Best camping chairs 2024 | Tested and reviewed

Live For The Outdoors rounds up its favourite tried and tested camping chairs.

LFTO tester sitting in a camping chair with a mug of coffee

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

Beyond essential pieces of equipment, there are the few luxuries and gadgets we allow ourselves, such as camping chairs. What is a simple amenity of home life becomes an expendable luxury on a trek or hike, and the task of the humble chair is usually relegated to a log or patch of ground.

In line with outdoor gear brands' ability to make camping equipment ever lighter and compact, some camping chairs have now reached the point where they can quite happily fit inside your big rucksack without ejecting your stove and cutlery return.

Vango camping chairs
©Vango

What are the best camping chairs of 2024?:

Best in Test: Helinox Chair Zero High Back

Best Value: Quechua Folding Camping Chair MH500

Best classic camping chair: Vango Samson 2 Oversized Chair

How we test camping chairs

LFTO tester carrying a folded camping chair in its carry bag
©LFTO

The camping chairs recommended here have all been tried and tested by various members of the LFTO team over several months - years in some cases. The humble camping chair may seem a bit, well, humdrum but it's a camping staple so it's important to get right.

Our team is made up of people who venture on camping trips with their families and wild camping trips. Both types of camping bring their own type of intensity and also demand different types of camping chairs. So, what we've done here is recommend the very best camping chairs from across the spectrum - from lightweight folding stools to reclining luxury chairs.

Find out more on how we test here

The best camping chairs reviewed:

Best in Test

The Chair Zero from Helinox is the lightest chair made by the masters in lightweight camping chairs, which makes it incredibly impressive. But as anyone who's tried leaning back and sinking into it will testify, it doesn't offer a great deal in terms of back support. Enter its sister product, the Chair Zero High Back, which has been designed to counter that problem.

In short, we love it. As Helinox proudly states on their website, it has the same DNA as Chair Zero – in the sense that it weighs next to nothing, packs down into a bag around the size of a good down jacket, and can be carried pretty much anywhere. And where it does marginally lose to the Chair Zero in terms of extra weight and bulk, it makes up for it by feeling more comfortable and offering a more stable sitting experience.

Definitely one you could use on a campsite camping, backpacking or canoe camping adventure. Top marks from us!

Pros

  • Good support and comfort
  • Low weight
  • Small packed size

Cons

  • Very little padding

Best Value

If you're not in a position to spend the amount the Helinox Chair Zero asks (and fair enough), there are still sound options. Shopping around in the sub-£50 bracket can be a tricky task, but the Quechua chair from Decathlon stands out as a reasonably dependable all-rounder.

Though twice the weight of the Helinox Chair Zero, the Quechua is still a featherweight for a camping chair. It's still rather compact too. The only thing to be wary of here is that the longevity and durability of the Quechua chair doesn't match that of the other chairs here.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Good seat height
  • Aluminium frame

Cons

  • Quite heavy

Best classic camping chair

Vango's chairs have been campsite staples for years, and we're with the mob on this - particularly regarding this model, the Samson 2 Oversized Chair.

Granted, it's not awash with features like a chilly bag or reclining back. But for us, it has what matters. On test it was plenty comfortable enough for us thanks to a slightly padded seat and back. It does have a drink holder, which is also a bit insulated to keep beverages hot or cold for a bit longer than they would otherwise.

But it's the quality of construction for such good value that really sold us on the Samson 2 Oversized Chair. For less than £50 (RRP is £60 but most retailers sell it for less), this is such a sturdy and durable design, made from a tough fabric and steel frame. At 4kg it's not particularly heavy, although folded down it is about a metre long so isn't the most compact.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Highest max user weight on test
  • Great value

Cons

  • Few features

Best for durability

ARB Folding compact directors chairoutdoor roadie

This is the high-utility, indestructible, overall gadget-y camping chair that Batman would use. When you first unfold the Old Man Emu Director's Chair from ARB, you’ll find more and more nifty features as you go.

