When camping, there are essential pieces of equipment such as tents and cookers. Then there are the few luxuries we allow ourselves. Sometimes these come in the form of nifty gadgets; sometimes they come in the form of a chair. 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 or 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 other items in return.
In this article, you will find a top range of expertly selected lightweight camping chairs. Competition is reasonably fierce these days and the lightweight-durability balance is something many brands are taking a swing at. Many quite successfully.
What to look for in a lightweight camping chair
Packed size: Rucksacks still have a finite amount of space and what sounds like compact may indeed 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 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.
The best lightweight camping chairs:
Weight 510g | Max user weight 120kg | Pack size 35 x 10 x 10cm | Opened size 64 x
There are many lightweight chairs that resemble this one, but we crown this as champion. Weighing in at half a kilo, yet still supporting up to 120kg is rather impressive. But it's the quality of construction that lifts the Chair Zero above its competitors.
Using 100D ripstop polyester and an aluminium alloy frame, the Chair Zero will last for many, many trips and Helinox backs their offering with a five-year manufacturer's warranty. It's also worth knowing that if you want more comfort, there is a high-backed version too.
• Very light
• Quite expensive
Weight 1100g | Max user weight 110kg | Pack size 38 x 12 x 8cm | Opened size 51 x
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 is not going to match that of the Helinox or Robens (below) chairs.
• Great value
• Good seat height
• Aluminium frame
• Heaviest option here
• Durability not as good as more expensive options
Weight 915g | Max user weight 120kg | Pack size 32 x 12 x 9cm | Opened size 68 x
We pointed out that the Helinox Chair Zero's construction quality is excellent, and it is. But Robens' Pathfinder is better still. Using 420D fabric and an aluminium frame, the Pathfinder is impressively sturdy and robust, although it's not as compact or lightweight as the Chair Zero.
The Pathfinder is also great value, which is naturally a very important factor. But it's great to know that there is no compromise on quality here.
• Very robust
• Very comfortable
• Relatively heavy
• Larger packed size than Helinox Chair Zero
Best lightweight camping stool
Weight 340g | Max user weight 120kg | Pack size 42 x 7cm | Opened size 33 x 33 x
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.
• Very light
• Very sturdy
• Excellent value
• No back support
Weight 290g | Max user weight 136kg | Pack size 51 x 10cm | Opened size N/A
Therm-a-Rest's novel idea of effectively creating a chair 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 buckles 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.
• Very lightweight
• Padded comfort
• Works with most self-inflating mats
• Takes longer to set up than a normal folding chair