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There’s nothing more incredible than to see and experience nature the way you can when hiking. Away from noise and distraction, with the sights and sounds and smells of the natural world all around you, is one of the most beautiful and powerful ways you can connect with the world and with yourself. Backpacking is about finding new challenges, exploring new territory, and connecting more deeply with the world.
For ultralight backpackers, every inch of space and every ounce of weight counts, because it means you can go further in comfort. But even the most determined hiker has to stop for breath eventually, and for that you need an ultralight chair. Today we are looking at the lightest, most compact, most versatile camping chairs available in 2020.
Best Ultralight Camping Stools and Chairs Reviews
Editors Choice: TravelChair Slacker Chair
The TravelChair Slacker Chair has a rugged steel frame and a sleek fabric seat that packs down incredibly small and lightweight, perfect for backpacking, hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor adventures. Although it weighs just 2 pounds, and packs down to 3 x 3 x 24 inches, it can hold up to 275 pounds in weight, making it a great choice for backpackers.
The TravelChair Slacker Chair is an ultra-portable tripod design, with three legs that easily fold down small and light. The powder coated steel frame has been independently tested for strength and durability, with TPR rubber feet that are anti-slip, and resist scuffs, scratches, and stress.
The seat is made of military-grade fabric with double-stitched seams, for a seat that is built to last. It has a folded size of just 3 x 3 x 24 inches, making it easy to carry or attach to your pack, and attached adjustable shoulder strap and handle for versatile carrying options. The seat height is 17.5 inches, and it comes in black, blue, green, or red fabric colors.
- Incredibly compact and lightweight
- Easy to carry, pack, or attach to your gear
- Strong frame and fabric support up to 275 pounds
- Rugged and durable materials
- Non-slip feet
- Not super comfortable for lounging around by a campfire
The Crazy Creek Products HEX 2.0 Original Chair is an incredibly versatile design that lets you sit or recline comfortably nearly anywhere or use it as a seating pad or cushion for extra comfort when you need it.
It weighs less than 22 ounces, and rolls into a compact 4 inch cylinder, easy to carry anywhere with the attached strap, or clip to a pack with the attached loop. It provides comfortable padding, and protection from damp ground, sandy surfaces, and more. It’s a backpacking chair that is comfortable and useful anywhere, from the campsite to the beach to a sports stadium.
The Crazy Creek Products HEX 2.0 Original Chair has a clever design that can be laid flat for use as a pad, folded over for use as a cushion, or use the rugged straps to create a seat with comfortable back support at adjustable angles. It has a core made of 8mm high-density EVA closed cell foam, for thermal insulation and comfortable padding without adding weight. An inner layer of ripstop nylon adds durability and water resistance, while the outer shell is made of 210 denier ripstop nylon resists water and makes it easy to simply brush away sand and dirt.
The stays are made of carbon fiber for strength and durability, and the wing connections are reinforced. This seat supports up to 250 pounds but weighs just 21.9 ounces. When open flat, it measures 33 x 17.5 inches, and rolls up into a 4 inch cylinder, with an attached adjustable shoulder strap, and a loop for attaching to your other gear. It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
- Lightweight, packable, and portable
- Versatile design for use as a pad, cushion, or chair
- Adjustable back angle for support or reclining
- Holds up to 250 pounds
- Resists dirt, sand, and water, and also provides thermal insulation
- Comfortable padding
- Durable materials
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Not comfortable for campers of all sizes: Some find it too narrow, some find it rests on an uncomfortable place in their back
For backpackers who want a great balance of portability and comfort, the Nice C Ultralight Portable Folding Camping Backpacking Chair is an excellent choice. The sturdy aluminum frame and mesh fabric seat fold down compactly into the included bag, which can easily be carried in the included/attached bag with adjustable shoulder strap. The chair unfolds into a comfortable breathable reclining seat, and attached pockets store your small belongings.
