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Backpacking Chair Buyers Guide

Backpacking can be an exciting and relaxing endeavor as long as you are comfortable. However, sometimes you are traveling for an extended period and find yourself exhausted. Now, you're looking for a place to sit and rest, but the surrounding doesn't agree with you. What can you do?

Well, if you have the right backpacking chairs, then you never have to worry about taking rest anymore! These comfortable inventions allow you to take rest anywhere, anytime. Highly-portable and lightweight with proper weight support, you can never go wrong with them!

But wait up! There are countless options available in backpacking chairs. From low-end to luxurious, varying design, weight, and, more importantly, brands. So, how can you choose the right backpacking chair? Good news! This is your ultimate guide to backpacking chairs.

Here you will find essential tips and factors to consider for getting the right chair for yourself. Are you ready? Let's begin!

What is a backpacking chair?

Before understanding the backpacking chair, you need to understand what backpacking means. Backpacking is essentially an activity that requires you to travel some distance, often on foot. It also includes hiking and trekking, as both of these activities are also about traveling.

Backpacking chairs support you in these activities by providing you an option to 'sit' anywhere, anytime. All you have to do is pull out your backpacking chair and take a rest on it. Most of the time, these chairs are highly portable and easy to pack.

You can store them in your backpack, or they come with a separate bag. However, a backpacking chair could be versatile, and you can use it for other activities such as beachside, camping, and much more. Therefore, it becomes vital for you to find and choose the right backpacking chair that meets your requirement.

Most of them are foldable. Some might require you to disassemble them. Hence, it will affect the ease of use. A good backpacking chair will provide you utmost comfort while being lightweight and easy to carry. However, these requirements vary from person to person.

That's why you have a guide here to help you understand these requirements and consider them for getting the right backpacking chair. Before we get into these considerations, you need to learn whether you need a backpacking chair or not.

Reasons to buy a backpacking chair.

Backpacking chairs can be a valuable addition to your equipment to improve the overall experience. It is a fantastic utility that brings you peace of mind regarding rest. If you're still having second thoughts about buying a backpacking chair, then here are some compelling reasons.

Now, none of these are intended to pursue you into purchasing a backpacking chair. All of these are some common reasons that prompt the use of backpacking chairs.

A safer alternative

Sure, you can sit on the ground, boulder, or logs. However, you might not know what kind of creatures or crawlers reside in these things. As a result, you may end up with an unknown threat of some bug or insect or something worse ready to damage you.

Sometimes, boulders or logs, even sands, may have something sharp that could hurt you. Therefore, it is better to have backpacking chairs.

Rest anywhere anytime

As mentioned before, backpacking chairs give you an option to use them almost anywhere, anytime. Thus, you can pull them out and rest whenever you need to recover. This is a great reason to buy a backpacking chair, especially if you're in an area that doesn't have many seating options.

You won't set the campsite just anywhere. However, traveling a long distance can take a toll on you. You wish to take some rest, but there's nothing around for you to rest on. That's where a backpacking chair plays a vital role. Instead of setting up an entire camp or sitting on your backpack, you can pull out these chairs to rest.

Great for your back

You may sit on a rock or boulder, even on the ground, but these are not comfortable options. Often, it can hurt your back or rear if you decide to sit like this. Most of the time, it is very uncomfortable that you'd end up wanting to stand.

A good backpacking chair will provide apt support for your rear and back to allow for proper resting. Thus, it won't compromise the integrity of your back. If you have back-related problems or don't want to generate them in the future, you might want to consider backpacking chairs.

Comfort for your trip

The cushioning of the backpacking chairs can help you get optimum rest for better recovery. It will help you preserve energy better, and you will have a better camping experience.

Imagine cooking at the fire site and not having a proper seating arrangement. If you want to hang out with your friends and talk, you might need the seats. There aren't wooden logs everywhere. If you don't want to sit on the ground, a backpacking chair becomes essential.

It is often hard to understand the value of an item until you use it. The same applies to backpacking chairs. It can amplify your comfort and deliver a pleasant experience for backpacking more than you might realize. That's why it is vital to consider backpacking chairs for a trip.

Factors to consider when buying backpacking chairs

Here is a list of factors that you should consider when buying a backpacking chair. For your ease, we have listed these factors in categories.

Let’s quickly browse through the factors to understand what you should look for when buying a backpacking chair.

Category of the chair

There are three primary categories of backpacking chairs. There are many words for these three categories. Some state them as minimal, regular, and luxurious chairs. Others would show them as basic, mid-range, and high-end.

In simple words, it's the three categories we are going to simplify it as much as possible:

Minimal or basic chairs

Minimal chairs are easy to fold and carry. These don't offer anything except a little elevation from the ground to be still considered a chair. Many stools and small chairs fall into this category. Easy to fold and easy to carry, these are highly efficient and affordable choices for anyone looking to buy a backpacking chair for the first time.

