While we often enjoy looking at pictures of people sitting on logs around the campfire, in reality, those logs are too low, uncomfortable, and covered in bugs to be a realistic option. Of course, it is also rare to find them conveniently located around your firepit. Carrying the best heavy duty camping chair is a much better option.
It is with that thought that many people grab a $10 camp chair from their favorite discount store. Unfortunately, they soon find themselves shifting this way and that trying to ease their discomfort long enough to enjoy their campfire. This guide is our offer of help to avoid those common mistakes and ensure that you end up with a camping chair that keeps you comfortable for hours of campfire stories and drinks.
This guide should help you understand what choices are available and guide you to the best heavy duty camping chair that will become your personal preference. We have collected the best choices from a few categories to ensure that you will be able to pick a chair that meets your needs and fits into your budget.
Coleman Quad Chair
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker
CORE Folding Padded Hard Arm Chair
OmniCore Designs MoonPhase Home-Away LoveSeat
Sovigour Folding Camping Chair
Kijaro XXL Dual Lock Portable Camping & Sports Chair
Portal Camping Chair with Hard Armrests
Ever Advanced Oversized Padded Quad Arm Chair
Kamp-Rite Director’s Chair
The best heavy duty camping chair is a surprisingly personal preference. There is typically one design that each person finds most comfortable and then a few designs that are tolerable under certain conditions. The exact designs for each category will vary for each person. My husband is 6 foot, 5 inches tall, and loves his dual lock design chair, while I prefer my director-style chair. When backpacking, he prefers a folding stool, while I love my cradle design chair.
Camping chairs typically fall into one of a few basic designs. There will be variations within each, but the basic setup will be similar. Once you have determined the best design for you, you can consider what features you want or need.
Slingback – Often called a classic or traditional camp chair, his style of chair is designed by slinging a piece of fabric between two pack points, where a person’s shoulders will hit, and 2 points at the front of the seat. This creates a curved seat design that will allow you to sit down into the chair. Unfortunately, it will often cause your back to curve and hunch forward. This posture is more bothersome for some than others.
These chairs often have armrests that are also the fabric that slings between the back posts and a front bar that extends out from the bottom front of the frame. Those cheap, big-box store camping chairs are one example of these chairs. They are a traditional camping chair design because they easily collapse into a single pole that can be easily carried.
High-quality versions of slingback chairs will negate the posture concerns by tilting the entire chair back to a reclining position. This works well, if the chair is low enough to the ground that the front of the seat will not cut off circulation through your thighs. While traditional camping chairs are cheap and convenient, they are not typically the best or most comfortable choice.
Director’s Chair – These chairs offer solid rectangle or square frames on both sides that provide sturdy armrests. The seat is a hinged “X” design that pulls the fabric of the seat taunt when opened, and the back is a separate fabric that stretches wide between two back posts. This chair does not allow for reclining, nor does it fully collapse. It does offer good support for those who sometimes struggle with lower back pain.
The back of these chairs are low, so they are not the best big and tall camping chairs. That said, their seats are very wide and can be well supported, though this depends on the fabric and specifics of the design. This combines with their solid frame and strong armrests to make them a potential best camping chair for heavy person.
The biggest drawback to director’s chair style camping chairs is their lack of portability. While they will fold flat into a square or rectangle, they do not collapse into the tube shape that you get with a traditional camping chair. For me, this trade-off is worth it most of the time. The solid and supportive design keeps me comfortable, even when we have spent as long as a month camping.
Locking Frame – There are a few options within this category, but it generally refers to a traditional, slingback chair that has been upgraded with an extra feature that “locks” it into the open position. This seemingly small detail pulls the fabric taut and eliminates that collapse into the chair that can cause your back to curve forward.
Often, these chairs are designed with a higher back, as well. They are generally the best camp chair for big guys. At 6’5” tall, my husband loves his locking frame chair. It locks with the seat firm and wide so that he does not sink. It also means that the sides stay wide enough to give him space. The taller back allows him to lean his head back, and the seat is a bit higher, so his knees do not end up around his shoulders.
The arms are the same design as a traditional slingback camping chair, which is nice since they typically have a cup holder or two conveniently located at the end of the arms. Once unlocked, these chairs collapse the same way a slingback chair does, so they travel in a tube shape just like a traditional camping chair, though they are usually a bit longer.
