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How to Choose the Best Camping Chair

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Last updated on June 23, 2023

Image of three people on camping chairs admiring nice view

It's not surprising that the question of the best camping chair to buy is amongst the most common questions asked by campers about camping gear purchases for their camping setup.

Everyone has a folding chair lying around at home just in case they are short, and unless you prefer sitting on the ground, every camper needs one.  Head down to the local camping store though and you will be met with folding chairs of all shapes and sizes.  

For us, camping trailer free can limit what we can take, but that doesn't mean we can't have a comfortable camping chair. 

Here is all you need to know when choosing your ideal camping chair:

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Our Best Lightweight Camping Chairs for 2021

A big temptation for anyone new to camping trailer free is to buy the biggest and most comfortable looking chair they can find without thinking how they will get it to the campsite.

But just because camping trailer free doesn't allow us to pack enormous chairs for camping doesn't mean we can't still sit back and relax in comfort.

You will find the chairs listed below are much more lightweight and less bulky than some. But they are still very comfortable.

Here are our best lightweight camping chairs in Australia in 2021. Head over to our camping gear page for more details and reasons for our recommendations:

    Zempire Roco Lite V2 Camping Chair
    Helinox Savanna Chair - Black with Blue Frame
    OZtrail DuraLite Recliner Chair
    Darche Firefly Compact Directors Camping Chair
    Coleman Deluxe Cooler Arm Chair - Heather

BUT, before you race down to the store, here are some important factors to consider when buying a camping chair.

Things To Consider When Choosing Your Camping Chair

1: Comfort

Image of dog sleeping on recliner chair at campground

When you are sitting around the campfire in relax mode, you want a comfortable chair - simple as that.

Also important - you want everyone else to be comfortable as well in their chairs so that they don't eye off yours the split second it becomes vacant. That also includes the dog!

The problem is, in my experience, most are comfortable when you first sit in them, because they haven't been subjected to your body weight for any length of time. At that point they are probably as comfortable as they are ever going to be. 

The question is how comfortable will they be after continued use and a bit of rain and anything else camping can throw at it.

2: Chair Type

Quad Folding Chairs
Image of 4 quad folding camping chairs

The most popular camping chairs would have to be of the quad folding variety, where the four legs join together to form a cylindrical shape. They are definitely the most common you will see around the campsite, but they aren't necessarily the most comfortable (in my humble opinion).

Cheaper quad folding chairs with a canvas type fabric and little support underneath the seat will be the ones most likely to sag over time.

Flat Folding Chairs
Image of flat folding chair set up on grass

Canvas chair on a green grass

Another popular type of chair  one that is flat folding. Being flat when packed up, they appear to be very space efficient, but in actual fact, we have been able to pack quad folding chairs more efficiently than flat folding ones.

Flat folding chairs offer a much greater variety of options in the stores, from simple upright ones to those with several reclining positions and numerous accessories.

Ultralight Backpacking Chairs
Image of helinox ultra lightweight chair

A great option for those who are very limited for cargo space, or who enjoy overnight hiking, are the ultralight backpacking or hiking chairs. They are easy to set up, very lightweight for hiking and actually quite comfortable.

They may not be on a par with a good quality quad or flat folding chair, but if you require one that is lightweight, and don't want to invest in a second one, then these are a fantastic option.

Kids Chairs
Image of two boys sitting in camp chairs around a campfire

Kids chairs come in most styles listed above, and are widely available. Unless it will be get a lot of use, such as if you regularly camp, or it will be handed down, consider whether a good quality adult chair would be appropriate. That way you avoid a further outlay when the child grows.

My rule of thumb is if the child can sit in an adult chair at home, they wouldn't need anything smaller than that around camp.

3: Pack Size

Some chairs when packed up can be extremely bulky, which will be an issue if you have limited cargo space, especially if you have purchase one for each person in your family or camping party.

You will typically find quad folding chairs are the most space efficient. Those that flat fold on the other hand will take up a little more space.

Even more space efficient are the camp chairs suitable for hiking and bushwalking as mentioned above. 

4: Weight

Likewise, large chairs can be quite heavy, which can be an issue if you are seeking to keep the weight of your load down. So before you are buying, consider not only bulk but weight.

5: Accessories and Extra Features

Chairs come with all kinds of accessories nowadays, from the essential cup or drink holder to others that may not be as necessary, like padded seats, insulated cooler bags, storage pockets, wine glass holders, adjustable headrests, padded headrests, footrests, fold away side tables and adjustable lumbar support.  Some even have bottle openers.

Add all of these into the equation and you have one mighty chair that is likely to be expensive, bulky and heavy. If that is your preference, then go for it.

If, however, you are looking to prioritise comfort without the cost, then a good quality and reputable chair with a cup holder is really all you need.

6: Cost

Going for a cheap chair is really only going to end in a sore bottom, and/or back, and landfill (for the chair that is), which is not good for your wallet or the environment.

So, we suggest you select the best quality you can afford, and if cost is an issue, avoid all of the accessories except for the drink holder.

7: Upright or Reclining Position

Image of two chairs from side position - one reclining and one right style

Some chairs, such as those that quad fold, have quite an upright seating position, which is comfortable for sitting at the table for meals and playing games, but not necessarily for reclining around the campsite.

On the other hand, some chairs have a more reclining seating position better suited to sitting back and relaxing rather than sitting up at the table.

Some will have an adjustable back so that you can sit upright but also recline.

8: Weight Limit

Every chair will have a maximum weight capacity which is generally a minimum of 100 kg, which accounts for most people. They should all have listed their weight carrying capacity on the labels.

9: Durability

Relaxing around the fire

As there is plenty of sitting around on camping chairs, they have to be durable. But that's not something you will necessarily know at the outset. 

Before you buy your chair, check to see if it is built with a sturdy design and is made of durable materials? Check the quality of the frame, seat fabric, joints and reinforcements at key points for extra strength.

So that wraps up our tips on choosing the best camping chair. We hope you have found this article informative and encourage you to check out our Blog for further reading.