The 4 Best Reclining Camp Chairs for Kicking Back and Relaxing in the Great Outdoors
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From zero-gravity to ultra-lightweight chairs, we tested several options for every type of camper.
Seasoned campers and glamping enthusiasts alike will appreciate the ability to fully relax in a reclining camp chair. These portable chairs come in different sizes and styles, so you can opt for a more rugged recliner or luxury lounger.
To put various camp chairs to the test, we researched the best in the market and chose six reclining chairs to test in our New York City lab. We then sent the chairs out into the wilderness with outdoor experts to see how they performed over the course of six months. We tried recliners from trusted outdoor brands like Nemo and Kelty, evaluating and comparing each model based on portability, ease of use, comfort, and durability. No matter your camping style, the reclining camp chairs highlighted below offer exceptional comfort so you can unwind and take in the invigorating beauty of nature.
Best Overall: GCI Outdoors Zero Gravity Recliner
Why We Love It
The breathable mesh seat is comfortable in one of the many lockable reclining positions.
What to Consider
Some of the plastic material feels a bit flimsy.
We had a hard time not napping the day away in the GCI Outdoors Zero-gravity Chair. This zero-gravity lounging chair has an adjustable headrest and long footrest so you can kick your feet up while sitting by the fire. The chair has a mesh suspension seat to cradle and support the body whether you’re sitting fully upright or laying back in one of the lockable reclining positions. For extra comfort, the padded headrest is adjustable so it can easily slide up and down the top of the chair to support your head in any sitting position. The cup holder and phone pocket hangs off of the arm of the chair, making it both convenient to access and tuck away when the chair is folded up. It’s intuitive and simple to fold, unfold, and recline the chair thanks to the easy-to-press buttons that release and lock it. Some of the plastic does feel a bit flimsy, but it didn’t cause us any issues during testing. Another thing to keep in mind is that the chair doesn’t have a carrying strap, and it’s on the heavier side at 17.9 pounds, so you may not want to bring it if you’re hiking into a camping spot or need to walk long distances. If you’re like us and still appreciate a supremely cozy nap option for car camping, this is still an excellent choice.
Price at time of publish: $110
The Details: 17.9 pounds | 36.4 x 30.3 x 6.1 | 300-pound weight capacity
Best Hammock-style: Eagles Nest Outfitters Lounger DL Camping Chair
Why We Love It
It has a unique and comfortable hammock-like feel when sitting in it.
What to Consider
It only has one reclining position.
The ENO Lounger DL Chair weighs under 5 pounds, and it breaks down to fit in a carrying bag to transport it easily between the car and the fire pit. One of the most unique aspects of this chair is that the seat has a hammock-like design and floating feel to it, similar to a hammock. The seat is made with a soft and durable nylon fabric that still feels very supportive despite the free-hanging feel of the chair. The legs can be adjusted to sit higher or lower on the ground, and although there is just one reclining position, it has just the right amount of recline for sitting in comfort for hours on end. We found that it might take a little bit of time to put the chair together and break it down, but after you do it once or twice, it’s much easier — and beyond worth the dreamy relaxation.
Price at time of publish: $140
The Details: 4.62 pounds | 37 x 32 x 23 inches | 250-pound weight capacity
Most Comfortable: Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Lounge Chair
Why We Love It
The foam padding in the seat and 170-degree recline position make this chair ideal for all-day lounging.
What to Consider
The chair is very heavy and has natural wood materials that could tarnish over time if it’s not covered.
Once you sit in the ultra-comfortable Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Chair, it might be hard for you to get up. For napping, reading, or simply relaxing and enjoying nature, this lounger has thick foam padding woven into the 600D polyester fabric, a supportive leg and footrest, and an adjustable headrest for finding the most comfortable positioning. With reclining positions from 0 to 170-degree angles, there are a variety of ways to sit back, lay flat, or stay upright depending on your preferences. The chair also boasts a folding side table with a cup holder, and the armrests are made with a natural wood finish for a premium look. However, the brand recommends that the wood not be exposed to sunlight or rain, so you may want to cover them during inclement weather. The only major downside is that this chair is very heavy at nearly 20 pounds, and since it doesn’t have straps to carry it, it’s best for at-home lounging or for outdoor activities where the car isn’t far from the campsite or beach.
