Finding the best heavy-duty camping chair is well worth the extra effort—in fact, for an evening around the campfire, your chair can mean the difference between relaxing and laughing into the night, or packing it in early.
When you want the support of a big and tall camp chair, you’ll need to strike a careful balance of comfort and practicality. Consider how much weight you’re willing to carry, what features you need, and how much you want to spend. To make your search easier, we’ve compiled our top five features to double-check before clicking “buy.”
1. Weight Capacity
This one might sound like a no-brainer—but remember that camping chairs are designed to be lightweight, and in turn, do not support as much weight as standard dining chairs. Most portable models can typically accommodate around 250 lbs.
Instead, look for an extra-large, heavy-duty folding chair like GCI’s Brute Force Chair™, which has a 400-lb weight capacity, with no extra weight or bulk added to its profile.
When shopping for a big and tall camp chair, remember that just because a chair is big doesn’t necessarily mean it will be big on comfort. While some manufacturers merely supersize their standard chair dimensions, a truly comfortable heavy-duty chair starts with a thoughtful design and incorporates key features.
On the Brute Force Chair™ and Eazy Chair™ XL, for instance, you’ll find wide seating areas to minimize pinching, as well as higher chair backs with mesh panels to keep you cool while sitting by the campfire. They also feature hard armrests, which provide solid support as you get in and out of the chair.
Investing in a high-quality chair built for the long haul will get you the best performance and stability, and you won’t have to replace it next season.
A chair’s construction and materials are the best indicators of its probable lifespan. Is it made with durable materials, or is it built for aesthetics alone? A steel construction provides the most strength, but in most cases, the weight of a full-size steel chair would make it impractical for camping or road trips. Instead, look for an aluminum frame, which should be paired with a ripstop fabric for the best support.
Also be wary of chairs sold at a too-good-to-be-true price point, and from manufacturers who don’t offer a warranty—both are indicators that the chair won’t last. (GCI stands behind all of our products, which is why our camping chairs come with a limited lifetime warranty!)
Even if you’ll be parking right next to your campsite, you’ll still want to avoid chairs that are overly heavy, bulky when collapsed, or difficult to set up. A camping chair that takes up valuable trunk space is more likely to get left at home, and a chair that’s a hassle to unfold is likely to remain folded up in the car.
So before making your purchase, be sure to check the chair’s weight, as well as its folded dimensions. You should also determine how the chair sets up and breaks down. Is it in multiple pieces? Are tools (or even an extra set of hands) needed?
With a lightweight aluminum frame that easily opens and folds, the Brute Force Chair™ comes in at only 10.3 lbs. When collapsed, it measures less than 8″ wide and can be slipped into the included carrying bag, which features a convenient shoulder strap.
5. Beverage Holders & Storage Pockets
Who doesn’t love extra storage? When it comes to camp chairs, having a beverage holder is essential. When around the campfire, you’ll want a secure spot to place your drink to ensure that it won’t spill (and to minimize the number of times you have to get out of your comfortable chair). A mesh pocket or two can also be great for stashing your phone, a book, or other essentials, without adding any bulk to the chair.