Best Ultralight Camping Chairs 2022


best ultralight camping chairs

Staff, Courtesy of Helinox

One of the best things about camping is hanging out around a campfire at night, looking at the stars, talking about who-knows-what with your friends. One of the worst parts is balancing for three hours on a tree stump or log. Hence the rise in the availability of ultralight camp chairs: seating options that are lightweight and small enough to carry to campsites without much extra bulk.

If you’re backpacking or walking to your campsite, you’ll probably want an ultralight camping chair that weighs no more than two pounds and packs small enough to fit into or strap onto your backpacking pack. If you’re just looking for an ultralight chair for use at daytime events like backyard barbecues and sports games, you can probably opt for one in the 3- to 4-pound range and don’t need to worry quite as much about size, bulkiness, or a high price tag.

The Expert: I am a full-time travel writer and editor focusing on outdoor adventures. I spend my weekends skiing, hiking, mountain biking, or camping, all of which lend themselves well to using and testing various methods for staying comfortable when hanging out outdoors. I am familiar with nearly every outdoor brand on the market, from tried-and-true brands to new cottage brands. I frequently cover travel and outdoor gear for Popular Mechanics and have tested and reviewed products for publications like TripSavvy and INSIDER. As a writer, my work has appeared in Outside Magazine, AFAR, Playboy, Forbes, Fodors, TheKnot, and many more.

What to Look for in an Ultralight Camping Chair


If you want to backpack with your camp chair, you should prioritize weight above all else, comfort included. Even an ultralight chair with so-so comfort will be more comfortable than sitting directly on the ground. It may be fine to carry a chair in the sub-three-pound range for a one-night trip with a moderately difficult hike in. But if you’re doing a multiday trip or a more challenging hike, you’ll surely want to keep it to below two pounds. Your best bets will be creative options (like the Crazy Creek or Therm-a-Rest chairs) that cut metal to save weight.


Most ultralight camping chairs with a fold-out frame will have a fabric bucket seat, sometimes with mesh segments. These are great in the summer to prevent butt sweat, but can be a little chilly in the winter. You can wrap a puffy jacket around the bottom to insulate the chair in a pinch.

But if you’re hoping to be warmer by using a chair, you’ll want one with a foam seat and/or non-mesh materials. It’s also important to note that ultralight camping chairs have much lower weight limits than standard camp chairs. A 200-pound maximum is common; 250 is rather generous. Unfortunately, ultralight metals like carbon don’t lend themselves to extremely high weight limits, so be careful if you’re planning on pulling your dog into your lap while relaxing.

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Packed Size and Shape

You may be surprised to find that the packed size of your ultralight camping chair isn’t quite as important as the shape. Most fold into a narrow, tube shape (like a smaller version of a rolled-up tent), so you can strap them to the side of your backpacking bag or slide them into a beach tote. Be sure to look at the packed shape of your chair of choice to make sure it won’t be cumbersome to carry or take up too much space in your bag—square-shaped items may take up more space in your bag or backpack than you’d think.

Carrying Case

Most, but not all, ultralight camping chairs come with a carrying case. Some cinch with straps, while others come with no case at all. Having a case isn’t essential, but it helps keep your chair clean and protects it from rips or other damage. A carrying case can also double as a pillow in a pinch if you’re camping, and prevent the legs and clips from getting hooked on other items.


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