Of course, you can use any chair you want when at the beach. Nobody is stopping you! But is is it a smart move?
I took one of my camping chairs down to the beach last week to investigate…
I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t the best experience.
Quite big and heavy
First off, I chose a fairly large chair. Although it folds up, it’s still 40″ long and weighs about 9lbs. No carry bag so I slung it over my shoulder for the half mile walk. The family had gone ahead of me so this was the only thing I carried to the beach, which was fine. But coming back from the beach, with all the gear and the kids. Not fine at all!
Moral of the story: if you’re going to use a camping chair at the beach, make sure it’s portable. Especially if you have to walk more than a couple of hundred yards.
A bit too tall
When I arrived I set it up underneath my Neso beach shade. The poles of the Neso are about 6ft tall so the shade slopes quite quickly to the ground. My camping chair sits quite tall off the ground so I had to position it just inside the awning. My head was almost touching the top and I had to pay attention to keep my feet in the shade. I’ve got no objection to sitting in a tall camping chair at the beach per se, but it’s definitely more comfortable being lower to the ground. And it is especially important if you’re going to sit in it under a beach canopy.
Moral of the story: if you’ve got a low slung camping chair, it may be fine for the beach, but taller camping chairs won’t necessarily fit that well under a canopy. Proper beach chairs tend to be lower to the ground and that makes them much more comfortable than camping chairs at the beach.
Not that comfortable
As I sat there watching my kids play in the surf I felt quite rigid. I wasn’t using a reclining camping chair and I’m normally quite comfortable without a recliner function. However, with the beach sloping down towards the water, I felt tilted forwards in a way that just wasn’t hugely comfortable. It wasn’t a huge problem, and all I was there to do was supervise the kids. But if I’d wanted to sunbathe, it would have completely spoiled things.
Moral of the story: if your camping chair doesn’t recline, you may not want to take it to the beach. If you want to sunbathe in your camping chair at the beach, you definitely want a reclining function IMO. But I reckon you’d be more comfortable in something that’s marketed as a beach chair.
Sinking into the sand
Finally, the feet of my camping chair sank quite a bit into the sand. Worse, the feet sank to different depths so I was constantly tilting and having to re-adjust position. My camping chair is fine on quite soft ground. Even a bit of mud doesn’t cause too much trouble. But I don’t think I want to take it onto the sand again.
Moral of the story: if your camping chair has really wide feet or, even better, uses bars at the front and back instead of feet, then you can probably use it in sand without much trouble. But don’t use your camping chair at the beach if it’s just got a normal 4-foot design; you’d be better off with a proper beach chair
You may very well have a better camping chair than me which would suit you perfectly well for using at the beach. However, based on my experience, I’m sceptical about using camping chairs at the beach. And if I ever use one again I would want the following characteristics out of a comfortable chair:
- lightweight & portable
- low to the ground
- tilted back or recliner
- wide feet or bars to stop sinking into the sand
For next time, I’ve got my eye on this dedicated beach chair, the “Nice C Low”. It’s just 6lbs and 24″ long. Sets up nice and low to the ground. Doesn’t look like it sinks into the sand but does look like you can lean right back into it. (If you buy it before me, please let me know if it’s worth it! Certainly the reviews seem pretty solid!).