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Last updated: July 31, 2021
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Whether you’re camping, tailgating, or hanging outside by the pool, having the right chair is essential to a day of relaxation. If you have a bad back, though, it may be difficult for you to find a camping chair that gives you the support you need. Luckily, there are plenty of great options out there that provide optimal support as the best camping chair for a bad back.
We considered some key things when choosing the products for this review. First, we looked at the dimensions of both the backrest and seat so both your hips and spine are properly supported. The upholstery material is important, too, not only for comfort but also for durability. Each of these chairs has a maximum weight limit for safety that you need to consider, too. Finally, we took a look at the folded dimensions. These chairs are meant to be portable and easy to take with you when you’re on-the-go so it’s important that they’re easy to carry.
We spent many hours looking at product descriptions and reviews from experts as well as the people using these chairs at home, around the campfire, and in their backyards every day. We summed up our top choices in a table that compares all of our picks side by side followed by detailed reviews of each product. Finally, we put together an in-depth buying guide to help you find the best camping chair for a bad back that suits your needs.
Our Editor’s Pick is the Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Chair, which is also the best padded camping chair for a bad back we could find. It can hold up to 350 pounds thanks to its sturdy steel tube frame, bungee suspension system, and durable polyester fabric. It provides the ergonomic support you need for a bad back, but isn’t hard or uncomfortable. This chair is heavy enough that you can tell it’s good quality but not so heavy that it’s difficult to carry from place to place. It’s recommended not to leave this chair outside when not in use as the wooden armrests could be damaged by the elements and some users commented that the frame rusted over time.
One reason this is such a great choice for someone with back problems is that it’s pretty adjustable. Easy-to-use locking levers keep the chair at the perfect recline, all the way from fully upright to a laid back. Plus, the flexible bungee suspension system creates a zero-gravity feel that’s super comfortable although this is not a true no-gravity chair.
Not only does this chair feature full padded seating but the attached padded pillow is removable and can use to provide either neck or lumbar support. The natural wood armrests are comfortable and stylish and there’s even a convenient cup holder so you can really kick back and relax.
This chair is covered by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty that covered any defects in workmanship and material. It’s available in a few different color options, too, including camouflage.
What makes it stand out?
Holds up to 350 pounds
Full padded seating
Adjustable, removable pillow
Four different colors available
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Cannot be left outside for long periods when not in use as armrests and frame can be damaged by exposure
Not only does the STRONGBACK Elite Folding Camping Chair have award-winning frame-integrated patented lumbar support, but it also supports your whole spine to align your body to ease tension and relax your muscles. It was specifically designed to prevent you from having to slouch which leads to uncomfortable pressure along your spine.
The ergonomic design also provides hip support for maximum comfort and the solid, padded armrests and an integrated cup holder to help you relax even more.
This chair weighs only 11.9 pounds and folds compactly to fit inside a backpack style carrying case. The double straps are easy and comfortable, so this is a good choice for backpacking, camping, or the beach.
As far as durability, the frame is made of black powder-coated steel for protection from the elements and the seat is made of heavy-duty polyester that’s tear and wear resistant, so it doesn’t sag or fray over time. Plus, you can choose from four stylish colors. Some people commented that the chair didn’t hold up for very long, but this wasn’t a common complaint. If there are any defects or problems, it is covered by a 1-year warranty.
The seat of this chair is pretty high which makes it a great choice for tall people, although those on the shorter side might find it a little too far off the ground.
What do we love it for?
Frame-integrated lumbar support
Ergonomic design also provides hip support
Includes backpack-style carrying case
Black powder-coated steel frame
Great for tall people
What were we disappointed with?
Some users commented that the chair didn’t hold up
The MARCHWAY High Back Camping Chair weighs only 3.7 pounds and folds down small enough to fit inside a carrying bag for easy travel. Add it in your carry-on or attach it to your backpack when you’re on the go. It’s a great choice for tailgating, backpacking, fishing, or spending a relaxing day on the beach.
