A Place to Sit: A Perspective on Ultralight Camp Chairs

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable A Place to Sit: A Perspective on Ultralight Camp Chairs

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    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: A Place to Sit: A Perspective on Ultralight Camp Chairs

    My perspective on camp chairs, and perspectives on how it has changed in the past five years.

    Eric Kammerer
    BPL Member


    Have you tried the Suluk46 Puttuck strap chair? It seems like a good match for the sit pad I already carry (which is dual-use as part of my pillow).

    I hear you on the aging argument, but so far that hasn’t outweighed the weight argument for me. A strap chair  might though.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    Ryan, have you tried a hammock chair?


    –lighter and more packable than a camp chair

    –one is higher off the ground and has an excellent back rest while being able to fully extend the legs


    –it requires two strong trees

    David D
    BPL Member


    I made a homebrew copy of the strap chair and it works for short periods but I quickly stiffened due to lack of mobility.

    I bought a Helinox ground chair (don’t fit into the others) but its never left the house.

    Here are a couple left field suggestions that work best for me.

    If I know I’ll spend at least a few hours in camp, I love this over a chair:

    • Coghlan’s hammock, $32Can, 7.5oz with 2×6′ poly rope.
    • I’ll usually also carry one Kamoch Python UL10 10″ tree strap, 1.6oz.

    The hammock takes the weight off my back, butt and legs and really helps with muscle recovery.  Set up is no slower than a chair and its much more comfortable.   I’m surprised more don’t use it.   Kinda stinks above treeline though!

    If you have access to Decathlon, the Forclaz sit pad is also good and cheap ($10Can, 1.8oz).  I’ll usually take one to use when its wet or on breaks.

    I’ll swap that out for a Klymit V-seat (2.3oz) in winter (warmer) or to double as stiffener in my Osprey Ultralight stuff sack (3.9oz) which I’ll take on my fishing backpacking trips where I set up a different base camp each day & then go lake hopping.  Less convenient but definitely cushier than  a foam seat pad and packs much smaller, if you don’t mind a breath to inflate it.



    MJ H
    BPL Member


    I got a Flexlite last year and I’ve found that I can take a post-lunch nap sitting in one. It’s harder to find a natural seat where I’m that comfortable.

    karl hafner
    BPL Member


    Locale: upstate NY

    for those of us in the northeastern USA I find a hammock chair perfect.  It is extremely usable in the leanto’s that we favor.

    phil g
    BPL Member


    Heh, as a 65 year old hiker/backpacker/camper, I’m bemused by Ryan’s discovery that the “necessity/luxury” bar lowers proportional to ones age. I’ve always been fairly inflexible in my torso and sitting on the ground (or the floor) has never been comfortable. I had tried the original Crazy Creek some 25 years ago but didn’t find it really met my needs. When I backpacked the JMT I made it a point to camp where there was “furniture,” i.e.  granite boulders about 18-24″ high for chairs (not to mention nearby “tables.”) A few year back I got a Helinox chair, now replaced with a Chair Zero, which I love. (I should point out most of my backpacking is done in the desert southwest, so relying on trees for a hammock is not an option.) Now, as I am closer to 70 than to 60, I find the only issue is getting out of the fairly low-seated Chair Zero. I always have my trekking pole handy to assist. On a recent backpack in the Guadalupe Mountains, the designated backcountry camp site had a slightly terraced platform where I could place the chair on the downhill side edge and  put my feet over the edge and extra foot below.
    Thanks for the article.

    Peter A
    BPL Member


    Lightest option for tripod chair if you are in a treed area is to use cloth seat and take your knife to make legs from some strong sticks and paracord (always pack) and it also gives you something to do if you have a little time.  I made my own cloth seat (see YouTube videos) or you can buy on Amazon (link). Total weight of is just a few ounces.

    Alex H
    BPL Member


    Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW

    I too eschewed a chair in my early, tougher, years.  Starting in my late 40’s I began to use a Thermarest Trekker chair kit with my pad and never really looked back.  I wrote this 14 years ago:

    As an aside on the chair thing, don’t start with me about how carrying a chair is unneeded extra weight, maybe for you but not for me.  I come from the Colin Fletcher school of reclining with the support of a propped up frame pack and as he said “an internal frame pack makes a scurvy backrest”.  In an attempt to save weight I even went for a while without the chair and was consistently uncomfortable in camp, so started carrying it again.  Most of my nights are long and cold so I want to sit up, with my legs in the sleeping bag, cooking, reading, taking in the night.  I am getting too old to sit cross legged without back support and the trees and rocks are rarely in the right place for me to use.

