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Women sitting on the best Backpacking chairs

Best Backpacking Chairs and Stools for Comfort on the Trail

Taking a chair backpacking may seem like a bit of an unnecessary luxury, but when you’re on your feet for several hours a day you’ll be surprised at how welcome one can be. Taking a break at the top of a mountain is all the more enjoyable when you can sit in comfort, not to mention spending your evening at camp kicking back and relaxing. Thankfully, the best backpacking chairs are much more lightweight than they used to be. Packing one on your next multi-day trip won’t add too much weight to your pack, and if you get one that feels as comfortable as it is light then it will be well worth those extra few pounds.

Summary of the best backpacking chairs in 2019

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ProductWeight capacityFolded dimensionsWeightCost
Alite Designs Monarch Chair250lb / 113kg4.5 x 4.5 x 12"1.1lb (0.5kg)$$$
Therm-a-Rest Quadra Chair300lb / 136kg5 x 12 x 12"2.8lb (1.3kg)$$$
Helinox Chair One320lb / 145kg4 x 5 x 14"2lb (0.9kg)$$$
Therm-a-Rest Trekker ChairN/A4 x 20"0.8lb (0.37kg)$
TravelChair Joey300lb / 136kg4 x 4 x 14"2.3lbs (1.04kg)$$
Crazy Creek Hex 2.0250lb / 113kg4 x 4 x 15.5"1.3lbs (0.6kg)$$
REI Trail Stool200lb / 91kg4 x 4 x 22"1.12lbs (0.5kg)$
Big Agnes Skyline UL Stool250lb / 113kg3.5 x 3.5 x 12"1.2lbs (0.54kg)$$$

If you’re looking for a chair that is less portable and more suited to car camping, tailgating and backyard BBQs then take a look at our camping chairs guide. Otherwise, read on.

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The 8 best backpacking chairs

Alite Designs Monarch Camping Chair

Alite Designs Monarch Chair

Weight: 1.1lb (0.5kg)

The Alite Designs Monarch Chair features an unusual layout for a camping chair: a butterfly design with just two legs. The wide nylon seat comes in a variety of bright colours and supports up to 250lbs. This chair is one of the lightest on the list at just over 1.1lb, which makes it great for backpacking or carrying long distances. The unique two-leg design does sink somewhat in sand or very soft soil, so it may not be the best option for beach camping. The Monarch does not feature any drink holders or storage pockets, but the streamlined simplicity is what makes it so small and lightweight.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Folds up easily
  • Comfortable
  • Can be used on uneven terrain

Cons

  • Two leg design means you have to engage your legs to support yourself
  • Can sink into very soft ground

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Therm-a-Rest Quadra Chair

Therm-a-Rest Quadra Chair

Weight: 2.8lb (1.3kg)

The Therm-a-Rest Quadra Chair is the heaviest option on our list making it a favourite for campers who also dabble in short backpacking trips and overnighters. It holds up to 300lbs which a huge plus for bigger folk. This semi-reclining chair has a low profile and no separate arm or neck support, although it does include a large mesh pocket on one side for gear or snacks. If you’re after a chair to get out on the trail each time you stop then this is not the one for you as it takes a bit of setting up. But for enjoying your dinner in comfort at the end of a long day, it’s a peach!

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Good for heavier people
  • Has side pockets
  • Folds up into integrated case (the legs)

Cons

  • Takes a bit of time to set up
  • A little on the heavy side

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Big Agnes Helinox Chair One

Helinox Chair One

Weight: 2lb (0.9kg)

The Helinox Chair One is a premium chair and one of the priciest on our list. It comes in a wide range of colours, including some designs with contrasting colours and patterns. The high-quality construction and high weight capacity make this chair a favourite for heavier hikers. And at just under 2lbs it is just about light enough for long distance backpackers, too. It folds into a carrying case that is 14″ long and it is easy to set up, although not instant. A high quality chair that will last for many years of backpacking and camping.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Mesh panels for ventilation
  • High weight capacity
  • Has non-slip rubber feet

Cons

  • A little on the heavy side
  • Doesn’t fold out instantly

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair

Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair

Weight: 0.8lb (0.37kg)

The lightest option on the list is also the most unique. The Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair converts a Therm-a-Rest (or other comparable) sleeping mat into a chair. The Trekker Chair comes in two sizes and both are incredibly light. The largest style is still only 13oz! There are no drink holders in the chair, but it is the very best option for backpacking because you do not have to carry a sleeping mat and separate chair. With the unique conversion straps and buckles, your inflatable mattress can also double as your chair.

