If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best heavy duty camping chair is, we recommend the GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro chair.
The wilderness is a rough and rugged place, and after walking or hiking all day, nothing beats a comfortable to sit. Camping chairs are practically a requirement for late night story telling around the campfire, relaxing on the shore of a lake, or having somewhere to sit when you when to whittle a stick.
But, like I said, the wilderness is a rugged place, and it’s not always suitable for just any chair. If you think those cheap Walmart chairs you keep in your garage are going to cut it, you’re going to be disappointed once you get to your campsite. Only the best heavy duty camping chairs will do the trick, and we’ve laid out some of our favorites in the review below.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best heavy duty camping chairs:
- REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer Chair – Lightest Heavy Duty Camping Chair
- YETI Trailhead Camp Chair – Most Durable Heavy Duty Camping Chair
- Alpine Mountain Gear Big Dude Chair – Editor’s Choice
- ALPS Mountaineering Adventure Chair – Most Minimalistic Chair
- GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro Chair – Best Overall
- Coleman Cross Rocker Chair – Best Heavy Duty Rocking Chair
- REI Co-op Wonderland Chair – Best Bang for Your Buck
Even the most heavy duty camping chair has a weight limit. Most chairs can handle at least 200 pounds (if not 250 pounds), but that’s on the more fragile end of the spectrum. All of the chairs that we’ve listed in this review can tolerate 300 pounds, if not more. For example, the Yeti Trailhead is capable of supporting up to 500 pounds. If that’s still not enough for you, well… You’ve probably got a problem.
But capacity alone doesn’t make a chair heavy duty – it’s only an indication of how strong or weak it is compared to other chairs. To get a good grasp on how sturdy a chair is, you’ll want to look at the materials and overall weight and design of the product.
Chair material is where the true strength test comes in. If you’ve got a frame made from fiberglass with plastic feet, you’re probably not going to get much life out of it. Just think of your stereotypical beach chair or backyard barbeque chair, and you’ll know exactly what you should avoid purchasing.
The best heavy duty camping chairs will have a steel frame for added durability. Some may have an aluminum frame, which is also quite strong, but it still won’t compare with steel. I’d only go with aluminum if weight was a concern, or if I planned on being relatively gentle with it.
Ideally, the feet of your chair will also be made out of metal or rubber. Basically, as long as they aren’t made out of hard plastic, you should be okay from a “heavy duty” perspective. The fabric of the chair should also be durable and weather resistant, able to withstand the intense UV rays from the sun in addition to excessive amounts of moisture.
Camping chairs were never the lightest pieces of gear that you could get, but that’s especially true for the heavy duty variety. Going back to the Yeti Trailhead, you can expect it to add 13 pounds to your setup, which is a significant amount any way you look at it.
However, not all of them are that weighty. The REI Co-op Flexlite comes in at a very reasonable 3.5 pounds, which may be light enough for some backpackers to consider taking it on their journey. Is it as solid of a product as the Trailhead? Not quite, but then again, not everyone needs a chair that can hold 500 pounds. It all comes down to what you personally need, but it’s worth noting that an increase in durability can usually be associated with an increase in weight.
There’s no point in getting a camping chair if it isn’t comfortable to sit in, is there? In fact, some would argue that this is the most important factor to consider before buying a chair, and for the most part, I would agree.
So, as you’re looking through heavy duty camping chairs, it’s worth paying attention to a few key points. For starters, how much padding does the chair have? This is your first line of defense against aches and pains, so you’ll want to make sure that it meets your standards. Thankfully, most heavy duty chairs do a good job at keeping the back and seat well padded, so this usually isn’t an issue.
Does your chair come with lumbar support? If you have low back pain, it might be worth it to get a supportive chair for that region. Especially if you plan on spending a lot of time in the chair, you don’t want to skimp out on comfort.
