Are you looking for the best ultralight camping chair for your adventures? Many of you are looking for ways to cut weight and space in your camping gear so you are wondering if it is really possible to get a quality lightweight camp chair. Since it is time to replace our camp chairs, I wondered exactly that and started to do the research. To save you time I’m sharing what I found below. I’m sure you’ll find my discoveries very useful as you hone in on ultra light camping chairs for yourself.
This post contains affiliate links to make it easier for you to find products I have mentioned. You don’t pay any extra and in some cases I could earn a small commission.
How you use your ultralight camp chairs should drive your choice:
It’s really important to understand how you will be using your ultralight camping chair before you make a final decision. Here’s all the ways we were considering in our decision process:
- General Car Camping where space is often limited. That probably applies to a lot of you in camper vans and small RVs too.
- Fly and Car Camp. We do this a lot! All our camping gear must fit in one 40 pound checked duffel bag so weight and size are really critical. Historically we have purchased cheap chairs upon arrival and then gifted them to fellow campers on our last day. But if we can find chairs that we can pack it would be oh so sweet.
- Canoe Trips. Weight is really important for those portages. We skipped taking chairs on our boundary water trip because of this, but wow it would have been a much pleasanter trip with a few chairs around the campfire.
- Back Country Camping. I’d definitely consider a little extra weight in my pack for a trip where we planned to relax at lakes (you can read that as fishing) and camp as much as we hiked. If you are doing extended or long distance backpacking we found the best backpacking chair and have featured it at the end of this article. Make sure you check it out.
- And as I’m writing this Brad just came back from his annual Canadian fishing trip and instantly honed in on the test chairs. He wants to take our new chairs with him next year to keep on the boat for their shore lunches. (I’m a little afraid I will never see these chairs again!)
What features do you want in your ultralight camping chair:
So considering all the ways we plan to use these chairs, here’s the features we looked for when selecting our ultralight chair.
Ok, that should go without saying. But as I dug into the world of camping chairs I found that lightweight had different meanings for different people. The goal is to go as light as possible while still meeting all your other needs. So I’ve divided our choices into categories for you below.
All these chairs use 7075 Aviation Aluminum Alloy, which is one of the strongest lightweight metals available. Combine that with the use of lightweight fabrics and modern technology has delivered some amazing lightweight camping chairs.
Interestingly, ultralight chairs of the same weight can vary a lot in how much space they take up. The difference is in the design, how tight the pieces fold together. The space difference is probably not enough that it would matter for car or van camping, but definitely enough if you are going to squeeze into your backpack.
Sturdiness and Weight Capacity:
I’m sure you are just concerned as I was that when you give up so much weight are you swapping out for a really flimsy chair? Surprisingly not! The use of modern lightweight metals and creative construction design has delivered some incredibly sturdy ultralight camp chairs. That said… not every lightweight chair feels sturdy.
And it’s pretty hard to relax if you are worried about your chair tipping over or collapsing so we’d like lightweight chairs that also feel secure. If you are the only one who will sit in your camp chair then setting the top weight capacity just above your weight makes sense because you’ll save a few ounces. But if you think you’ll have camp visitors who might plop into your special chair a minimum capacity of 225 pounds will be safer for the life of your camp chair (not to mention your friend’s behind).
The only reason you are bringing a chair is to enjoy the comfort compared to sitting on a rock or log. So maybe comfort should be number one on this requirements list! For that reason we did not consider any camp chairs that are really stools. We are also looking for chairs that are easy to get out of. Getting “stuck” in your chair when you have your hands full is not a pretty sight.
That means we also split out really low sitting chairs in the 8-12 inch seat height into their own category. Lower chairs are great for concerts and beaches as well as some folks just like to sit low.
Considering that the average dining chair is 18 inches high, we looked taller camping chairs for everyday camping use. The highest chairs are about 15 inches, so we used the range of 13-15 inch seat height for overall comfort.
I assume no explanation required about the “need” for this feature. LOL. Sadly, I found very few quality chairs with a true cup holder. However many have a really nice gear pocket that could double as a water bottle holder or a place to tuck a cell phone. You just won’t want to drop an open beverage can into the pocket.
Ease of Assembly:
Ultralight camping chairs use a shock cord assembly system. That means all the frame pieces have a stretchy cord running through them so when you unpack you can pretty much just shake them into shape. A little adjusting to make sure all the pieces are locked together and you have a chair. Sound too good to be true? Here’s a short video on how easy it is to pop these chairs together.
You’ll want a sturdy, but lightweight camping chair bag. Remember all those pieces shock corded together? Well you don’t want them getting tangled up. A shoulder strap on the bag would be a nice to have but right now I can’t imagine a scenario when we won’t have them tucked into a backpack or in the car so for me it’s negotiable. You’ll have to think about how you will use your camp chairs to decide if it’s important to you.
We just got back from a week of camping where it rained everyday. And every morning I said naughty words as I dealt with a wet bottom because our traditional bag chairs just didn’t dry out very fast. Enough said!
The Overall Best Lightweight Camp Chair:
There were dozens and dozens of ultralight camping chairs available on line. It was initially a little overwhelming rounding all those up in order to pick the best lightweight camping chair. So to narrow it down we eliminated a lot based on:
- Weight – anything over 2.2 pounds got the red pen
- Pack size – anything bigger than 300 cu inches gone
- Capacity – anything under 225 pound off the list
- Seat Height – anything under 13 inches was eliminated.
