Best Ultralight Camping Chairs 2023


HomeHome / News / Best Ultralight Camping Chairs 2023

Jul 02, 2023

Best Ultralight Camping Chairs 2023

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

Keep your load light with one of these featherweight chairs—whether you’re backpacking or traveling to your campsite.

Campers and backpackers know that falling asleep to the sounds of wind blowing through the trees and hearing the chirp of grasshoppers are some of the best things about summer—as is waking up next to a gorgeous lake or in the middle of a national park. But even with a quality sleeping pad, spending the night on the ground isn't always comfortable, and neither is carrying a heavy backpack on multi-day trips.

That is why having one of the best ultralight camping chairs in your pack is a smart idea. Camping chairs keep you warm and dry by lifting you off the ground that may be cold and/or wet, plus a chair is much more forgiving on your back than if you're slouching against a tree trunk. For lots of campers and backpackers, those benefits alone are well-worth the (small) extra weight in their pack.

The best folding camping chairs also work for car camping, beach days, and sports games. While you may not be hiking to a tent, you’re likely to have your hands full and probably won't want to carry a big, bulky chair with you. Here then, are the best ultralight camping chairs to give you lots of extra comfort for only a little extra weight, whether you’re at a remote backcountry campsite or just visiting a state park for a quick overnight trip.

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-3-pound range for a one-night trip with a moderately difficult hike in. But if you’re doing a multi-day trip or a more challenging hike, you’ll surely want to keep it to below 2 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.

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 lower weight limits than standard camp chairs. A 200-pound maximum is common; 250 is rather generous. Unfortunately, ultralight materials like carbon don't lend themselves to high weight limits, so be careful if you’re planning on pulling your dog into your lap.

Lighten Your Load With These: Ultralight Sleeping Pads • Ultralight Tents • Ultralight Backpacks

You might be surprised to find the packed size of your ultralight camping chair isn't quite as important as the shape. Most fold into a narrow tube (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 certain 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.

Many, but not all, ultralight camping chairs come with a carrying case. 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.

Aside from first-hand testing of these products and other ones from the brands mentioned below, I relied on my backpacking and hiking experiences—including carrying packs that were way too heavy for me—as well as my familiarity with ultralight materials and fabrics. I looked at a long list of options on the market and then narrowed down my final selections based on user reviews, warranties, and technical specifications. Also, I had several friends across a variety of weights, heights, and ages chime in to ensure the feedback on comfort reflected a variety of experiences and body types.

The Skyline UL is not the lightest pick in this roundup, but for 95-percent of people, it's is a great choice. It's also lower-priced than our Best Splurge, the Helinox Chair Zero, and has a deeper, wider, and flatter seat, which is a smidge more comfortable.

Also notable for the Big Agnes Skyline UL chair is its seat height. At 15 inches, it's nearly twice as high as the Helinox Chair Zero which makes getting in and out of the Skyline easier, especially for taller people or those with knee or back problems.

Really, the only downside is the extra weight. But I'm the type of person to turn my socks inside out rather than bringing a second pair, because every ounce counts for me. But for most people, the few extra ounces between that and the Chair Zero will be negligible especially if you’re planning to use it for car camping or quick overnights, rather than multi-day treks.

There aren't many brands making collapsible, ultralight camp chairs, but still, it counts for something when you see one particular product over and over again on lists of the best options.

The Helinox Chair Zero is a favorite for so many because it's surprisingly comfortable, even for male testers over 6 feet. It also has the right amount of flex to move without feeling like you’re going to tip over. It weighs an impressively low 1.1 pounds and packs up small enough to carry in a side pocket or under the lid/top section of your backpacking pack.

As with most backpacking gear, if you want it to be small, light, and high-quality, you’re going to pay for it. And that's true with the Chair Zero, which will set you back $170 to $180 for the high-back version, or about $150 for the standard version.

Tall buyers may find the extra back support worth the splurge. For a less expensive alternative, consider our previously mentioned Best Overall pick, the Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair. It weighs a bit more at 1 pound, 11 ounces, and is an inch or two longer when packed thanks to a wider seat.

If you’re not into the idea of having yet another item to set up when you arrive at your campsite, opt for the very popular Cliq Camp Chair.