And finally, how high off the ground is the chair? If the seat is too high or too low, it can create discomfort in your legs. Some people like a chair that’s low to the ground, but nothing good comes from a seat that’s too high. Depending on what you had in mind, we’ve got some chairs with lower and average seat heights listed in our review.
Extra features (or the lack thereof) shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but they sure are nice to have. Most camping chairs come with a cup holder at the bare minimum, but others are a bit fancier, sporting attachments like pockets, pouches, and side tables.
Some even come with a cooler, adjustable armrests, and rockers. Again, these features shouldn’t determine whether you get a certain chair or not, since the quality and comfort of the design is what really matters. Still, these additions can be quite the cherry on top to sweeten an already good deal.
Best Heavy Duty Camping Chairs – Reviewed
Lightest Heavy Duty Camping Chair
It might be the lightest, heavy duty camping chair in this review, but the REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer is no pushover, sporting a solid design that has no trouble holding an adult on uneven terrain.
The REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Dreamer chair is the lightest chair in our review by a long shot. Weighing a mere 3.5 pounds, it’s a little hard to believe that something so light could join the ranks of the best heavy duty camping chairs. And yet, the Flexlite proves that you don’t have to be heavy to be durable.
A good amount of the weight reduction has to do with the aluminum frame. There are also “vents” on the back of the seat, creating some good breathability while shaving off a few more ounces. Mesh pockets give the ability to keep your phone and other belongings close by while keeping the design minimalistic. While I do think a cupholder would be nice to have, I also understand that it doesn’t really fit with the intent behind the Flexlite.
Going back to the frame, you’ll notice that it has a four-leg design that creates a stable foundation for the chair as a whole. The pole setup is similar to what you would find on a small tent, making the process easy to understand and execute. On top of that, REI made sure to make the seat extra wide and comfortable to help eliminate tension zones. And when you’re done using the chair for the day, or you’re ready to break camp and move onto the next location, everything packs down into the included stuff sack.
Consider the Flexlite can hold up to 300 pounds, you’re not going to find a better chair for the weight. If a trail stool isn’t your thing, definitely consider getting this beast for your next backpacking trip.
– Easy to assemble
– Good ventilation
– Packs down small
– Solid frame
– No cupholder
– Minimal padding
Most Durable Heavy Duty Camping Chair
With a solid steel frame and a durable mesh seating area, the YETI Trailhead has no trouble holding up to 500 pounds in weight, easily making it the most durable chair in this review.
The most over-the-top chair in our review, the Yeti Trailhead has everything you’ll need and more. While it’s fairly expensive, it’s also one of those chairs that you’ll be able to use for decades to come. The frame is made out of thick steel, which bumps the overall weight up to 13 pounds, but also makes it a force to be reckoned with. It doesn’t matter what the terrain looks like, the Trailhead will be able to tackle it without issue.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how durable the frame is if the feet aren’t up to the challenge. But Yeti didn’t overlook this point in the design process, tacking on four, extra wide feet at each corner. They remind me of the stabilizers that extend from firetrucks and certain construction vehicles, and they certainly work just as well…just at a much smaller scale.
Is the weight limit super high? Yep, it sure is. With a 500 pound max capacity, it’s the highest in our review by a long shot. Is the weight of the chair itself rather high? It sure is, weighing almost double the next heaviest chair that we talk about. Is the price completely over the top? Absolutely. But hey, when you’re buying a heavy duty camping chair like the Trailhead, you know that it’s going to last you a lifetime.
The adjustable cupholder is a nice touch, but what I really like are the mechanics that allow you to setup and take down the Trailhead. Simple and (dare I say) fun, messing with the armrests and the handle on the back of the chair allow you to adjust the chair with ease.
– Very durable
– High weight capacity
– Easy to carry
– Somewhat adjustable
– A bit heavy
One of the more well-rounded heavy duty chairs, the Alpine Mountain Gear Big Dude isn’t just for big dudes… It’s for the whole family, sporting a comfortable and durable design that works for anyone under 350 pounds.