- Reviews – multiple bad reviews about quality instantly knocked several off the list.
For our overall best camping chair, we focused on chairs that were in the $25 to $50 range. There were still a dozen chairs in that price range that met all of our requirements. So narrowing the list down to just 5 chairs was really difficult. But we did and here are our top 5 choices for best light weight camp chair.
Now that we had the list down to 5 of the best Camp Chairs it was time to put them to the test. After a lifetime of sitting in bulky bag chairs it was a bit of an adjustment to trust that these lightweight, folding camp chairs could do the job. But wow, Brad and I were amazed at the sturdiness and comfort. And our youngest daughter joined in for the chair hopping experience to round out the results. Here’s our notes on the testing:
My Personal Top Choice for Best Camping Chair
Ummm…. I ended up with 2 Favorites. I still can’t get over the fact that these comfy chairs only weight 2 pounds and feel super sturdy. Both the Trekology Yizi Go and the Souvigour Folding Chair were very comfortable. In the end I chose the Trekology but I could have been really happy with either one.
What we loved:
- It’s often the little things that make a difference and the deciding factor was the pull tabs that help you open up the pockets on the top where you insert the support poles. Without those little pull tabs it was challenging to get the seat cover stretched properly for assembly.
- At 15.4″ seat height it sits a little higher than any of the other finalists. That little bit of extra lift added to the comfort.
- The Trekology has 2 nice sized storage pockets. A place for your phone and one for your water bottle just make my day!
What we didn’t like:
- There is no shoulder strap on the carrying bag. Seemed like that would be annoying if we were using it without a backpack.
- Brad felt like he was falling back when he sat in the Trekology. In contrast, I think the angle of the back was part of what I really liked about this chair.
What we loved:
- The storage bag has a really nice adjustable shoulder strap which I think improves the flexibility for how you use your camp chair.
- 2 large pockets to drop your phone and beverage are easy to access.
- The price! The Souvigour is the best deal we found. For such a sturdy chair it has a pretty amazing price.
What we didn’t like:
- No pull tabs on the seat cover to ease assembly.
Brad’s Top Choice:
What we loved:
- Non-Slip Feet that don’t sink in sand or mud
- Extra large side pocket. Although this chair only has one pocket it is really nice and big. Brad tends to have a lot of stuff in his pockets to empty out!
- Super comfy. I could have picked this one myself but he already had claimed it!
- Shoulder strap is removable from the bag so you don’t have it flopping around when you don’t need it.
What we didn’t like:
- No pull tabs on the chair cover to help with assembly.
Best Ultralight Backpacking Chair (for serious hikers)
Here’s the great big IF… if you are going to do some serious long distance hiking then take a look at the Helinox Chair Zero. With a weight of only 1.2 pounds it might just be the best backpacking chair on the market. And it is so worth the extra cost to save almost a full pound of weight on your back.
It’s hard to believe a chair this lightweight could be so good. However the Helinox Zero has won numerous awards and the manufacturer stands behind their extremely lightweight backpacking chair with a 5 year warranty.
The only thing I don’t like about this lightweight hiking chair is that it only sits 11 inches off the ground. But it makes up for that with a really nice 25″ wide seat that reviewer after reviewer claims is incredibly comfortable, even for tall hikers.
Best Adjustable Chair for Concerts and Star Gazing
Am I the only one who didn’t understand why chairs would have adjustable legs? I kept looking at them with complete confusion as to why an engineer would do that much design work. Now I’m totally embarrassed because it makes so much sense. You know when you are at a concert with seats on the hill and you keep sliding out of your chair? Just adjust the back legs lower and magically you are level and snug. Even better when star gazing while camping in a dark night campground have you ever hurt your neck leaning back to see the stars? Just lower the back legs and you are at the perfect angle. Don’t you just love it!
Well we found 2 adjustable camp chairs that we absolutely love for concerts and Star Gazing.
Coming in a little heavier at 2.5 pounds this is one super comfy chair.
- Adjustable to 10, 11 and 12″ seat height
- Available in Bright Blue and Lime Green
- Capacity 264 pounds
- Oxford Cloth Seat
This chair comes in at 2.7 pounds because it sits a little taller.
- Adjustable to 12, 13 and 14″ seat height
- Color: Bright Blue
- Capacity 300 pounds
- Oxford Cloth Seat
Best High Back Camp Chair
If you are looking for true comfort, then you probably want a high back light weight camp chair. These chairs tend to sit a little higher and have a bit more back support. The draw back is you add about a pound for the extra comfort. Still at 3 pounds if you aren’t backpacking these would fit the bill for pretty much any other use where size matters.
We liked the G4Free the most. But because it is limited to 220 pounds I’ve also included our second choice from Nature’s Hangout which will support up to 300 pounds.
- 18″ Seat Height (dining chair height!)
- Full Back Height 49.5″
- Black with Orange, Blue or Red Trim
- Capacity 220 pounds
- Weight 2.8 pounds
- Attached Pillow
- Great discount when you buy 2
- 18″ Seat Height (another tall one)
- Black with Green or Orange Trim
- Capacity 300 pounds
- Weight 3.3 pounds
- Disk Shaped Feet to reduce sinking
You’re sure to find the perfect ultralight camping chair for the activities that keep you busy from this list. Personally, I was delighted by the selection and know we are going to enjoy our new chairs.