Scoop – These chairs are reminiscent of the original camping chairs from the mid-19th century. They are similar to a slingback chair but sit lower to the ground and are reclined a bit more. This makes them easier on your back but harder to get in and out of. They are very popular among people who find Adirondack chairs comfortable since they have a similar feel.
Many people also compare these chairs to modern saucer chairs or basket chairs, though the scoop design will hug your sides more closely. They typically do not have any arms but can often fold up much smaller and lighter than other camping chair designs. While these will never be the overall best heavy duty camping chair, they are a very portable option.
Cup holder(s) – While most chairs will have one, a second one is nice for holding items like your flashlight, keys, and lighter. It has been my experience that those items stash well in a spare cup holder but rarely fit in a flat storage pocket or pouch.
Storage pouches – Some people swear by these. Most of the people that I know who love them are big on crosswords, word finds, or sudoku and use them to store those books. On the rare occasion that I stick a map in mine, I usually end up forgetting to take the map with me and then regret then entire thing.
Coolers – These are a nice luxury! They are not necessary, but it is convenient to be able to keep a cold drink handy. Of course, you will need ice or a cold pack to make it effective.
Side Table – These are great for snack lovers! They provide a great place to set a bowl of chips, nuts, or candy, and can come in handy. It is important to note that they are typically only found with chairs that fold but do not fully collapse, though. This means that you will need to be prepared to carry a larger frame, rather than the bagged classic camp chair. They are typically connected to some of the best heavy duty folding camping chairs, though.
|Image||Title||Capacity||Seat Size||View On Amazon|
|Coleman Quad Chair||325 lbs||24 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair||800 lbs||24.5 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker||250 lbs||24 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|CORE Folding Padded Hard Arm Chair||300 lbs||20.5 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|OmniCore Designs MoonPhase Home-Away LoveSeat||600 lbs or 300 lbs/seat||Appx 22 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|Sovigour Folding Camping Chair||330 lbs||23. 8 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|Kijaro XXL Dual Lock Portable Camping & Sports Chair||400 lbs||25.5 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|Portal Camping Chair with Hard Armrests||300 lbs||18.5 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|Ever Advanced Oversized Padded Quad Arm Chair||300 lbs||24.5 inches||View Product On Amazon|
|Kamp-Rite Director’s Chair||300 lbs||Appx 24 inches||View Product On Amazon|
This chair offers the convenience of a folding camp chair in a larger and more comfortable size. It includes a handy cooler to keep a few drinks ready to go and is durable enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is made by Coleman, so you know that it will not fall apart. The included carry bag will make taking it with you a breeze, and you will enjoy the spacious seat.
King Kong is an appropriate name for this heavy-duty chair. Its weight capacity is the standout feature with the strength to support up to 800 lbs, though I am not convinced that the 24.5 – inch width is adequate to allow the person that size to sit comfortably. The best use of this strength would be allowing kids and grandkids to enjoy your lap while you relax.
This is a great camping chair for those who want to relax while rocking back and forth. The spring action makes the rocking motion smooth, even on rocky ground. It is important to note that this chair does not fully collapse the way other camp chairs do. It folds into a flat rectangle and does not include a carry bag. It does have a handle to make it easy to carry.
For those who want a good balance of sturdy comfort with great portability, this is a fantastic choice. While it still fully collapses into the same size as traditional camping chairs, its hard armrests and well supported back offer the comfort of a much more stable chair. The strong frame design ensures that the seat stays wide and comfortable.
For those who want to sit with their companion, this chair offers a loveseat for your campsite. It collapses fully, just like a traditional camping chair, and will feel like you are sitting in a traditional camping chair. The removal of the center armrests and addition of a mesh center triangle allows you to sit toward your companion without any barriers.
This is the perfect chair for those looking to carry their chair around everywhere. It breaks down into a tiny and lightweight package that you can easily toss into your backpack and take fishing, hiking, or on any other adventure. It is a cradle seat, so it does not include armrests, but the design is comfortable and low enough to the ground to avoid causing your legs to fall asleep.
