If you are going on a long backpacking journey with over night stays, you might want to invest in a backpacking chair. The best brands are small and compact, rather than big and bulky.
Hiking can be long and exhausting, as the days and miles are long. The last thing you want to do when you set up camp is sit on rocks.
This is where a backpacking chair can be a huge game changer for your rest and recovery before hitting the trail again.
Look for chairs that are light and easy to carry, without taking up too much space. Make sure its stable, durable, and comfortable. We took a look at some of the industry’s best backpacking chairs and here are our 5 Top Picks.
Our 5 Best Backpacking Chairs
|Crazy Creek PowerLounger Backpacking Chair|
Foam and nylon
|ALPS Mountaineering Backpacking Chair|
Foam and nylon
|Travelchair Joey Backpacking Chair|
Ripstop nylon w/ aluminum frame
|Helinox Chair Zero Backpacking Chair|
Ripstop Polyester and aluminum frame
|Helinox Swivel Chair Backpacking Chair|
Polyester with alloy frame
1. Crazy Creek Power Lounger – Top Pick
The Power Lounger is a great cross between practicality and comfort. It comes with a high back and soft, comfortable fabric. In addition, it also folds in half making it easy to carry without weighing you down.
The cushioning is a bit thin, but the bottom portion is leg-length to offer extra protection from itchy grass, dirt, or uncomfortable surfaces.
The straps are adjustable, allowing you to set the recline angle. You can also choose to keep the Power Lounger backpacking chair folded to increase cushioning.
Additional features of the Crazy Creek Power Lounger
The back is 20 inches high and the straps sit out of the way of your arms. This chair is not the most breathable as it is constructed of foam and nylon. However, what you lose in breathability, you gain in weight and size.
Designed for easy transport, the Power Lounger backpacking chair rolls up easily and includes a strap buckle to keep it locked while traveling. The material does have reinforcements but could be a little thicker in places. However, extra support was added in areas that are anticipated to have wear and tear from use.
This chair can also be stretched out flat and used as a sleeping pad. All in all, you get three different types of folding set ups – seat folded under, legs and back extended, and flat for sleeping. Keep in mind that it is designed to be a chair first and foremost, so you can find better sleeping pads on the market.
The taco style design might prove difficult for taller users or people who have trouble engaging their core muscles. There is some muscle stability required as you are using the opposing force of your back pushing the seat back against your legs.
2. ALPS Mountaineering Weekender Seat – Best Price
The ALPS Weekender seat is a great portable chair for a great price. The material is soft with a moderate amount of cushioning to aid with sitting on hard surfaces. It comes equipped with easy to adjust side buckles that are placed without restricting movement.
The Weekender is easy to roll up and lightweight, making it easy to carry in your pack. The fabric is reinforced where the internal support rods press against the fabric at the fold of the chair. The edges have also been designed to guard against weathering.
One downside to this chair is the inability to remove the foam padding for easier washing. However, it is still easy to keep clean as is.
The Weekender is a very versatile chair. You can use it anywhere from concerts to camping. It includes a mesh pocket on the back, making it a perfect place to store book or any other useful small item.
This backpacking chair also has straps underneath the seat for ease of attachment to stadium benches or canoe seats. This helps aid with security as the chair uses the oppositional force of your legs on one end and your back on the other.
The Weekender is also a taco style chair, so keep in mind it may be less comfortable for some. However, the packability and lightweight elements of taco style chairs is hard to argue with.
3. Travelchair Joey Backpacking Chair – Wide Base
The Travel Joey backpacking chair is very stable and comfortable when it comes to portable seating. It’s not the lightest chair on the market, but it makes up for it in other features. It has a wide base that makes this chair a go to pick for on-the-go seating.
The material is a thick canvas that provides long-lasting durability and support. It is equipped with mesh panels for ventilation making this chair fairly breathable. This a great chair for hot climates as it prevents overheating and sweating.
The seat is positioned high, which is a nice change as most travel chairs are extremely low. This allows for ease when getting in and out of the chair. The feet are also set wide to prevent tipping.
The Joey backpacking chair folds up easily and is nice and compact, fitting nicely into a backpack. The holsters are made with very thick material, similar to plastic. This adds extra strength at the weak spots in the chair.
