It is not surprising that most of us look forward to camping trips with family and close friends. The feeling of being away from our regular routine, basking in the morning sun, taking a dip in the cascading waterfalls and sitting by the campfire is out of this world. We all do a lot of activities when we are camping, but we also want to sit and relax sometimes. This is when you would need the best camping chair that gives you the comfort that you are looking for.
The typical image of a chair meant for camping is that it is one of those basic folding camp chairs that can be carried around with ease. While these are the very basic requirements of compact camping chairs, there are many varieties of camping chairs that do not compromise on comfort and features.
With the huge variety of camping chairs available in the market, it is very difficult to choose which one will be the best camping chair for you. This is why we have compiled a useful guide that will help you make a choice. Let us start with the various features of camping chairs.
Key Features of Camping Chairs
There are many things that you should look for in a camping chair before you decide which one is the most comfortable camping chair out of the lot. Let us discuss them one by one.
Types of Camping chairs
Not counting the super flashy features, camping chairs can be divided into three basic categories:
- Regular Camping Chairs
These are camping chairs with the basic components, namely, legs, armrest and seat back. Most of these chairs are foldable and handy to carry. They find use in regular camping trips that do not involve a lot of hopping around.
- Minimal Camping Chairs
This kind of camping chairs only serves the purpose of providing you with a place to sit. Examples include folding stools and folding chairs. These are ideal for backpackers who will not sit for a long time.
- Elaborate Camping Chairs
As the name suggests, these chairs have a lot of features like leg rest, recliner function etc. and are very comfortable and stable. Needless to say, these are also the most expensive of the three kinds. These are useful when you have camping trips regularly and don’t want to compromise on comfort.
Material of Construction
Camping chairs are made from different materials, each having its pros and cons. The legs of some of the best camping chairs are made of aluminum owing to its strength. The most popular fabric of these chairs is nylon. It has the benefits of being durable, water resistant and easy to maintain. Closed cell foam padding in some types of camping chairs will make them lush and more comfortable than others.
The material of construction will be of special importance when camping in hot and humid seasons, camping near the beach, or when you include water activities in your camping trip.
Size and Weight
Minimal chairs are usually the lightest because of limited features and smaller size. Elaborate chairs are usually the heaviest. One must choose the best camping chair for us depending on the effect of its size and weight on our purpose. For example, if we are taking our RV for a weekend of camping, it doesn’t matter if we carry a heavy, elaborate chair. On the other hand, if we plan to move around a lot, the same chair will be a burden. In such a case, we should opt for a backpacking chair.
The size of your camping chair will be a major factor for choosing one for your next camping trip. Smaller chairs are lighter and easier to carry, but they are not very comfortable. On the other hand, more elaborate and spacious chairs are comfortable but their size and weight limit their ease of them being carried around.
The maximum weight that a camping chair can support is another key consideration. When you want to buy the best camping chair for yourself and for your family members, it is better to be realistic regarding the weight capacity of the chairs and the respective weights of the people who are going to use it.
To a great extent, the weight capacity of a camping chair is directly related to its size. Therefore, a chair meant for heavier persons would be bigger and heavier than that meant for lighter persons.
Some camping chairs are loaded with fancy features like leg rest and cup holders. Some even have attached coolers. These features eventually add on to the weight of the camping chair. A heavy chair is definitely not suitable as a hiking chair. Therefore, your choice should be governed by the use of the chair in your trip.
Camping chairs are available for a price range on both extremes of the number scale. If you are getting the required features for a lesser price, it is not worth to spend more for features that are not absolutely essential for your purpose. However, one should not compromise on quality or required features for the sake of saving money, because at the end, camping trips are all about relaxation and fun. You must keep this in mind when you choose the best camp chair for yourself.
Now that you know the various features of different types of camping chairs available in the market, let us move on to the ideal requirements from a camping chair at different destinations. So, before you go to the market and grab any random camping chair, it is worth noting that the smallest camp chair may be ideal for a backpacking trip, but a more sturdy and comfortable one may be better for a relaxing camp in the grasslands, like a camping rocking chair.
Ideal Camping Chair for the Beach
When camping near a beach, you would like to have an occasional splash in the water followed by some relaxed sitting around. You can also sit on the beach in your camping chair and lounge, read or sunbathe. In these cases, the best camping chair would be one of those lower heights that will allow your feet to soak in the water. Alternatively, you might opt for a higher chair, more like a regular camping chair, if you wish to have a multipurpose camping chair.
