Updated June 2017
This spring, we updated our 2017 camping chair review, bringing you the best of the best of 14 top tier chairs. The ALPS King Kong remains our Editors' Choice, and the Kijaro is still the Best Bang for the Buck. We have a new Best Buy on a Tight Budget, the Moon Lence and two new notable mentions: the Helinox Chair Zero and the Onepack Ultralight. While conducting this review, we wanted to find chairs that excel in a variety of metrics, ranging from the most comfortable to the one that can withstand the most abuse. Fortunately, we tested several excellent products that raised our expectations of camping chairs.
Best Overall for Camping
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
Material holds water
This prized award goes to the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
. It is the undisputed most comfortable chair and was always the first model to be occupied around a fire ring. The fabric is ever so slightly padded which makes the chair ideal for long lounging sessions. The seat itself is super roomy and the frame is incredibly stable. The weight capacity is 800 lbs (which we tested, of course) and as a result, its reinforced fabric is very durable. This added reinforcement comes at the price of several extra pounds making the King Kong being the heaviest model that we tested at 13 lbs. Set up of this chair is super simple and takes a matter of seconds. Testers appreciated all of the functional storage features that the King Kong had, including two cup holders, two side pockets, and an additional small pocket behind the head rest. If you need a chair and don't mind a bit of bulk, we highly recommend the King Kong. Camping, tailgating, fishing, you name it - if you are someone who uses a camping specific chair regularly, we think this model will stand up to all of your needs.
Read full review: ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
Best Bang for the Buck
Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
Great back support
Built-in carrying strap
Easy to set up
Small cup holders
Potentially less durable
Sometimes the Best Buy goes to a product that performs well considering its price. Other times, you find a product that performs great and is affordable. Meet the Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
, which costs just $40. This chair is super comfortable and easy to set up, and its taut fabric provides the best back support of any of the models we tested. Additionally, the back is constructed from a sturdy mesh material that makes for comfortable, well-ventilated lounging on sunny days. Testers loved the carrying strap as it made this model much more portable than all of the other traditional models. Although we initially questioned its durability, we didn't notice any wear or tear during our testing process (although the yellow fabric did get quite filthy). What is most important to note is that the Kijaro is well-made, supremely comfortable, and supportive. Add to that the fact that it is one of the cheapest models we tested, and it was an obvious pick for our Best Buy Award.
Read full review: Kijaro Dual Lock Folding Chair
Top Pick for Portability
Big Agnes Helinox Chair One
Good back support
Stable for a portable model
Packs down small
No neck support
Less stable than traditional competitors
Many testers worried that a portable chair would force them to sacrifice their favorite qualities: comfort, stability, and bonus features (cup holders, coolers, etc). However, the Big Agnes Helinox Chair One
did an excellent job at representing all of the perks one can have in a small and lightweight seat - comfort, stability, and durability. While not the lightest or smallest chair we tested, it weighs less than two pounds and packs up in a pouch that is only slightly larger than a 2-liter water bottle, and is therefore still extremely portable - much more so than the traditional camping specific chairs we tested! Though not the most portable chair we tested, with well-ventilated mesh backing, good back support, and a medium seat height, the Chair One does an outstanding job balancing "front country" comfort with backcountry portability. Moreover, the Chair One retained the highest level of comfort, stability, and durability among all the portable chairs in this review, earning our pick for the Best Portable Competitor in our fleet.
Read full review: Big Agnes Helinox Chair One
Best Buy on a Tight Budget
Packs down small
Easy to Set Up
Not as stable
Material stretches with use
With so many portable camping chairs carrying a high price tag, we wanted to see what more affordable options were out there. Enter the Moon Lence
. At first glance, it looks eerily like the Helinox Chair One, making us wonder why anyone would pay extra for the Chair One at all. While our testers really liked the Moon Lence, their biggest complaints about it were the lack of stability and lessened durability, ultimately lowering the comfort of this chair. Made with slightly less durable materials, the seat stretched unevenly with each successive use, and the weight rating just isn't as high as that of the Chair One. However, overall this is a pretty good chair, and with a price under $40, we feel it's hard not to keep a few in the back of the Subaru.
Read full review: Moon Lence
Notable Mention for Absurd Portability
Big Agnes Helinox Chair Zero
Packs down small
Easy to Set Up
One of the most portable chairs we tested, the Helinox Chair Zero
also exhibits a good level of comfort and a surprising amount of durability! Though it couldn't quite outcompete the Chair One, as we found it to be much less stable, the low weight of just one pound makes this chair hard to ignore! Lighter than many chairs billed as "backpacking chairs", the Chair One is by far the most portable chair we tested. Its smaller size added to its portability but was a hit-and-miss item for our testers. The Chair Zero seems to be well-suited for smaller individuals and those who desire portability and comfort above all else.
Read full review: Helinox Chair Zero
Notable Mention for Hybrid Design
Hybrid of portable and traditional chairs
Headrest and feet discs
Challenging to set up
Potential durability issues
While not a particularly high-scoring chair in this review, the Ultralight exhibits a combination of portable and traditional camping chair features that make it stand out, as well as a low price tag! Packing down much smaller than a traditional chair, and weighing barely more than a third as much as the next lightest traditional chair, the Onepack beats traditional models for portability. With a higher seat, taller back, and built-in headrest, it stands out from the portable chairs. Again, not our favorite for comfort or durability, but it does have a low price tag, retailing for around $40. With this combination of crossover chair features and an affordable price, we think this competitor is worth our Notable Tag.
Read full review: Onepack Ultralight