Comparing camping chair types: Pros and cons

pros and cons of camping chair designs

Camping chairs apart from tents are essential for camping enjoyment. However, there are so many different types to choose from that it can become frustrating and expensive to find the most suitable one.

All camping chairs have pros and cons, but it is crucial to consider the type of camping trip you are making.

What are the pros and cons of the different styles of camping chairs?

Why camping chairs are a must for your camping trip?

Camping chairs play a crucial role in the quality of your camping experience. It is about avoiding backaches and discomfort that can ruin your camping trip.

They are also important as they are a socialising need. Nothing is better than sitting around a campfire in the evening with your family and friends. You do not want to stand around or sit on the floor during wet, cold evenings.

There are several different factors you need to consider before buying.

  • Budget – Consider the cost and how many camping chairs you will need
  • Durability – Ensure sturdy and check with limits
  • Style of chair – High back, recycling, lightweight or general folding camp chair.
  • Comfort – 
  • Type of camping trip – The type of trip you are taking will help to determine the suitable camping chair.
  • Ground clearance – If you have mobility issues low, grounded camping chairs will not be appropriate.
  • Transportability – Consider the space for transporting in a car, or if wild camping, how will you carry. Consider storage after your trips.

To ensure you enjoy your camping trip, there are some vital factors beyond just comfort to think about. Our article will be your guide, covering critical aspects like the chair’s material – not all camping chairs are waterproof. Plus, we will explore how versatile your camping chair can be; consider using it as a makeshift bed if your camp bed deflates in the middle of the night.

Sitting pretty: Pros and cons of foldable camping chairs

Single foldable camping chair

Folding camping chairs are the most common type of outdoor seating. They collapse into a compact and transportable form inside a carry bag.

If you are restricted on space and have a tight budget for camping chairs, foldable chairs are ideal camping furniture. However, it is important to consider how long they will last. I have purchased several cheaper foldable camping chairs, which have only lasted for several camping trips. 

If you weigh the cost of buying several foldable camping chairs over a couple of years to invest in a higher quality, the price will work out the same. I have found that they tear along the arms and the joints where the material is fixed to the framework.

Pros of foldable camping chairs

  • Cost – Available for all budgets, although quality may vary and will determine how long they last
  • Lightweight – Usually aluminium or alloy framed. However, weight will vary depending on the structure and material used.
  • Ideal for transporting – Collapsable, reduced space
  • Easy to set up – Quickly set up, pull arms apart and push down on the seating area until fully extended.
  • Waterproof – Materials can vary; polyurethane coating is the most common.
  • Different designs available – quilted, cup holders, side pockets storage, fitted head canopy for shade.
  • Suitable for various occasions – ideal for family camping, car camping, picnics and festivals.
  • Weigh limits – Always check the weight limits before buying, as they vary depending on designs.

Cons of foldable camping chairs 

  • Budget chairs – not always as sturdy and often break on the arms, and the material tears easily.
  • Packing away – It is the same as tents. They can be frustrating to put back into the bag supplied.
  • Padded seats – Although comfortable, they increase the weight and can be bulky for transporting and packing.
  • Carrying – The straps on the bags are thin and run the length of the bag. They are awkward to carry and can cut into your should after a long period of time of carrying.
  • Backpacking & Hiking – Not suitable due to weight and size.

Lightweight comfort: Pros and cons of ultra-light camping chairs

Lightweight camping chairs aren’t your go-to choice for family camping trips. They’re compact and fit nicely in your backpack, making them perfect for wild camping, hiking, and backpacking.

While these chairs might not be the best for family camping, they are ideal for day trips, especially when covering some distance. As parents, we normally lug around everything, especially for the little ones. Carrying multiple regular folding chairs can be a hassle, and you need frequent breaks to ease those aching shoulders. This is where lightweight camping chairs come to the rescue.

Pros of lightweight camping chairs

Portability – Ideal for longer hikes and treks.

  • Backpackers & hikers – Perfect for those on the move.
  • Transportation – Compact and easy to carry.
  • Versatile – Suitable for any location or activity, from picnics to day trips and festivals.

Cons of lightweight camping chairs

  • Robustness – They are not as robust as everyday family camping chairs
  • Less comfortable – They are lower to the ground, which might not be the cosiest seating.
  • Expensive – Due to the lightweight material, the costs increase
  • Weight limit – Due to their design, they have a lower weight limit.
  • Material  – The material is a mesh, which makes it easy to wipe down; however, it is not always comfortable.
  • Difficulty setting up – It takes a couple of tries to get the hang of setting them up quickly.
  • Low to the ground – These chairs sit close to the ground, which could pose problems for those who struggle to get up. Some people, like my mom, find them impractical, so we often bring along our camping stools for longer walking distances distances.