The Nice C Ultralight Portable Folding Camping Backpacking Chair weighs only 2.1 pounds and fits into the included 14 x 5 x 4 inch carrying bag. It supports up to 250 pounds, with a comfortable, breathable seat. The frame is made of high strength aviation-grade 7075 aluminum alloy that is rust and corrosion proof. The seat is made from machine-washable 600 denier Oxford fabric, with industrial-grade polyester mesh net that resists ripping or tearing.
The carrying bag has an adjustable shoulder strap and attaches to the frame when the chair is in use, so there’s less baggage. The chair has rugged anti-slip feet, and two mesh side pockets to keep small items close at hand. It has a 13 inch seat height. The Nice C Ultralight Portable Folding Camping Backpacking Chair comes in blue or orange colors, or in a pair of orange seats or a pair of seats with a beautiful crane pattern. It has a 3-month money-back guarantee.
- Lightweight and compact
- More comfortable and supportive than other ultralight chairs
- Included carrying bag with shoulder strap
- Breathable, machine washable fabric
- Side pockets for storage
- Three month money back guarantee
- Not as compact as some other ultralight chairs
These tiny tripod chairs from REDCAMP have back support that makes them more comfortable for relaxing, and yet still take up almost no space in your pack. They are designed to set up and collapse in just seconds and are incredibly lightweight with the included shoulder strap. These chairs are perfect for hiking and backpacking, camping, hunting, and other activities where you need a lightweight, portable, comfortable seat in seconds.
The REDCAMP 2-Pack Tripod Chairs have powder coated steel tube frames with anti-slip feet, and durable 600 denier Oxford fabric in the seat and back. They weigh just 2.6 pounds and support up to 225 pounds of weight.
The attached Velcro shoulder strap is adjustable for comfort, and the seat folds and unfolds in seconds. Seat height is 16 inches off the ground, and the backrest is comfortable and stable. These chairs fold down to a 25 x 5 inch size. They come in sets of two chairs with blue, black, or camouflage fabric, and are backed by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Lightweight, portable tripod chairs
- Back support makes them more comfortable for longer sitting
- Set of two matching chairs
- Durable materials and non-skid feet
- Attached shoulder strap means there’s nothing else to carry
- Set up or fold down in seconds
- 1-year warranty
- Big or tall people may not find these little chairs very comfortable
For hikers and backpackers or are big or tall, and who need a lightweight camping chair that is stronger and more stable, the KingCamp Low Sling Beach Chair is a great choice. The heavy duty steel frame supports up to 300 pounds, with large anti-skid feet that prevent it from sinking into loose soil and sand. The low design is stable and comfortable for reclining, and it’s portable and easy to carry.
The KingCamp Low Sling Beach Chair is a heavy-duty chair, with a cross-shaped steel frame for structure and stability. The frame has rigid arms with foam padding, so you can lean on the arms to help get into and out of the low seat.
The 600 denier Oxford fabric is rugged and durable, with breathable mesh to keep you cool and comfortable. Large feet reduce skidding and help to prevent the chair from sinking into unstable ground. This chair has a built-in cup holder to keep drinks or snacks close at hand.
The chair opens and closes in just seconds, and supports up to 300 pounds. It weighs 6.5 pounds, and folds down into the included 30.7 x 7.9 inch carrying bag with sturdy strap. These chairs come in a set of two chairs, one with a low back and one with a high back.
- Sturdy and stable portable chair
- Rigid steel arms that you can comfortably lean on
- Supports up to 300 pounds
- High back chair lets you lean your head back and recline
- Large feet provide stability and reduce sinking or slipping
- Breathable mesh fabric to keep you cool
- Built-in cupholder
- Included carrying bag
- Heavier than other ultralight backpacking chairs
The HTTMT Folding Stool Insulated Cooler Bag Backpack is a folding chair, backpack, and insulated cooler in one package, perfect for hiking and day trips. The frame folds flat, so you can easily wear it on your back, or unfold it into a comfortable stool.
