The best camping chairs for style, lightness and comfort, tried and tested by an expert adventurer

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What is the best camping chair? You’ll never know how important that question is until you’ve spent all day exploring, or travelling hard to your chosen campsite, only to find that the chair you’ve brought is uncomfortable, hard to assemble or, worse still, you don’t have one at all. 

I’ve pitched hundreds of tents in every corner of the globe. Each time, once the last peg is banged in, whether I’m family camping, chilling with friends at a festival or alone in the wild, all I want to do is take the weight off my feet and collapse onto something comfortable with good back support (beer optional). 

What material are camping chairs made of?

The first portable folding stool is believed to have been made over 4,500 years ago in Mesopotamia, but JB Fenby’s 1881 folding chair in wood and canvas set the standard and still inspires many of the camping chairs made today, including the Snow Peak bamboo chair below. The arrival of lightweight aluminium post-WW2 expanded the possibilities and nowadays there’s a huge range of specially-designed outdoor seats to choose from, usually made from weatherproof synthetic fabrics and meshes.

What is the comfiest camping chair?

Those heading by car to proper campsites should look for comfort first, with weight much less important. This opens up padded options and chairs with added extras such as reclining functions or built-in tables. The most important thing when choosing these is to check out the seat height: some are very low and not easy for everyone to get in and out of. Child-sized camping seats are available, too.

For wild camping aficionados like me, or those who want to take minimal gear with them, look instead for small pack size, low weight and fabric durability. 

Finally, no matter if you’re going wild or mild, always check the chair’s maximum load weight. You want to be sure that every member of your party can be safe and comfortable. 

After that you can make your choice, sit back, relax, and enjoy the view… (but not before you’ve read my guides to the best tents, best sleeping bags and best camping stoves).

Phoebe tests comfy Vango, backpack-friendly Helinox and child-sized Kampa

How I tested the best camping chairs

From years spent wild camping on mountainsides using my rucksack as a backrest, I know the value of the right camping chair. Whether folded, inflated, hanging or compact, if it’s been made for outdoor use the chances are that over the last 14 years I’ve sat in it. For this review I tested the latest offerings from the manufacturers I’ve come to trust. These are  the best of the bunch.

1. Vango Titan 2 Oversized Chair

£69.99, Leisure Outlet

Best overall

We like: Comfy padding, no draughts, tough material – but it’s heavy

Vango: keeps you warm and well off the ground

  • Weight: 6.3kg
  • Seat height: 47cm
  • Maximum Load: 180kg (28.3 stone)

When the sun sets on a campsite there’s nothing better than sinking down into your chair and enjoying a sundowner but, usually, when that happens the temperature drops and even a light breeze can permeate through the fabric of a standard folding seat. Not so with the Titan 2, a luxuriously quilted and padded number that wraps around your entire body – a style sometimes known as a moon chair – and keeps you well off the ground, meaning that you stay warmer and comfortable even when night falls.

It’s made from a sturdy steel frame (it can take a weight of 28 stone!) that’s easy to unfold – I could even do this with one hand – and when you’re done, it easily pushes down and back into its carry bag. The fabric is Vango’s own trademarked offering that feels soft to touch but is durable and hardwearing – even if you spill your drink on it and need to vigorously clean it (trust me, I speak from experience). 

You do of course pay for this unrivalled comfort, and not just with money. At 6.3kg, it’s considerably heavier than most standard two-person tents. Fitting it into the boot of a smaller car will see it take up a lot of space, too. But if you’re car camping for several days, it’s definitely worth the bulk. 

Price at
Leisure Outlet

2. Quecha folding reclining chair

£45, Decathlon

Best recliner camping chair

We like: Comfortable reclining positions, ventilated fabric

Decathlon: no better recliner at this price

  • Weight: 4.65kg
  • Seat height: 44cm
  • Maximum Load: 110kg (17.3 stone)

Though it looks more like a garden chair, Decathlon’s well-priced offering actually hides a number of well-thought-out camping features. First the fabric: it’s made from a ventilated mesh so you won’t find yourself getting too sweaty on warm days as the air can flow freely through. Then there are the well-proportioned arm rests and the removable headrest, which is just the right size and shape for cushioning your neck, enabling a sunny post-walk snooze. 

While it doesn’t quite offer a lie-flat function, it does allow for several reclined positions. It is a little stiff to manoeuvre the first few times, but persevere and it loosens up. When you’re done it flat packs in on itself, making it easy to store at home in the garden shed – although not quite as practical to fit in a car boot. 

Still, for a super chilled option for hot campsite days, the price is definitely right. Lighter than other folding options, it still manages to take an impressive 17.3 stone and keep you nice and high off the ground. 

Price at

3. Regatta Sedile Director’s Chair with Side Table

£43.18, Amazon

Best picnic chair

We like: Easy setup and foldaway table, perfect for food and drink 

Regatta: note cupholder

  • Weight: 4.64kg
  • Seat height: 46cm
  • Maximum Load: 100kg (15.7 stone)

For those of us who firmly believe that food eaten outdoors tastes better, then a chair with an added foldaway table can turn a good picnic into a great one. Styled like a Hollywood director’s pew, Regatta’s offering is easy to set up with a quick pull on its arms. The polyester fabric is comfortable yet durable, and the table will easily take a drink (in a dedicated cup holder) and a small plate or snack. With a seat height of 46cm you are kept well off the floor and folding it away is very straight forward. 

