Camping, Backpacking & Hiking Gear

The Best Reclining Camping Chair in 2020

best reclining camping chair
Bertie
Written by Bertie

Back in the day I'd happily sit on a rock when camping. But those days are long gone! Now I much prefer a more comfortable seating arrangement. And a good recliner can really deliver the goods on that front. 

When trying to choose the absolute best reclining camping chair, you probably want to ask yourself a few questions first. Are you looking for a standard camping chair that has a reclining back? Do you want a footrest? Or are you looking for one of those zero-gravity numbers (more like a portable sun lounger)?

It's all down to personal preference. I'm no sun lizard and far prefer star-gazing to sun bathing (which is why the Nemo Stargaze Recliner makes my list of all-time best camping chairs). 

But if that's not your bag, here's a run down of the best reclining camping chairs in each style:

Specs

This is a 7 pounds, 2 oz swing-reclining chair. You can choose from four highlight colors, though the main body of the chair is always black. Nemo also offers a Full Lifetime Warranty, but it’s likely you won’t need it with this aircraft-grade aluminum suspension framed chair.

With a built-in cup holder on the left and an accessories pocket on the right, your essentials will never be out of reach. A 23.5 x 6.5 x 6.5-inch padded carry tote comes with the chair to keep it safe while not in use. 

Nemo makes the seat of light and breezy monofilament mesh, and it can support over 300 pounds. An adjustable headrest allows you to personalize the recline for maximum comfort. ($$$$)

The Verdict

The Nemo Stargaze is so much more than a chair. It's both a recliner and a swing, which allows you to feel totally relaxed. The chair base hangs from support sides, so you have a freely swinging pod that is so relaxing. 

It goes from carrying case to relaxing space with a few connector poles—you can set up the chair in moments. The padded carry tote is just under 2 feet long, so if you’re hiking, it’s a small addition.

The speciality mesh fabric keeps the chair looking like new—it is resistant to water and sun fading. You can leave the seat out and not worry about degradation.  

When you want to recline, there are no buttons to push or straps to adjust. You gently push back—that’s it! If you like ease-of-use, this recliner might be right for you. It operates with a simple elastic system. 

This may not be the best option if you’re very tall, users report that those over 6 feet might not be as comfortable. However, there is ample room in the seat.

In Summary

The best reclining camping chair is the Stargaze for a few reasons. First is its innovative design—the recliner mixed with a swing is incredibly smart. It's an upscale product, meant to stand the test of a lifetime of vacations. 

It’s also great for the whole family. Easy to set up and take down, even little kids will enjoy a swing in the Stargaze.  

Specs

Roll tote storage is the unique main feature of the Kelty Deluxe. It folds down in width, but not in height. Still, about 40 inches isn’t hard to handle with the 10-pound frame. 

It features multiple reclining positions, though you need to do more than press back to activate the chair. Its insulated beverage holders are great for a sporting event, and the three colors let you choose your outdoor decor. ($$)

The Verdict

The comfortable and portable Kelty Deluxe is what I would have taken if I was exploring the Egyptian desert in the 1900s. Its gorgeous roll tote reminds me of a steampunk adventure. Just collapse the chair and snap a few little clips, and you’re back the trail. 

Two arms, two armrests, and yes, two cup holders. I tend to use one cup holder for my drink and the others for S’mores supplies. If you like to hang by the fireside, this extra padded seat is great for that, especially since it weighs only 10 pounds. It's not uncomfortable to add it to hiking gear, for short journeys. 

In Summary

This chair is ideal if you want a comfortable, wide basic chair. Frankly, the fact that it reclines is a bonus. It’s simple—but that is part of the beauty.

Specs

Achieve an incredible weightless experience with a bungee support system. The standard recliner style is conveniently foldable for transport. The chair collapses down to 38 inches (L) x 25 inches (W) x 6 inches (H) and arrives intact—no assembly required.

Fully open, the chair is just over 5 feet long. Keep in mind the actual chair length is longer, as it doesn’t recline totally flat. 

This duo each comes with a removable cup holder combo tray and a detachable headrest, which adds to the total comfort. Seven color options let you choose one to suit your decor. Each chair weighs just over 16 pounds and has a rating to hold up to 250 pounds. ($$)

The Verdict

This Zero Gravity series comes two for one, which is why it's our best budget reclining camp chair. At a low price, especially for two, it performs like a luxury chair. It folds to only 6 inches thick, so it can slide in anywhere you need to store it.

They suspend the comfortable fabric of the chair with elastic bungees. This is a great feature, as they are simple to replace should you need to. They also designed the fabric to prevent mildew, which is great for camping or RVing in damp, wooded areas.

The detachable tray is perfect for an extended sit. It has multiple slots for books, tablets, phones, and yes, two cup holders. Keep your kid’s and your drink handy—or have a backup beverage for yourself. The downside is that you must remove this tray to fold flat and store correctly. 

