Best Camping Chairs for Bad Backs in 2024

by Vern Evans

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Finding a camping chair for your bad back might be the difference between a relaxing weekend of camping and dealing with a stiff back. Especially if you already struggle sleeping in a tent with nothing but a thin pad between you and the ground. 

If you hate the way most chairs lack support or sag so much that they seat you in a perpetual squat, then this review is for you. I interviewed a doctor of physical therapy to see what features the best camping chairs for bad backs share and compiled a list of chairs based on their suggestions.

How I Chose the Best Camping Chair for Bad Backs

When I spoke with DPT Benjamin Killen at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to find out what characteristics the best camping chairs for bad backs should have, he informed me that it’s not quite that simple. For starters, a “bad back” can vary drastically from one individual to the next. 

“There isn’t necessarily a direct correlation between an individual’s posture and back pain or relief,” Killen said. “Like most bad backs, there’s probably a greater underlying issue that needs to be addressed, and simply buying a chair isn’t going to change that. However, If you have a ‘bad back’ or back pain, the best thing you can do is find a chair that feels comfortable and avoid the ones that don’t. There’s no blueprint or one-size-fits-all for what this looks like, and, quite frankly, what one individual finds comfortable might look completely different to the next person.”

Killen also noted that there are certainly chairs that you want to avoid, like ones that have unsupportive seats or backs that give easily and might put you in an awkward position or cause you to excessively strain while you try to get up from the chair. According to Killen, if you have trouble getting up from low-seated positions, it’s probably best to avoid chairs with low seats and opt for higher ones.

With these considerations in mind, my goal in this review is to include a variety of chairs and styles that might suit the different “bad backs” out there. Because of availability issues, I was only able to test the GCI Freestyle Rocker and YETI Hondo Base Camp chairs. Additional chairs were tested as part of OL‘s look at the best camping chairs.

Read Next: The Best Camping Chairs

While no one chair will solve your bad back, there are options that provide more support than others and that can at least not irritate or agitate your bad back. Still, it’s best to try out a few chairs and see which ones hurt or help your cause before buying one.

The Best Camping Chairs for Bad Backs: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair

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Key Features

  • Price: $300
  • Weight Limit: 500 pounds 
  • Comfort: Excellent, firm style
  • Warranty: 5 years


  • Extremely comfortable with virtually no give to the fabric
  • Virtually untippable


  • Expensive
  • Shorter warranty than I would expect given its price
  • Only one cup holder

If you want the best of the best, you want the Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair. It was easily the most comfortable camp chair I tested, somehow firm and supportive while also being springy and cushy. It’s arguably more comfortable than any of the chairs in my actual home, let alone my current camping chairs. During testing it also proved surprisingly stable. The design of the back of the chair prevents you from tipping it backwards. It was also very difficult to tip forward or side to side. 

That stability made for a slight trade off in setup, however. There were a few steps involved to lock down the Yeti Trailhead, not all of them intuitive. I recommend you leave the directions stickers on the armrests for your first few outings. That being said, it’s an assembly-free setup, so once you’ve got the routine dialed, it’ll go quickly.

One place where the Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair fell a little short was with the cup holder. While the Yeti travel mug fit perfectly (no surprise there), most travel mugs will not. —Laura Lancaster

Best Value: REI Wonderland

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Key Features

  • Price: $100
  • Weight Limit: 300 pounds
  • Comfort: Great, firm style
  • Warranty: 1 year (90 days for non-members)


  • Great value for the quality


  • Limited warranty for non-members
  • No storage bag

While not quite at the level of the Yeti Trailhead, the REI Co-Op Wonderland camp chair delivered on comfort, aesthetics, and ease of use at a fairly affordable price point. If you’re looking to really upgrade your family’s camp chairs to something quality after years in saggy grocery store models, then this is one to start with. I was particularly impressed by its cup holder. While it only had one, it fit every beverage I threw at it except for the camping mug. While the seat wasn’t as firm as either the aforementioned Yeti or Dometic Go camp chair, it was miles better than the typical saggy camping chair design. It also has a more limited warranty, one year for REI Co-op members, and 90 days for non-members.