Setup is minimal, to say the least: Remove the strap and push the button—that's it. Assembly takes around 5 seconds if you’re slow. It also folds up into one of the smallest packages of the chairs recommended, making it easy to carry in a backpack or large purse.

If you are trying to coordinate camping accessories, there is a range of colors to choose from including Graphite, Green, Ocean, Red, Sky, Silver, and more.

Many ultralight and foldable camp chairs have minimal back support. If you have back problems, as I sometimes do, the best way to make a camp chair more comfortable is to carry an inflatable low back pad and position your chair such that you can use a cooler or downed log as a footrest.

That said, a chair with a tall back and some kind of neck support will inherently be a bit more comfortable. There are lots of options for supportive chairs, but a solid pick is the REI Coop brand Flexlite Camp Dreamer Chair.

The 12.5-inch seat height is more manageable to get in and out of than with a lower chair where you're bending and squatting. Its wider seat accommodates people who need to frequently shift positions. It's a bit heavy compared to smaller options, but you can leave the pillow at home to save a few ounces.

Most ultralight camp chairs have a similar design, so if you don't need fancy features or care about brand names, opt for the sub-$50 YIZI Ultralight chair from Trekology.

It weighs just over 2.5 pounds, making this chair light enough to carry on backpacking trips, especially with its small folded dimensions. Just note that it cuts out most of the metal legs to save weight and space, so it sits very close to the ground. If you want a comparably priced chair with a higher back, here's a similar option that weighs a bit more at 3 pounds.

Do a quick search on Amazon and you’ll find plenty of chairs with heating coils in the seat. Unfortunately, this type of chair tends to be heavy. And even if you do find one lighter than 4 pounds, you’ll also have to carry a high-capacity USB charger to plug it into, which will add at least another pound.

Once the battery pack runs out, the heating aspect of the chair is useless. That's why a chair that relies on old-school insulation is usually best for cold-weather camping.

My choice is the combo of the Big Six Chair and insulated cover, which is $70 additional. The chair has a higher back than most to keep cold wind off your neck. With the seat 20-inches high—fairly tall among picks on this list— this chair is ideal for use in snow. "Feels like you're sitting inside a sleeping bag," wrote one reviewer on the Big Agnes website.

The only minus is that the cover adds a bit of weight, but it's still less than carrying a heavier chair and battery pack. And you can always use the cover in your sleeping bag for extra warmth, too.

Insulated Cover Sold Separately

Buyers who don't like the feel or style of the low, slingback-style seating that is typical with most ultralight camp chairs may prefer the affordable Packseat Camping Stool instead.

While there's no back support, it does sit higher and more upright than most chairs in our roundup here. As a result, it's a more functional option for camp cooking or pulling up around a crowded picnic table. It also holds up to 250 pounds, making it a good option for taller buyers.

Many ultralight camping chairs are scarce on features to save weight, which means you don't get too many perks. Enter the Nemo Moonlight Chair whose designers cleverly found a way to let this camp chair recline without adding extra weight: it has two pull-tab side buckles. Pull them up, and the back of the chair reclines.

While this is certainly useful for people who want more of a lounge feel, it's also useful for campers who are more comfortable sitting upright, as pulling the tabs down creates a very upright seat.

Aside from weight, the only noticeable downside is the placement of the adjustment tabs, which sit in an area where your arms would otherwise be.

Helinox's Chair Zero, our Best Splurge recommendation mentioned earlier, is one of the most popular foldable camping chairs on the market, so it's not surprising that the brand built its first big-and-tall chair based on the Chair Zero's design.

The Chair Zero L looks similar, but has thicker poles, slightly stronger connection points, and offers a taller seat height to make it usable for campers weighing up to 320 pounds.

The extra weight capacity comes at a cost, but a small one: it weighs 1.6 pounds as compared to the standard Chair Zero's 1 pound, and it adds about an inch to the length and width when packed.

It's still rather low to the ground, so keep in mind that it may be difficult to get on and off the chair gracefully. However, that's the reality for almost everyone trying to get into any chair 8 inches off the ground.

PM: How do you carry an ultralight chair?

