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Best Backpacking Chair of 2024

Gabe Richards

Written by Gabe Richards

Gabe has tackled peaks throughout BC and Alaska, amassing over 15 years of mountaineering and backcountry experience.

This post was last updated on April 23, 2024.

Best Backpacking Chair of 2024

Backpacking is about hitting the trails, exploring new terrains, and getting back to nature. Having the right gear is crucial and makes the journey smoother, right from the sturdy boots to a multipurpose backpack. Amidst all the fancy gear, an often overlooked item is the backpacking chair. It's not the first thing that comes to mind when people think of backpacking, but let's face it, after a long, hard day's hike, who wouldn't want to sit comfortably and gaze at the stars?

In this post, we're shining the spotlight on the best backpacking chairs out there, with a special emphasis on our top pick - the Big Agnes Skyline UL. It's not just a case of love at first sit, we've rated it based on factors like weight, packability, comfort & support, durability & material, as well as ease of set-up & stability, among other things.

Not all backpacks or budgets are created equal and we've got you covered on that front too. From budget-friendly options to ultralight models, we're taking a deep dive into the world of backpacking chairs. To further equip you for camping adventures, we've curated a few more posts like the Best Backpacking Tents, Best Backpacking Hammocks, and Best Backpacking Backpacks for Women. So grab your gear, sit back in your new chair, and start exploring!

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

7.5 /10
Big Agnes Skyline UL Backpacking Chair
Big Agnes Skyline UL
Comfort
10
Packed Size
7
Stability
8
Weight
5

The Big Agnes Skyline UL tops our list because of its outstanding comfort and reasonably lightweight design. It's not the smallest or lightest chair on this list, but if you're prioritizing comfort and don't mind a few extra grams, this is the chair for you.

Runner Up #1

7.3 /10
Helinox Chair Zero Backpacking Chair
Helinox Chair Zero
Comfort
7
Packed Size
8
Stability
7
Weight
7

The Helinox Chair Zero snags the top pick runner up spot because it's a great balance of sitting up off the ground in comfort while being as light as possible. It's not as comfortable as some of the other chairs with a similar design, but it's miles better than sitting on a log.

Runner Up #2

7.3 /10
Sea to Summit Air Chair Backpacking Chair
Sea to Summit Air Chair
Comfort
5
Packed Size
9
Stability
7
Weight
8

The Sea to Summit Air Chair earns its runner up spot due to its exceptional lightweight design and surprising comfort, though you are sitting on the ground, which might be a challenge for some. It loses some points because it requires you to sit on your sleeping pad on the ground, which does give a small risk of a pad puncture.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Weight

There's a big range of possible weights for backpacking chairs, so definitely do look for something that's on the lighter end of the spectrum. We're big believers in the idea that the less weight you're carrying around, the more fun you're going to have.

Comfort

This is probably the number one thing to look for. A backpacking chair isn't going to be of much use if it isn't comfortable. Ideally you can try a chair in person to see how it stacks up, but you can also read our reviews.

Durability

Camping chairs are not the most robust pieces of gear, so definitely do pay attention to durability. Ultralight backpacking chairs do generally sacrifice some durability to be light, so keep that in mind.

Portability

Look for a chair that is easy to disassemble and packs down small, making it easier to fit into your backpack and carry around on your adventures.

7.5 /10

Big Agnes Skyline UL

$149.95
The Best Backpacking Chair

Based on our research and testing, we think the Big Agnes Skyline UL is the best Backpacking Chair on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Big Agnes Skyline UL Backpacking Chair
Comfort
10
Packed Size
7
Stability
8
Weight
5

Reasons to Buy

  • More stable than a lot of similarly built chairs
  • Deep, very comfy seat
  • Suitably high off the ground

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavier than some similar chairs

The Big Agnes Skyline UL is a big name in the world of lightweight backpacking chairs, and for good reason. It clocks in at a mere 1.8 lbs, making it a fantastic companion for those long hikes where every ounce counts.

The chair's quality and durability really shine through in its construction. With robust aluminum poles and ripstop nylon fabric, it handles rough campsite conditions and hold its own against more rugged chairs. A few users did comment that they found the chair a little wobbly on uneven terrain but sturdy enough on flat ground.

One noteworthy feature of the Skyline UL is how easy it is to pack and unpack. According to some users, Setup is a breeze and the chair packs down so small it can easily fit into most backpacks without occupying much space. Along with its lightweight, this makes it a backpacker's dream chair.

The Skyline UL is not lacking in the comfort department either. The design provides excellent back support and adequate room for relaxation. A few users reported that they found the seating to be a little low to the ground, but most believe it's an acceptable trade-off for the weight and packability.

