2lbs and packs down to 14”x4.1”x4.7”. It features a four-legged design and can take up to 330lbs in weight.

The outstanding thing about this chair is its price – it costs around a quarter of the price of some of the most expensive chairs on the market. It’s also lightweight and packs down small, making it suitable for backpacking. It’s easy to set up too.

The biggest negative is that it is a little unstable. The feet are not spread out enough and it is quite high to the ground which means it is easy to tip over. The shape of the seat is not the same as some of the other options and is less comfortable to sit in for extended periods.

This is a great option for someone looking for a small and lightweight chair for the least amount of money. It might not be the right option for someone looking for a bit more comfort.

Pros

  • Price
  • Light and packs away small
  • Easy to assemble
  • Good quality for the price

Cons

  • Sitting position less comfortable than others
  • Can tip over

Conclusion

Senior Couple Relaxing In Chairs With Sea Landscape

For anyone looking for a chair to take backpacking, all five of these would do the job. Of the three mid-priced chairs, the Trekology is the heaviest but also the most comfortable, the ONWEGO is lighter for the same price and the TrekUltra is made of slightly superior materials.

If you are looking for a budget option, the Ancheer is the obvious choice – but for me, despite the high price tag, if you want a lightweight, compact chair that gives you the maximum comfort, the Helinox is the best backpacking chair available.

Do you take a chair backpacking or do you sneer at the thought? Which is your preferred option? I’d love to hear your thoughts – and if you enjoyed my article, don’t forget to share!

Julie McClain
 

Chief editor here at Outdoorzer. I'm an outdoor lover and ever since I was a little girl, I've worked hard to learn all I could from my Dad about Camping, Hiking, RVs and surviving in the woods.

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