The 10 Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

Backpacking chairs are perhaps the ultimate backcountry luxury. You put small items into a large sack, carry it miles into the wilderness, set up a temporary home under the stars, and then, by some miracle, whip out a handy chair to take a seat by the campfire.

For those who prioritize comfort in the wilderness — let’s be honest, it’s a lot of us — a backpacking chair is a welcome piece of gear, as long as it’s lightweight, functional, and supportive.

The good news is that the best backpacking chairs are all of the above. The better news? Backpacking chairs have gotten lighter, more functional, and more diverse as the years have gone on. You can get a chair that works well in your sub-15-pound ultralight setup, one that gives you plenty of height and support, and one that functions well for front and backcountry use.

After in-depth research and testing, we list the best backpacking chairs below!

The Top 6 Best Backpacking Chairs

  1. The Most Comfortable Backpacking Chair: Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair
  2. The Best All-Purpose Foldable Backpacking Chair: REI Flexlite Chair
  3. The Best Backpacking Chair Air Pad: Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit
  4. The Best Ultralight Foldable Backpacking Chair: Helinox Chair Zero
  5. The Best Backpacking Chair for Sitting on the Ground: Crazy Creek Hex 2.0
  6. The Best Backpacking Stool: REI Trail Stool

Backpacking Chair Comparison Table

Best Backpacking Chairs MSRP Weight Chair Type See Chairs
Big Agnes Skyline UL $109.95 28 oz. Foldable See It
REI Flexlite Chair $79.95 28 oz. Foldable See It
Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit $39.95 13 oz. Air Pad See It
Helinox Chair Zero $120 17 oz. Foldable See It
Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 $58.50 22 oz. Ground See It
REI Trail Stool $22.50 18 oz. Stool See It
Helinox Ground Chair $130.08 0.62 kg. Foldable See It
NEMO Moonlight Reclining $159.95 1 lb. 14 oz. Foldable See It
Big Agnes Big Six $128.73 3 lbs Foldable See It
Therm-a-Rest Z Seat $14.95 2 oz. Ground See It

The Most Comfortable Backpacking Chair

Big Agnes Skyline UL

Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair

The Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair is a lightweight and sturdy backpacking chair that can hold up to 275 pounds. Despite its strength, the patented hubless design allows the Skyline UL to pack down relatively small while the prebent poles make for a more comfortable seat. Impressively stable for how light and compact it is, this chair is almost luxurious relative to other backpacking chairs.

What’s more, the 70D Robic nylon is quite strong. You won’t have to worry about tears and abrasion, at least not for a long while. Big Agnes has a solid reputation in the outdoor community, and many have argued that this is the best backpacking chair of them all when you consider price, weight, build quality, and comfort.

See Big Agnes Skyline UL Chair

The Best All-Purpose Foldable Backpacking Chair

best backpacking chairs rei flexlite chair

REI Flexlite Chair

The REI Flexlite Chair seems to have hit the sweet spot when it comes to a reliable, reasonably priced backpacking chair. While it’s not the lightest option at 1 pound 12 ounces, it utilizes a well-made aluminum hubbed pole system and open mesh nylon ripstop back, which allows plenty of air and stability when sitting.

The chair most closely compares to the more expensive Helinox Chair Zero, but it weighs a little more and costs quite a bit less. The leg support is in the opposite direction, which creates a slightly elevated sitting experience compared to the Chair Zero. REI has also included a very hand mesh side pocket to store a flashlight, phone, or small book, which is a simple yet highly practical feature. With the weight, you’re edging into territory that’s not very practical for ultralight backpacking, but the packed size is quite manageable. If you want a solid backpacking chair without spending a lot, the REI Flexlite is a great option. REI also offers other versions, including the Flexlite Air Chair, which is lighter and more expensive.

See REI Flexlite Chair

The Best Backpacking Chair Air Pad

best backpacking chairs Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit

Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit

The Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit is different than every other backpacking “chair” on this list because it requires a sleeping pad to work. The Trekker Chair is essentially a highly durable chair back that you slip over your sleeping pad to create a very cushy seat. We’re big fans of this method because it turns your pad into a chair, weighs a very small amount, and makes sure you’ll use your pad for more than just sleep.

Most air pads are designed to be quite comfortable, so this option actually gives you a more comfortable chair than most on this list. Of course, the downsides are that you need a pad for it to work, you need the pad to fit the size of the chair, and you have a small chance of popping the pad, thereby losing your bed and your chair in one go. The Trekker Chair Kit uses a thick 75D material to thoroughly protect your pad, and the setup is quite simple. It works for non-Therm-a-Rest pads as long as they are the same width, although it works best with the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite and XTherm (pictured above) models. Make sure to order the right size width as your pad.

