I remember the very first time I went camping. My dad was looking for a job in Oregon so we could move from Washington. To save money on the trip and make it a bit more fun for us kids, we went camping on the Oregon coast instead of staying in a hotel.
Ever since then, I've had a fascination with camping. Camping is my favorite way to take a break from regular life and reset. Even if you're simply sitting by the fire reading a book, it's a wholly different environment from anything you experience daily.
The only part I don't like about camping is the discomfort. I'm not a big fan of going from a comfy computer chair and cozy bed to inferior but portable versions, but you have to do it. Thankfully, choosing the right camping chairs helps make things a bit more comfortable.
Many people use cheap camping chairs because they need a lot, but investing in some nicer chairs is definitely worth it. These are some of the things I look for in a camping chair to make sure I'm getting a quality product.
To me, the most important part of a camping chair is comfort. When I'm not fishing or hiking, I spend a lot of my time sitting around the fire enjoying a drink or cooking breakfast. My family enjoys sitting in chairs to read, eat and chat, so comfort is important for everyone.
Finding a comfortable camping chair is a little bit tricky because comfort is subjective. If you can, I'd recommend going to a store and actually getting a hands-on look at some camping chairs. You don't even have to sit in them; just getting a close look at the shape and a feel for the material will help you decide.
I'm used to being at home where I have plenty of places to put things, but that's not the case when you're camping. It can be a bit of a pain when you don't have anywhere to put your food or drinks, so finding a camping chair that solves this problem is always a priority for me.
At minimum, I would recommend buying camping chairs with cup holders. This won't run you too much since this is a pretty common feature, but it will give every camper a spot for their drink. This is convenient, prevents spills, and even helps everyone keep track of their cup for later use.
Some chairs even have two cup holders. While this is a nice bonus, it's not something I look for because I generally don't need two cups near me. If you like to keep one cup of water and one filled with something more flavorful, you might want to go for a chair with two cup holders.
For even more convenience, find chairs with trays. This allows everyone to keep a drink, a snack, and even some personal belongings close by. These will cost a bit more, so this is more of an investment for hardcore campers.
Chances are you've never really thought about durability when buying a camping chair. Most of them are made of the same cheap materials, but they're far from equal. If you're going to invest a good chunk of change in camping chairs, it's important to make sure you're buying something that will last.
Most camping chairs have a clearly stated weight capacity on the tag or on the box. As a bigger guy myself, I can't stress how important it is to follow these weight limits. Camping chairs are made to be light and portable, not durable. If you want one that's both, you'll have to look for something specifically designed for heavier campers.
If a camping chair is heavy, there's a good chance it's a bit more durable. While most camping chairs are designed to be lightweight, heavier chairs are made with heavier metals for added durability. Often times, these are the same chairs that have higher weight limits.
If you prefer sitting on a stool, you should look into a good camping stool. These are basically camping chairs without the back and arms, which makes them great for fireside musicians and anyone who prefers something a bit more portable. A camping stool can also be used as a small tabletop.
I personally bring a few camping stools on every camping trip because I have a lot of musicians in my family. The lack of arms allows them to play guitar more easily, so this is something to consider if you like to pluck around when you're camping.
While not as important as the other factors, there are some additional features I look for in camping chairs. These features are essentially the cherry on top of good folding camping chairs for me.
If you can find camping chairs with a carrying bag, your life will be much easier. Once you've folded your camping chairs, you simply slide them in these bags to keep them from expanding. This saves space and makes the chairs easier to transport.
I also like to buy camping chairs in various colors. This makes it easier to remember who was sitting where, and thus whose food or drink is whose. It's a trivial detail, but the little things matter when you're trying to have a great camping trip.
These are just some of the things I look for in a camping chair. Everybody's preferences will differ to some degree. Now that you know a little bit more about finding solid camping chairs, your next camping trip will be transformed.
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