Derrek Sigler 03.31.21
There’s nothing like sitting around a campfire with friends and family, watching the fire crackle and pop. Camp chairs are an important piece of equipment for enjoying the experience. They also come in extremely handy for many other outdoor activities, too. For me, there are two important factors in camping chairs when I’m looking to buy – durability and compact-ability. We put several products to the test to come up with the next camping chairs for enjoying the great outdoors. Pull up a seat and take a look.
Table of Contents
1. ALPS Mountaineering King Kong – Editor’s Pick
These chairs have taken a beating and are still holding up great. The frames are made from sturdy, powder-coated steel and help give the Kong an 800-pound capacity. The back of the 600D polyester fabric chair is designed to fit your back well and the wide arms have dual cup holders and pockets for your stuff. These chairs are perfect for the campsite, beach, deer blind and more. I’m not a small guy and my gear has to work for me and hold up. These chairs do just that, and are comfortable to boot. Do yourself a favor and buy these chairs. You’ll thank me later.
Pros/800lb capacity, durability and comfortable
Cons/At most, they could offer more colors
Bottom Line/The best folding camp chair I’ve found
2. Cabela’s Big Outdoorsman Lounger Chair – Best Napper
The Lounger from Cabela’s/Bass Pro is that one chair that everyone seems to fight over for those mid-day naps. Zero-gravity lounge chairs are flat-out comfortable. This one is made for us big guys, and it works great for happy campers of all sizes. It has a 22mm steel frame and the seat area is a wide 24 inches. It has a moveable plastic cup holder and a nice pillow that increases the odds I’m going to go to sleep after fishing all morning.
Tip: Spray the chair down with Camp Dry and let it dry for a while before using it. If it rains, these chairs take a while to dry out.
Pros/Big, comfy and sturdy
Cons/Takes a while to dry fully if caught in the rain
Bottom Line/Best zero-gravity chair
3. L.L.Bean Base Camp – Best Basic Chair
There seems to be two types of basic camp chair types – the disposable ones you buy for a few bucks at big-box stores, or the higher-quality ones you don’t spend much more on, yet the chair lasts a long time. That’s where the Base Camp Chair from L.L. Bean fits in. Less than $40 gets you a comfortable, basic camp chair that will last for a long time. It has a steel frame, cupholder on the arm rest and a mesh back for air flow. L.L. Bean upgraded this chair recently to up the capacity to 300 pounds. You get a lot of chair for under $40!
Pros/Durable basic chair that lasts
Cons/Only one cup holder
Bottom Line/This is the basic chair you want
5. Magellan Outdoors Director’s Chair
The director’s chair design of camping chairs calls for a different frame, the folds out from the inside. The seating position is more upright, so it feels more like a kitchen table chair than a lounger. These make for great chairs for sitting around a campfire, telling stories with your friends. This one from Magellan Outdoors is really great. It is an oversized chair with a 500-pound capacity. The chair has a steel frame and durable polyester for the fabric part. The cup holder is on a fold-out table to the side, and there is an additional gear pocket on the other. It is easy to carry folded up and a very comfortable seat when used.
Pros/Sturdy and useful with the table included
Cons/Not as easy to carry as a camp-style chair
Bottom Line/Our pick for a director’s chair style
Not all camping chairs are created equal
As I was putting together this list, I checked with a few buddies to see which chairs they like and why. Most of my friends confirmed what I already knew and mentioned many of the chairs you see on this list. One lone dissenter, however, questioned why the $15 chair he bought at a local megastore wasn’t as good as the more expensive ones mentioned above. “I can buy two of these chairs for the price of one of those fancy chairs you like,” he said. Then I asked him how long those chairs last, and he replied with silence.
You can get a high-quality chair that will last you multiple seasons for close to what you’d spend on a chair you consider disposable. Look for a steel frame that is reinforced in the right spots, and a solid fabric that won’t shred if you happen to lean to one side.
How we test chairs
For starters, I think I may have mentioned that I’m not a small-sized dude. I’m normally pretty tough on my equipment to begin with, just because I’ve always demanded stuff that can hold up. It also helps that I have kids who love to flop on chairs, climb on chairs and generally treat anything of mine like it’s a ride at the amusement part. Tow teen-age football players and toddler give me a lot of help in torture-testing equipment.
We use our camping chairs a lot, spending time in the outdoors, whether that’s in the yard on the farm, or out experiencing nature in some way. The chairs take hits, sit out in the sun, get rained on, and more. We also use them in the deer blind and on the dock when catching panfish for dinner. They get used, so they have to hold up. If they don’t, I’d tell you.
How do I pick a camping chair?
Look at the design and specifications. Pick the chair that suits what you are looking for in camping furniture.
How can I pick a durable chair?
Durability comes from a couple of factors. Generally speaking, the oversized chairs for big guys will last a long time. The fabrics are sewed to handle weight, and the frame is oversized and reinforced. Always stay under the weight capacity of the chair, and that’ll help. Next look at how the frame is constructed. if it looks flimsy, it most likely is.
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