In Summary

Users who wanted a versatile chair found it in the Zero Gravity line. It’s at home in the woods, on the beach, or on the sidelines of a kids’ soccer game. Since it’s quickly foldable, it's great for easy transport. 

If you're on the taller side, this could be a great choice as the chair is quite long.  

Specs

Though it has four cool colors available, that's not what makes the Tiber Ridge great. It has patented locks that keep you stable through a deep recline. You can choose any angle that suits you. 

The chair can support up to 350 pounds and weighs just under 25 pounds. It won’t be great for travel, but it is excellent for storage. It measures 43.5 x 22 x 21.3 inches when open, and can extend to 72 inches when you’re reclining. 

The seat is XL and features a removable pillow to help with your comfort. ($$$)

The Verdict

At 6 feet long, this Zero Gravity recliner is perfect for the tallest of us. However, since the seat is extra wide, it won’t be as compact for storage. Though it folds flat, it can be bulky, at over 3 feet wide. Since it’s too big for most people to take on a hike, I nominate the Timber Ridge as best for RVs and car camping. 

This chair has built-in pads in key areas to maximize your comfort. The choice of styles can suit any campsite, including a camouflage option if you’re keeping a low profile.

You can achieve a weightless feeling by locking the chair in place once you’re in the right position. That way, if you shift during your inevitable cat nap, the chair stays solid. 

In Summary

I love a chair ready to use out of the package—nothing to set up, nothing else to do but put my feet up and relax.  

The Timber Ridge can handle everyone in the family. Its comfortable seat means you might never sleep in the RV again. 

Specs

This recliner can almost become a cot. The Portal reclines to 170 degrees, just shy of horizontal. It comes with a locking system designed to keep you steady.

It’s large and in charge, over 72 inches long at full stretch. At 30 inches L x 29 inches W x 44 inches H, it can support over 350 pounds. 

No assembly is required, as the chair comes ready to use. At 27 pounds, it may not be the easiest to carry around, but since it folds so flat, it is portable. It comes in blue and green. ($$$)

The Verdict

If you’re not the only bear in the woods, then the Portal may be right for you. It’s XL size, and high weight-bearing rating makes it ideal for someone who needs extra support or for anyone who wants to also sit one of the kids on their lap safely.  

For reclining and watching the stars, this chair is perfect. So that you can stay in the chair longer, there is a side table with an integrated cup holder for your drinks and nibbles that can hold up to 4.5 pounds. 

Use the detachable headrest as a pillow. Or, when you’re sitting up, and you need a little more lumbar support, move the pad down. 

You don’t need to unlock any buttons to fold this chair—stand up, and it collapses with ease. It’s heavy at 30 pounds, but if you’re glamping or RVing, you’ll want to choose comfort and luxury over a cheap seat. 

In Summary

I love this chair because it can recline so far. It is almost like lying on a bed, which means you might take more comfortable naps than you care to admit.  

It’s also great for sky gazing or laying out on the beach to get your tan. If you're willing to take charge of the extra weight, this can be a great chair. I would suggest that it's perfect for the sidelines of sports games and camping out of your car.

Specs

I thought I could need more storage than there is in a camp chair. The Picnic time proved me wrong with its awesome back storage pocket. It sits at a comfortable 42x36x33 inches, which means you have a big, wide seat. Also, it supports up to 300 pounds.

It’s simple to open and fold, and packs away into an easy drawstring-top tote, folding down to just 37 inches long.  The ultra-padded seat is only one comfort feature, as the armrests also adjust. Together with the reclining backrest and three color options, you’ve got one of the best reclining camping chairs. ($$)

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a big comfy seat, the Picnic Time is excellent. When you’re hiking or trekking to a distant campsite, its 9 pounds weight is easy to handle. Unlike a gravity recliner, this collapsible model can fit into a neat little tote so you can toss it over your shoulder.

You can put a variety of small items into the large pocket on the back. I like to keep some crosswords and a pencil—I’m not ready to do them with pens yet! Like most camping chairs, it has a cup holder, but they’ve insulated this one. Keep your beers cold or your tea warm while you’re sitting outside.  

Most chairs with this “X” design can’t recline. The frame supports them, and they don’t move. The Picnic Time is exceptional because it has three distinct reclining positions for you to choose from. If you need to adjust further for comfort, the armrests go up and down with a simple strap.

It’s basic in style, but the three colors available are vibrant. While I don’t care for the scratchier fabrics, it means that the chair is more likely to hold up to wear and tear. The utilitarian design is forgiven, though, because the seat is so padded and comfortable.

In Summary

The Picnic Time is great for those who need to move around. If you need a big, comfortable seat, it’s a super light and easy option.  

Its top pocket allows you to keep handy a lot of items—while most other models don’t have permanent storage or can’t hold more than a phone or a small book. 

I even love the style;, for the ultra-fussy, the bold green, red or grey trim colors can match your camp decor.   

