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The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024: Comfort and Portability Combined

CEO Khai Intela
Do you love backpacking but hate sacrificing comfort for portability? Well, look no further! We have researched and ranked the best backpacking chairs of 2024 to help you find the perfect balance between packability and...

Do you love backpacking but hate sacrificing comfort for portability? Well, look no further! We have researched and ranked the best backpacking chairs of 2024 to help you find the perfect balance between packability and comfort for your outdoor adventures.

The Importance of a Backpacking Chair

No matter how cool or comfy a camp chair is, it’s not a backpacking chair unless you can carry it. A great backpacking chair strikes the right balance between packability and comfort, ensuring you can enjoy a cozy seat at the end of a long hiking day. And that's exactly what we're here to help you find.

Our Testing Process

To choose the best backpacking chairs, we meticulously researched dozens of chairs on the market today. Our lead tester, Miya Tsudome, took these models on camping trips, climbing adventures, and tested them in various outdoor settings. From comfort and stability to size, weight, and ease of setup, we evaluated each chair's features to provide you with the most informed purchasing decision.

The Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

After careful consideration, we have selected the following chairs as our top picks for backpacking:

  • Best Overall Backpacking Chair: REI Flexlite Air Chair
  • Best Budget Backpacking Chair: Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Chair
  • Runner-Up Best Backpacking Chair: Helinox Ground Chair
  • Most Sustainable Backpacking Chair: Big Agnes Mica Chair
  • Best Chair for Ultralight Backpacking: Therm-a-Rest Z Seat
  • Most Versatile Backpacking Chair: NEMO Moonlite Reclining Camp Chair

A solid backpacking chair can immediately boost camping comfort Image: A solid backpacking chair can immediately boost camping comfort; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

How We Tested Backpacking Chairs

Our expert gear testers have been reviewing backpacking chairs since August 2020. Miya Tsudome, one of our primary gear testers, combines over a decade of backpacking experience with years of gear review authorship. Living in the Sierra Nevada mountains, she understands the importance of a comfortable seat that is also easy to pack.

Our testers rigorously assessed the comfort, stability, ease of setup, and packability of each chair. Their first-hand experiences allowed us to create an objective and informative review, ensuring that the chairs we recommend meet the highest standards.

Buyer's Guide: How to Choose a Backpacking Chair

When choosing a backpacking chair, several factors come into play. Here are some key considerations:

Comfort/Back Support

While lightweight and compact design is important, you don't want to compromise on comfort or back support. The REI Flexlite Air Chair provides the perfect balance, offering both comfort and back support. Other comfortable models include the Helinox Ground Chair, Chair One, Chair Zero, and the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Chair.

The Big Agnes Mica Chair boasts solid, comfortable back support Image: The Big Agnes Mica Chair boasts solid, comfortable back support; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Stability

Since backpacking chairs are used on varying terrains, stability is crucial. The Helinox Ground Chair, with its low-to-the-ground square-shaped base, offers excellent stability. Chairs like the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0, Therm-a-Rest Z Seat, and Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair are also highly stable options, perfect for uneven terrain.

Size and Weight

Considering the limited space in your backpack, size and weight play a significant role. The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is the lightest and most compact chair in our lineup, perfect for ultralight backpackers. The REI Flexlite Air, Helinox Ground Chair, and Chair Zero are also lightweight and packable options that provide both comfort and convenience.

Ease of Setup

Setting up your backpacking chair should be quick and hassle-free. Chairs like the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat and Hillsound Equipment BTR Stool offer the simplest setups, while the Crazy Creek requires a few adjustments for optimal comfort. Other chairs follow the standard camping chair setup, taking just a minute or two to assemble.

Backpacking Chair vs. Camping Chair

It's important to understand the difference between backpacking chairs and camping chairs. Backpacking chairs prioritize lightweight and compact design, making them suitable for backpacking trips where space and weight are limited. Camping chairs, on the other hand, are larger and more comfortable, designed for car camping adventures.

Different Types of Backpacking Chairs

Backpacking chairs come in various shapes and sizes. The most common type is the two-piece design with collapsible legs and a fabric seat. Other options include stools, foldable chairs like the Crazy Creek, and unique styles like the Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair that utilizes your sleeping pad for added comfort.

Build Quality

When it comes to backpacking chairs, build quality is essential. Chairs from Helinox, REI, Big Agnes, and Crazy Creek are made with durable materials, ensuring longevity. Investing in a chair built with high-quality materials is crucial if you plan on relying on it during your backcountry adventures.

Backpacking chairs can cost a pretty penny, but are worth it for the portable comfort they provide Image: Backpacking chairs can cost a pretty penny, but are worth it for the portable comfort they provide; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Conclusion

Finding the best backpacking chair can make a world of difference in your camping experience. With our comprehensive research and testing, we have narrowed down the top options for 2024. Consider your needs in terms of comfort, stability, size, weight, and ease of setup to choose the perfect chair for your next outdoor adventure. Happy backpacking!

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