Helinox Chair Zero
What do you get when you combine portability and comfort? The Helinox Chair Zero.
This backpacking seating solution takes relaxation to a new level with its packable design. It even has a breathable fabric seat for use on muggy summer days as well as a rugged frame for enhanced functionality.
Good things like this model don’t come cheap, of course, so that’s one thing to consider before you buy. But if you’re willing to splurge for near-perfection, you can’t go wrong with this piece of camping furniture.
Bottom line: When only the best will do, the Helinox Chair Zero ought to be on the top of your list.
Best Backpacking Chair: Maximum Comfort In The Mountains
Looking For The Best Backpacking Chairs?
You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:
- Why you need a backpacking chair
- Top things to consider when buying a backpack chair
- Reviews of the best ultralight backpacking chairs
- Our favorite lightweight camp chair on the market today
Backpacking and roughin’ it don’t have to go hand-in-hand.
In fact, with the right camping chair, your next trip into the wilderness can be a comfortable, cozy affair. But finding the perfect camping chairs for your needs can be a challenge, so we’ve created this guide to do just that.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the 10 best chairs for backpacking on the market so you can always have a place to relax at the end of a long day of hiking in the mountains. As an added bonus, we’ve also included some guidance as to what to look for when you shop for camp chairs to help you get the perfect gear for your needs.
What To Consider When Buying A Backpacking Chair
Buying the right backpacking seating solution for your needs starts with knowing what to look for as you shop. Here are some key things to keep in mind during the research process:
Backpacking chairs are designed for comfort. So it should come as no surprise that coziness is essential when shopping for this kind of gear.
When it comes to camping chairs, there are a few key things you ought to keep in mind. These include:
- Lumbar Support – Back support is of the utmost importance in backpacking chairs. That’s because it can greatly improve your ability to relax after a day of hiking. So, while opting for a model with lumbar support will add weight to your pack, doing so is ideal if coziness is your chief concern.
- Seating Height – The height of your seat is an essential part of your comfort on the trail. Of course, a sit pad might be okay for weight-conscious campers. But when comfort is a priority, a higher seating height is preferred.
- Chair Width – Simply put, models with wider seating areas tend to be more comfortable. So, opting for furniture with a wide, ergonomic place to sit while you chill by the fire is a sure bet.
Backpacking chairs are of no use if they feel wobbly and unstable. Therefore, opting for a model with a sturdy frame is essential.
As you shop for outdoor adventure chairs, pay close attention to the furniture’s framing system. Models with widely-spaced legs tend to be more stable. Meanwhile, those that cut weight with narrowly-placed legs tend to sacrifice stability in the process.
Of course, if you really want to prioritize stability, a sitting pad is ideal. But, this comes at the cost of some comfort in the mountains.
Size and Weight
Any piece of gear that you take backpacking needs to be portable enough to carry into remote terrain. Thus, you’ll want to pay close attention to the packability of your potential camping seating solution.
As a general rule, sitting pads are the most portable option for backpackers. However, there are some lightweight chairs that weigh just around 1 lb. So, there’s a seating solution out there to suit any camping style.
Ease of Use
With a convenience-focused piece of gear like backpacking furniture, simplicity and ease of use are very important.
When it comes to backpacking chairs, ease of use generally refers to the complexity of that model’s pitching system. For example, some chairs are designed to fold open in just a few seconds while others have poles that require a bit more assembly.
While there’s no single best option out there, it’s essential that the chairs you bring on your adventures are simple enough for you to set up with relative ease. That way, you can spend less time pitching your gear and more time lounging around camp.
The Top 10 Backpacking Chairs
Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Pad
On the lookout for a lightweight backpacking chair? The Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Pad might be what you need.
This sit pad-style model is made with sleeping pad-style molded closed-cell foam for comfort and performance in the mountains. It also has Therm-a-Capture technology built right in to help reflect radiant heat toward your body for extra warmth on the cold dirt.
At just 2 oz (57 g) in weight, this model is light enough for remote backpacking adventures. Its accordion-style design and bungee closure system also allow it to fold down to a small enough size in your pack.
The downside? Even though the Z-Seat is very budget-friendly, it’s not exactly the most comfortable option around. It doesn’t provide any back support and using one requires sitting on the ground. But, if weight savings and portability are important, this option is hard to beat.
- Lightweight design
- Very durable construction
- Provides insulation from the ground
- Affordable price point
- No lumbar support
- Not very comfortable
Bottom-Line: If you’re okay with sitting on the ground in exchange for weight savings, the Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Pad is one of the best backpacking chairs on this list.