While the price point is a bit higher compared to other chairs in the market, most users agreed that the Skyline UL is well worth every penny considering its quality, packability, and weight. Plus, that added investment could pay off in the form of comfort and longevity.

Workmanship of the chair also earned high praise. Detailed stitching, strong materials - it's evident that Big Agnes put thoughtful consideration into the design and manufacturing process. Some minor issues were reported with the stability of the chair while sitting, but these were relatively isolated cases.

Customer service of Big Agnes also earned top remarks. Users appreciated the attentive and helpful response when contacted for queries and concerns.

7.3 /10

Helinox Chair Zero

$159.95
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Helinox Chair Zero is a great choice if you're looking for a backpacking chair to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Helinox Chair Zero Backpacking Chair
Comfort
7
Packed Size
8
Stability
7
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Compact packed size. Fits well strapped to the side of a backpack
  • Very lightweight for the design

Reasons to Avoid

  • Quite expensive
  • Lower to the ground than we like

The Helinox Chair Zero is a backpacking chair that isn't just lightweight; we're talking feather-like. Weighing in at a mere 1.1 pounds, it's one of the lightest portable chairs on the market. Whether you're hiking up a mountain or heading out on a long-distance trek, you'll barely notice it's in your pack.

Despite this backpacking chair's lack of weight, it doesn't compromise on strength and stability. Capable of supporting up to 265 pounds, the Helinox Chair Zero proves that sometimes great things really do come in small packages. Its high-strength aluminum alloy frame is durable and robust, defying its lightweight nature.

One common challenge with camping chairs is the setup, but the Chair Zero promises a hassle-free experience. Its single-shock, corded pole structure means you can assemble and disassemble it in a snap—efficiency at its best when you're eager to rest after a long day exploring.

As for comfort, most online reviews affirm that it offers an impressive seating position and back support for a chair of such diminutive weight. However, some users suggested that it's not the best for those who prefer a more upright, raised seating position. This is due to the Chair Zero's design that somewhat reclines the user - perfect for some, less so for others.

Chair Zero incorporates a breathable mesh seat, saving you from the ordeal of a hot seat in the sunny afternoons. However, some users noted that the mesh isn't the most generous in size, which may be an issue for broader folks.

The incorporated carry sack that doubles as a pillow is a thoughtful feature, especially appreciated by minimalist backpackers. No one likes carrying extra weight, so eliminating a pillow from the gear list is a big plus.

As for value, it's not the cheapest option available. It is, however, a product where you certainly get what you pay for. The lightweight design, durability, and ease of setup make Helinox Chair Zero a worthy investment for wild camping and trekking.

7.3 /10

Sea to Summit Air Chair

Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Sea to Summit Air Chair is a great choice if you're looking for a backpacking chair to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Sea to Summit Air Chair Backpacking Chair
Comfort
5
Packed Size
9
Stability
7
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Surprisingly comfortable
  • Reasonable price

Reasons to Avoid

  • Sitting on the ground isn't ideal
  • You're sitting on your sleeping pad, which comes with a small risk of puncturing your pad

The Sea to Summit Air Chair is a standout when it comes to backpacking chairs. It's majorly lightweight and super practical. If you're an outdoor enthusiast who values comfort without the bulk, this could be your go-to solution.

It impresses you right from the get-go with its smart and compact design: we’re talking about a couple of pounds in weight. It's easy to pack, taking up barely any space in your backpack.

Detach the elastic cord once you’re ready to sit and relax, then inflate the seat cushion. Pump or mouth, either way, takes not more than a few minutes. Sliding the inflated cushion into its hardy shell forms your chair. Voila! A comfy spot to rest, soak up the scenery, or exchange stories by the campfire.

The construction, likewise, deserves applaud. The Sea to Summit Air Chair’s body shell is made of high-density nylon, making it both durable and water-resistant. So, unexpected downpours won't put a damper on your camping fun. Users have praised its resistance to punctures and rips, which adds to its longevity.

More so, it adjusts well to uneven grounds, a feature quite admired by online reviewers. Despite its lightweight construction, it can support a substantial amount of weight. It's a big plus if you have had to deal with sinking chairs before.

While the Sea to Summit Air Chair scores well in many areas, it does have a few drawbacks that some purchasers have pointed. For instance, the absence of a backrest. It can be a tad uncomfortable if sitting for extended periods or if you generally need that extra back support.

Also, inflating it manually can get a little exhausting after a long day's trek. Some users suggested having an air pump could make the process much easier.

