Best Lawn Chair
The Chair One is rated to hold up to 320 pounds, versus 250 for the Flex Lite and for the third chair we tested, the Alite Monarch Chair. The Monarch is the original design in a line of chairs that has grown to encompass several models, including the taller and heavier Calpine Chair, the three-legged Mayfly Chair, and the four-legged Mantis Chair. At just 21 ounces, the Monarch is the lightest of the three chairs we tested in this category, as well as the most compact. But its two-legged design requires your own legs to serve as the third leg of the stool. Balancing in the Monarch is actually very comfortable for the coordinated, but its unusual design doesn’t have as broad an appeal as a regular four-legged chair like the Chair One.
Best Lawn Chair
“I like a chair from Sportsman Guide called the, “Stylish Camping Rocking, Full-Back Folding Director’s Chair”. My chair has some pockets that hang down on one side for a bottle of water or a book. It folds flat and has two small handles for carrying. I love it because the chair seat is stretched out flat, and you are not all crunched down into it like you are in an umbrella chair. And my fellow campers seem to love it too. If I vacate it for a few minutes, I invariably come back to find someone else rocking away in it!
Best Lawn Chair
If you’re looking for a durable, portable outdoor chair, we have some suggestions. First, consider where you use your chair most often. Are you planning to take it car camping or backpacking? Weight and durability are important. Are you a frequent tailgater? Choose a comfy chair with ample beverage storage. Outdoor-movie fan? Opt for a low-slung chair that adjusts for uneven ground. Subway commuter or backpacker? Your perfect seat is slight and light. Shade seeker? Select a chair with a built-in canopy, and you can transport your own little patch of cool to any campsite or cookout.
Best Lawn Chair
The Helinox Chair One weighs about 2 pounds, compresses smaller than a 2-liter bottle of soda, and is the most comfortable and easy to stow of the three top backpacking chairs we tested. Like competing chairs, the Chair One has a nylon and mesh seat and aluminum legs that are linked with shock cord (the chair legs are made out of the same material as high-end tent poles). Simply snap the legs into their slots and stretch the rectangular seat onto the resulting frame, and you have an upright chair that’s small and light enough to consider bringing on a backpacking trip, or even sliding into a large purse or laptop bag for an after-work outdoor movie or concert. OutdoorGearLab named the Helinox Chair One its Top Pick among portable camping chairs in 2015.
Best Lawn Chair
We also tested REI’s Flex Lite Chair, which is remarkably similar in design, size, and price to the Chair One. While the Flex Lite has the advantage of being slightly lighter than the Chair One—a factor that could be key for hikers who are planning on carrying their chair miles into the backcountry—we otherwise found a number of small details that were superior on the Chair One. Most important: While the dimensions of the two seats are almost identical, the fabric on the Helinox seat has a cut that makes it feel roomier and more comfortable to anyone who has anything but a pencil-thin behind. After several months of use, some of the paint on the legs of the Flex Lite has scraped off. And the Helinox’s carry case, which is shaped like a doll-sized ski bag, is easier to use than the stuff-sack-style bag that comes with the Flex Lite.
Best Lawn Chair
The 4-pound, steel-construction REI chair has an attached carry strap rather than a carry bag like the other chairs. After a couple of camping trips, we concluded that a strap is more convenient than a bag—the quicker and easier for a kid to grab and go without parental help. The chair is rated to hold up to 150 pounds, the same as the L.L.Bean and Walmart chairs. (The Coleman chair and the Helinox Chair One Mini are both rated to hold up to 200 pounds, though it’s impossible to believe that a 200-pound person could fit comfortably in either one.) We think the REI chair is most appropriate for toddlers and kids up to about 7 or 8 years old, though reviews reveal some small adults who have found this to be their favorite seat. It comes in bright red or blue, and as of this writing it gets 4.7 out of five stars from reviewers on the REI site.
We conducted 14 hours of online research, grilled friends and acquaintances about their portable chair experiences, evaluated 11 highly reviewed folding chairs on three group camping trips, and used the chairs regularly in a backyard over a six-month period to tease out the distinctions between a good chair and a great one. Because people use outdoor chairs for different purposes and have different preferences when it comes to comfort, choosing a single best chair was impossible. Instead we selected our favorite in several categories—upright, low-to-the-ground, ultra-lightweight, and canopy—as well as a great chair for kids.
Our not-too-discriminating underage testers liked all the kid chairs, though over time we found several reasons to declare the REI Camp Chair the best of the bunch. The REI chair’s polyester seat material feels both more forgiving and more durable than the thinner material on the Walmart chair or the stiffer material on the Coleman one. The box-shaped cup holder is a little roomier than the round cup holders on the Coleman and L.L.Bean chairs—better for stubby water bottles or mugs of hot chocolate around the campfire. We found that the cheaply constructed Walmart chair had a cup holder that was too small for a soda can, or any of the hard-plastic or metal water bottles that the kids we know brought on a camping trip. It will fit a Capri Sun pouch or a narrow rectangular juice box, but that’s about it.
“I’m still looking for the perfect chair. I like the Costco Timber Ridge chair, but it’s too big to pack in my FWC. I’m trying the REI Stowaway folding chair on our trip next week to Glacier National Park. It folds small, but it’s made of steel, so it’s heavy. I’m looking forward to reading about what is the best chair.” – Bill Harr, 2005 Tundra, 2013 Hawk shell custom build interior
A Renetto chair has been one of The Sweethome’s two beach chair picks for the past two years. (Currently our pick there is the company’s lower-to-the-ground version; if you’re looking for an alternate take on folding chairs—oriented mostly toward fun at the shore—check out our earlier review.) In our Wheeler Gorge comfort test, campers judged the Renetto Original Canopy Chair the second-most-comfortable chair, after the Coleman Oversized Quad.
Of the chair categories we considered, this one was the most difficult in which to pick a winner. That’s because these chairs are less alike than the accordion-style camp chairs we tried or the teeny-tiny backpacking chairs we tested. We found the Coleman Kickback Breeze Chair to be a simple yet very comfortable seat, though women liked it more than men, many of whom judged it too snug. (Anecdotally, we found that this chair category in general is better liked among women than among men, more of whom preferred a higher, upright seat.) The REI Camp Stowaway Low Chair, which also has an ultralow profile, is also extremely comfortable to most people, though its fold-up mechanism isn’t completely intuitive.
Both of those chairs come with stuff bags. As with the Renetto Original Canopy Chair, we found after half a dozen excursions that having a chair that you can easily carry without a bag is preferable. In real-world conditions, you’re often packing up fast, trying to get ahead of crowds or traffic; you can easily misplace a carry sack on a dark night in a crowded field, especially if you’re in a large group or have a lot of stuff. At a fireworks show and at the beach, we appreciated a chair that was ready to go without even 30 seconds of hassle. The Everywhere Chair closes like a book—simply lift the padded strap and go.
“Well, I know that the most comfortable camping chair that Angela really enjoyed sitting in was Bruce’s fancy rocker chair. It has the nice thick padded material, and it’s a rocker! It has a high back to support the head and is the most comfortable chair ever. We also have a lower-back rocking chair that we also got from Camping World.
PreviousThe Best Weight Loss Apps view gallery 20 Photos Whether deep in the mountains or in the heart of Central Park, ditch that raggedy old folding chair or blanket. Having a comfortable and portable camping chair will ensure ultimate comfort for every occasion. And with so many options, ranging from minimalist to lavish, picking the right chair can be tricky. Read along to find the best option for all your outdoor recreation. More view gallery
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