Much like the Quecha it is a flatpack affair – though despite the table, it is slightly smaller – meaning great for storing in a caravan or shed, but a little tricker in a small car boot. It is mid-range weight-wise and takes up to 15 stone, but considering that you’re essentially taking a table and chair with you, it’s a comparatively small price to pay. 

Price at

4. Helinox Chair Zero

£124.95, Helinox

Best lightweight camping chair

We like: Feather weight, tiny pack size – but at a price

Helinox: weighs less than an iPad

  • Weight: 0.51kg
  • Seat height: 23cm
  • Maximum Load: 120kg (18.8 stone)

It’s easy to baulk at the price tag of this one – especially when you see the packed size of the item you’re purchasing (it folds down to smaller than a thermos flask), but as is often the case with outdoor gear, what you are paying for is the lack of bulk. 

For me as an ardent wild camper, the idea of taking a camping chair when I head to remote places used to be laughable. Their weight made them a comfort I’d just have to do without. But then the Helinox came along in 2012, at the time weighing in at just under 1kg. Since then I have been tempted on several occasions to throw one in my backpack to avoid evenings hunched over in my tent. 

Hitting the scales at half a kilogram (that’s less than an iPad), their latest lightweight version is still sturdy and strong – it can hold a whopping 18 stone (that’s more than some full-size chairs here) – and is insanely easy to put up. The strong aluminium alloy poles, a higher grade than used in aircraft, simply slip into the fabric pockets and it’s ready to sit in. Admittedly the one sacrifice is the low seat height, which on snowy or uneven ground could be cold or less comfortable. People with weaker legs who struggle to rise should opt for something higher. 

But, with such a low weight, this will always be a great option for backpacking, camping and even on long walks.

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5. Outwell Cardiel Black

£21.99, BCH Camping 

Best camping chair for the beach

We like: Budget price and light weight – although it has no legs

Outwell: ridiculously light, for obvious reasons

  • Weight: 0.80kg
  • Seat height: 4cm
  • Maximum Load: 100kg (15.7 stone)

For something equally as low bulk and weight as the Helinox, at a fraction of the price, there is Outwell’s Cardiel Black. Essentially two sit mats lashed together with adjustable straps to create a seat with a backrest, it folds down easily to fit into most backpacks or chuck into your car ‘just in case’. 

The obvious sticking point for some will be the lack of height off the ground – this doesn’t only look like a sit mat, it basically is a fancy version of one. However,  this can work well for a number of scenarios, in particular on the beach when other chairs would sink into the sand, or to simply make standard campsite benches more comfortable and supportive. The fabric is tough and durable and easy to clean and folding it out is simple and fast. There’s even a small pocket perfect for stashing keys or a phone. 

Price at
BCH Camping

6. Kampa Mini Tub

£24.95, Attwoolls 

Best children’s camping chair

We like: Kid-friendly design, high weight limit and no open sides

Kampa: safe and comfy, if a little bit bulky

  • Weight: 2.7kg
  • Seat height: 28cm
  • Maximum Load: 60kg (9.4 stone)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after having my son, now nearly two, it’s that the camping chair he most wants to sit in is whichever one I am currently occupying. That all changed when I got this specially made-for-kids option. 

Featuring a range of designs – unicorns, cars and woodland creatures – he was immediately taken with the owl on the latter while I, meanwhile, was enamoured with the fact that unlike most kids’ options there were no open sides he could inadvertently slip through or try and climb between. It’s also well-padded for comfort, easy to fold away and with a seat height of 28cm  he can easily get in and out of it himself.

It is, unsurprisingly given the padding, a little bulky but it takes an impressive weight load, meaning it should last him a while. At a push, it can even just about take my weight when he undoubtedly steals my seat again…

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7. Snow Peak Take Bamboo 

£189.95, Wildbounds 

Best folding camping chair for festivals

We like: Lifetime guarantee, bamboo and canvas design

Snow Peak: comfy and impeccably sustainable

  • Weight: 3.5kg
  • Seat height: 36cm
  • Maximum Load: 100kg (15.7 stone)

Rocking up at a festival with your camping gear is not just about comfort and practicality, but about what your kit says about you too. With this bamboo and canvas designed foldaway number – which not only takes a reasonable weight, packs down easily to fit in your car/campervan and features a long back and decent seat height for maximum comfort – it shows that you care as much about sustainability as you do about style. 

As well as the wood being responsibly sourced, the chair is guaranteed to last a lifetime with Snow Peak pledging to repair it no matter how old it is. It may not be the lightest offering here but those eco-creds do take a weight off your mind and, thanks to the removable and washable canvas seat you can enjoy the festival knowing that any food or drink mishaps are easily left in the past.

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Phoebe Smith is an adventurer, author of Wilderness Weekends: Wild Adventures in Britain’s Rugged Corners and host of the Wander Woman Travel Podcast