To be fair, while we think the Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair is the best of these around, Sea to Summit, Big Agnes, and Exped also make a very similar product, which specifically fit their respective pads. While we don’t always recommend going with the same brand for multiple products, in this case, we do. You’ll get a more precise fit and reduce the chance of popping. If you want an ultralight, multi-use backpacking chair, consider the Trekker Chair.

See Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair

The Best Ultralight Foldable Backpacking Chair

best backpacking chairs helinox chair zero

Helinox Chair Zero

The Helinox Chair Zero has a reputation of leading the pack in ultralight packable backpacking chairs. Weighing just one pound one ounce and packing down to the size of a long Nalgene, the Chair Zero lifts you about 11 inches off the ground and can support 265 pounds.

The Chair Zero lives up to its claim as an ultralight, fully capable backpacking seat, but it’s also fairly narrow and quite low to the ground. Sitting is best done with your legs stretched out, which is comfortable but not for extremely long periods of time. The chair’s back goes up to roughly 20 inches and provides a decent amount of support with a small backward lean. It’s a bare-bones chair made of high-quality DAC collapsible aluminum poles, and the chair material is a patterned nylon ripstop that comes on and off easily. For the price, you get a full chair that packs down small, and the comfort packs a decent, albeit narrow, punch.

Helinox Chair Zero Star Rating
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Setup
  • Packability


The Helinox Chair Zero is an ultralight foldable backpacking chair that will keep you a solid 11 inches off the ground. Stretch out your legs, lean back, and let that campfire warm you in the backcountry, all for 17 ounces in a highly packable form factor.

Read Full Review See the Helinox Chair Zero

The Best Backpacking Chair for Sitting on the Ground

best backpacking chairs Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Original Chair

Crazy Creek Hex 2.0

The Crazy Creek Hex 2 is a slight upgrade to this timeless design, which you have no doubt seen at concerts, parks, campsites, and even on backpacking trips. The Crazy Creek chair is basically two sections of closed-cell foam covered with fabric that are connected via a cinch-able webbing — this creates a sit pad that supports your butt and back. While your legs can’t bend at all, it provides more comfort than the similar Therm-a-Rest Z seat, and still packs up quite small.

The Hex 2 version of the Crazy Creek chair uses a thicker Denier fabric for increased protection and carbon fiber stays, which pretty much will not break. In essence, it’s the nicest seat pad you can buy, and still weighs well under two pounds and packs up very small. This is a great backpacking chair for the weight concerned, and for those who don’t care about having a more normal “chair” experience, but just want to lean back around a campfire comfortably. Crazy Creek does offer this in multiple versions — the Original, PowerLounger, and LongBack are popular — so get the model that fits your needs and size.

See Crazy Creek Hex 2.0

The Best Backpacking Stool

best backpacking chairs REI Trail Stool

REI Trail Stool

The REI Trail Stool is a solid backpacking chair that provides great comfort at a very affordable price. It’s the only stool on this list as we feel that REI has perfected a rather simple design, providing a basic seat for the weary backpacker or camper.

The tripod design provides great support, the 15-inch seat height is enough to really let your legs rest like a real chair, and the seat is made of durable material and has the right amount of sag. It’s also lighter than most of the more complex backed chairs on this list and costs way less. If you’re looking for an easily packable, low-weight seat and don’t care about leaning back, the REI Trail Stool is the backpacking chair for you.

See REI Trail Stool

The Best of the Rest

Helinox Ground Chair

The Helinox Ground Chair offers a lightweight solution for outdoor enthusiasts, perfect for backpacking, camping, and other adventures. Featuring a stable square base, its advanced DAC aluminum alloy frame ensures strength without bulk. Enjoy comfort on the go with its 600D polyester seat, complete with breathable mesh panels. Setting up is a breeze with self-assembling poles and intuitive attachments.

Its compact design easily fits into the included carry sack for convenient travel. Dimensions of 19.5D x 21.5W x 19H inches, and packed down to 12L x 4W x 4H inches, weighing just 1lb 7oz (640g), with a robust weight capacity of 265lbs (120kg).

See Helinox Ground Chair

NEMO Moonlite Reclining Camp Chair

The NEMO Moonlite Reclining Camp Chair boasts a multiposition reclining system, offering versatility for relaxation. Its inclusive seat height and robust frame ensure comfort and ease of use for users of all sizes. Custom-engineered mesh seamlessly conforms to your body for optimal support. Assembly is a breeze with an intuitive shock cord and ball-and-socket connectors.

Premium hardware adds confidence and style. Crafted from forged 6061 aluminum hubs and tubular 7001 aluminum, it’s both lightweight and durable. Circular and oval tubular poles provide sturdy support. Constructed from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, it includes a compact carrying case and is backed by the NEMO lifetime warranty.

