The 5 Best Lightweight Backpacking Chairs of 2017

Do you love to go camping? Sitting by an open fire while enjoying the scenery of the great outdoors with the company of your loved ones is such a humbling experience. Likewise, relaxing on your lightweight backpacking chair at the shore, letting the waves touch your toes is utterly satisfying. The latter always makes me want to ask. “hey boss! Care to approve my leave? I want to go camping!”.


Most backpacking chairs nowadays have a reputation for being awkward, bulky and heavy. The average backpacking chair can weigh up to 12 lbs or more! You certainly won’t want to bring that kind chair.

On the other hand, if you decide to buy the thinner, wobblier option, either your back hurts after just 15 minutes of sitting or it usually falls apart over a short duration of use.

Fear not my outdoorsy friends! Nowadays, technology has caught up with the old style of backpacking chair and modelled them into the chair of your dreams. You can now find cotton-light chairs that are durable, strong and especially, comfortable… some chairs can even weigh as low as 20 ounces!

Here are our contenders for the best lightweight backpacking chairs of 2017.

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An Overview of the 5 Best Lightweight Backpacking Chairs

*** For more information about the products listed, you may check individual items at Amazon.com.

Types Of Backpacking Chair

There are various types of backpacking chair. Some include the following:

1.Taco Style

This type have a very simple design: a folding L-shaped piece of fabric with support beams that allow you to lean back. It lets the user sit directly in the ground and mostly light to almost no setup. They are great for events that don’t allow seats.

A taco style chair though requires a lot of muscle engagement to exert, so it’s not as stable as a chair with legs.

2.Tent Style

This kind of backpacking chairs are called “tent style” because of the folding, tent-like pole construction and a fabric seat that lets your bottom suspend in-between the poles.

Generally, every tent style backpacking chair sit around ten inches above the ground and are a lot more comfortable compared to the taco style. However, they may be heavier and more expensive.

Features To Look For In A Backpacking Chair

Fabric Material

The fabric in a backpacking chair should be made in high-quality material. It’s fabric should have the following features: durable, tear resistant, shrink-resistant, anti-dust/oil, cold resistant, anti-UV, flame retardant, and waterproof.

Frame Material & Design

The second important feature to look for in a backpacking chair is the frame material and design. There are a lot frames in the market -- for example, 7000 aluminum series, anodized aluminum, etc.

Almost all backpacking chairs are made of aluminum frames. It doesn't rust, somewhat lightweight, and durable.

Lightweight, Stability and Compactness

The word itself “backpacking” connotes something you can fold and place right inside your backpack. Simply put, a backpacking chair should be lightweight and compact. How light and compact it is will determine how easily you carry it around when hiking.

Stability is needed in order to balance when sitting. If you plan to use it on rocky or sandy terrains, you certainly don’t want to fall over your chair while relaxing.

Easy Setup

Some people overlook this feature in a backpacking chair. Some chairs will consume your time just by setting it up, while others can be very easy.

Find a product that’s easy to assemble and disassemble. Look closely at the frame and pad designs as this will determine how easy or hard a portable chair can be.

Weight/Size

As the saying goes “size matters”. In this case however, small size definitely matters. The last thing you want is a heavy, bulky backpacking chair hanging on your bag.

Versatility

Some backpacking chairs are not limited to just camping or hiking. Our curated selection of backpacking chairs on the list can be used in parks, beaches or tailgating.

Comfort

This is the most important thing when you’re going to buy a chair right? Comfort! After a long day of hiking and walking around, all you want to do is rest those sore feet. You can sit on a rock or log but purchasing a backpacking chair is the best.

I suggest you purchase the Helinox Chair One as it’s the most comfortable based on comments and reviews from my hiking friends, but it’s really up to you liking.

A Detailed Review of the 5 Best Lightweight Backpacking Chair

We loved the simple and sleek design of the Helinox Chair One as quality materials were used to make this super comfortable chair with a bucket style seat. With a dimension of 20 x 20 x 25 inches, this chair’s size fits small, medium and large body types yet it folds into the size of a newspaper -- very convenient for transporting.

Fold it, place it in your bag and you’re good to go. It only weighs at 1.9 lbs and can support up to 320 Lbs!

The materials used in this backpacking chair are simply outstanding. Very durable polyester fabric is reinforced at each corner for maximum support and the stitching is impeccable -- It won’t frazzle through time. The legs are also made with aluminium pole technology used in hiking poles the to provide excellent stability and support for your body after a tiring day of hiking.

Unfortunately, unlike other backpacking chairs that have armrests or cup holders which add to the overall weight, the designers of Helinox omitted these features to compensate for the lightweightness of the chair.

One important thing to note about this backpacking article is that almost all of the options on our list sit really low to the ground. The Helinox Chair One is no different.