Helinox Chair Zero
Our top pick as one of the best backpacking chairs on the market, the Helinox Chair Zero is a superb choice for a wide range of adventures.
Tipping the scales at 1 lb 2 oz (510 g), this model is one of the lightest options with back support available today. It also packs down to a tiny size in its included stuff sack for increased portability on the trail.
Furthermore, the company crafted this model with durability and comfort in mind. With the Chair Zero, Helinox incorporated a rugged DAC aluminum frame system and a rugged, breathable fabric into one innovative design. It also has a convenient 11” seat height for relaxing at camp.
As with many quality pieces of gear, though, the Helinox Chair Zero doesn’t come cheap. It also has a fairly low maximum weight capacity and its legs can sink somewhat easily into muddy ground. But, when overall performance is key, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat this model.
- Lightweight for a camp chair
- Durable DAC aluminum poles
- Compact and portable packed size
- Highly breathable fabric
- Legs tend to sink into muddy ground
- Somewhat low weight limit
Bottom-Line: When only the best will do, the Chair Zero is one piece of gear you shouldn’t leave home without.
REI Flexlite Camp Chair
Best Budget Camp Chair
With the REI Flexlite Camp Chair, you can be comfortable in the backcountry without breaking the bank.
This budget-friendly backpacking chair is made from bluesign-approved ripstop polyester for durability. Its seat fabric is also treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) to help it shed moisture and prevent stains while you’re out and about.
At the same time, it provides ample back support through its easy-to-set-up aluminum frame. Then, when it’s time to leave camp in the morning, the Flexlite folds down to a small packed size in its stuff sack for increased portability.
The drawback to this affordable camping chair, however, is that it’s fairly heavy. Its leg design also isn’t very stable in rocky terrain. But, when cost-effectiveness is a concern, it’s hard to go wrong with this amazing hiking chair.
- Quick set-up design
- Made with bluesign-approved materials
- Durable ripstop polyester
- Has a DWR coat for stain and moisture-resistance
- Fairly heavy
- Leg design isn’t very stable
Bottom-Line: Hikers on a budget can rejoice with the functionality of the REI Flexlite.
Big Agnes Skyline UL
Best for Portability
Designed specifically with portability in mind, the Big Agnes Skyline UL is a compact option for trips into the wilderness.
Crafted for convenience, it has a color-coded aluminum pole frame system that’s quick to set up. At the same time, its hubless frame system and pre-bent poles are easier to get in and out of the included stuff sack to minimize frustration on the trail.
For performance in the mountains, Big Agnes crafted this model with 70D Robic nylon, which is durable enough for regular use. They also treated it with a waterproof coating to prevent stains and mildew during your adventures.
Like most premium backpacking chairs, the Skyline UL isn’t very affordable. However, it is one of the few compact options with both a high 15 inch (38 cm) height and a wide seat. So it’s a good choice for campers that want functionality and comfort in the mountains.
- Highly compact design
- Color-coded frame allows for quick set-up
- Pre-bent poles create a wider seat
- Waterproof coating for stain-resistance
- Fairly expensive
Bottom-Line: The Big Agnes Skyline UL is a comfortable and portable option for any backpacker.
REI Co-op Flash Sit Pad
Best for Weekend Adventures
If you need a quick and simple backpacking chair for a weekend adventure, the REI Co-op Flash Sit Pad is a solid choice.
Made out of bluesign-approved polyester, the Flash is an inflatable sitting pad that provides increased comfort while sitting on the ground. It can be inflated in just a few minutes, too, for simplicity when you arrive in camp.
Meanwhile, the Flash is highly durable, thanks to its weld-through construction. It also weighs just 3 oz (850 g), so it’s light enough and portable enough for any outing. As an added bonus, it can also double as a pillow for snoozing at night.
The primary disadvantage of the Flash is that it doesn’t provide any back support. It’s also designed for use on the ground, so it’s not great for people that want a more traditional camp chair. Despite this, when weight savings and affordability are important, the Flash Sit Pad is great for weekend outings.
- Can double as a pillow
- Provides insulation from the ground
- Durable weld-through construction
- Very compact design
- Provides no lumbar support
- Not comfortable enough for regular use
Bottom-Line: It might not be the epitome of luxury, but the Flash Sit Pad is mighty convenient for short backpacking trips.
Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair
Best for Versatility
One of the most unique backpacking chairs available, the Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair is a versatile choice for a range of outings.