If you have a bad back, you’ll love the comfy backrest and sponge pillow for head support. The seat is made of ripstop polyester and has wide corners at the back where the fabric is reinforced for added reliability. It was designed to be very tight initially because it stretches over time without any uncomfortable sagging.
Because the seat is high, it keeps your knees at a normal distance to the ground so it’s easy to stand up after a long time relaxing and won’t cause any knee pain or discomfort. The reclining angle is great, too, keeping your back fully relaxed while also giving your head the support it needs.
This chair is not only comfortable, but it’s durable, too. The frame is made of thickened aviation-grade aluminum alloy poles that are lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant. The shock-cord structure makes set up and fold down fast and easy and once it’s put together, strong Velcro straps help keep everything stable and add extra support. It can be difficult to put together at first but after some practice, it will come together quickly.
Why are we impressed?
Lightweight and collapsible
Ideal for travel
Frame is made of thickened aviation-grade aluminum alloy
For a true zero-gravity chair, there’s the AmazonBasics Zero Gravity Chair. It’s great for you back because it provides a stress-free weightless feel for complete relaxation and the padded headrest and contoured armrests keep everything else comfortable.
This chair feels great on your back and should last for a long time because it is really durable, too. The powder-coated steel frame is strong and durable, and a double bungee support system connects the weather-resistant fabric to the frame. While it can tolerate some exposure to water, it’s best not to leave it out in direct sunlight for too long when not in use as it could damage the elastic in the bungee supports. All of the chair frames are black, but you can choose from fabric that’s burgundy, black, beige, or blue.
It weighs only 16.5 pounds and is easy to transport. It not quite compact enough to take hiking or backpacking but is the perfect choice to set up next to the campfire on a camping weekend getaway.
Some users had trouble with this chair reclining too much while other user felt that it didn’t recline enough. It’s made to recline pretty far back, and most users were pleased with how smoothly and easily it adjusts.
What are its best features?
Powder-coated steel frame
Available in four colors
What could be improved?
Not good for hiking or backpacking
Some users had a difficult time with reclining positions
The KingCamp Camping Chair features a large seat area with a lumbar support system that helps keep your back comfortable. A high-strength steel tube frame has a card-slot metal-on-metal contact point design that evenly distributes your weight and can support up to 350 pounds.
The seat is made of waterproof Oxford Fabric, which is really durable. There’s a mesh cup holder in one armrest and a small cooler bag on the other that holds up to three cans of your favorite drink so you can truly enjoy your time relaxing at the campground or on the beach.
This chair actually has a lot of cool storage options, too. There’s a mesh stash pocket hanging under one armrest as well as a zippered head pouch where you can stash magazines, books, a tablet, or laptop so all your entertainment is within easy reach. Or, stuff a small pillow into the headrest for added comfort.
At only11.3 pounds, this lightweight chair folds up into a small carrying bag that you can toss over your shoulder for easy transport. That said, getting it back into the bag can be pretty difficult.
Some users also complained that the frame didn’t hold together very well, although KingCamp offers free replacement for any quality issues. Another common complaint was that the seat was a little too high causing some discomfort at the knees which means this chair may be a better choice for tall people.
Our Budget Pick for anyone looking for a camping chair for back problems is the Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chair. It uses a strong double bungee system for support and a durable textaline fabric seat that’s water resistant and dries quickly when wet. It’s available in several colors, too: beige, black, blue, burgundy, gray, and camouflage.
The powder-coated steel frame is strong and adjustable and features a dual finger-tip locking system that allows you to smoothly recline to any angle and lock it in place. You can choose a more upright recline when chatting with friends or elevate your legs above your head to reduce the pressure on your back, simulating a gravity-free environment. That’s not all, there’s also an adjustable headrest/lumbar support for added comfort. All you have to do is slide it to the position that’s most comfortable for you.
This chair weighs 19 pounds and folds down to only 6.3 inches wide which makes it easy to store and transport in the back of your car or truck. It supports up to 300 pounds. There are a few customer complaints that this chair broke quickly reclined a little too far. It’s covered by a 60-day warranty which should cover any initial flaws or defects.