Price at time of publish: $115
The Details: 19.84 pounds | 43.5 x 30.5 x 24 inches | 350-pound weight capacity
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Best Lightweight: Nemo Moonlite Reclining Chair
Why We Love It
It weighs just under 2 pounds, and the mesh fabric filters air through to prevent the back from getting sweaty.
What to Consider
It doesn’t have a footrest like zero-gravity chairs.
While zero-gravity chairs are nice for lounging, they are quite big, so we recommend the Nemo Moonlite camp chair for campers looking for superior portability. The chair itself weighs just over one pound and breaks down into a carrying bag that’s a little bigger than a 32-ounce water bottle, so it can easily be packed for a camp trip or tossed in a tote bag for the beach. The frame is intuitive to put together, and the edges of the fabric seat have rubber ball-and-socket snap connectors to secure the seat to the frame, preventing the fabric from ripping or stretching. To recline the seat, all you have to do is adjust the side buckles for an upright or leaned-back seat. Although this chair doesn’t have a footrest, the portability and comfort make it well worth the lack of foot support.
Price at time of publish: $160
The Details: 1.14 pounds | 26 x 20 x 20 inches | 300-pound weight capacity
Other Reclining Camp Chairs We Liked
There were several reclining chairs that we still enjoyed sitting in, but they had some slight issues during testing with durability or functionality.
Kelty Lowdown Camping Chair: For a traditional folding camp chair, this one from Kelty is easy to set up and super comfortable. However, it only has a slight recline, so it’s not the best option if you’re looking for a variety of adjustable features.
Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair: This luxury camp chair has a unique suspension design that resembles a hammock, but we found the legs scratched easily, and we didn’t think the seemingly less durable materials matched the premium price tag.
Our Testing Process
We originally tested 29 camping chairs in our New York City lab and then sent the chairs out for an additional six months of testing in real-world conditions. Of the 29 chairs we tried, there were six options that offered reclining features. We rated each chair based on ease of use, portability, comfort, and durability to find and recommend the most well-rounded chair for each category. The best reclining chairs we tried are easy to set up and break down and are made with durable and long-lasting materials. In addition, the highest-rated chairs aren’t too cumbersome to transport and offer excellent comfort for long periods of time.
Related:The Best Beach Chairs, According to Our Tests
Tips for Buying a Reclining Camp Chair
Factor in portability
In general, zero-gravity lounge chairs are a lot heavier than typical camp chairs. While portability is very important for camping, it should be noted that most lounge chairs aren’t the most portable, but they offer superior comfort. If portability and space in a car are important factors for your camping trip, consider getting a reclining camp chair that forfeits a footrest or tray table to save space.
Choose a type of reclining chair
There are several types of reclining camp chairs available, including zero-gravity, suspension, and chairs that come with built-in reclining backs. Zero-gravity chairs often come with a long footrest so when you tilt the chair back, the footrest lifts up, too, putting you completely off of the ground. Camp chairs with suspension seats have a similar feel to a hammock where the seat dips between the frame for a free-floating feel. Lastly, there are traditional folding camp chairs that have a built-in tilted seat that have a simple but comfortable design for a more basic style.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean a reclining camp chair?
Typically, the chair will come with cleaning instructions to follow for ensuring the chair has a long life span. If instructions aren’t provided, you can spot-clean the chair with a wet washcloth and then leave it out to air-dry before folding it up and storing it in a dry place to prevent rusting.
What is a zero-gravity reclining chair?
A zero-gravity chair is a suspending lounger that has a long footrest to support your entire body. When the chair reclines, the footrest lifts up so your entire body is completely off the ground. These chairs don’t typically let you lay flat, but the footrest should lift your feet above the heart while you’re seated in a reclining position.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure, where she writes about and reviews travel products. She writes most of the team’s tested articles and participates in nearly every travel test in our New York City lab and out in the real world while traveling. Anna sifted through camp chair testing notes to choose the top-performing reclining camp chairs that we tested in our lab.
Related:The Best Camping Chairs of 2023, Tested by Outdoor Experts
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