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Lightweight Sleeping Pad Chair Kits

Lightweight Sleeping Pad Chair Kits

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 / ModelWeightPad Width CompatibilityMSRP ($USD)
Big Agnes Cyclone SL Chair Kit6 ozInflatable 20"$65
Sea to Summit Air Chair (Regular)8 ozInflatable 20-21.5"$50
Sea to Summit Air Chair (Large)10 ozInflatable 25"$55
Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit 2010 ozInflatable 20"$40
Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair Kit 25"13 ozInflatable 25"$50
Chinook Comfy Chair 25"15.2 ozInflatable 20"$23
Exped Chair Kit (Medium)14.8 ozInflatable 20"$85
Exped Chair Kit (Medium-Wide)16.2 ozInflatable 25"$89
Exped Chair Kit (Long-Wide)16.6 ozInflatable 25" (extra thick)$95
Exped Mega Chair Kit19.8 ozInflatable 25" (extra thick)$99
Big Agnes Big Easy Chair Kit 20"21 ozInflatable 20"$50
Big Agnes Big Easy Chair Kit 25"22 ozInflatable 25"$55
Kelty Camp Chair18 ozNo Pad Required$30
Crazy Creek HEX 2.0 Original Chair21.9 ozNo Pad Required$54
REI Trail Chair25 ozNo Pad Required$35
REI Flash Trail Seat25 ozNo 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.

Big Agnes Chair Kits
Big Agnes Sleeping Pad Chair Kits

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.

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4 comments

  1. Bill in Roswell GA

    It is a pleasure to have a chair when you’re in places without logs or rocks to sit upon, especially when the ground is frozen. I used a chair kit with self-inflating pads back when thicker sleeping pad material was the standard. Now, with lightweight pads using very thin material, I don’t want to expose my sleeping system to a chance of punctures. That said, the wise hiker would use some sheet plastic, tyvek, foam pad or something similar to protect the bottom of the chair/pad combo. Same wise hiker will also have some patches or GearAid tape in the ditty bag! Enjoy your chair kit but do mind the ground you place it on!

  2. You neglected a 3rd backpacking chair option. A hammock chair is 7-10 oz. Most people I backpack with gave up their pad chairs for hammock chairs in the Whites. 3/4 length UQs work well to insulate if you already hammock camp or they will also work with your sleeping pad or sit pad if you are a ground sleeper.

    • Thank you Bill and Josh. Useful information.

    • Do you have any recommendations on hammock chairs? I’m not very familiar with them. I’m planning a section hike on the AT in October and might want to look into one of those… well, I won’t spend my time looking at it but I’ll be sitting on it!

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