This model is designed to transform your inflatable sleeping pad into a fully-fledged backpacking chair. It’s made from lightweight and packable 75D ripstop nylon with fiberglass stays for enhanced performance in the backcountry.
As one of the more convenient camp chairs on this list, the Trekker can be set up in just a few seconds. Since it uses your sleeping pad as a frame, it has a high back height, even if it is low to the ground.
We should mention, though that this model does require a Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad to use. It also increases the likelihood of puncturing your sleeping pad while lounging. Despite this, if you want to reduce the amount of gear you have to pack, this model is well worth considering
- Low weight and highly packable design
- Provides lumbar support
- Insulates from the ground
- Quick set-up process
- Requires a Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad
- Risk of puncturing your sleeping pad
Bottom-Line: For situations where cutting weight and bulk in your pack is essential, the Trekker doesn’t disappoint.
Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight Chair
Best for Comfort
Prioritizing comfort above all else, the Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight is a go-to backpacking chair for relaxation in the wilderness.
Boasting a wide and ergonomic seating area, this model is ideal for people that want to lounge in style. Its stable frame also positions you nearly 15 inches off the ground for enhanced comfort around the campfire.
If that wasn’t enough, Moon Lence crafted this model out of extra-durable 600D Oxford fabric for ruggedness. This does add weight to your pack, but the extra durability might be worth it for some campers.
That being said, this seating solution does have a sub-250 lbs weight limit, so it’s not suitable for everyone. Overall, though, the Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight is a sure bet for backcountry outings.
- Wide, comfortable seating area
- Fairly stable on rocky terrain
- Quick set-up process
- High seat height
- Some durability concerns
- Low weight minimum
Bottom-Line: When comfort is king, the Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight is one of the best backpacking chairs money can buy.
REI Trail Chair
Best for Kids
Who says kids can’t be comfortable while camping, too? With the REI Trail Chair, adventurers of all ages can lounge in the mountains.
This affordable ground chair-style model is made from rugged foam and 420D Oxford nylon that’s bluesign-approved for eco-friendliness. It also comes with a set of easy carry handles for quick transportation to and from the campsite.
For extra functionality, REI built this model with a large pocket for gear storage. That way, you can easily store your books and other essential items all in one place.
However, the Trail is designed for people that want to sit on the floor, so it’s not comfortable for all campers. It’s also quite bulky when packed, which makes it less than ideal for ultralight trips.
- Relatively affordable
- Durable construction
- Pocket for gear storage
- Easy carry handles
- Not comfortable for all campers
- Bulky packed size
Bottom-Line: The REI Trail is a fantastic model for young campers that want a place to relax around the campfire.
REI Trail Stool
Best for Simplicity
Engineered specifically for campers that value simplicity in their gear, the REI Trail Stool is a wonderful seating solution for backpackers everywhere.
As the only backpacking stool in our review, this model is ideal for people who don’t require back support for relaxation but that prefer a high seat height. In exchange for a lack of lumbar support, though, the Trail Stool brings its A-game in terms of durability and portability.
In fact, it’s one of the lightest options on the market with a weight of just over 1 lb. At the same time, its ripstop polyester and aluminum construction pack down small for portability. It even includes a shoulder strap for easy transport.
With all that in mind, we should note that the Trail Stool has a low weight maximum of just 200 lbs. But, if this low limit is okay for you, it’s still a great and functional option for use in camp.
- Great price point
- Lightweight and portable
- Shoulder strap included for easy transport
- High height off the ground
- No lumbar support
- Low maximum weight capacity
Bottom-Line: The REI Trail Stool is a no-nonsense portable folding stool for backcountry expeditions.
Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Original Chair
Best for Lounging
At the end of a long day of hiking, the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 is the lounging solution you need in your pack.
This ground seat is made with an innovative EVA closed-cell foam construction to provide enhanced coziness while you relax. It also has a burly water-resistant ripstop nylon shell fabric and carbon fiber inserts to cut weight on the trail.
Furthermore, unlike many similar models, the Hex 2.0 is designed for portability. It’s actually crafted to roll up to a compact size for storage in your pack. At the same time, it has hanging loops for simplified carrying to the campfire.
That being said, this model is a bit pricey for a ground seat. But weight and portability-conscious backpackers might find that the added cost is worth it thanks to this model’s superb performance in the backcountry.
- Extra tough foam construction
- Rolls up to a compact size
- Water-resistant for durability
- Comes with hanging loops
- Easy to set up and use
- Pricey for a ground-based seating solution
Bottom-Line: It might cost you a pretty penny, but the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 is a functional seat for lounging after a tough day on the trail.
Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API