Compact Camp Chairs: The Ultimate Review

The Ultimate Compact Camp Chair Review

The search for the ultimate camp chair continues! In this comparison review I’m going to introduce you to eight of the latest compact camp chairs on the market, all of which are high quality and designed to pack up small. I’ve already reviewed a few chairs in this category in the past: Helinox Chair One, Travelchair Joey Chair and Front Runner Expander Chair. I love a wide variety of activities that might end around a campfire at night, so I require my camp chairs to be versatile tools that are at home in a wide variety of conditions. My chairs find themselves in the back of kayaks during multi-day trips, on my adventure motorcycle, in my 4-wheeled overland adventuremobile, etc…, while in conditions from deep desert sands to fresh high alpine snow, and everything in-between. Traditional bulky camp chairs might be comfortable, but their weight and volume are too much for my purposes. Comfortable, compact, lightweight and versatile are what I look for in my camp seating.

Let me introduce you to our eight contenders:

Helinox Chair Zero

MSRP: $119.95 (BUY NOW)

Company Says: “The Chair Zero is not only the lightest four-legged camp chair, it’s more comfortable than most, too. Enjoy sitting 11″ off the ground, relaxing without having to balance or use your abs to enjoy a meal or the view, and it packs down no bigger than most water bottles – so there’s no reason to leave it at home no matter the adventure. The ultralight Chair Zero offers unmatched weight savings and packability.”

The Helinox Chair Zero is super easy to setup, warm enough for 4-season camping, crazy lightweight and packs incredibly small. It does however offer little ventilation for hot weather camping, isn’t optimal for lounging, sits pretty low to the ground and the stuff sack style storage bag isn’t super easy to pack. Light and small are the key features to this quality little chair, which means it is perfect to take on any adventure. The Chair Zero is the lightest in this test, by a full pound, and also packs down to the smallest size.

Helinox Chair Two

MSRP: $129.95 (BUY NOW)

Company Says: “This ulta-comfortable lightweight portable camp chair can also be used as the perfect deck chair. Featuring a wider and higher back seat for ultimate comfort and a single shock corded pole structure for quick and easy set up.”

The Helinox Chair Two is a comfortable high back chair with a relatively low seating height. The frame is extremely stout and the carry case doubles as a pillow or gear pocket. While a quality chair in all regards, it isn’t inexpensive and doesn’t pack all that small. It is one of the lighter full featured chairs in this test and bridges the gap between the tiny, lightweight, low to the ground chairs and the bulky, heavier full featured chairs.

Helinox Sunset Chair

MSRP: $149.95 (BUY NOW)

Company Says: “Lean back and relax in the Sunset Chair. With a high, supportive backrest you’ll enjoy taking in the view from your back deck or a campsite while the sun sets (or rises). This chair is lightweight and designed for easy setup with a single shock corded pole structure. You are sure to be the envy of everyone on your next overnight trip.”

The Helinox Sunset Chair is very similar to the Helinox Chair Two, but sits taller, has a higher back and a wider seat. It is super sturdy, nearly sets itself up, offers a super comfortable 18″ seating height and has a seat that is wide, comfortable and supportive. The chair has good ventilation and the storage bag doubles as a pillow or gear storage. The Sunset Chair is one of the larger, heavier and more expensive chairs in this test, but comfort and durability might be worth the size, weight and price penalty.

Travel Chair Koala Chair

MSRP: $149.95 (Just Released!)

Company Says: “The Koala sets up intuitively and is worth every second. This extra tall backrest is perfect for kicking back and the adjustable pillow takes comfort to a whole new level.”

The Travel Chair Koala Chair offers up many of the features you’d expect in a more traditional style camp chair. Its key feature is really comfortable armrests, which also offer up a cup holder. It is a truly comfortable chair with a tall supportive back, included pillow, strong stable structure, wide accommodating seat and a 19.5″ seat height, the tallest in this test. The foot design on this chair also helps it stay afloat when setup on soft ground. The downside of the Koala Chair is that it has quite a large packed size, is one of the heaviest chairs in this test at 4.4 lbs and takes a bit longer to setup than most. One trick on setup is to put the arm rests onto the frame before the seat back.

Leki Sub-1

MSRP: $109.95 (BUY NOW)

Company Says: “The Sub1, Chiller and Breeze are compact, lightweight, comfortable folding chairs which do not need a lot of numbers. What they do need are camp sites, festivals, beaches, river banks, bus stops, district league football games, shooting stars, playgrounds, family outings, barbecues, … and, of course, YOU. Your new LEKI folding chair fits comfortably in your bag or backpack, is set up or dismantled in no time and you sit so comfortably that you’ll think twice about getting up. No matter how you decide, find your place!”