See NEMO Moonlite Reclining Camp Chair

Big Agnes Big Six Camp Chair

The Big Agnes Big Six Camp Chair offers a swift setup and compact portability, ideal for your truck, trunk, or travel bag. It delivers comfort and convenience wherever you venture. Its color-coded shock cord design ensures effortless assembly and disassembly.

Equipped with a self-equalizing center pole, it stabilizes on uneven terrain. Featuring patented frame construction, it comes with a carry bag for added convenience.

See Big Agnes Big Six Camp Chair

Therm-a-Rest Z Seat

The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is almost as much a classic sit pad as the very similar Z Lite Sol sleeping pad. Using the same technology, the Z Seat is simply a seat-sized closed-cell foam pad with egg-crate ridges to give your bum a bit of rest. It’s not much support, it doesn’t provide any real height, and it won’t let your legs dangle like a real chair, but it’s comfier than sitting on the ground and makes sharp rocks and awkward logs a kinder resting place.

The beauty of the Z Seat is that it weighs just two ounces, folds up like an accordion, can be tied to the outside of your pack or stuffed inside, and will last a very, very long time. It also costs a mere $15. The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is one of the best ultralight chair choices on the market, as it can also provide a bit more cushion under your head during sleep. If you don’t want a full chair, but need a simple pad, this is a good place to start.

See Therm-a-Rest Z Seat

Backpacking Chair Features

Backpacking Chairs vs. Camping Chairs

The first distinction to make when looking at any kind of outdoor chair is whether it’s a backpacking chair, a camping chair, or both.

We define backpacking chairs as small, packable chairs that support your back (and not always your legs) in a lightweight form factor.

The above list is all about backpacking chairs, and each of them focuses on the above factors. You need the chair to fit in your backpack, be light enough to be worth carrying on most trips, and provide solid comfort and support after a long day of hiking.

We define camping chairs as decent-sized, comfortable chairs that support your back and legs in a form factor that fits in the car (not necessarily your backpack).

While we have a separate guide for Camping Chairs, we do feel that some of the above chairs work well for camping, despite their small size. Specifically the foldable chairs, like the Helinox Chair Zero and Chair One, the REI FlexLite, and the Big Agnes Skyline UL.

1-Helinox-Chair-Zero-review-back-of-chair-setup best-backpacking-chairs

The Helinox Chair Zero is a classic backpacking chair. Small, portable, and foldable. While we think it’s best for backpacking, it does work well for camping too.

These are excellent hybrid chairs because they are light enough for backpacking but would also take up almost no room in your car and still allow you to sit raised above (or at the line of) a campfire ring.

Typically backpacking chairs lack cup holders (for that cold beer or scalding cup of coffee), any leaning or rocking capability, and head support. These are all traits of a camping chair!

Pro Tip: When choosing, figure out which activity you really do most. You might love the idea of a super-light backpacking chair, but how often do you really go into the backcountry? Would you be comfortable on a larger camping chair that fits your needs 90% of the time? When backpacking you can almost always find a rock or log to sit on if you really need to rest.

Type of Backpacking Chair

With the above in mind, we have split the backpacking chairs on this list into different types. These explain what kind of support you’re going to get.

Packed Size

When it comes to backpacking chairs, packed size is probably the most important thing to look at — after all, you have to put this in your backpack, right next to your tent, stove setup, sleeping bag, and clothes.

All the backpacking chairs on this list have a fairly small packed size, with the largest being the Trail Stool, mostly due to its legs not collapsing, so it’s quite long. The other foldable chairs pack up a bit larger than the size of a 32 oz Nalgene, which is pretty amazing.

1-Helinox-Chair-Zero-review-size-comparison best backpacking chairs

The Helinox Chair Zero packed up next to a 32 oz. Hydro Flask Insulated bottle. Quite small for an entire chair.

The ground chairs don’t pack in a cylinder shape but are light and flat, so they’re easy to tie to the outside of your backpack or to put in first right against the inside back of the backpack.

Pro Tip: Take your fully packed backpack to an outdoor retailer and see if there is room for the chair you’re looking at. You don’t want to purchase a backpacking chair and realize as you pack that it just won’t fit into your setup.

Setup Size

After you’ve made sure the packed chair can fit in your pack, you’ll want to look at the setup size. This refers to just how big the chair is when it’s set up, and is primarily about your comfort.

Some of us are tall, some are short. Some have a wider footprint, others a thin one. Because backpacking chairs focus so much on weight and size, they are often narrower than your typical chair.