Specs

Ah, special features. My favorite extras on this list come from the Alps Escape Camp Chair, because of the removable footrest. With adjustable arms, this may be our most personalize-able item. 

It breaks down into a convenient shoulder carry bag, though not tiny. It is, however,  light, at only 10 pounds. Fully extended it runs 32. 5 inches W x 17 inches D x 41. 5 inches H and comes in grey or green—perfect camping colors. ($)

The Verdict

A recliner is just fine. In fact, it might be super comfortable. But what if you want to be extra laid back? You need a reclining chair with a footrest. Since you can adjust this extra length, it's great for taller people. 

This chair is so comfortable that you’ll want to bring it with you everywhere. It’s a good thing that that's easy with the included tote bag. Even with a footrest addition, it folds up relatively small. 

The only caveat is that it is rated much lower for weight than our other camping chairs. Able to handle 250 pounds, it's still probably fine for most people. But if you’re a snuggler or have rambunctious kids who might be a little more active while sitting, you may want to look at another chair on this list. 

In Summary

This chair is awesome because you can live it in two ways. Sit at the picnic table in the upright recline setting. Later in the night, add on the adjustable footrest, and relax in style. 

How to Choose the Best Reclining Camping Chair

Things to Look for That Make A Chair Right for You

Looking into these chairs showed me the most important factors I should consider when investing in my camping comfort. These include:

  • Weight of the chair
  • Style
  • Storage 

Weight of the Chair

It's the first point for a reason. You always want to think about any weight you’re adding if you're hiking—or even car camping. Hikers are overwhelmingly more likely to injure themselves when they overload their packs. 

If you want the lightest, go for the Picnic Time Portable Reclining Camp Chair. It’s only 9 pounds, which means you can strap it to your backpack and get moving!

Some of these recliners are better suited to single areas or minimal movement. Take them to the kids’ soccer games, and they’ll be great! But you may end up with aching arms if you try to move around the PORTAL Oversized Zero Gravity Recliner Chair, which is almost 30 pounds. 

Style

It seems silly, but I love a matching camping set. That’s just me, though. If you’re a social media maven, or just have an eye for design, look at the colors and style of your reclining chair. 

Most chairs have an option of colors. The option on our list with the most possibilities is the Best Choice Products 2x Zero Gravity Reclining Lounge Chairs, which are available in seven colors. 

Storage

I’ll tell you straight out; some chairs are easier to store than others.

 

A flat gravity recliner can easily fit into a trunk, but not in a hiker's backpack. If you’re toting your chair once in a while, go for the Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Recliner Chair, which is our best for RVs and car camping choice. It’s bigger, but stable if you’re not moving it around too often.

If you need to keep on the go or hike to a far-away campsite, the Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair is a fantastic option at only 7 pounds and with a small tote. 

Advantages to a Reclining Chair

So, overall, why should you choose a reclining chair? Is there a reason that it is right for you? What’s important to me is comfort and back support.

Those of us who spend most of our lives in an office chair can really feel the benefits of a comfortable camp chair that can recline. Studies show that changing the angle of your seated position can often help with lower back pain. 

Many chairs also feature an adjustable headrest. How can a headrest help your back? Well, since they’re movable, this can be used for lumbar support. It can ease pressure on your spine when you improve your posture, and a support cushion will help.  

Recliner sleeping is also great for people with asthma, allergies, and mild sleep apnea. Grandpa can take a restorative nap (when he said he would be fishing) while everyone else goes on a hike. 

Precautions

When you’re using your new chair, use common sense when setting it up. If you’re on a lawn or concrete, you’ll be fine. But if you’re camping or on the beach, take care to check the ground. Don’t set it up on rocks or moss that could cause you to slip and don’t balance on uneven surfaces.

Most of the chairs on this list come with a great warranty. Remember, a warranty won’t cover regular wear and tear. Treat your chair well—give it some lubricant and clean it after being near saltwater. If you take care of your camping gear, it will serve you for years. 

You can also help prevent insect bites, like chiggers and mites, by sitting on a chair. If you suspect you’ve been in a hot-bug-zone, wash your chair thoroughly and let it dry in the sunshine to prevent cross-contamination with your home.

In Conclusion

If you want to be comfortable while roughing it, you need a reclining camp chair. If you’re RVing to a national park or just headed to the local sports event, there’s no reason you can’t live your best life. 

My clear winner is the Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair. With its unique hammock-like design, it's also the most portable—you’ll be relaxing and reclining in no time. My runner up is the Best Choice Products 2x Zero Gravity Reclining Lounge Chairs, since it comes in a bundle of two AND is exceptionally comfortable. 

To find the best reclining chair for you, look at the styles and colors. Construction plays a big part, but so does comfort and size. Keep within your price range, but remember, a good camping chair is an investment in your adventures. 

About the author

Bertie

Bertie

I’m Bertie and I’ve been enjoying the wilderness for as long as I can remember. I get out camping, hiking and backpacking whenever I can. And when I can’t, I enjoy writing about outdoor-related stuff!

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