The integrated bag has side pockets for small items and water bottles, and the large main compartment is an insulated cooler. It’s a great way to carry everything you need for a hike, picnic, or fishing trip, and then rest in comfort once you’ve arrived.
The HTTMT Folding Stool Insulated Cooler Bag Backpack has a folding stainless steel frame that compresses flat and easy to carry in backpack mode, but quickly unfolds into a lightweight seat with anti-slip rubber feet. It is made with 600 denier PVC Oxford fabric for durability, and integrated backpack straps for easy carrying. The main storage compartment is a generous 12.6 x 11.22 inches, and it keeps hot foods hot for 3-4 hours, or cold foods cold for 8-10 hours.
Add ice packs to keep food cold for 12 hours or longer. A zippered side pocket holds smaller items, and a drawstring pocket is perfect for a water bottle. The HTTMT Folding Stool Insulated Cooler Bag Backpack weighs 3.3 pounds, and comes in blue, grey, green, or camouflage fabric color. It holds up to 220 pounds.
- Three-in-one backpack, camping stool, and insulated cooler
- Lightweight and compact for carrying
- Folds and unfolds easily
- Keeps hot foods hot and cold foods cold
- Versatile side pockets
- Rugged design
- Comfortable to wear
- Doesn’t have loops or rings for attaching additional gear
The MARCHWAY Ultralight Folding Camping Chair has extra wide feet that prevent it from sinking into loose, sandy, or muddy soil, so it’s a great choice for providing extra comfort and stability in hiking or backpacking in conditions with soft soil. The mesh fabric is breathable and comfortable, and this aluminum frame camping chair weighs only 2 pounds. It’s a great ultralight seat for the beach.
The MARCHWAY Ultralight Folding Camping Chair weighs 2 pounds and folds down to 14.2 x 5.2 inches, easily carried in the included stuff sack. It unfolds and assembles quickly and easily, with tent-pole-style frame poles that are pre-attached at the joints, so there are no loose pieces to lose. It is made of high-strength 7075 aluminum alloy with anti-slip ripstop nylon fabric. It has anti-skid feet and comes with extra-large feet that can be clipped on to prevent sinking.
Reinforced pole pockets prevent premature wear, and high-strength ABS plastic connectors are rugged and durable. The chair holds up to 250 pounds, and the included carrying case attaches to the seat for easy storage and has straps so it can be attached to your pack for easy carrying. It comes in black, orange, dark blue, or sky blue colors.
The Great Ultralight Camping Seat Question: Chair or Stool?
The biggest question facing backpackers is whether they want a camping chair or a camping stool. There are important considerations for each.
No matter how small or light the camping chair is, every backpacker has to make a choice based on how much weight they are willing to carry on the trail, and how comfortable they want to be at their destination. People who plan to hike or backpack to a site where they will stay for long periods, either camping, fishing, or hunting, may want a more comfortable seat. People who plan to hike or backpack all day, and only take shorter rests from time to time, may want a lighter stool.
What to Look for in a Portable Backpacking Chair
The key features in a portable hiking or camping chair are:
Weight of the Seat
For ultralight backpackers, every ounce counts. When all other factors are equal, choose the lightest seat you can find.
Weight Capacity of the Seat
Our top picks for the best ultralight camping seats typically hold around 200-250 pounds. If you are near the weight limit of a seat, you may want to choose a larger one.
Packed Size of the Seat
It’s important to choose a portable hiking stool that packs down small. Many of these come with their own carrying case, but if you want your seat to fit into or attach to your existing pack, choose a size that will fit.
Materials and Construction
Generally speaking, these camping chairs have either steel or aluminum frames. Both are strong, corrosion-resistant materials, but steel is usually stronger than aluminum, and heavier. If you are near the weight limit of the seat, look for the denier of the fabric as well; a higher number is stronger and more dense, but also slightly heavier.
Comfort can be measured in lots of ways. Do you want back, head, or arm support? Do you want to be able to stretch out your legs? Do you have long legs, and will you be comfortable in a seat that is 15 inches from the ground? Do you have a wide back?