The Leki Sub-1 is a featherweight chair that packs down incredibly small. It is also crazy easy to setup, is much sturdier than it looks, has tons of ventilation, comes with a cup holder and has a wide front that will accommodate a wide variety of people. With it’s diminutive size there are drawbacks, such as it not allowing you to lounge back too much and the seat height being pretty low to the ground. If you are looking for light, small and sturdy at a great price, this is probably your chair.

Leki Chiller

MSRP: $129.95 (BUY NOW)

Company Says: “We don’t want to overload you with too many figures, data and facts because the Chiller and Breeze are compact, lightweight, comfortable folding chairs which do not need a lot of numbers. What they do need are camp sites, festivals, beaches, river banks, bus stops, little league games, shooting stars, playgrounds, family outings, barbecues, … and, of course, YOU! Your new LEKI folding chair fits comfortably in your bag or backpack, can be set up and taken down in no time and is so comfortably that you’ll think twice about getting up. No matter how you decide, find your place with the LEKI Chiller or Breeze!”

The Leki Chiller is a comfortable, supportive and well ventilated camp chair. It offers good upright seating as well as easy lounging. It comes with a cup holder and the storage bag doubles as gear storage. The only real drawback to this chair, is that with my body type the chair leg positioning at the front of the chair made my legs go to sleep, after prolonged use. This chair sits dead center of the pack in this test, in all ways. It is a great warm weather chair for a wide variety of people and uses.

Thermarest Chair Uno

MSRP: $89.95 (BUY NOW)

Company Says: “New for Winter 2016/2017: Packable, lightweight and festival friendly. Looking for the perfect chair for the summer festival season? Check out the Uno, a sleek, seating solution that sets up at just the right height for festival regulation and packs into its own disk-shaped base so you can slip it into your backpack with ease. If that’s not already cool enough, the multi-functional Uno can also be converted into a sweet little side table for camp convenience.”

The Thermarest Chair Uno is an extremely compact chair that is easy to put together, packs flat and doubles as a tiny camp table, when not used as a chair. Unlike its competitors the poles are not bungee-corded together as one unit, so can be easily misplaced. My only real gripes with this chair are that the base is a bit flexy, it sits extremely low to the ground and because of the pole design you can feel the poles through the chair material on your back and butt when you move in the chair. With all that said, the hard case flat pack design is easy to handle and store, and this chair is the least expensive, by $20+, in this test.

ENO Lounger DL

MSRP: $124.95 (Available Late Feb 2017)

Company Says: “The Lounger DL is your ticket to serious relaxation.  Its effortless shock-corded assembly makes this lightweight chair perfect for the quad, your favorite festival, or around the campfire.   Equipped with two adjustable leg heights, a cup holder, two cargo pockets and an integrated pillow, the Lounger DL is the most versatile and nap-worthy chair on the market.”

The ENO Lounger DL is truly the comfort king here. The chair is by far the best to lounge in, offers padded arm rests, a pillow, two seating heights and a cup holder. The feet offer a ton of floatation, so this chair works great in soft muddy or sandy conditions. It isn’t the best to sit upright in, is finicky to assemble, comes apart easily when you pick it up to move it while assembled, isn’t lightweight or small and the top load storage bag is tough to repack neatly. The chair also has no ventilation, which can be too hot in the summer, but super nice in colder climates. If you want one of the most comfortable camp chairs out there, and don’t mind the slightly larger packed size and weight than the other chairs tested here, than this is for sure the chair that your friends will be vying to steal from you around the campfire.

Conclusion:

So many great compact camp chairs to fit so many different people. If I was looking for a compact chair that offered a ton of features and gave me a tall commanding and comfortable seat around the campfire I’d probably choose the Travel Chair Koala Chair. If I wanted a extremely small and lightweight chair that I could take anywhere and on any adventure it would have to be the Helinox Chair Zero. My go to for lounging around camp in comfort and style would have to be the ENO Lounger DL. If I was looking for a hot weather chair to kick back with a cold cerveza on the beach it would have to be the Leki Chiller. Pick the chair that best suits your camp seating style, and best fits the adventures on your horizon. Live a #LifeOfAdventure and be comfortable around camp doing it 🙂

Besides the eight quality chairs covered here, remember to check out the other similar chairs I’ve reviewed in the past: Helinox Chair One, Travelchair Joey Chair and Front Runner Expander Chair.

(Disclaimer: These camp chairs were provided to Exploring Elements, from the manufacturers, for review consideration. No other compensation was provided.)

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