An oversized chair that works well for big and small people alike, the Alpine Mountain Gear Big Dude is a perfect option for the whole family. Like the Trailhead mentioned above, this chair might be too big to carry up a mountain, but it’s definitely something you can drag out to the lake. At 9 pounds, you might only be able to carry one or two of these at a time, but the added durability, comfort, and stability is well worth it.
The steel frame will last a lifetime of outdoor fun, and the 600 denier polyester seat material is no pushover either. It’s a bit bulky and heavy, but that’s too be expected with a heavy duty camping chair. If you can look past the extra heft, you’ll find a comfortable and sturdy seating arrangement that you’ll have a hard time getting up from.
There isn’t an excessive amount of padding, but there is enough to make a difference. I will say that the front support bar will push up into your thighs when you sit on it a certain way, which can be uncomfortable after enough time, but not everyone will have this problem. It all depends on how you sit in it, and most people won’t feel anything but comfort the entire time they’re relaxing.
Two cupholders allow you to keep your favorite beverages close at hand, and the carry case for the chair is simple and effective. For the price, the Big Dude is a winner in my book.
– Two cupholders
– Easy to pack away
– Nice and spacious
– A bit heavy
Most Minimalistic Chair
Small and lightweight, there’s not a whole lot to the ALPS Mountaineering Adventure chair, but that’s just how some people like it. The frame is durable and the mesh seat provides good ventilation.
You can probably tell just by looking at the photo, but the ALPS Mountaineering Adventure chair is the most basic one on our list. And you know what? That’s what I would consider the primary selling point for this chair!
Or the primary reason why you would move onto a different product in our review. It really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your seating arrangement. If you want something minimalistic and lightweight, easy to carry and breathable, the Adventure chair will be a pretty attractive option. However, if you think you’d miss the armrests and ergonomics, I’d suggest looking at something else.
Even though it might not be much to look at, this chair does have a max weight rating of 400 pounds, which is more than most other chairs. The aluminum frame might not be quite as durable as steel, but it does help cut back on the weight. If you’re the sort of person who wants to carry your chair longer distances, I’d recommend going with this product over something like the Big Dude mentioned above.
There isn’t any padding on the chair, and the shape itself isn’t terribly form fitting. Which is to say, despite being relatively comfortable, it’s not the sort of seat that you’re going to want to stay in for hours on end. And hey, maybe you weren’t planning on doing that anyway. For a quick respite, this is an affordable option that will stay in good condition well into the future.
– Great weight capacity
– Lacking many additional features
With a tall seat height and relatively lightweight design, the GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro lives up to its name. A variety of accessories and a supportive seat help make this the best heavy duty camping chair overall.
The GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro chair has one of the taller seat heights among the products we’ve reviewed. Coming in almost 21 inches off the ground, I find it to be a little easier on the knees when compared to something a bit shorter. At the same time, it will cause the front of the seat to dig into your thighs a little bit more, but it’s not like there’s a support pole there. Generally speaking, it should feel remarkably comfortable to sit on this chair.
The seat and backrest are made from “no sag” mesh that provides a firmer and more supportive place to sit. While the weight capacity is a little low, coming in at 300 pounds, it’s still a very sturdy chair with a decent amount of width. The feet are also made out of metal, and despite being small and narrow, they still provide a good amount of stability.
On the chair itself, you’ll find a cupholder and a pouch specifically designed to hold your phone. Setup can be accomplished in a single step, and packing it away again is just as simple, once you find the proper mechanism. There’s no carry strap on the chair itself, but there is one on the carry case that comes with the chair. Considering the weight is just over 7.5 pounds, I doubt you’ll have too much trouble transporting it shorter distances. It’s certainly not something you can bring backpacking, but a quick trip to the lake or a walk from the car to the campsite should be no problem.
– Higher seat height
– Cupholder and phone pouch
– Stable and durable
– Easy to setup
– Seat is pretty firm
– Can be a little tricky figuring out how to pack it away again
Best Heavy Duty Rocking Chair
A fun change of pace from the normal camping chair, the Coleman Cross is a heavy duty rocking chair that’s comfortable to sit in around the fire or at the lake.