Everybody is different, but when considering comfort, pay attention to the width of the seat and distance between the arms (if the chair has them), the height of the seat from the ground, the height of the back (if it has one), and the presence of crossbars that may press into your back or legs.
Other Features to Consider When Buying a Backpacking Camping Chair:
When choosing a camping stool, you always want non-skid feet that will improve stability and prevent the tripod from slipping. When choosing a camping chair, look for big feet that will resist sinking into earth or sand beneath the chair.
Many factors can impair your agility, even temporarily. Age, fitness level, pregnancy, injury, or simply being tired after a long hike can reduce your flexibility. In that case, you may want a camping chair with rigid arms that you can lean on to help lower yourself into the chair or help lift yourself out of it. Pay attention to your body mechanics as you move into and out of a low seating position to determine if you need additional arm support.
Ease of Cleaning
Our top picks for the best ultralight camping seats all have fabrics that are easy to brush, wipe, or wash clean, but keep in mind that you may not have access to washing machines or cleaning facilities on the trail. Choose a low-maintenance camping chair.
Side pockets, cup holders, and other storage options in your seat are nice to have, and for some activities, like fishing, they can be especially important.
Durability and Value for the Money
Some ultralight camping chairs are very affordable but may only last for a year or two. Others are more expensive but may last for years. If you need a portable hiking chair that will last for season after season, invest in a higher quality seat made of more durable materials.
Final Verdict: Best Choices
Best Overall Ultralight Camping Seat
Our top pick for the best overall camping seat is the REDCAMP 2-Pack Tripod Chairs. This design strikes the perfect balance between being lightweight and portable, with the tiny footprint of a tripod, and being comfortable, with the extra stability of large feet and a back rest.
The open design means that even taller people can be more comfortable at a 16-inch seat height, and they don’t require your legs for additional balance, so you can relax more completely. They pack down very small, at just 25 x 5 inches, and are lightweight, at 2.6 pounds each.
They are an ultralight camping chair that is best designed for all the needs of an ultralight hiker, and our top pick.
Lightest Ultralight Camping Stool
If you are looking for the lightest possible camping stool, the TravelChair Slacker Chair is the one for you. It weighs just 1.9 pounds and can support up to 275 pounds in weight.
It packs down to a tiny 3 x 3 x 24 inches and supports you at a comfortable 17.5 inches from the ground. It’s incredibly strong and durable and can withstand your most rugged adventures.
Best Ultralight Camp Chair for Big and Tall Hikers
Our top pick for an ultralight hiking chair for backpackers who need more space is the KingCamp Low Sling Beach Chair. This chair has a 300 pound capacity, a wider seat at 23.2 inches, and strong arms that provide extra support when getting into and out of the seat.
The set of two comes with high back and low back versions, so you can also choose to have head support and fully recline in the seat, and it has handy cupholders. While it’s the heaviest of our favorite camping seats, it’s a great choice for people who need more strength and support in a hiking chair.
The Crazy Creek Products HEX 2.0 Original Chair is a fantastic seat for campers and anglers. It weighs just over one pound, and folds down flat so it’s incredibly easy to transport.
You can lean back in it like a seat, fold it and sit on it like a cushion, or unfold it and use it as a pad. In any configuration, it protects you from the hard, cold, wet, or dirty ground below, and could be useful for nearly any camping, hunting, hiking, or fishing expedition.
It could also simply be used at sporting events, outdoor concerts, picnics, and nearly any outdoor activity. It’s a bit more expensive than our other favorite ultralight camping seats, but it’s an incredibly versatile bit of gear that could be useful in a wide range of situations.
There are a huge range of options for ultralight, ultraportable seats for hiking, backpacking, and camping, which means that there is no single perfect seating option for every situation and everybody.
Every trekker has to balance their need for portability with their need for comfort and relaxation, and carefully consider every item in their pack. Fortunately, there are so many great choices that every hiker can find the best camping chair for their needs and their bodies.