1-Helinox-Chair-Zero-review-sitting-crossleged-facing-camera best-backpacking-chairs

What kind of sitting experience do you want?

You want to make sure that the chair supports your weight, is wide enough for you to comfortably sit in, and is designed in a way that your legs and back are comfortable.

That said, these are not giant ergonomic chairs and you are simply not going to be comfortable sitting for 3 straight hours in them. That’s not the point. The point, as far as we’re concerned, is to be decently comfortable after a day of hiking, around a campfire, with occasional adjustments of your position and occasionally standing.

Pro Tip: Look at the setup size in the store, and sit in the chair! This is the best way to determine if it works for you.

How to Buy a Backpacking Chair

To make sure you get the right backpacking chair, we go over the different considerations to make when you’ve decided to purchase. See below.

Setup In-Store

As many of our tips above intimate, this is an easy item to see in most physical outdoor retailers, like REI. There should be chairs available to set up, and you can always ask an employee if a particular model is fine to take out of the stuff sack.

If they don’t have the exact model you’re eyeing, we recommend looking at a similar backpacking chair type — if you want the Helinox Chair Zero, but REI only has the FlexLite, still set up the FlexLite because they are pretty similar.

Likewise, with stools and ground pads, you can get a sense if which style is going to work for you. Air pad chairs are harder to set up in-store, though you can probably manage it by asking nicely.

Mostly this is to determine the best type of chair for you.

Online vs. Real Stores

After the above test, there is no real difference between online and real-store purchases for backpacking chairs. Online will have more options, including colors if you care about that.

Used Backpacking Chairs vs New Backpacking Chairs

Some products, like hiking boots, are best bought new. Backpacking chairs? Doesn’t really matter.

If it’s a foldable backpacking chair make sure the poles are all accounted for and still connect easily, as they can be hard to replace. Beyond that, this is a durable product category that stays relatively clean even after lots of use.

Smaller, Lighter, and Faster!

The backpacking chair category of products has made big advancements in the last decade, specifically in the foldable chair realm. Helinox takes much of the credit, deciding to use tent poles to create a lightweight chair that lifts you off the ground.

As the years go on, these chairs are going to get lighter and more packable, while retaining or gaining on comfort. Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.


9 responses to “The 10 Best Backpacking Chairs of 2024

  1. JEFF QUNELLsays:

    Curious why the REI Flexlite Air didn’t make the list. At $99 and 16 oz, it is cheaper and lighter than the Helinox Chair Zero. I purchased one last August and was impressed.

    1. Daniel Zweiersays:

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! It’s a good point — we are updating our guide for 2020 and will be testing the REI Flexlite Air to see how it compares to the Helinox Chair Zero.

  2. Dave Maciassays:

    Through years I have always been looking for a backing packing chair that would be better than the Coleman Rambler II Stool and have not found it yet. I see friends that have tried all the chairs that you have mentioned, yes they are light and have a back rest. The Coleman stool is light east to set up, just open and sit, a lot quicker than having to assemble. It also makes for a great support for keeping your backpack vertical on the ground, as a support for those of us that need a little help getting out of the tent onto our feet. I always keep the chair outside of the tent so when I get up I can sit down to put my boots on. If there was someone that makes a chair that is comparable to the Coleman I would be interested in seeing it.

    1. Daniel Zweiersays:

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Our team will definitely check out the Coleman Rambler II stool. At a glance it’s heavier than the most comparable product on this list — the REI Trail Stool. This list is specifically for backpacking, so we take weight into high consideration. That said, it’s worth looking at the Rambler II.

      Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

  3. Love your review, but the Big Agnes chairs are way more comfortable, esp compared to the Helinox. I backpack with the Mica Basin, yes it’s 2lbs, but it’s my luxury item. This chair is the best.

    The REI Flexlight Air is also great and more comfortable.


    1. Daniel Zweiersays:

      Hi Chuck,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! This is great feedback about Big Agnes chairs. Not sure if you knew, but Helinox and Big Agnes chairs used to be one in the same — they were co-branded. Now they are separate, which happened about a year and a half ago. We’ll be testing new Big Agnes models in 2020, and will check out the Mica Basin.

  4. I borrowed one from a friend last camp, and I gotta admit, I liked it.
    I am not a small dude, but it sat really well!

  5. It’s an amazing blog post, and it is really helpful as well.

  6. Femisays:

    I can relate to that feeling of setting up a temporary home in the wilderness and then magically producing a comfortable chair. It’s like a small luxury in the great outdoors.

    It’s fantastic to see how backpacking chairs have evolved over the years to become lighter, more comfortable, and, in some cases, multi-purpose. I love the idea of the Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit, turning a sleeping pad into a cushy chair – brilliant!


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