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • No weight capacity limit
  • Adjust the reclining angle with the straps

Cons

  • Doesn’t elevate you off the floor
  • Not a good option for use on the trail — just the evenings

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Travelchair Joey

TravelChair Joey

Weight: 2.3lb (1.04kg)

Another excellent quality lightweight backpacking chair is the TravelChair Joey. It packs down to a similar size as the Crazy Creek Hex but provides an elevated and comfortable seat for those looking for a little more luxury and comfort after a long day out on the trail. Although a little heavier than the Helinox Chair One, this highly comfortable option offers a little more sturdiness on uneven ground with its anti-sink disk feet. It will leave you feeling as at home in the wilderness as it will kicking back at a backyard grill.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Mesh panels for ventilation
  • High weight capacity
  • Has anti-sink feet

Cons

  • A little on the heavy side
  • Less durable than the similar Helinox Chair One

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry


Crazy Creek Products HEX 2.0

Crazy Creek Hex 2.0

Weight: 1.3lb (0.6kg)

If you’d rather not convert your sleeping pad into a chair and risk getting it dirty or wet, the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 is an excellent alternative. At only 1.3lbs (0.6kg) it is light enough for backpacking and rolls up to only 4 inches (10cm) in diameter. The high density foam provides 8mm of padding and insulation and doesn’t require any inflation (like the Trekker). This simple and low profile option is one of the best portable chairs for backpacking as well as other outdoor events and car camping.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Insulated
  • Adjustable reclining angle

Cons

  • Doesn’t elevate you off the floor
  • Not as packable as it should be

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


REI Trail Stool

REI Trail Stool

Weight: 1.12lb (0.5kg)

Backpacking chairs don’t get much more simple than this tripod stool from REI. Sure, it won’t win any prizes for comfort and luxury, but for those looking for a highly practical and lightweight stool for backpacking and camping, you can’t go wrong with the REI Trail Stool. Complete with a shoulder strap for easy carrying around camp, this packable stool also has a second strap to secure the legs together when on the move. And at only 22 inches long, when folded up, it fits very nicely on the outside of a hiking backpack. It has a highly durable ripstop polyester seat, which, together with the aluminum legs, can support up to 200lbs.

Pros

  • Easy to use on the trail
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Great value

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as other options

Find the latest price on:
REI


Big Agnes Skyline UL Stool

Big Agnes Skyline UL Stool

Weight: 1.2lbs (0.54kg)

If you like the idea of a backpacking stool over a chair, but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, then look no further than the Big Agnes Skyline UL Stool. Weighing only a fraction more than the REI Trail Stool you’ll sure look forward to getting your butt into this lightweight stool after a tough day on the trail! It has a highly durable and water resistant ripstop nylon seat that is reinforced with a high-tenacity Robic yarn. Whatsmore, the ultralight aircraft aluminum pole system can support up to 250lbs. It is super easy to assemble and comes in a small stuff sack for easy packability. But it is also up there with the more expensive backpacking chairs on our list.

Pros

  • Easy to use on the trail
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Great value

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as other options

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


What to look for when choosing the best backpacking chairs

Weight

Unlike camping chairs — that are hauled directly from the car to the ground next to the car — backpacking chairs are carried miles and miles on foot. So choosing one that is as lightweight as possible is high up on the list of priorities for most backpackers. That said, if you’ve made the effort to carry it, you really want it to be worth it! Be sure that it provides comfort, too.

Comfort

Backpacking chairs with a supportive back tend to provide a little more comfort and luxury than a lightweight stool. Tripod stools are generally the least comfortable but they have their own appeal from a simplicity point of view.

When considering comfort levels, you should also think about whether you prefer/want/need to be close to the ground or elevated. While elevated seats are great for sitting comfortably and relaxing in, they also mean that you have to bend down to do any tasks at ground level — like cooking. Ground level backpacking chairs, on the other hand, need to be insulated to prevent getting a cold butt.

Packability

The next most important thing to consider, after weight and comfort, is a chair’s packability. Firstly, the best backpacking chairs should be easy to set up and put away. This is especially important if you are the sort of person who likes to take lots of breaks on the trail. Secondly, it shouldn’t take up much room in your pack, and the smaller the pack-down size, the better.

Weight capacity and strength

Lastly, be sure to choose a chair that will hold your weight. Imagine lugging your lightweight stool up a mountain only for it to collapse under you! Opting for something that is constructed of tough and durable materials will help ensure that it provides plenty of support, as well as holding up to the tests of time. Look for seat fabrics made of ripstop nylon or polyester and frames made of aluminium.


Features of the best backpacking chairs

Backpacking chairs are generally fairly frill-free. However, there are a few things to look out for and consider, depending on your needs.

  • Mesh chair panel

    Mesh panels

    The addition of mesh panels on backpacking chairs makes them more cool and comfortable in hot weather. But they also help to keep the weight of the chair as low as possible without compromising too much on toughness and strength.

  • Chair storage sack

    Storage sack

    This is especially important for chairs that dismantle into more than one piece. It will help prevent you from losing key components, and makes the chair much more packable either on the outside of a backpack or stashed inside.

  • Chair foot

    Grippy feet

    If you backpacking stool or chair has legs then it should also have feet that are durable and grippy. Look for either rubber feet or anti-sink feet that dig into the ground slightly.

  • Chair pocket

    Pockets

    Most lightweight backpacking chairs don’t have pockets. However, some chairs do exist with them, like the Therm-a-Rest Quadra. Pockets are useful to keep your snacks and drinks close at hand.


Carrying a chair on a backpacking trip may seem like a luxury you just can justify. Opt for something that is as lightweight as it is comfortable, however, and you’ll barely notice the extra weight in your pack. Some people can live without a backpacking chair, but for those who value a little luxury and comfort in the wilderness, these beauties are invaluable.

About the author

author-joey

Joey Holmes is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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