    I just can’t figure out why they can’t get that simple Trekker chair below 9.5 ounces.  I have been using the same one for 20 years.

    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Although not up off the ground, I’ve found the Klymit Inertia X-Lite (6 oz) to be infinitely better than ccf foam pads for sitting around camp. Of course it can also serve double duty as a backup sleep pad or standalone spartan SUL. Just have to find a tree or boulder to lean against for back support. I always place a DCF groundsheet underneath to protect pad and that also allows me to keep my legs and feet clean.

    Michael D
    BPL Member


    I recently got back to camping after many years, with my wife, and being much older now (75 for me) the chair thing was an issue. With her it will be especially important in the tent in the evening (she likes/needs to sit and read until she falls asleep on the spot, no fuss), so I looked around and just discovered and bought a folding ground seat, has frame tubes for support but is otherwise like the Crazy Creek but with back legs instead of side straps, from Amazon. Unfortunately the link doesn’t work. Search Jenified Foldable Portable Lightweight Padded Seat with Backrest Beach Chair

    For $17@ I’m willing to give it a try.  At home it seems very comfy and the price and weight are good, but it’s bulkier than I’d like.  Unlike some of the alternatives the back is rock-solid reliable, and at a good angle.

    Dustin V
    BPL Member


    I finally started using a chair kit with my inflatable pad on some trips. Glad to hear I’m not the only one. It makes me both concerned and less concerned about the pad. I don’t like bending the pad since it’s not really designed for that, but the chair kit provides extra puncture protection. As specified, I let out some air when folding to reduce stress on the welds.

    Even so, I keep trying to find multi-uses for my chair kit to offset the weight and bulk, but the advantages it has work for me (works in the shelter, insulated, sit/lay without removing…)

    Even so, I’m glad to see the innovation in chairs. I’ll probably be ready for a higher seat sooner than I’ll be ready to stop hiking.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    I briefly used my wonderful BA sleep pad to supplement a light weight chair without legs.  Yes, it was more comfortable, but I quickly realized that I was exposing my sleep pad to punctures from pine cone needles and who knows what else. Without the pad,  the “chair” wasn’t  worth the weight, especially since I was on the hard ground. I was most often more comfortable sitting on a rock or a log in camp, with my feet extended out in front. Rarely  would I also find good back support! But even with a comfy air pad, I think I would have stopped taking  the simple “chair” with no legs. I hated being on the ground. And it never seemed to work well perched on a log or rock. And all of the chairs with legs, that barely raise one off the ground, are heavy. Meh.

    that’s why I’m intrigued by hammock chairs. If you hike high and camp low in trees, this might be a way to go!

    Josh J
    BPL Member


    i sat in the REI chair, for me it wasn’t as comfortable as the chair zero.

    another option not discussed and is pretty comfortable, although your “sitting” on the ground but with  back support and can add butt comfort if needed is the litesmith QwikBack chair at 2.65oz

    Lisa Holmes
    BPL Member


    Using a Helinox Chair Zero and a sit pad with my sleeping pad, I figured out how to create an in-tent lounger, perfect for long hours at camp when it’s raining, or when mosquitoes are present. The sit pad keeps the chair from damaging the tent floor.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    Wow, Lisa for the win!!! everything but a big screen TV. Seriously, that arrangement answers all of my complaints about a light weight chair. the only caveat is, it’s an arrangement designed for inside a tent. The sleep pad stays safe from punctures that way.  And that’s a really good looking, plush pad.  And you stipulate this is for rain and bugs. However, for sitting outside a tent to take in the views and the scents and the tang of the wilderness…I don’t want to risk my sleep pad. so I’m back to logs  and  rocks.

    Josh J
    BPL Member



    Love it!


    Use a ccf pad or get a lite smith

    Qwick lite chair


    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    “Use a ccf pad or get a lite smith

    Qwick lite chair”

    Ummm…no thanks to both suggestions. I need my air pad. And the whole butt on the ground thing has never worked for me. that chair really is light! I do carry a  GG thinlite pad, but it’s  not robust enough on its own to protect from pine cone needles;  and actually, it has a tendency to collect  them. I don’t want pine cone needles in my tent!

    Paul S
    BPL Member


    My wife and I have been using the Crazy Creek hex chair for three years or so. Works great, and it is highly unlikely to fail due to not using any tent poles in its structure. Also, can use inside tent without puncturing your tent floor. Works on rock, snow (especially!) and meadows. Not so nice in the dirt /dust. Reliable, and comfortable. Perfect-no. Great overall – yes!

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