Before choosing a lightweight chair, consider other camping chair types. They are more expensive, and I do not find them as comfortable as everyday foldable camping chairs. If you use public transport and want to travel light or have limited space, you will find these chairs ideal.

Camping for two: Exploring the pros and cons of double camp chairs

How a double foldable chair can break

Double camping chairs are a great idea. However, you need to consider who uses them. For instance, if it is two adults, consider the weight limit of both. Plus, if one person is heavier than the other, you find yourself being raised into the air when they sit down. It’s very much like a double air mattress.

Pros of double camping chairs

  • Cosy – Ideal if you have small children who love snuggling with you in the evenings.
  • Seating comfort – Double camping chairs off extra space so you can put your feet up and rest. Although it is not possible to lay down due to length.
  • Stability – More stable than single folding camping chairs. It is very hard to tip them back or to the side.
  • Cost-effective – Buying a double camping chair rather than two singles can be cheaper. However, this does depend on your budget.

Cons of double camping chairs

  • Bulky – On average, 3 quarters the size of an everyday foldable camping chair type.
  • Heavy – The increase
  • Durability – They are not as durable as single-folding camping chairs. You must be careful as the middle section frays away from the fittings. The rest of the chair is very sturdy.
  • Closeness – A double camping chair is not ideal if you prefer space. You cannot separate them, and sometimes you can feel squashed for two adults.
  • Need flat ground – it can be more difficult to find a suitable position for flat ground and sometimes the chair will wobble. This can be annoying.
  • Avoid the slopes – It you are camping on a slop it can be difficult find a ideal position for your chair. Being on a slope does make you feel you are going to fall on the other person.

Increase comfort: Pros and cons of reclining camping chairs

Reclining camping chairs are different from everyday camping chairs. They are high back and do not fold like everyday camping chairs. have higher backs and are designed more for comfort rather than portability.

I prefer to use reclining high back chairs in by back garden than camping. Mainly due to the space for transporting. They lay flat but are bulky.

Pros of reclining camping chairs

  • Designed for comfort – Designed more for comfort that, often with foot rest and head rest.
  • Adjustable back – can easily be reclined to adjust the angle, normally adjusted by arm rests.
  • High back – If you have a bad back or prefer more support high back chairs are good for posture.
  • Padding – You can buy additional cushioning, that can be removed during bad weather and storage.
  • Height – If you have trouble getting up from a chair the seating height will help with the aid of the arm rests.
  • Easy to set up – Compared to folding camping chairs, they are easy and quick to set up because of their solid base and back.

Cons of reclining camping chairs

  • Bulky – For increase in comfort it comes with a bulky chair. If you are restricted on space, they are not ideal. Reclining chairs are more suitable if you have a campervan or caravan as you have more storage for transporting.
  • Cost – For a good quality, solid reclining camping chair, the negative is the cost. On average over 3-4 times the cost of a popular folding camping chair.
  • Storage challenge – During my camping trips, I often face limited storage space. When it comes to storing my furniture inside the tent at night, high back reclining chairs, especially those with padded cushioning, need a significant amount of space in our small tent.
  • Portability – Not suitable for days out if you need to carry them over long distances. They are suitable if you are keeping them on camping sites only.

Swift seating: Pros and cons of two-legged camping chairs

Two-legged camping chairs are ideal for quick, short breaks or carrying them over long periods. They are unsuitable for long-term seating as you feel on edge, ensuring you are correctly balanced.

If you want a lightweight chair, the four-legged is more suitable than a two legged chair.

Pros of two-legged camping chair

  • Less Space – Compared to general folding chairs, they are compact and require less transport space. If you are using public transport due to ease of carrying.
  • Ideal for hiking – The lightweight design makes them suitable for hiking over long distances but not ideal for family camping. 
  • Quick setup – The design is ideal for easy, fast and hassle-free setup.