Regular or mid-range chairs

Also known as normal chairs, these are the ones that look identical to an actual chair. These backpacking chairs have armrests, seatbacks, and legs to provide better elevation—moon chairs, bench seats, and high chairs fall under this category.

These usually have a separate bag for users to store and carry without any problem.

Luxurious or elaborate chairs

These are the costliest choice among the three categories as these chairs come with countless features. While still not as great as the chairs for home use, these chairs have leg rest, reclining capacity, or hammock for utmost comfort and luxury.

These chairs offer the most stability and comfort. However, their portability may vary according to the design and type, but most of these are better for front-country camping.

Type of the chair

After selecting the category, you might have to consider the model of the style of the chair. As you are looking for backpacking chairs, here are some of the best choices in either of the three categories for a model:

Classic model

These backpacking chairs usually comprise a stable base with a wide seat and straight back. You receive apt elevation to sit and stand whenever you need it quickly. These are the standard backpacking chairs.


For more comfort and relaxation, there are backpacking chairs with rocking capacity. It allows you to kick back and swing on the chair to enjoy. This model is available in each category but usually not great for camping sites with uneven grounds.

Low chairs

If you are camping in a sandy area or have uneven ground, low chairs work remarkably well. These are great for quick rest. Alternatively, these are known as concert chairs as well. However, as these are low, it can be challenging to stand up and sit down on them.

These get the job of getting rest done. These backpacking chairs would be suitable for anyone who doesn't sit too much and doesn't require rest frequently.

Hammock chairs

Alternatively known as suspended chairs, you can easily hang these chairs around a tree branch to elevate. These are a great alternative to a standard recliner chair, as you don't have to worry about the ground at all. You can even swing and set elevation as per your requirements.


Another popular term for these is scoop chairs. These are the foldable chairs that don't provide any back support but mostly have legs that support a cushion for you to sit on. These are an excellent choice for those who want to pack light and have something to sit on.

Design of the chair

This is the last consideration regarding personal preference. The design of the chair contains two factors, the frame and the legs. Let's take a brief look at them:


There are two types of frame options available for the right backpacking chair. Taco style and tent style. A taco style chair is a folding chair in which the back-support folds down to the seat, and then you can store it (L-style)

A tent style has foldable poles for legs and tent-like fabric, among other things for you to DIY it and arrange it every time. While Taco style chairs are more comfortable to use, tent-style frames are more durable and long-lasting with better weight support.


Standard backpacking chairs have around four legs for support, regardless of the elevation. However, to reduce the weight and a little bit of space consumption, three-legged chairs are available. These can be a little less balancing but works excellent for a stool type.

Similarly, two-legged chairs support your rear as you sit and then rely upon your legs for the body's front support. Some people like these because they don't rest too much and these are very lightweight chairs.

The four main factors

There are too many models, categories, specifications, and much more that will confuse you. If you're looking for the best backpacking chairs, then these four are the primary considerations to make. Without further ado, let's take a quick look at these four factors.

Think of these as the big four. If you remember these four factors, you can buy the best backpacking chair anytime.


The weight should be the primary consideration when looking for backpacking chairs. This factor determines the overall ease of use regarding these chairs. A good rule of thumb is to get chairs that are under or around 2 pounds in weight.

It is also essential to consider the distance and how much you will travel. For example, front-country camping is usually closer to roads and luxuries, so you can choose high-end chairs that are heavier. However, if you're going deep in the woods, you might need a lightweight backpacking chair.


How easy is it to pack or fold the chair and carry it? This is the second crucial factor that correlates with the weight of the chair. As lightweight chairs are easier to carry, they should be equally portable. For this, there are many different things to consider.

Some chairs require you to carry them separately in a backpack they come with. Others would pack in your backpack for minimum luggage. The packability can be influenced through the frame and leg types that are mentioned above. It also correlates to the ease of use.


How high will you be from the ground? This is an essential factor to consider as some people find it uncomfortable to sit closer to the ground. If you want to sit comfortably and stand up straight immediately, you might wish for extra elevation. This factor correlates to comfort.

Elevation will determine the stability, balance, and overall comfort and how well-rested you are.


The fourth most important factor is comfort. It all breaks down to the type of material, weight support, and backpacking chair size. The comfort comes from the use and how well you can rest on it. As mentioned before, some people don't like low elevation.

You can compromise on comfort but think again. After all, you're carrying a backpacking chair for rest. If you want to feel well-rested, the chair needs to be comfortable. For comfort, the breathability of the material, fabric, and other similar factors should be considered.

