Don’t let an aching back put a dent in your summer camping plans. With a little research and a good camping chair, you’re all set to go camping! Back pain can really cramp your style…but not anymore when you arrive ready to roast — (marshmallows, that is!). The best camping chair for bad back pain is easy to find once you know what to look for.
- Top 9 Best Camping Chairs for Bad Backs
- Buying Guide
Top 9 Best Camping Chairs for Bad Backs
STRONGBACK Elite Folding Camping Chair
Let’s start with this offer by Strongback—a perfectly named company. This perfectly compact camping chair has some significant advantages due to its excellent design. Reviewers commented that camp chairs with such simple but effective designs are hard to come by. This one truly takes first place.
- Simple design
- Easy to set up and take down
- Comes with a carry bag
- Unique back support structure
- Weight limit is 300 pounds, so be sure to account for the weight of the user with a bad back
- Thin legs and feet on this chair make it less suitable for sand or sandy soil if you prefer an extra stable chair
It’s a simple design and effective performance. While most users appreciate the ease of use, some aren’t fans of its lower stability rating when used on unlevel ground.
Timber Ridge Camping Folding Chair
Timber Ridge has it going on. This high-back camping chair is made for rugged adventures, as its brand name implies. Users are inspired to go on whatever adventure comes their way with this padded, high-back resting spot.
- Simple design is easy to unfold/put away
- High back
- Nicely padded material
- Aluminum frame makes for a lightweight, easy to use chair
- Weight limit is 300 pounds
- Besides the padding, there isn’t a lot to say for back support
- No cup holders in the chair itself
The biggest negative about this choice, despite its extra padding, is that it won’t be optimal for serious back concerns. However, for those with simply in and out pain (or if you are irked by non-padded chairs), this choice is top-notch!
Calla Dream Camping Chair
The Calla Dream Camping Chair is really a great, basic choice for any kind of outdoor sitting needs. In particular, it is designed to be a middle-sized chair that’s still suitable for higher weight ranges. The back support it claims is mainly referring to the pillow padding and cross-stabilized legs.
- Padded pillow built into the design
- Holds up to 400 pounds
- Very sturdy
- Has a cup holder and side pocket
- The pillow makes this a helpful choice for neck pain
- Other than the pillow, the design is pretty typical for outdoor chairs
- Not great for lower back support needs
- Some users are not a fan of how low the back is
The Calla Dream is a compact size, which is good for shorter individuals. This may not be the best for your tall friends and family. It is easy to take along for an extra seat to alleviate activity-soreness for your adventure companions, though!
Lightspeed Outdoors Tripod Folding Chair
Well, the brand knows what it’s doing—that’s for sure! Sitting in this chair is a unique experience (not many of us have grown up with three-legged sitting devices!). While uncommon, many new tripod chair users are stunned by how comfortable they are. This model is lightweight yet durable enough for rugged terrain.
- Taller than most tripod folding chairs
- Wider than most tripod folding chairs
- Padded yet easy to clean
- Comes in two color options
- The tripod design is unique and not for people looking for “traditional” camping chairs
- You’ll need to be careful the first couple of times you use a tripod chair due to the difference in weight distribution compared to a four-legged chair
- Not best for those who dress in skirts or dresses, as the chair design separates legs slightly
This is certainly unique. And, not every heavy-duty camping chair wins points for being an other-worldly experience and the perfect nature-world gear at the same time. You have to truly consider the user before purchasing this one, as the tri-legged design is not what most are familiar with.
NiceC High Back Folding Chair
What a unique design to add to your camping collection! Besides the convenient feature of a storage bag and storage holder, NiceC designed a chair that’s ready for basic assembly and pack-up within seconds. So, while it is a more simple design than most options in this list (with no armrests), the space gained by the ergonomic shapeliness equals more room in the trunk for other items. Plus, you’ll notice a reduction in back pain while sitting in it.
- Unique shape and design
- Easy to unfold and pack up
- Side pocket for holding items
- Removable pillow, in case you prefer the chair without it or another camper, needs it
- There aren’t armrests in this design
- The nature of this chair is slightly angled, which some users may not find comfortable depending on the back issue (while others claim its the best part)
- As a result of the material used on the seat, some users complain that the rain causes a puddle on the seat (no drainage)
The takeaway here is that this is a unique, ergonomic camping chair with high ratings and a high back. Mainly, the raving folks are happy about this product for ease of use and durability. Also, they’re happy about the removable pillow (saying it’s super comfortable but nice to have the option to let another camper use it). And, the best part, it’s truly ergonomic and the perfect pain solution for several reviewers.