The only real ding for the REI Wonderland is the lack of a carrying case. In my experience, gear closets and camping vehicles can both get pretty unruly, and I prefer to have a little bit of protection for my camping chairs, both to prevent the fabric from ripping and to prevent other pieces of gear from getting tangled up in the chair legs. —Laura Lancaster

Best Budget: GCI Comfort Pro Chair

GCI Comfort Pro Chair 

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Key Features

  • Price: $45
  • Weight Limit: 300 pounds 
  • Comfort: Great, firm style
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime


  • Affordably priced
  • Higher seat works well for longer legs
  • Easy to unpack and go
  • Comfortable seat


  • Not as stable as other chairs I looked at
  • Less supportive than other options

This is the camping chair you’re looking for. It’s miles more supportive and comfortable than that sagging off-brand version in your garage. The cup holders work well enough. Unfolding the chair is the only setup required. And it’s a low enough price that you can buy one for each member of the family. This was also one of the few camping chairs I looked at that was backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

That’s not to say this chair was the best of the best. It was slightly less supportive than the Kijaro DualLock and significantly less supportive than the Dometic Go or Yeti Trailhead. It would slightly tip if you leaned too hard in any direction. One final note is that this chair had a noticeably higher seat than others that I tested — making it a great choice for taller individuals. —Laura Lancaster

Best Rocking: GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker

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Key Features

  • Weight: 12 pounds
  • Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Overall Height: 34.8 inches
  • Seat Height: 19.7 inches
  • Mesh backrest
  • Carry handle


  • Solid stationary or rocking chair
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable


If you want a solid camping chair, the GCI Freestyle Rocker, which has an aluminum frame, makes an excellent option. The spring-loaded shocks allow for smooth rocking when you want, but it also sits stationary for those times when you’re eating one of the best camping meals around the fire. But this chair isn’t just convenient, it’s also super comfortable and provides a sturdy, supportive backrest that doesn’t give like other camping chairs I sat comfortably in this chair for hours (way longer than you probably would on a camping trip) and would have no problem hauling it to the campsite or other outdoor get-togethers.

While the Freestyle Rocker makes a great addition to your campsite or backyard fire pit, it’s a bit heavy for any trip that requires a significant amount of walking to your setup. And the removable Velcro arm rests don’t provide much cushion or stay in place. But for everything within a short walking distance, this chair is my go-to, which is why it won best overall in the best camping rocking chairs review. —Adam Moore

Best for Backpacking: Helinox Chair One XL

Helinox Chair One XL

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Key Features

  • Weight: 3 pounds, 6 ounces
  • Weight Limit: 320 pounds
  • Seat Height: 18.5 inches
  • Materials: Aluminum, polyester


  • Very stable
  • Wide seat that is minimally constrictive 
  • Highest weight limit of the backpacking chairs in my test


While testing the best backpacking chairs, there was a clear winner for size, stability, and support: the Helinox Chair One XL. When I had my husband—6-foot-3—sit in both this and the Big Agnes Mica Basin XL, he was unequivocal that this was the most comfortable chair, both to get in and out of and to actually sit in for long periods of time. In fact, this chair is so big and so comfortable that I would happily use the Helinox Chair One XL as my regular car camping chair.

In addition to its seat height and the highest weight limit in my test, the Helinox Chair One XL was also one of the most stable chairs I tested, excelling on a number of different terrains, including sand, mud, and firm ground. It was also the least forward-tipping chair of the bunch, which puts less strain on your core muscles when getting to standing position. —Laura Lancaster

YETI Hondo Base Camp Chair

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Key Features

  • External Dimensions: 26.5 inches x 30.1 inches x 32.3 inches
  • Weight: 16.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Hondo cupholder fits with other YETI products
  • Five-year warranty
  • Hauler Handle