Cons of two legged camping chair

  • Low ground clearance – Very low to the ground and difficult if you have mobility issues. I feel like I am sitting on the floor, and due to the closeness, you need some form of protection against the cold.
  • Cost – Due to the lightweight design, they are often more expensive than general folding chairs. However, they are cheaper than high-back reclining chairs.
  • Poor stability – Two-legged chairs are less stable, and you can tip easily, especially on uneven ground. Not ideal for younger children.
  • Not ideal for long periods – Balancing your weight makes two-legged chairs uncomfortable. They are unsuitable for long periods of relaxing around a campfire with your family in the evenings.
  • Low weight limit – Lightweight chairs, due to their design, have a lower weight limit.

Sitting pretty: Pros and cons of camping stools

Camping stools are foldable seating camping gear. Providing a unique solution for swift and minimalist seating.

I always keep my camping stool in my car, ready for any occasion, especially for day trips or public transport. They are compact, lightweight and can either be clipped to your rucksack or fit snugly inside.

Pros of camping stools

  • Adaptable – Camping stools are adaptable to different terrains and occasions.
  • Quick setup – Designed for quick set-up and very easy to assemble. Open and push down on the seat. 
  • Very portable – The lightweight, compact design makes them ideal for day trips, backpackers, hikes, and public transport travel to your campsite.
  • Space efficiency – Camping stools are great for space efficiency. They take up minimal space in your camping gear during your trip and are stored at home. They are also ideal for use if you are in large crowds. We use our for festivals and events such as coronation in London, which had limited space and standing for 6 hours is not ideal for children or me.
  • Cost – Camping stools are the same price as Budget camping stools. Although this is dependant on the type of stool you buy. The standard tripod is on average £10-£15. Where as a a plastic, retractable camping stool is over £20.

Cons of camping stools

  • Stability – Depending on the height number of legs will determine how stable a camping stool will be. Four-legged stools are more stable than two-legged and retractable stools. It is essential to consider where you place your stool if the ground is uneven or soft.
  • Limited comfort – Not ideal for long periods, as there is no back support. However, they are suitable for short breaks to rest your legs.
  • Less weight capacity – Always check the weight limit of the stool, as if you are heavier, it may not be suitable for you. Stools tend to have a lower weight capacity than general folding camping chairs.

Related questions

What are retractable camping stools?

Retractable camping stools collapse into a space-efficient compact form. It makes them very portable and ideal for hikers. However, constant expansion and retracting make them prone to losing their rigidness over time.

Key features of retractable camping stools

  • Portability – Lightweight stools and compact down to a carry case. Make them easy to carry, and store them in a small area if you have limited space.
  • Set up – Quick and easy to set up and take down. Hold either end with a gentle pull until fully extracted.
  • Weight Limit – Due to its solid structure, there is a high weight limit of 190 kg (29.9 stone).
  • Ground clearance – Generally low to the ground. On average, 17 inches (45 cm). It can be challenging to raise if you have mobility issues.
  • Cost – Retractable camping stools are, on average, £20 plus in costs. Therefore, invest your money in a folding camping chair if you want a camping stool for family evenings around a campfire. 
  • Comfort – Limited comfort, and not ideal for long periods. If you place a cushion on top, it does help. However, there is no back support; if you are tall, it increases the discomfort.

How to choose a camping chair for your table

Folding camping chairs can be used with a table. However, there are several different things you need to consider.

  • Height of your chairs – To use a camping chair and table comfortably, ensure that the chair is compactable with the table. Considering the size too high or too low for the table will be uncomfortable and unsuitable for children.
  • Adjustable chairs – Some camping chairs have adjustable legs. This allows you to adapt to the requirements. For sitting at a table, you can increase the height to make it more comfortable for dining.
  • Adjustable table – Consider a table with adjustable telescopic legs. You can adapt the table to your usage. 
  • Reclining camping chairs – High-back reclining chairs with armrests can often stop you from sitting close to the table. 
  • Table size – Camping chairs can be bulky compared to everyday dining chairs. Therefore, you must consider the camping table’s length and width to ensure you can all eat comfortably and not squashed.
  • Traditional folding camping chairs – Traditional camping chairs need to be higher to sit comfortably. Use cushions to increase height, which is an ideal solution if you have younger children.

It can be challenging to match general camping chairs with a suitable table. Especially if you have a young family. It is more beneficial to consider buying a table and chair set. 

However, it would help if you considered transporting and restriction of space you may have. Also, consider the weight limits and durability for the chairs as the lower budget table and chairs set will last only a short time and have too many restrictions. You may find that you have to replace every year due to breakage.


I'm a single parent who loves pitching a tent and exploring the countryside at any opportunity. I am working with a glamping pod company and helping them to set up a family campsite in East Riding Yorkshire.

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