KingCamp Ergonomic Outdoor Folding Chair
This ergonomic folding chair is great for a few reasons. Top on the list for its key features are the hard armrests. For many with back pain or weak backs, getting down into a chair can be challenging, but nothing is worse than feeling stuck once you’re in it. The armrests alone are a game-changer for many.
- Compact design
- Ergonomic back
- Hard armrests which can be nice
- Mesh fabric—more breathable and helps the chair dry off faster if it gets wet
- The slightly scooped back is not pain-friendly for some lower back problems
- Durable, but not the most stable according to some reviews
This is your basic ergonomic chair with a comfortable design. The big plus here is all about the muscular arms. However, if you’re with someone of whom balance or stability is a known issue, keep an eye on the chair itself when the user moves around if you’re parked on unstable ground.
KingCamp Heavy Duty Camping Chair
Wow, what a well-crafted piece of camping gear! Yes, we’re looking at another item from King’s Camp—but who doesn’t enjoy feeling like the camping king-of-the-hill? This chair, however, is vastly different from the last option. Both have important things for people with different reasons for back-support seats.
- Sturdy design
- Director’s Chair build provides a more taught chair bottom, which is optimal for those with low back pain
- Arms are padded but stable
- Color options available
- Built in side table
- Some users enjoy the padded back, but others find it unnecessary
- Side table is built in, so you’ll have to deal with it when unfolding or repacking
You’ll feel ready and able to direct the scenes, as any proper ruler would, in this Kings Camp Director Chair. With your back feeling supported, you’ll have the confidence to enjoy the adventure right along with your whole cast and crew of adventure characters.
Coastrail Outdoor Camping Chair
Coastrail knows how to build a hardcore camping chair for lumbar support needs. This chair is proof that you can be extra comfortable and extra supported even while camping… at the same time. Sometimes it’s hard to get both in a single swoop, but many reviewers comment that both desires are taken care of in this durable seating option.
- Extra padded from back to the bottom to armrests
- Oversized and good for people who want space
- Comes with a carry bag
- Basic cup holder on each armrest
- Oversized if looking for an easy to travel option
- Some users felt it wasn’t quite as sturdy as other chairs they’ve tried
- Built in cooler bag is great, or could be in the way if not interested in this feature
The Coastrail Outdoor heavy duty lumbar support chair is a great option for a bunch of reasons. This one is really good for those camping trips where you find a spot and plant your site for a good bit of time (and perhaps not as suitable to carry along for hiking, due to its heavy duty nature).
STRONGBACK Director Chair
Let’s start and end Strong—with options from Strongback, that is! This one is totally different from where we started. Here we have a hardcore back-helping director chair design with excellent leg stability and a built in side table for your early morning coffee or after hours beer. Whether you’re reviewing the script for your next nature scene or the Sunday News, this chair is great for relaxing and reducing your back pain at the same time.
- Unique design from handles to shape
- Made to be extra comfortable
- Very durable
- Built in side table
- Extra sturdy
- Easy to fold and unfold
- Not the typical “camp chair” style, so consider the user’s aesthetic preference
- Dries quick but not the best for immediate drainage
- Some users complain that the side table isn’t adjustable for height or angle (but they seem to appreciate it regardless)
The Strongback is here to help you enjoy the outdoors whether you have a strong back or not. The stable legs and durable design make this a great option for the old (and less stable) to the young (and a little reckless). In all cases, this chair does the trip for good quality, comfortable landing spot whether camping or fishing or sport-spectating!
What makes for the best camping chair for bad backs? We have a few pointers below to help you on your journey of choosing the best camping chair to help you enjoy your trip without pain or fuss!
There are a few main types of back-friendly foldable chairs, so let’s cover them below so you can think through what is best for you (or the back-pain nature-lover in your life).
Sling chairs are designed with a sling shape, similar to a hammock. These chairs are considered ergonomic because they alleviate direct pressure on specific sitting muscles with the associated nerves.
The fabric of the chair slings from the top of the head area to the opposite end near one’s knees. As a whole system, it is made to contour to the body, which is good for relaxing.
However, this may not be the optimal position if you need to sit up more than lay slightly back. The sling chairs tend to be slightly angled to enhance their ergonomic comfort. Again, great for relaxing but not for all purposes.
Consider whether you want more of a “classic” design or something a little more modern. As simple as the tripod chair is, it is certainly not “normal” looking by our four-legged chair ideals.