4. Helinox Chair Zero Backpacking Chair – Lightest Weight
The tent poles were manufactured by DAC and designed to be both durable and ultralight. The Chair Zero is also extremely easy to set up. It comes with spider web, collapsible aluminum poles that simply fall into place when given a shake.
The dimensions on rather small, which allows this chair to pack down extremely small. The Chair Zero is easy to travel with as it simply fits in the pack side pocket. One downside is that it does sit rather low to the ground, which can be difficult for some users.
The thread is also non-stretch, so it won’t give way to your weight after continuous use. The seat is single-fabric with no mid-back seams, this allows the entire seat to retain an even amount of give. Even though the fabric is very flexible, it still remains durable.
It is not as stable as other chairs on the market and will tip if you aren’t careful about how far you lean. The corners are reinforced, adding extra strength and stability. The middle bar is fixed in place, which makes setting up and orienting the poles extremely easy.
5. Helinox Swivel Backpacking Chair – Bonus Swivel Feature
The seat is deep and is great for leaning back and relaxing, yet also promotes a straight back. However, it is a bit narrower than other chairs on the market, which may be an issue for some users.
The Helinox Swivel backpacking chair does sit 12 inches off the ground, providing a high sit range. This makes it much easier to get in and out of. It also keeps you far away from any wet or muddy ground.
This is the heaviest chair in our review, which is something to consider depending on how far you intend to carry it. The extra weight comes from the swivel feature, as the base must accommodate the extra piece. Fishing, birdwatching, and photography are all great reasons to utilize the swivel feature.
The legs are extremely sturdy and the holsters are thick, increasing the durability of this chair. The Swivel will definitely stand the test of time and not stretch under use.
Though the swivel feature is fun, and useful in certain situations, it may not be worth the extra weight. You will be traveling by foot most of the time and want to be sure you can handle your pack. If you opt for this chair, be sure that the swivel design is something you absolutely need.
Other Best Selling Options
- Brand New Upgraded Design with Your COMFORT in Mind! The new YIZI GO design is 1cm higher and 15% lighter and prior version. Experience superior lower back support from the new deeper seat fabric! Breathable side Mesh Panels allow for increased Air Flow in hot and humid environments, helping to Keep you Cooler. Rest assured you Will sit like a king or queen
- SIZE DOES MATTER! LIGHT WEIGHT PACKABLE FOLDABLE design: Fits in Backpacks and Carry-on luggage (14in storage bag included). Stop hauling around bulky chairs! At only 2 pound the Yizi Go chair is ready to go Wherever and Whenever you are! Take a load off no matter where you decide to go. PORTABILITY and STRENGTH in one LIGHTWEIGHT Package. Perfect for hiking, camping, tailgating, BBQ, picnics, concerts, sporting events, the beach. backpackers, car camping or anywhere you travel!
- YOU REALLY CAN HAVE IT ALL! SUPER DURABLE and STURDY GEAR for OUTDOORS! The YIZI GO Chair was BUILT to LAST: Designed and Engineered with the same High strength aluminum alloys used by Aircraft manufacturers. The frame provides sturdy support with a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds. Engineering Grade 600D polyester seat fabric with double reinforced V stitch is durable, flexible and Machine Washable for ease of care.
- SET UP in SECONDS. Single piece (tent style) lightweight aluminum pole system with hand guide connection. The Yizi Go’s shock corded main frame allows you to guide the connected poles directly into the frame. This unique design enables you to just pop it open, attach the seat fabric and You’re ready to go! Allowing you to immediately sit and enjoy a camp fire, outdoor festival, sporting event, etc. Pair with Sand Cover to increase foot area so it will not sink in sand or soft ground.
- OUT of SIGHT - THERE WHEN YOU NEED IT - The durable 600D storage bag attaches to the seats mainframe with the included Pack Tight straps - Creating additional small item storage beneath the seat. Designed with “daisy chain style” multiple tie downs and end handles. The chairs versatile design allows you to not only attach the bag to the chair, but also your backpack, motorcycle, etc. When you’re done the Yizi Go stores back inside the included storage bag.