Having said that, it’s still one of the best lightweight backpacking chair on the market.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Top notch quality
  • Provides excellent comfortability
  • Can be used on all types of terrain


Cons

  • Sits low on the ground -- getting up can be a pain
  • No armrest or cupholders

The Wildhorn Hiking Chair is on this list due to its popularity with a fair share of my hiker friends. It’s a more affordable replica of the previous product but it doesn't have the same brand assurance and lower weight capacity.

My friends love the WildHorn Hiking Chair because of the rounded feet attached on each leg. This stops you from dropping into sand or snow. This feature makes it relatively heavier but it’s worth the extra ounces depending on where you’re camping. It also includes 4 standard interchangeable feet upon purchase.  

At only 2 lbs, this chair is perfect for any outdoor activity. Just attach the chair to a bag or backpack with its built in velcro straps for optimal support.

One of the materials used to make this chair include a heavy-duty aircraft grade 7075 aluminum that supports up to 300 lbs. Moreover, it’s is also rustproof and the seat cover is machine washable.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Has a rounded feet feature
  • Provides excellent comfortability
  • Can be used on all types of terrain


Cons

  • Sits low on the ground -- getting up can be a pain
  • ​Relatively heavy due to the aluminum material


The Ultralight Alite MayFly Chair is the lightest on this list. The manufacturers cut the weight of the polyester and changed the construction so they managed to reduce the weight to only 1.15 lbs.


Furthermore, this sits really low to the ground, making it ideal for relaxing and lounging around. I even fell asleep on this chair on one occasion -- that’s how comfortable it is. It’s made with aluminium frame setup interconnected with a strong stretch cord as well as color-coded connection points, making it easy to snap into position.


Surprisingly, the Alite MayFly’s front leg can also be removed to turn it into a rocking chair. This does not affect the stability or carrying capacity of the chair because the major frame connects to the four corners.  


Although it’s super lightweight, it does affect the sitting weight capacity, as it can only hold under 250 lbs. The materials are not quite strong compared to the other models on this list. The slim legs and wide stance are good on solid terrain but it isn’t a chair you’d want to bring to the beach.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Provides excellent comfortability


Cons

  • Sits low on the ground -- getting up can be a pain
  • ​Can only support 250 lbs
  • Limited on solid terrain use only


The Helinox Ground Chair is one of the most flexible chairs on this list. It weighs 8 ounces less, making it easier to bring on long camping trips. Because the four ultra-durable aluminum alloy bars spread the weight evenly on a large surface area, this chair is surprisingly stable for its size. Unfortunately, you have to be inside the 265 lb weight limit to use this chair.


If you have nagging aches after a long trip, this chair is one of the most comfortable selections on this list. It has great back support, letting you relax those tired muscles. It may not have a generous weight capacity but for lighter individuals, it’s comfortability is top notch.


Personally, I really didn’t want to purchase this chair because it’s a shade over a full pound, but I sat on it and instantly fell in love with this chair. This chair folds very small too -- about the same diameter as 32 ounce water bottle but twice as long. You can also fold it flat instead of rolling it, so that’s an opportunity to save space. It’s also very easy to assemble when you’re going to use it.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Top notch quality
  • Provides excellent comfortability
  • Can be used on all types of terrain


Cons

  • Sits low on the ground -- getting up can be a pain
  • No armrest or cupholders


LIke the Mayfly, the Alite Monarch is one of the lightest on this list. They’re almost the same actually -- they’re made with the same material and support. The difference lies in the way the legs are joined together.


The Alite Monarch is one small footprint. Just a solid stable patch of ground is all you need to provide a solid, stable footing. It’s very light and compact -- just fold it and tuck it away in your backpack. My friends would sit on it for hours and they won’t be having a hard time getting up unlike the other chairs on this list.


I went on a camping trip to the everglades and 10,000 island park in Florida when I bought this chair along. It’s small and lightweight. It’s fairly easy to pack and quick to setup. The two leg design surprised me because I could sit anywhere without worrying about level ground, and it was no trouble to balance. It really held up well with the elements, despite it being sandy, salty, and wet for days. You won’t regret buying this!

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Top notch quality
  • Provides excellent comfortability
  • Small and lightweight
  • Durable


Cons

  • Can only accommodate light individuals
  • ​Some may find it quite difficult to balance it because of the two leg feature

Conclusion

So the winner for the best backpacking chair is… the Helinox Chair One!

It’s the most comfortable and affordable chair on this list. It’s big enough to be comfortable in accommodating various body sizes yet folds up to the size of a newspaper! Carrying it with you is easy. It only weighs 1.9 lbs but it can hold a maximum of 320 bb of weight.

The very durable polyester fabric and aluminium pole technology on the legs give impeccable support and style to your chair. Although it might not have other features like armrests or cup holders, it makes up for in comfort and versatility.

Did you find this article useful? Have you had any experience with using a backpacking chair? How light was yours? If you can recommend other lightweight backpacking chair brands, feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to share this post. Have fun camping!

Cindy Herrera
 

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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