Best Backpacking Chair of 2020 | Expert Advice
If you quickly want to find out which is the best backpacking chair, I’d recommend the Helinox Chair Zero.
Backpacking chairs need to excel in two areas – light on your shoulders and comfortable on your backs.
That’s pretty much it.
While some chairs are super comfortable, and some others ultralight, finding a chair that meets somewhere in between is our goal.
Let’s take a look at some of the best backpacking chairs we have tested till now, along with some solid buying advice.
Our Top 5 Backpacking Chairs of 2020
#1 Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight Chair
#2 Alite Designs Monarch Chair
- Reasonably priced
#3 Helinox - Swivel Chair
#4 Crazy Creek HEX 2.0 PowerLounger
- Lightest chair in the review
#5 Sportneer Portable Lightweight Chair
- Best bang for the buck
- Comes with a stuff sack
- Holds up to 350 lbs of weight
Things to look in the best backpacking chair
Weight & Packed Size
If you are going to be car camping, weight shouldn’t be an issue. But if you are planning to backpack for long hours, going for ultralight backpacking chairs is necessary to ease your hike.
A backpacking chair under 2 pounds with a good set of features is a good balance.
Also, make sure to check if the chair folds nicely and packs up into a compact bag. If a lightweight chair isn’t easy to carry, portability becomes difficult.
Comfort is the primary reason we decide to carry a chair on our backpacking trips. If the chair isn’t comfortable at the end of a long day, there is no use carrying it all the way.
Tent-style chairs are generally more comfortable than taco-styled chairs.
Other factors such as width and height of the seat and the height of the chair from the ground also define comfort. If you have long legs or are above 6 feet tall, go for a chair with a good height from the ground. Similarly for wide hips, check for one with a broader seat width.
Fit and comfort are relative, so make sure to select one based on your body type.
Ease of Set-up
Easy assembly of a chair is an important factor to look at, since you don’t want to spend too much time on it when you are tired after a long day.
Most of the backpacking chairs are generally designed with very few parts for easy assembly, and so it goes for the backpacking chairs we have tested. They all come with quick intuitive set up.
Especially if you are planning to take frequent stops in between the hike, going for a backpacking chair that requires minimal set up is necessary. It should also be a breeze to fold up.
Lightweight chairs don’t necessarily mean that they are not durable. All you need to check is if they are made of high quality materials.
In the chairs we tested, durability has been a great addition along with less weight and comfort.
For the seat of the chair, the most popular material is Nylon or Polyester. Ripstop fabrics are even better but they add on a little bit of weight. Go for chairs that have legs made of Aluminium.
Going outdoors doesn’t guarantee a pleasant weather always, you would need a robust chair for withstanding different weathers.
Since backpacking chairs are mostly lightweight, they can’t hold up to strong winds and harsh weather unless you tie them to the ground. In such cases, you might have to take the chair inside your tents and wait for the storm to pass.
For rains and snow, chairs made of aluminium alloys work best because they are rust-resistant and prevent corrosion.
Top 5 Backpacking Chairs
The Helinox Chair Zero is the best pick for backpacking trips. It is one of the lightest chairs in our reviews and weighs a mere 1.1 pounds. Made of durable materials such as Polyester and Aluminium frames, it is a decent balance between weight, durability and comfort.
It can hold up to 260 lbs and also comes with a light stuff sack, in which you can roll up the chair and pack it neatly. Given it is incredibly small and light, the Helinox Chair Zero is also surprisingly durable.
One shortcoming of the chair is its short legs that make it too low to sit comfortably on it, especially for tall people.
Overall, if you had to pick a comfortable ultralight backpacking chair, this should be your choice.
The Alite Monarch chair is another portable and ultralight camp chair. With its simple two pole design, it can be stretched out and packed up very easily.
The chair can be balanced out on uneven surfaces as well with the two poles on the back and your legs to the front. The chair weighs only about 1.4 pounds and packs down to the size of a 12-inch water bottle. With the chair being made of durable materials such as Ripstop Nylon and poles of Aluminium, this chair holds up to 250 pounds and is made to last.
The chair also comes in different colors to best suit your aesthetics. However, the two legged chair creates some pressure on the legs to keep it balanced.
If you are looking at an ultralight camping chair, strong and easy-to-assemble, Alite Monarch could be the perfect choice.
The Helinox Swivel Chair is made of Polyester with alloy frame and holds up to 360 lbs. It is super durable and has an excellent weight-to-strength ratio. Weighing 2.6 pounds, the chair is popularly used for car camping, as well as for fishing or on beaches.
It might be a tad heavy for backpacking but nonetheless excels in areas such as comfort, convenience and versatility. If carrying a little extra weight for comfort doesn’t bother you, you could take this chair backpacking as well.
Self-assembled poles are a great asset to the chair making it easy to set up.
The Helinox Swivel chair is a comfortable and robust chair with a great set of features, perfect for backcountry camping.
The Crazy Creek Hex PowerLounger is a taco styled chair that is one of our top picks. It weighs only 1 pound and is a perfect backpacking camp chair. The bottom flap of the chair can be used to conveniently stretch out your legs or can be folded up for extra cushioning.
The width and height of the chair are expansive to make it comfortable. When the party 's over, you can roll it up neat, pack it in a stuff sack and tuck in your bags.
If you are in need of a sleeping pad at night, all you need to do is stretch it out and there you go! You could also use this as an additional cushioning to your sleeping pad. Some users feel that this chair is best used in the parks and other even surfaces, since the light padding of the chair does not give as much warmth and comfort on uneven surfaces.
If you are looking for a taco styled chair at a reasonable price, this chair could be the perfect addition to your backpacking gear.
The Sportneer Chair is not the lightest chair in the review, but it a comfortable chair and least expensive. If you are not looking to invest much in backpacking chairs, this chair is a good option.
For its price, it is also sturdy. It’s made of aluminium alloy and nylon material and holds up to 350 lbs of weight. It is versatile and can be put to use while backpacking, backcountry camping and fishing.
Easy to fold in and out, and very comfortable.
Though the makers claims it to be a lightweight backpacking chair, it weighs 2 pounds which is a tad heavy.
However, durability might be an issue when it comes to this chair. It is wobbly on uneven surfaces, and not quite durable. But as compared to other chairs in this price category, the chair is a good pick.
Where weight isn’t the primary concern, and money is, this is the chair you should be looking at.
Choosing a chair is not very complicated unless it comes to you carrying it. Every pound matters when you are backpacking, but you also need to make sure that you don’t compromise on comfort.
Our pick would be the Helinox Chair Zero which is a perfect balance of comfort and weight. It meets somewhere in the middle and is a perfect pick for the best backpacking chair. For a chair that light, it is both comfortable and durable.
Which one did you pick? Let us know in the comments.