Another minor hiccup mentioned by users is its price point. Some find it a bit on the higher side. But considering its durability, lightweight, and packability, many view it as a worthy investment for frequent adventurers.

No prices found. Check back later!

7.0 /10

Moon Lence Backpacking Chair

Best Budget Backpacking Chair

Based on our research and testing, we think the Moon Lence Backpacking Chair is a great pick if you're looking for a backpacking chair that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

Moon Lence Backpacking Chair Backpacking Chair
Comfort
7
Packed Size
6
Stability
7
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Easy to pack and set up
  • Good support and comfort
  • Durable material

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lower seat height than some competitors
  • Fewer features and versatility

The Moon Lence Backpacking Chair is a popular choice among budget-conscious outdoor enthusiasts. Its lightweight yet sturdy design makes it easy to pack and carry on any adventure. It has a unique collapsible design that allows it to be folded down into a compact size for easy transport. Despite what its budget price tag might suggest, this chair doesn't skimp on comfort. Its ergonomic seat design and breathable mesh material offer phenomenal comfort after a long day of hiking.

Many users have complimented the Moon Lence Chair's robust capacity. It can safely hold up to 242 lbs, which is quite solid for a backpacking chair in its price range. Its legs are made from high-strength aluminum alloy, giving the chair a stable and solid structure. So, it's perfect for folks who want a reliable seat without worrying about it collapsing or folding under pressure.

Buyers have also noted how easy it is to set up the chair. It comes with a user's manual that goes in step-wise instructions for assembly, so getting it ready for use is as smooth as a breeze. The chair also comes with a handy carrying pouch, making it easy to store and take on the go.

Despite the many positives, a few users have pointed out that the chair can feel a bit unstable on uneven ground. Others have mentioned that taller folks might find the chair a bit low for their liking. It is important, however, to keep in mind that these issues typically come with the territory of lightweight and portable camping gear.

Ultimately, customer reviews seem to agree that the Moon Lence Backpacking Chair's strengths significantly outweigh its drawbacks. Its affordable price tag, combined with impressive functionality and comfort, makes this chair a real steal for individuals who love outdoor activities but are also mindful of their budget.

No prices found. Check back later!

7.5 /10

Therm-a-Rest Z Seat

$32.95
Best Ultralight Backpacking Chair

Based on our research and testing, we think the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight backpacking chair option to go play hard outside with.

Therm-a-Rest Z Seat Backpacking Chair
Comfort
7
Packed Size
8
Stability
6
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Ultralight and compact
  • Waterproof and insulating
  • Durable material

Reasons to Avoid

  • No back support
  • Not the most comfortable on the market
  • May not be suitable for long durations of sitting

The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is becoming a fast favorite among the ultralight backpacking community, and for a good reason. The seat's main selling point is its ultralight weight. Considering it weighs a mere two ounces, you won't even notice it's there in your pack.

It's not just the lightweight feel that has won over backpackers, but its simple yet highly functional design as well. The seat is made from indestructible closed-cell foam, which gives it resilience and durability. It doesn't simply fold, but rather, it utilizes a unique accordion-style design that collapses flat for easy packing while also providing cool cushioning comfort when you pop a squat.

Users also rave about its versatility, noting it's not just a seat. The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat also serves as a handy sit pad, a small sleeping pad for your furry friend, or even a back cushion in a pinch. Basically, it’s a Swiss Army knife of backpacking seats.

For those who are fans of winter or cooler temperature camping, the reflective ThermaCapture coating on one side is a big plus. It radiates heat back to your body, keeping you surprisingly warm despite the cold ground.

So, do buyers have any gripes? Well, a common thread among reviews doesn't necessarily point to a consistent flaw but more towards a personal preference. Some find the seat a touch too small for their liking, especially for taller or broader backpackers. Others wish it had more cushioning, as the minimalist design may not provide enough comfort for those with back or hip problems.

Lastly, some outdoor enthusiasts may not be 100% sold on the idea of carrying an extra item, albeit a lightweight one. However, with the multitude of perks and the small space it takes, many users are accepting this as a worthwhile addition to their backpacking gear list. Plus, let's not forget how dirt-cheap it is compared to competition.

Overall, customer reviews suggest that the Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is a game-changer for backpackers who value comfort, minimal weight, and multifunctional gear.

Therm-a-Rest Z Seat in the wild.
Therm-a-Rest Z Seat in the wild.
Great for keeping your butt warm and dry.
Great for keeping your butt warm and dry.
The Z-Seat packs up small with a little built in elastic and clip.
The Z-Seat packs up small with a little built in elastic and clip.

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