As for back pain, this shape delivers the most shocking, positive results for most users.
However, we mentioned this above when we explored the pros and cons of a good tripod option, but it’s worth restating— tripod chairs will take a little getting used to. If you’re not used to this, and you’re not careful, chances are you’ll knock yourself over trying to sit down or get up. However, once you’ve practiced with it and this is not an issue, most people find tripod chairs to be revolutionary for pain reduction and heightened comfort overall.
The only other foreseeable issue for tripod chair users is that they are not suitable for those who prefer to keep their knees closer together while sitting. This is particularly problematic for men or women in skirts or dresses of any kind. Imagine something more like a horseback saddle. Your legs will inevitably be spread, which is part of the design to alleviate back pain and is not adjustable for the user.
Director’s Chairs are calling the shots, according to many back-pain sufferers! And really, who isn’t going to need some level of extra back support on a camping trip, anyway? Director’s Chairs are particularly helpful for back-pain persons due to their upright shape and taught seat bottom.
Because there’s less excess fabric in either the back or bottom of a heavy duty director’s chair, the user is held more securely in place. It’s more like a regular household chair with a cushion than a typical camping chair, which can be difficult to get into or rise out of.
Extra Padded Chairs
As mentioned in number three, perhaps you’re not typically a member of the back pain club, but you’re smart enough to know that hiking and camping aren’t the friendliest back-muscle activities!
For anyone, but especially those who appreciate extra comfort after lots of moving around, an extra padded heavy duty camping chair may be precisely what you need to recover quickly between Frisbee games and lake hikes. Or, maybe you do suffer chronic back pain (or any injury that would keep you sitting for extended periods). In this case, you would be wise to consider some extra padding in your seat.
If you’re leaning in this direction, think of where you might want this padding the most. All over? Only on the back? On the arms? Only a pillow? Just a few minutes of forethought will help you choose your best solution.
Weight A Minute…
Who will be sitting in this chair most of the time? Just because a chair says “heavy duty” doesn’t mean it’s the perfect fit for whoever will be using this chair. And, just because a person is of higher weight doesn’t immediately translate to preferring a wider seat. Vice versa, you may have someone who prefers the roominess of a wide seat but isn’t requiring high weight ratings. Pay attention to the reviews listing these sorts of comments if either height, width, or weight limits are of concern to you or the person you are adventuring with.
Also, another thing to consider with weight… will you be carrying this in a slingback? If so, is it a far distance, such as a hike? You definitely want to consider the weight of the chair you plan to carry along. A chair too heavy can be great for back pain, but it’s all for naught if you cause damage on the way.
Lumbar Support Device Chairs
Some chairs (including options linked in our review selection) have built-in lumbar support. These are chairs that are really made for extensive support. Those with serious issues may find nothing less suits them, especially on the rough terrain you may be settling in, typical to camp trips.
Alternatively, lumbar support chairs can be super helpful for sports events, where you’ll be in one position for long periods. It definitely beats bleachers!
See just a few FAQ’s below to help you finalize your choices and choose the most suitable camping chair for bad back pain:
How do I pick the right shape for me?
- Try watching videos like this one, where people give their feedback while trying out various chair types.
- Think about the types of support you need on a typical day. What seat style is generally the most comfortable for you?
- Think about the locations you will be whipping out your new chair in; are you going to be up and down (and perhaps need a simple, higher place to plop)? Or, maybe you’re envisioning cozying up to a bonfire most of the time. In that case, you might enjoy a unique design from something tech-forward to bean-bag style.
- Big guys or gals may have unique needs beyond the weight limit. Especially if buying this as a gift, think of the general abilities of the person who will be using this chair most often.
- If you typically use some form of lumbar or lower back support in daily life, chances are you’ll be most comfortable with a lumbar support camping chair. Don’t neglect this feature in your search if you already know you do best with this design.
- Portable chairs with back support are not hard to find. The real decision-making factors all come down to your preferences and the type of pain you experience. Don’t get caught up in what’s “best” according to others… use your experience to guide you.
So what’s the best heavy duty camping chair for your back-pain adventure buddy? It depends on their particular pain location and what’s the most needed area of support. It’s easy to pick the right option if you give a little thought to these things. The biggest thing is to make sure you’ve settled on your choice before you get out in the woods. An uncomfortable chair can cause problems you didn’t have before you left the house. On the other hand, along with a stress reduction, the right chair can take you out of the pain zone and give you a lasting reduction in back pain, long past coming home!