The small side table with a cup remains flat thanks to a helpful locking piece which clicks once you’ve got the legs properly unfolded. Then off the left arm you’ll find a cooler bag which has a spacious main compartment, a zip pocket on the front, and three mesh sleeves above it for items you’ll want easy access to (or to display an array of sweet treats to bargain with your kids for good campsite behaviour). This chair is certainly more at home at a campsite than in the wild.

The Old Man Emu Director's chair was very comfortable for our tester’s long nights by the campfire; the main material is 420D ripstop, which is soft and has a good amount of give. It's also very sturdy, being able to hold up to 130kg, so there’s no fear of your giant Doberman jumping up for a cuddle and causing structural chaos.

The Old Man Emu chair is as tough and durable as the 4x4 you’d ideally like to ferry it around in, so of course this does come with a weight/portability trade-off. The chair isn’t monstrously heavy, clocking in at roughly 6kg, and we’ve got to admire the 300D PVC lined carry bag whose shoulder strap is strong and comfortable. But we certainly wouldn’t want to lug it too far, and the aluminium frame prevents the Old Man Emu chair from folding into a sleeker, more typical packed shape.

In all, we appreciate the huge attention to detail that went into this chair’s design. Things like the slim magazine pocket on the seat’s back being perfect for storing the carry bag when not in use, or the built-in handle for quick transportation, make it a versatile pick for those looking for a chair for life.

Pros

  • Bombproof construction
  • Lock system keeps chair in place
  • Convenient side-table with a cup holder
  • Spacious cooler bag

Cons

  • Folding back up can be mildly faffy

Best lightweight chair for comfort

In terms of comfort in a collapsible chair, we haven't tested anything that comes close to the Eno Lounger SL. It's been around for a few years now, so isn't in stock in as many places as it once was, but if you can get your hands on one, you won't regret it.

This low-slung chair feels more like a hammock than a seat, and in the 4 years we've been using it, it hasn't even come close to tipping over. It's lightweight and packable to the point that you won't mind carrying it short distances or stashing it in the front of something like a canoe or paddleboard, but isn't quite light enough to make it a backpacking option.

The Lounger SL is easy to set up with aluminium poles held together by a single piece of shock cord, plus it has a stretchy pocket on the right-hand side and a mesh back and seat to keep you cool. As good as it gets for a seat to relax in around a campfire.

Pros

  • Hammock-level comfort
  • Reasonably lightweight
  • Easy setup and packing down
  • Stable and durable

Cons

  • Relatively bulky

Best lightweight camping stool

Bearing a super light but strong aluminium frame, this stool from Robens is your go-to when you want a chair that adds as little weight as possible but doesn't suffer from being flimsy. It's as simple as that.

Like the chairs above, this stool uses tough polyester for the fabric and aluminium for the frame. When packed down, it's very narrow but longer than the chairs above, so you may wish to simply attach it to the outside of your pack.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Very sturdy
  • Very light

Cons

  • No back support

Best for wild camping and backpacking

OK, you've guessed it, we like Helinox chairs. The Chair Zero High Back above is a superb choice if you want a little more comfort from their ultra-lightweight range, but the Ground Chair is our pick if you want to get off-road and do some proper wild camping and backpacking.

At just 640g, the weight is impressive, and with a full length of just 30cm, it slides very easily into your pack. What we possibly love most, though, is the clever leg design. This is the only Helinox chair which has a square base, which spreads the load more evenly than standalone legs. This means you're less likely to sink into the type of soft ground you so often encounter when you get off the beaten track.

There is one slight catch though, in that we've rocked out of it quite a few times and ended up flat on our backs. But we can live with that when the rest of the package is so good.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Small packed size
  • Great on soft ground

Cons

  • We've fallen out of it more than once!

