Updated May 2017
Warm summer nights are coming in hot, and so we updated this review as of May 2017 to include market updates as well as easy-to-digest pros and cons and charts to help make your decision easier. We also reviewed the current market, making sure that our Editors' Choice pick is still the cream of the crop.
Best Overall Camping Chair
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
Material holds water
The coveted Editors' Choice award is handily taken by the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
, which was the most comfortable chair reviewed. Its off-the-charts comfort ensured that it was always the first occupied seat around the campfire, thanks to a fabric that is slightly padded, making it optimal for lounging sessions. A roomy seat and supportive frame impart stability, and with reinforced fabric and an 800-pound weight limit (which we of course tested), durability points are off the charts. This added reinforcement adds a few pounds, and the King Kong is the heaviest model tested. Set up is simple and takes a matter of seconds, and storage features, including two cup holders, two side pockets, and a small pocket behind the headrest, maximize this chair's functionality. If you don't mind a bit of bulk, the King Kong is the answer fo camping, tailgating, fishing, you name it.
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
Yellow fabric gets filthy
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 comfortable and easy to set up, and its taut fabric provides the best back support of any of the models tested. Additionally, the back is constructed from a sturdy mesh that makes for comfortable, well-ventilated lounging on sunny days. Testers loved the carrying strap, as it made this model 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. This model also comes in variations to help you tailor your chair to your exact needs.
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 camping chairs
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 a good job bringing all the perks one can have in a small and lightweight seat. First of all, it weighs less than two pounds and packs up in a pouch that is only slightly larger than a 2 liter water bottle. Hands down, this chair is better at traveling than any of the traditional models. It takes up less space in a car and is suitable to carry on short hiking or backpacking outings. That said, our shorter testers (5'8" and under) reported that their shoulders felt a bit squished in by the frame, which was the biggest issue affecting its comfort. The Helinox collapses in to two pieces, the fabric seat and a frame, and takes less than two minutes to assemble. We think the Helinox could be a good choice for kids because they fit better in to its small egg shaped seat (however, be wary of the lack of stability!). Otherwise, this chair is ideal for scenarios where weight and size matter. It is the best packable option we tested and a great seat to have around camp in the backcountry. This year, you can order it in a special 15th-anniversary print to celebrate Big Agnes.
Read full review: Big Agnes Helinox Chair One