- [2-PACK]ROBUST QUALITY: The frame made of heavy-duty aluminum ensures stability and durability of this camping chair
- ULTRALIGHT & COMPACT: These portable chairs can be folded into a small piece of 14.25" x 5.25" including the carry-on bag and still weights 2 lbs. It is extremely easy to carry during outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and backpacking
- EASY SET-UP: Aluminum shock-cord pole structure makes this camping chair for quick intuitive setup
- LOW-Height: This chair’s height is 13.8" with a back height of 26". It MAY NOT be suitable for people with back pain problems or those who can’t get up from low positions
- WEIGHT CAPACITY: This robust chair is capable of taking weight up to 350 lbs. This heavy duty chair is a necessity for campers, hikers, backpackers, adventurers and anyone who loves outdoor activities
- HIGH DURABILITY: Seat made of 600D Oxford cloth with high-strength aluminum alloy frame. Our heavy duty camping chair weighs only 2 pounds which can hold up to 242 pounds/110kg.
- SUPER COMFORT: Unique and ergonomic seat design gives you the best seat experience allowing you to relax. Breathable and soft seat net makes you feel comfortable while you sit.SUPER COMFORT: Unique and ergonomic seat design gives you the best seat experience allowing you to relax. Breathable and soft seat net makes you feel comfortable while you sit.
- EASY SETUP and CLEAN: Foldable mesh and metal poles make it easy to set up and fold down. It is super easy to clean: just sweep off or clean by soap water.
- VERSATILITY: The ideal choice for Backpackers, Tailgaters, Hikers, Concertgoers, Campers, Adventurers, and anyone looking for comfort without the bulk. A decent HOLIDAY GIFT for friends and families.
Choosing the Right Backpacking Chair
When taking a backpacking chair on a trip, there are many factors to account for. The main ones are comfort, portability, and ease of use. You also must consider if you would like a tent style chair or a taco style chair.
The main things that make a chair comfortable are back and seat height, seat width, and weight capacity.
If you are tall or have a long torso, don’t opt for a chair with a short back. Make sure it extends enough to give you the needed spinal support.
The seat height determines how high the seat is off the ground. Users with long legs will want to search for higher seats, that way your knees don’t get scrunched up. The seat height also determines how easy it is to get in and out of the chair.
If you have wide hips, you’ll want to be sure the chair is wide enough to not overcrowd you. Also, be sure to choose a chair that can support your weight.
Being able to transport your chair is key when backpacking. The packed size and weight are two main things to consider.
Most backpacking chairs will pack down small. However, you want to make sure that they also take up less space and aren’t overly bulky when folded. Some chairs will have a strap option that allows you to connect and carry on the outside of your pack if you desire.
You want to try and stay under two pounds for backpacking. Unless you are a larger packer, anything heavier than that can quickly become cumbersome.
Ease Of Use
The best backpacking chairs are extremely easy to set up. Most chairs will have a single collapsible pole system with a sewn ripstop seat. Just plop it down and set it up.
The taco style chairs are the easiest, as you simply fold them how you’d like. For more agile and flexible users, this is the option that we would best recommend as it is less pricey and easier to carry.
Types of Chairs
There are two main types of chairs – taco style and tent style.
Taco style chairs have a very simple design and function. They are designed to fold in an L-shaped pattern with internal support beams that allow you to lean back. It does this by using oppositional force to create a sturdy backrest. This type of chair sits directly on the ground and is light with not set up. There is a bit of muscle engagement require to use these chairs, so they are not quite as stable as chairs with legs.
Tent style chairs are made of a tent-like folding pole construction and a fabric seat that suspends your weight. Generally, they sit 8-12 inches above the ground and offer more comfort than taco style chairs. However, they are usually heavier and more expensive.
Our Final Review for Best Backpacking Chairs
Overall, you want to look for something lightweight, affordable, and comfortable. After all, you won’t be sitting very much on your backpacking adventure.
Thus, there is no need for an extravagant chair with extra bells and whistles. Keep it simple, yet efficient.
Also, be sure to choose a chair that is sturdy and durable. You will be using it in out in the elements, so you want to make sure that it can withstand moisture and varying temperatures.