It’s not every day that you find such a heavy duty rocking chair, like the Coleman Cross. The weight limit is 300 pounds, and you’ll need to find a relatively flat spot to use it, but once those conditions are met, this is a really fun chair to relax in.
Given the nature of the Cross, the seat rests pretty low to the ground, so if you have bad knees or hips, it might be difficult to get up after you sit down. However, once you’re sitting, the wide chair and angled seat are just what you need to decompress. Once you’ve got your favorite beverage in the attached cupholder, you’ll be ready to enjoy the scenery wherever you find yourself.
Both the steel frame and polyester fabric are highly durable, but as you might expect, this isn’t the lightest chair out there. Just shy of 11 pounds, you’re not going to be carrying it very far, and it doesn’t pack down quite as neatly as some of the other chairs in this review.
Some aspects of the quality are subpar, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from this brand (sorry Coleman). The seams are relatively fragile and some of the bolts might loosen with time, so it’s good to keep an eye on how everything is holding up. Still, for a comfortable, portable rocking chair, the Coleman Cross is a good choice.
– It’s a rocker
– Super comfortable
– The frame is durable
– Decent price
– Easy to assemble
– Certain aspects are lacking in durability
Best Bang for Your Buck
Stylish with a wide seat, the REI Co-op Wonderland is a durable chair made from high-quality, recycled materials, so you can enjoy your surroundings and look good while doing it.
Comfortable and stylish, the REI Co-op Wonderland chair looks like something you might bring to the beach. Made with tensioned polyester and wood armrests, it’s the sort of seat that you could easily spend an hour in and still not want to get up. It also has a certain elegance that many other heavy duty camping chairs lack.
The Wonderland is rated for a 300 pound max capacity, and the seat is fairly wide. All of the polyester used in its construction is taken from recycled materials as well, so you can feel good about the impact that you’re having on the environment. And everything is treated with a durable water repellent to make it suitable for any type of weather condition. Honestly, these are the types of chairs that would consider keeping as outdoor furniture in my backyard if I didn’t have the budget for something nicer. At just under $100, the Wonderland might not be the cheapest option out there, but it’s still in a very reasonable price range.
The chair itself folds down nicely when you’re done using it, and it comes with a strap to keep it secured in the closed position. I do like my seat to rest a little higher off the ground, so the 16 inch seat height is just a tad too short for my taste, but that’s just personal preference. At the very least, it’s a lot better than the 13 inch seat height on the Coleman Cross mentioned above.
Overall, it’s an average yet stylish chair that sufficiently meets expectations. If you’re looking for something a little more specialized, I’d look at other options, but the Wonderland is a great entry level camping chair for those of you who want something a bit tougher than your average lawn chair.
– Looks good
– Wide seat
– Durable frame
– Decent seat height
– Wood armrests
– A little pricey
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How Much Does a Folding Camping Chair Weigh?
Most folding camping chairs weigh between 5-10 pounds, with a few outliers in either direction.
What Should I Look For When Buying a Camping Chair?
When buying a camping chair, you should always make sure that it’s going to be comfortable to sit in. But aside from that, a sturdy frame that will last you many years to come is also vitally important. Other accessories like cupholders, coolers, and side tables should be seen as features that are nice to have, but not things that you need to have.
Nature isn’t very good at providing comfortable seating arrangements, so when you’re on the trail or at a campsite, it’s nice to have your own chair. But not just anything will do. The unforgiving terrain and sudden changes in weather will destroy any $10 Walmart chair, which is why you need to get one of the best heavy duty camping chairs instead.
After considering factors like the overall durability, weight, and comfort of the chair, we believe that the GCI Outdoor Comfort Pro chair is the best that you’ll find. It’s comfortable, sturdy, and won’t break the bank, making it a great option for beginner and veteran campers alike.