  • Super comfortable
  • Perfect height
  • Stores easily


  • Not sure about the fabric’s long-term durability
  • Steep price

Though they make some of the best fishing coolers, YETI has introduced a few camping chairs to their lineup as well. For the past two months I’ve been working from the Hondo, which means I spent hours upon hours in it, and I have zero complaints when it comes to comfort. The height of the Hondo is perfect and not too deep. And the solid frame and armrests make it easy to get up from the chair without it sliding or feeling like it’s going to tip over when I lean forward. One thing I like about the YETI Hondo Base Camp Chair is the tight stitched seat and back, which don’t give even after sitting in it all day. Though, I do wonder about the long-term durability of the fabric and how it might fare if left outside or on a camp porch for a substantial amount of time (I tested the Hondo in my home office). But so far, the material has kept its shape and tension, and if something does happen to your Hondo, it comes with a five-year warranty.

Though the Hondo has a solid construction, its 16 pounds makes it manageable to carry to the campsite, especially with the Hauler Handle. And it packs down great for its size, so you can easily store it when not in use or during travel. The added Hondo cup holder is a nice touch and accommodates YETI’s other products. The main drawback of this chair is the steep price tag. While I had the privilege of using a test model, I have to admit that I would have a hard time paying around $300 for a chair. And for a few extra bucks, I’d probably buy the YETI Tundra 45 and sit on that. But if you have a bad back and need a camp chair that’s super comfortable and supportive, the YETI Hondo Base Camp might be worth the investment.  —Adam Moore

Dometic Go Camp Chair

Dometic Go Camp Chair

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Key Features

  • Price: $150
  • Weight Limit: 280 pounds 
  • Comfort: Excellent, firm style
  • Warranty: 3 years


  • Comfortable, firm seat
  • Great aesthetic
  • Smallest packed size of the firm-style camping chairs


If you’re after the comfort of something like the Yeti Trailhead but are reeling at the price point, the Dometic Go is one to look at. At half the price, it’s close to being as comfortable as the Yeti Trailhead and was significantly more stable than the other firm-style camping chairs I looked at. It was the only firm-style camp chair I looked at that had a bit of a tilt to the back — nothing too significant, but worth keeping in mind if your preference (or health needs) dictates something more vertical. It also won points for its packed size, which was more svelte than several others of my top pics, making this a great choice for smaller cars. And if you’re buying for the family, the unfold-and-go setup will help streamline things if you’ve got more than one of these (storage was similarly easy and straightforward).

The aesthetic of this chair, which has beechwood arm rests, was pleasing, but it was one of the few camp chairs in my test that completely lacked a cup holder. If you’ve got a more robust camping setup, perhaps sporting one of the best camping tables, this may not be an issue for you, but if you use your cup holder consistently, it may make the Dometic Go a no-go. —Laura Lancaster

How to Choose the Best Camping Chairs for Bad Backs

While we have provided guidance in the above to help you start your search for the best camping chair for bad backs, most individuals will need to try out a camping chair first to confirm that it provides the necessary support and stability for their needs. If you have debilitating back pain that is preventing you from sitting comfortable in any camping chair, discuss options with your doctor for treatment.


Q: Do I need a camping chair for bad backs?

Based on my interview with DPT Killen, the best camping chair for a bad back varies from individual. Because “bad back” might mean something completely different from one camper to the next, there’s not really a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it’s important to find a chair that allows you to sit in it comfortably and avoid ones that irritate your bad back. If you know that most chairs hurt your back because they give or sag too much, look for one that has a sturdy, firm seat with a high back and added lumbar support.

Q: How much does a camping chair for a bad back cost?

The camping chairs for bad backs in this review range from around $50 to $300, depending on the materials used.

Q: What is the best camping chair for a bad back?

The best camping chair for a bad back is the one that’s most comfortable to you. But for this review, the YETI Hondo Base Camp Chair proved the most comfortable out of the chairs I was able to test. It provided plenty of comfort, even when I sat in it for hours on end, and the seat and back are just firm enough that you won’t sink into the chair like cheaper options.

Final Thoughts on the Best Camping Chairs for Bad Backs

Remember, the best camping chairs for bad backs will vary from person to person, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re looking for one. If possible, try out a few that allow you to sit comfortably and enjoy a fireside meal in the great outdoors and, ultimately, forget about your bad back.

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