The material of the chair

Nylon fabric with aluminum poles for legging is the most commonly available backpacking chair. However, there are many other premium-grade materials. It all breaks down to how much you are willing to pay. The material of the chair will determine its strength, weight support, and longevity.

Higher-grade material is great if you're a frequent backpacker or camper that needs a durable chair. However, if you rarely go backpacking, like once a year, then perhaps you can stick to the standard material. The material of the chair also correlates to comfort.

Breathability becomes the most vital factor when looking at the material of the chair. More importantly, the material for padding and cushioning would make a significant impact. Even if the chair is comfortable looking, if it doesn't have the right material, you will end up regretting the decision.

So proper airflow (breathability) with durability and quality might be necessary to consider when getting backpacking chairs.


Like any other backpacking or camping equipment, backpacking chairs need to have proper weatherproofing measures. Many people tend to overlook these features while considering comfort. However, for a feasible addition, the backpacking chair needs to be weatherproof.

Waterproofing is vital, just like any other camping equipment. A waterproof backpacking chair would work for a longer time and provide you comfortable wicking property to dry out if it gets wet. After that, you can use it without any discomfort.

Similarly, UV-protection might be a vital requirement. Most of the backpacking chairs are prone to sunlight exposure and wearing out over time. Overall, weatherproofing can be essential for backpacking chairs.

Ease of use

The ease of use correlates to the frame and construct of the chair. How easy is it for you to assemble it? Does the setup take too much time? How about the storage, is it easy? These are the factors for you to consider for ease of use.

A backpacking chair should be very efficient to use that is easy to set up within minutes. Foldable chairs are preferable due to their quick store or useability, especially for backpacking. Ergo, if you get a stool type folding chair, you will have the highest ease of use.

Additional features

There are countless additional features, but you don't have to consider them. As mentioned above, it would be a good idea to have a minimalist backpacking chair. However, if you're still a person who prefers luxury and such, then you can consider these features:


Cushioned padding could make it more comfortable for you to test. However, these take time to dry out if they get wet. That's why you'd need waterproof quality for them. Overall, this means a lot of added cost. For people with back problems, this could be a good choice.


Headrests, footrests, and armrests can provide extra support for more comfort. Some chairs come with optional (removable) rests so that you can choose to take them with you. It's all about comfort regarding any extra rests.


Of course, you have the option to get a cup or glass holder for your chair. There are insulations available for this feature. However, it means added space consumption and more weight. So, once again, this is a matter of personal preference and luxury.

Side table

Some people carry a table with them as extra luggage, which could be very uncomfortable. However, there is an option to have a side table attached to your backpacking chairs. This could help you save space and pack lighter by discarding the extra table.

However, if you don't need a table, this is an irrelevant consideration. It is a good alternative when you think about other camping tables available in the market.

Pockets and storage

Some backpacking chairs have extra pockets and storage to make it easier for you to carry things. Now, this could be a great addition if you need extra storage space for stuff. However, most of the time, it might not be used, so there's no real need for you to consider these unless you just want an organizer for the chair.

FAQs: Best Backpacking Chairs

Q: Is the cup holder or side table necessary in backpacking chairs?

A: It comes down to your preference and budget. Most of the time, an extra cup holder or table means you will have added weight. It will occupy more space, as well. For a proper backpacking chair, these are not the right choice. However, as some people prefer it, you can have them as a luxury and usually for front-country backpacking.

Q: What's the difference between front-country and back-country backpacking chairs?

Q: Front-country camping is usually near facilities like running water and closer to roads. Hence, you don't have to travel too much and have most of the comfort. Therefore, you can use high-end luxury chairs without any problem.

However, back-country camping is about traveling greater distances with an uncertainty of ground levels, water supply, and other things. Hence, you need to travel light to preserve energy and endurance. That's where backpacking chairs that are lightweight and portable would come into play.

Q: What is the right choice as a backpacking chair?

A: If we don't consider camping, fishing, beachside, and other uses to look specifically at the 'backpacking' factor, then stool types or folding chairs are the best options. These backpacking chairs are lightweight, compact, and easy to carry, giving you perfect seating for cooking, a fire site, and much more.


Using a chair is a personal choice, and it all breaks down to your preferences. While the lightweight chair is a must if you're fine with carrying more massive chairs, then go for it. It all breaks down to the cost and the quality of the chair.

If you're not a frequent camper and may use the chair for a couple of hours, then a cheaper chair that is minimalist should do the trick. Consider the comfort, features, and other factors to understand whether you need that type of chair or not.

The versatility or the chair and where can you use it may also play an important role. Hopefully, this guide helped you understand exactly the type of chair you need. The guide aims to help you buy the chair that meets your preference the best.

You can also use it as a quick checklist to get the backpacking chairs for a short camping trip. Have a great trip and backpacking experience with the right backpacking chairs! / - © Copyright 2020