This chair sits a bit higher off of the ground than most to make standing up easier. The dual lock design also means that you will sit on the chair, rather than sinking into it. It also has a sturdier back that will prevent the lower back discomfort that is so common with traditional camping chairs. Even with these design improvements, the chair still collapses just as much as a traditional camp chair.
This chair is built and priced like a traditional camping chair, but it has a few key upgraded features. The biggest improvement found with this design is the arms. Their solid design allows you to use them for support while transitioning from sitting to standing or vice versa. The placement of the cupholders is also better than many similar chair designs.
For the taller individuals who find themselves wishing that their camping chair was taller, this may be the solution for you. This high-backed chair offers all of the benefits that come with a traditional camping chair, but it has the addition of a higher back and some extra padding. The wider than usual seat will also be more comfortable for those who like extra space.
This chair uses a director chair design, so it has a strong seat with good back support. The frame designed to support up to 300 lbs, though the manufacturer lists 225lbs as the capacity with the expectation that you will add quite a few pounds to the table and cooler. While this chair is very comfortable and useful, it is not the most portable option.
By now, you likely have a chair or two in mind that you think will suit you, but you may have a few remaining questions. We have collected some of the most commonly asked camp chair questions below. These should clear up any remaining wonderings you may be experiencing.
This really depends on the climate in which you plan to camp. So long as the weather is chilly, cool, or cold, a padded chair can be more comfortable and keep you warmer. When you have a nice warm fire at your front, it is wonderful to have the padded warmth of a thick chair at your back.
Of course, if it is 90 degrees out, you may regret that extra insulation. When you camp in hot weather, a chair with mesh ventilation is a far more comfortable option. It allows the cool breeze to reach your back and slow your sweat.
Some people worry that mesh may not be as durable, but the reality is that padded chairs are no more or less durable than chairs with mesh ventilation. The durability of a chair depends much more on the quality of materials and construction. Many cheap padded chairs end up with ripped seams, just like cheap mesh chairs may get holes. A good quality chair will not be likely to suffer from either.
While many people expect to see a size difference in heavy duty vs standard chairs, this is not a defining difference. In fact, in many cases, there is little to no size difference. The most significant difference is the materials used to make the chair. A standard chair has a single layer of fabric attached to an aluminum frame. This keeps costs down and will work for small people who treat their chairs kindly – or replace them annually.
For those who are a bit less delicate and want a chair that lasts more than one season, it is worth upgrading to a heavy duty chair. These usually have steel frames and use two or more layers of a heavier fabric. They are also typically stitched more tightly and with a higher quality thread, so there are fewer ripped seams.
Of course, the telltale signal that you are looking at a heavy duty camp chair is the weight capacity. While standard camp chair will top out around 200 lbs, the best heavy duty camp chairs can handle as much as 800 lbs. This is because of those material differences. A cheap aluminum frame will buckle under too much weight, and lightweight thread sew loosely through a single layer of fabric can easily be pulled apart at the seam.
This is highly dependent on the quality of the chair that you buy and the way that you use it. I can say that the cheap, standard chairs will likely only last a season if used regularly. A good quality, heavy duty chair can last for many years, even with heavy use.
My director’s chair and my husband’s dual locking chair have both survived four years of summers spent touring the country and neither one shows a single rip, crack, or bend. They get tossed in and out of our camper, have seen well over a dozen parks and have been used from below freezing in Glacier N.P. to the heat of July 4th in Texas.
Finding the right camp chair for you can make your entire camping trip more enjoyable. Much like getting a good night’s sleep, relaxing around the fire in a chair that will not leave you sore means that you will be ready to enjoy more adventures the following day. There are just a few basic guidelines to follow when choosing your chair.
For those who are big and tall, a locking chair is the best heaving duty camp chair to give you the height and support that will keep you comfortable. While there are many great options, the Kijaro XXL Dual Lock Portable Camping and Sports Chair has some great features. It folds up nicely but has a weight capacity of 400 pounds.
Heavy campers who do not need the extra height may find that the Kamp-Rite Director’s Chair is their preferred choice. It has got a pleasantly wide seat with excellent support for both your back and bum. With the convenient side cooler and side table, its features are awesome. You will not feel squished in this design.
Whatever chair you end up with, you will be glad to have found the best heavy duty camp chair for you. Your body will be happier, and you will be better prepared to enjoy your adventure when you can relax comfortably.