I always wonder what my friends will bring when I tell them to bring a camping chair for an outing. I have seen some amazing things. The most unique was a couple brought director’s chairs, you know, the ones with the wood frames and canvas seats, they must have weighed 25 pounds a piece. Most settle for the quick set up folding steel and nylon chairs that we have all
The Director Chair and Ubiquitous Camp Chair
carried to a soccer match or outdoor event, maybe even the beach. These are just two examples of a fast growing revolution in outdoor camp and adventure seating. The last time a I googled “camp chair”, it returned over 800,000 images of every type of portable chair and sofa imaginable:
A Literal Plethora of Camp Chairs
Needless to say, perhaps there is some value in spending some time examining what camp chair may be right for you. With all the choices, finding the right one can be done, but may be a bit of a challenge.
There Are Tradeoffs
Each camp chair has its own particular set of strengths and weaknesses, and your intended use along with personal preferences will help steer the direction of your chair purchase. Our team has researched, tested, abused, enjoyed and destroyed all manner of camp chairs in the last few years, we feel that eminently qualifies us to speak as experts in this matter. Whether you intend to spend time at a cookout in the backyard or backpack 20 miles a day, the right chair is out there… and we know where it is.
Let’s take a look at the different types of camping chairs we examined. We looked at ones that were focused on comfort and others that focused on portability. Those are the two biggest tradeoffs in type. Then you can look to the quality and durability versus cost. We found that spending alot of money generally got you very little other than a recognized brand name. We really did find that there is no one camping chair that is the be all end all. Rather there is a continuum of tradeoffs and finding the best blend of attributes could lead to the best chair… for you and your specific activity.
Big, Comfy Camp Chairs
First let’s look at the bigger chairs that tend toward comfort. Generally, these chairs weigh from 5 to over 10 pounds and fold down in some way or another. These chairs break down into two big categories, those that fold into a “tube” and those that fold flat:
Big Comfy Camp Chairs, Fold Tube and Fold Flat
Those that fold into a tube generally sit up straighter are less supportive, but can include features such as cup holders, foot rests and even integrated shade for your head. The fold flat variety of camping chairs usually offer a great deal of support, are very comfortable, have a comfortable incline of the seat back and are more rigid when set up. They are also generally a bit heavier, are more bulky to carry and store and are usually much more expensive than the tube type. During our research, we even found specialized beach camp chairs that folded into a backpack, clever idea and great for that special purpose user, since they sit low like a regular beach chair.
Compact Portable Camp Chairs
There are a number of options for portable camp chairs that are lightweight, comfortable and durable. My favorites use aluminum frames not unlike backpacking tents and a light ripstop nylon and mesh seating area. These chairs are light enough to take almost anywhere and take up a minimum of room while still keeping you off the ground in good comfort. The one pictured weighs
less than two pounds and I can take four of them in my beach bag! The mesh backing of some of the better chairs really helps with staying cool on the beach or in the summer. The last type we will look at is the minimalist camp chair, what I call the stadium camp chair:
This chair offers lightweight, insulation from the ground and you can adjust the recline to suit you. It will get wet if the ground is wet and you will be right there with the creepy crawlies if they are around. I do use these chairs, but only for the stadium as God intended.
I Hope you have learned a bit about camp chairs. If you have questions, shoot me a note in the comments section!