If you’re in a hurry and want to find out what the best camping chair for bad backs is, we recommend Coastrail’s outdoor camping chair with lumbar support.
There aren’t many comfortable places to sit outside. There aren’t any trees that form the perfect chair for your body type, and there aren’t any rocks that are softer than they look. If you suffer from back pain, you might have found yourself avoiding time in nature simply because it hurts too much. Thankfully there’s technology that can help with this, so in this review, we’ll be looking at some of the best camping chairs for people with bad backs.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following chairs:
- Arrowhead Outdoor Camping Chair with Lumbar Support
- Strong Back Guru Folding Chair with Lumbar Support
- King Camp Camping Chair with Lumbar Support
- Strong Back Elite Camping Chair with Lumbar Support
- Coastrail Outdoor Camping Chair with Lumbar Support
At the end of the day, the comfort of a chair really boils down to its ergonomics. Is there good lumbar support? Is it tall enough? Does it encourage you to change position on occasion? Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
You may have heard this word before and thought, “Wow, that really rolls off the tongue well.” And then maybe you moved on without figuring out what it actually means, since it probably didn’t matter anyway. Well, if you want to alleviate your back pain, it’s good to get a firm understanding of what lumbar describes and why it’s important.
Lumbar refers to the lower back, especially the spine, and the natural curve that exists in your lower spine. Your spine is shaped like an S to absorb shock, otherwise you would’ve broken it countless times by now. Because of this, your lumbar spine naturally wants to curve inward, toward your stomach, to be correctly aligned. Every time you slouch in your chair (or in general), you’re putting your back out of alignment and creating a world of pain.
This is why it’s important to find a chair that will give you proper lumbar support. Chairs with a flat back or flimsy back won’t actually give you any support, since all they’re designed for is to keep you from falling backwards off your seat. You’ll need a chair that has structure, and is arched to push your lower back forward so you can keep proper alignment. Only then can you truly say that you have one of the best camping chairs for a bad back.
For ease of manufacturing, most chair seats come at the standard size of 18 inches tall. If you’re in the majority of the population, this will create a 90 degree angle for your ankles, knees, and hips. Typically you won’t have any problems with your ankles and knees in this position, but keeping your hips at 90 degrees will make you start to slouch. Obviously this will start to create problems in your lower back, and is something that you’ll want to avoid for long periods of time, if possible.
To solve this problem, find a chair that keeps your hips 3-4 inches higher than your knees. The more you can straighten out your body, the easier it will be to keep a good arch in your lower back. So if you’re tall, you’ll need a taller chair, and vice versa if you’re shorter. Sounds pretty obvious in retrospect, but sometimes difficult to perform, since the majority of chairs are designed for a single body type.
As comfortable as a chair might be, it’s never good to be completely sedentary for long periods of time. Move around as frequently as you can to keep your blood and lymph (a fluid vital for your immune system) flowing the way it should. If you don’t move very much, it can be hard for your body to pull fluids up from your feet and legs without your muscles activating. Take a 5 minute break to stand and move around when you can, or make adjustments to the way that you’re sitting to keep your body in motion.
Camping Chair Reviews
If you’re going to buy and use a chair outside, you want it to be comfortable, right? It’s hard to enjoy what’s going on around you if all you can focus on is how low the chair sits, how saggy the seat is, and how hunched over you feel. Arrowhead kept all of these things in mind when designing their outdoor camping chair.
The seat itself doesn’t sag like your typical outdoor chair, so you won’t sit down and find your knees in your chest. And even though the pictures online might make it look like the lumbar curve is scarily big, it isn’t quite that pronounced in person. Comfort should be the least of your worries, and Arrowhead did a great job in creating a product that emphasizes this factor.
Durability is also important, whether you’ll be taking this chair out into the wilderness, or just want a good place to sit on the sidelines of the sports field. With a heavy duty steel frame, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything breaking!
The width of the chair does taper closer to your legs, which doesn’t allow for very much room to spread them. This is a pretty common feature for chairs of this style, but can be a little more of a tight squeeze for larger folks.
– Easy to set up
– The bottom isn’t saggy
– Very sturdy
– The seat is a little narrow
– Only one cup holder
Specifically designed for people 5’8” and under, Strong Back has added another crowd favorite to their camping chair lineup. If you’re within the recommended size for this chair, you’ll find it to be extremely spacious without compromising on support. It certainly is big enough for taller people as well, but the actual height of the chair might make it difficult to maintain a good posture.