Portable chairs with aluminum frames are better for beach camping because aluminum is very light. In addition, if the chair has a provision for attaching a canopy to protect you from the sun, it is an added bonus. This is because the sun tends to get fierce and harmful to your skin after you take a dip in the water.
Chairs with a mesh fabric are more breathable and more comfortable in hot and humid weather that is typical of a beach in summertime. Lighter colors of the mesh are to be preferred over darker ones. This is because dark colors tend to absorb more heat from the sun. Also, chairs with a storage pocket are very useful for keeping your sunglasses or keys safe from the sand and from the water. This pocket will also be a good place to stow your bottle of sunscreen. Another cool feature of some beach camping chairs is the insulated pocket that keeps your bottle of drink cool.
A good back support in the chair will allow you to read your favorite book or lounge on the beach without straining your neck. Ease of folding and carrying is definitely something you should look for in the chairs meant for beach use because you will be folding and stowing it away when you no longer sit on the beach.
Ideal Camping Chair for the Countryside
If you are headed for a weekend of total relaxation in your RV, then you must consider investing in a plush, comfortable camping chair. Features like cup holders, storage pockets, and recliner function will add to the comfort of the chair. A camping rocking chair might also be a good choice for this purpose as it allows you to relax completely while offering a high degree of comfort. Keep in mind that these features will add weight and bulk to your chair and will render it useless for other activities like backpacking.
If your countryside camping includes activities like fishing, attending countryside concerts etc., a lighter portable camping chair is your best bet. The main point to consider when choosing a backpacking chair is the balance between its weight and stability. If the size of the chair is too small, it will not be very stable or comfortable. It is true that you don’t normally sit for long periods of time when hiking, but the chair should provide you some comfort regardless of the sitting time.
Ideal Camping Chair when Hiking
When hiking is a part of your camping trip, then you don’t really want to carry a heavy load. The best camping chair, in this case, would be a backpacking chair which is not heavy and can be folded into a compact and convenient size. An uncomplicated design will be the feature that you should look for in these chairs because your requirement from this kind of chair will only be to provide a comfortable seat.
When you are hiking, the smallest camp chair might turn out to be the best option. Many hikers only carry a foldable stool because they don’t really take long sitting breaks. Folding camp chairs that are ultra-lightweight can also be considered for this purpose.
Ideal Camping Chair for Car Camping
When you are camping out of your car, you must not compromise on comfort. This is when you would ideally have an active day and would come back to the car and collapse into your camping chair. Since the weight and bulkiness of the chair will not be an issue due to limited movement of the chair, you should opt for a plush chair with good back support and leg rest. An attached cup holder in your camping chair will serve you well in this scenario. The best camping chair, in this case, will be a big, comfortable chair.
It is to be noted that big and heavier chairs that provide utmost comfort are not very practical for taking around from place to place on the camping tour. Hence, these are best when you have very few camping spots on your list. These are your perfect companions when you want to sit around a campfire but will not be used if you want to go hiking.
Final Thoughts for Choosing the Best Camping Chair
The various factors that you must ponder over are discussed in detail in the sections above. However, sometimes, practical considerations override these factors. Let us have a look at some of these practical considerations.
If your camping trip will comprise of children of any age, it is advisable to opt for more storage in the camping chair. Kids tend to be capricious in their preferences and might ask for a lot of things to be carried to the camp. In this scenario, the best camping chair for you would be one with lots of storage. Easy access to diverse items will be your number one concern with kids.
If you are planning a camping trip in a season when it might rain, it is advisable to opt for a chair that will dry easily. The same holds true if you have water activities on your list when camping.
You might have to buy taller chairs if your family members are tall, or if you have elderly people in your family. These people will not find it comfortable to sit on and get up from a camping chair of lower height.
It is vital to make a list of your requirements from a camping chair and then shortlist the cheapest chair that fulfills most of them. It is never a good idea to buy a camping chair in a rush.
Choosing a camping chair is not as easy as it seems. There are many considerations to keep in mind before shortlisting the best camping chair for your needs. Do you recommend a particular brand or type of chair for camping? Did a particular camping chair impress you or let down your expectations? Let us know.