SD: There's no right or wrong way to carry a chair, but there are some general packing tips to keep in mind. If you’re organizing a backpack, you generally want your heaviest items to be closest to your back, so you’ll want to pack the chair in the middle of your bag (close to the backplate).

Alternatively, some larger ultralight chairs—especially those with a cylindrical shape—may work best strapped to the side of your bag. Most backpacking packs have large pockets on either side, so try to keep it balanced—if you add a 2-pound chair to one side, put a full water bottle on the other side.

Another way to carry a chair is to strap it horizontally to the top of your pack. Place it on top of the cinched section, using the top cap/gear pocket to strap it down.

PM: Are ultralight camping chairs as comfortable as folding camp chairs?

SD : In short, no. If you want your chair to be sub-3-pounds, you’re going to have to go without armrests, footrests, extra padding, or features like tech pockets. I’ve included a few alternates in the list above that are slightly more comfortable, but ultimately, it's a sacrifice between comfort and convenience.

The most significant pain point, aside from not having armrests, is for tall users, who may find that the bucket-seat style doesn't provide enough back support. They’re not uncomfortable, but they’re not going to be as relaxing as chilling in a reclining camp chair with pillows and seat padding.

PM: Do I need an ultralight camp chair if I’m not a serious backpacker?

SD: You don't need one, but you may find it useful more often than you think. In addition to being low in weight, ultralight chairs also fold up quite small, at a fraction of the size of a regular collapsible camp chair.

That means you can carry them in tote bags and purses, or store them under the seat in your car without taking up any storage space. It also makes it easier to carry several at once if you’re with younger campers who aren't always so good about carrying their own gear.

PM : Is there a version of one of these light camping chairs that's a rocker or glider?

S.D.: Most ultralight camping chairs are unlikely to be rockers, since the apparatus for doing that adds bulk and weight. But since most camping chairs are made with strong but flexible aluminum, they have a bit more give than you’d expect.

If you don't mind extra weight, there are a few camp chairs that have the ability to rock and glide. CGI Outdoors makes a rocker camp chair that folds up rather small (but still weighs in at 7.5 pounds), and Coleman makes a rocker that folds fairly flat, but still weighs more than 10 pounds. Nemo Equipment makes the very pricey but comfortable Stargazer Chair, with a swing-style seat made for, presumably, stargazing.

If you really want your camp chair to be a rocker, your best bet is likely a Helinox Chair as well as the brand's rocker foot extension. Extensions are available for the brand's Chair One, Chair One XL, Sunset Chair, and Chair Two, and each set weighs only 8 ounces.

Originally from the East Coast, Suzie Dundas is a Lake Tahoe-based freelance writer and editor who now splits her time between enjoying the outdoors and writing about them—she's the senior outdoor editor at Matador Network and a regular adventure and travel contributor at She has written feature stories for publications like Outside Magazine, SkyLife Magazine, Playboy, Frommers, INSIDER, and more, and contributes couples travel and honeymoon content for Suzie co-authored Lonely Planet Sustainable Travel Guide and is the author of 2021's "Hiking Lake Tahoe." She has undergraduate degrees from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in media and political communication from George Washington University. Follow her on Instagram at @HikeUpYourSkirt or find more of her work at

The Best Camping Tents for Any Base Camp

The Best Binoculars for Getting a Closer Look

The Best Bug Zapper for Camping Is 24% Off

The 7 Best Kayaks for Fishing and Floating

The 7 Best Outdoor Blankets for 2023

The Best Outdoor Gear From REI's Memorial Day Sale

Shop Backcountry's Unmissable Memorial Day Sale

Tested: The Best Camp Chairs of 2023

The Best Hiking GPS Devices

The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Gear Guide

The Best Inflatable Standup Paddleboards

The Best Water Bottles for Hiking

The Expert: Lighten Your Load With These: Ultralight Sleeping Pads • Ultralight Tents • Ultralight Backpacks PM: How do you carry an ultralight chair? SD: PM: Are ultralight camping chairs as comfortable as folding camp chairs? PM: Are ultralight camping chairs as comfortable as folding camp chairs? SD SD : : PM: Do I need an ultralight camp chair if I’m not a serious backpacker? SD: PM : Is there a version of one of these light camping chairs that's a rocker or glider? S.D