If you’re really petite, you might find that the lumbar is a bit too much, and a little too high on your back. As a general rule, I would say this is true for people who are 5’ or shorter, and if you fall in this category, I would recommend looking at a different chair.
However, it is portable and light for this type of chair, and pretty easy to fold up and toss in the trunk of your car or carry around with you.
– Designed for shorter people
– Spacious seat
– Backpack style carry bag
– Seat doesn’t cut into your legs
– Not the best option for taller folks
– The lumbar might rest on the wrong place for some people
King Camp’s camping chair is the gold standard for comfort and storage. The moment you sit down and see what you have within arms reach, you’ll undoubtedly feel like royalty. There’s a cup holder on one of the arm rests, like you might find on any folding chair. However, what makes this particular chair special isn’t the cup holder, it’s the cup cooler. Yes, I did just say cooler. With a 3 can capacity, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice cold drink right at your fingertips without having to lug around an actual cooler.
If that wasn’t enough, it also has a side pocket that’s perfect for storing a book or magazines, as well as a head storage bag. While you can stuff any number of things in the head storage area, many people enjoy zipping a small pillow in there for some extra comfort for their head and neck.
The chair itself is also very comfortable. The frame is steel tubing, making this one of the best heavy duty camping chairs. It’s also oversized, so regardless of what body shape or type you are, you’ll have a comfortable and roomy place to sit for awhile.
– Multiple storage containers
– Built in cooler
– Head pocket to zip in a pillow
– A little clunky to carrying around
The counterpart to Strong Back’s Guru folding chair (made for people 5’8” and under), the Elite is designed for taller folks. Similar in most ways to the Guru, it’s got plenty of space to sit comfortably, and a cup holder for your beverage.
At about 2.5 inches higher off the ground than the Guru, this seat allows most people who hover around 6’ tall to keep their knees lower than their hips while seated properly. To get the most out of this chair (or any included in this review), make sure you keep your back fully resting against the back of the chair. If you find yourself sitting on the edge, or lean forward most of the time, you won’t receive any of the benefits of having lumbar support. This will ultimately hurt your back even more, and will make this product a waste of your money.
– Great for taller people
– Roomy seat
– Large but also portable
– Supportive seat and back
– Could use a little more padding
The downside about a lot of camping chairs that provide back support is that the lumbar isn’t adjustable. This isn’t a problem for many people, but sometimes it would be nice to fiddle around with it until you can find the arch size that works best for you. Coastrail did just that when they developed their camping chair with customizable lumbar support. That way, you can play around with the adjustment strap so you don’t feel like your back is arching too much or too little for your individual needs.
It also comes with a cup holder and a cooler bag that can hold 3 cans of your preferred beverage. There’s a side pocket too, so you can keep your book or magazine close by while you’re out enjoying nature, and a pouch at the head of the chair so you can stuff in a pillow for added comfort. The seating area of the chair is padded with foam, so you won’t feel any random metal bars poking into your legs or back.
– Very comfortable
– Built in cooler
– Extra pouch for a book or magazine
– Head storage to zip in a pillow or other item
– Spacious seat
– A couple have broken shortly after being used
It’s hard to enjoy being outside when your back is in pain, especially when the standard camping chair only seems to make things worse. With saggy seats and steel bars poking in the worst possible places, it’s hard to find a place to sit that won’t cost a fortune.
That’s why we like Coastrail’s outdoor camping chair with lumbar support. Not only is it large and spacious, but it’s also incredibly comfortable thanks to the added foam layers. All of the pockets are also a bonus, so you can keep everything with you that you might want or need in order to get the most out of your time outdoors. The built in cooler makes sure you’ll never have to get up to grab something cold to drink, and the head storage creates a way to integrate a pillow for added comfort as you enjoy your roaring campfire.
But at the end of the day, we know you’re probably reading this because you or someone you know struggles with back pain. Ultimately, we picked this chair because we believe it will help you the most, and provide a more pain-free sitting experience. Since the lumbar support is adjustable, you can customize it to your individual needs, and is one of the reasons why we don’t believe you’ll regret adding this chair to your wish list.