While camping chairs are getting lighter and lighter weight every year, you really can’t beat a sleeping pad chair kit when it comes to lightweight seating on a backpacking trip. These kits transform inflatable sleeping pads into comfortable and insulated chairs, so you can sit up and read, eat, or sit around with friends in comfort. If you already carry an inflatable sleeping pad, the incremental weight of a camping chair kit can be quite small, compared to chair kits that don’t use a sleeping pad or portable camping chairs with aluminum frames, which are much too heavy to carry and impractical for backpacking.
|Make / Model||Weight||Pad Width Compatibility||MSRP ($USD)|
|Big Agnes Cyclone SL Chair Kit||6 oz||Inflatable 20"||$65|
|Sea to Summit Air Chair (Regular)||8 oz||Inflatable 20-21.5"||$50|
|Sea to Summit Air Chair (Large)||10 oz||Inflatable 25"||$55|
|Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit 20||10 oz||Inflatable 20"||$40|
|Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit 25"||13 oz||Inflatable 25"||$50|
|Chinook Comfy Chair 25"||15.2 oz||Inflatable 20"||$23|
|Exped Chair Kit (Medium)||14.8 oz||Inflatable 20"||$85|
|Exped Chair Kit (Medium-Wide)||16.2 oz||Inflatable 25"||$89|
|Exped Chair Kit (Long-Wide)||16.6 oz||Inflatable 25" (extra thick)||$95|
|Exped Mega Chair Kit||19.8 oz||Inflatable 25" (extra thick)||$99|
|Big Agnes Big Easy Chair Kit 20"||21 oz||Inflatable 20"||$50|
|Big Agnes Big Easy Chair Kit 25"||22 oz||Inflatable 25"||$55|
|Kelty Camp Chair||18 oz||No Pad Required||$30|
|Crazy Creek HEX 2.0 Original Chair||21.9 oz||No Pad Required||$54|
|REI Trail Chair||25 oz||No Pad Required||$35|
|REI Flash Trail Seat||25 oz||No Pad Required||$45|
A Sleeping Pad Chair Kit Primer
There are two kinds of camping chairs available today: portable chairs which weigh between 1-3 pounds and are intended for car camping, and lightweight chair kits designed for backpacking that incorporate an inflatable sleeping pad to create a simple camp chair, so you can sit upright. The lightest weight chair kits consist of retainer sleeves and straps, while heavier ones often include metal stays (rods) for more structure. Both types provide extra external protection for your sleeping pad, so it won’t be punctured when you sit on the ground with it.
Most sleeping pad manufacturers, including Big Agnes, Therm-a-Rest and Sea-to-Summit, make sleeping pad chair kits that are compatible with inflatable pads from other manufacturers. For instance, you could purchase the Big Agnes Cyclone SL Chair Kit shown above and it would work fine with a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad.
Some old-school chair kits are still available, like those from Crazy Creek, that don’t require a sleeping pad, but they’re pretty heavy, weighing well over a pound. I’ve included them in the table above, for comparison purposes. Collapsible aluminum chairs, like the ones manufactured by Alite or Helinox, are even heavier and best used for car camping when they don’t have to be carried in a backpack.
Can you afford to add 6 or 8 ounces of gear weight to your backpack for a little extra comfort on the trail? Only you can answer that. But as backpacking gear gets lighter and lighter, year after year, it gets a lot easier to justify carrying a luxury item like a sleeping pad chair kit.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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