Highly recommended

Outwell Tryfan next to a tent
Price: £79.22 (RRP 113)

outdoorgear.co.uk

The Outwell Tryfan is a collapsible high-back chair that isn't quite lightweight and compact enough to be carrying off into the wilderness but is a good option if you want something more compact to squeeze into your car on camping trips.

The fabric is soft and padded with the nice touch of a neck pillow that allows you to recline in comfort. The aluminium frame feels durable enough and is held together by one long shock cord, so when you disassemble it, all of the arms and legs stay together when folded back into the bag. The only catch we can see so far is the slightly upright feel.

There isn't a huge gap between the front and back legs, and with the high back, you end up sitting in a fairly straight-backed position (if you're lanky like our tester). We haven't toppled out of it yet though!

Pros

  • Good padding for a collapsible chair
  • Relatively small packed size
  • Removable pillow

Cons

  • Sitting position is a bit upright

Best folding camping chair

Certainly not one for gram shavers and lightweight fanatics, the Outwell Lomond is a fully padded beast of a camping chair that's as heavy as it is comfortable. This is very much a luxury seating option for campers with plenty of space in the car who just want to pitch their tent, fold out the seat, then sit back and relax on a campsite.

It opens and folds in a matter of seconds, reclines into three sitting positions, is made of high-strength durable steel, is covered in padded polyester, and even comes with a cup holder that tucks away under the seat when it's not in use. The Lomond is the kind of indestructible-feeling chair you'll be taking on camping trips with you for many, many years.

Pros

  • Folds out very easily
  • Padded and comfortable
  • Feels indestructible
  • Excellent cup holder

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky

Highly recommended

If you’re looking for a comfortable folding camping chair at a good price, you won’t find many better than the imaginatively named Camping Comfortable Reclining Folding Armchair from Decathlon.

The design mechanism is fairly basic, in the sense that this chair simply folds in half and packs down flat rather than collapsing inside a bag like many modern camping chairs. So it isn’t the kind of chair you’d like to carry far, but if you’ve got decent car boot space it’s perfect for campsite camping. The headrest is nicely cushioned, the back is well ventilated, and it reclines well enough that you can lie back at night and gaze at the stars.

We’ve been using this chair for a couple of summers on camping trips and at music festivals and it still looks as good as new. A good investment that should last you for many years.

Pros

  • Comfy headrest
  • Multiple reclining positions
  • Ventilated backrest

Cons

  • Quite bulky when folded

Best innovation

Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair 

Rrp: $64.95

Price: $52.44

Therm-a-Rest's novel idea of creating an adaptor kit for your sleeping mat is one to be taken seriously. It works by sliding the top end of the sleeping mat into the chair sleeve, then folding the sleeping mat in half and inserting it into the chair sleeve. Fasten and tighten and buckle and you have yourself a chair.

Though not as supportive as the regular chairs above, the Trekker Chair does provide enough to be comfortable after a long day on your feet and padded comfort. The sleeve edges are stretchy, so it should fit most self-inflating sleeping mats.

Pros

  • Works with most self-inflating mats
  • Padded comfort
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Takes longer to set up than a normal folding chair

What to look for in a camping chair

Camping chairs packed away displayed in a row
©Live For The Outdoors

Packed size: Rucksacks still have a finite amount of space, and what sounds like compact may turn out to be not compact enough for you. Rather than simply checking whether a certain chair will fit in your pack, check to see if it'll fit after your rucksack is packed with all your gear. Though, you may be happy attaching the folded chair to the daisy chains on your pack.

Weight: All the chairs we recommend are around one kilogram or less, so none are going to add too much to the overall weight of your load. However, pack smart and remember about where items should sit in the pack.

Materials: Some lightweight camping chairs still have reasonably durable fabrics and frames. It's important to stick to these because there are plenty of models out there that are lightweight but very flimsy.

Weight limit: Adhering to the advice above about selecting a lightweight camping chair made from high-grade materials, its weight capacity will be within the weight of many. This is usually about 120 kilograms.

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