A standard camping chair is one with four legs, a back and arm rests. For most of us that have lived through the sixties, this description of a plain camping chair may conjure up an image of a cheap beach chair like the one pictured below. Times have changed and we no longer have to improvise when we are camping. Modern simple chairs can be really fancy! Let’s look at some of the options that are available.
Lots of chairs now have a cup holder built into them. There are also some that have gear pouches or pockets. This is nice if you have small electronic devices that you want to keep with you (cellphone or mp3 player, for example) or other items that you don’t want to put on the ground. You can also find chairs that have adjustable armrests.
Do you want a normal back, high back or even a back with an attached canopy? All of these are options available to you. If you are considering a high back or canopy chair you do need to realize it may be much heavier and could be a bit bulkier. This could be a problem with some people that need to stow their gear in a vehicle or storage space with limited room.
Materials and Construction
In general cheaper camping chairs are built with inferior materials. The seat for example may be made out of canvas, plastic, water repellent fabrics….there are many materials used.Higher priced models should have a durable fabric (or fabric like in the case of some of the lightweight high tech materials) that is both comfortable and can take a beating. For lower priced models a canvas material is often a better choice than a cheap synthetic plastic material. Reading reviews of poorly built chairs will lead to finding comments about the seat of cheaper plastic like materials tearing and breaking at the places where it is attached to the other parts of the chair.
The second potential weak point, and one which is often where breaks occur in less solid models, are places where supports are joined to other parts of the chair. Higher priced models are built with better materials and do not typically have such problems.
The most important variable is if a chair that seems to have the right features you want is actually comfortable. If you are concerned about that you will likely be best off shopping in one of the large outdoor shops. Cabellas, local sporting goods chains and now even some specialty camping stores carry a wide selection of camping chairs. In these stores you can try them out right there in the store before you buy anything.