Why is it special?
Powder-coated steel frame
Recline to any angle and lock in place
Adjustable pillow support
Folds to only 6.3 inches wide
What are the flaws?
Some customers complained that the frame broke easily
Can recline too far
Things to Consider
If you have a bad back and need a camping chair that’s both comfortable and supportive, here are some of the things you should know before you shop.
Why won’t a regular camping chair work for you if you have bad back?
Most camping chairs are pretty basic. They don’t offer a lot of lumbar support and are built more for convenience than comfort. That’s why there are special considerations if you already suffer from back pain.
Features to consider while choosing a camping chair for back pain
If you know what to look for, there are a lot of great options out there for anyone looking for a camping chair for back pain. Here are some of the main features to keep in mind while you shop.
Height of back and overall dimensions
There are two dimensions that are really important to consider when you’re looking for a supportive camping chair. First, consider the height of the back, especially if you’re looking for a chair you can recline in. Some of our picks, like the STRONGBACK Elite Folding Camping Chair, come up to just about shoulder height while others, like the AmazonBasics Zero Gravity Chair, have taller backs so that actually recline so you can lay back and relax, removing even more pressure from any painful areas.
The other thing to consider is the height of the seat from the ground. If you have knee problems or are on the tall side, a low seat can be hard to get out of so you should look for a higher seat.
That said, if you’re short, a tall seat can be uncomfortable. If it doesn’t hit your knees in the right place, it can feel awkward.
If you need help with your sitting posture or if your problems are in your lower back, lumbar support can really help you stay comfortable. Generally, there are two ways that camping chairs provide lumbar support. Some of these chairs, like the Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Chair, are ergonomically designed to support your entire spine or have lumbar support integrated into the frame.
Alternatively, a few of our picks, like the Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chair, have an adjustable pillow that can be used as either a lumbar pillow or moved to the top of the backrest for head and neck support.
It’s really important to follow the recommended weight restrictions for the chair you choose. Going over the weight limit can quickly damage every part of the chair including the seat, armrests, fabric, and especially the frame. Exceeding the recommended weight limit also voids any warranty that the chair comes with and can actually be pretty dangerous. You could fall backward and hit your head while reclining or fall through the seat. If the frame breaks, it might produce sharp edges that can cause some serious injuries.
Luckily, most of the chairs we chose have pretty generous weight limits. The lowest is 250 pounds and there are a few, like the KingCamp Camping Chair, that hold up to 350 pounds.
Upholstery and frame materials
Most of our top picks have frames that are made of steel or tubular steel. Some of them are even powder coated which adds a layer of protection against the elements to prevent rust. Steel is really durable and sturdy, but you still have to be sure stick to the weight restriction for your chair.
The MARCHWAY High Back Camping Chair is one exception as it doesn’t have a steel frame. Instead, it uses aircraft-grade corrosion-resistant 7075 aluminum alloy frame. Aluminum is not quite as strong as steel, but it is very lightweight so if you don’t need a high weight capacity and you’re looking for something really portable, an aluminum frame is a great choice.
As for upholstery, our top picks use a few different types of fabric. Some are made of polyester and foam for cushioning that gives a little extra comfort. You’ll also see some different types of polyester, specifically 600D and 1000D. The “D” stands for “Denier”. The high the number, the tougher the material. For comparison, a lightweight tent is usually made using about 70D. You can see that both 600D and 1000D are much stronger, the 1000D being particularly tough. Denier material is tough and water resistant, but it isn’t waterproof.
Another fabric you’ll see is weather-resistant Textilene. This is one of the most durable materials you can find for outdoor use. It’s made using strong polyester yarns, each coated with PVC for weatherproofing.
Chair weight and portability
All of these chairs are portable to some degree although you should consider how much portability you need. Just to give you some idea about weight, the heaviest chair in our reviews is 24.6 pounds while the lightest, the MARCHWAY High Back Camping Chair, is only 3.5. Although the chairs on the high end of the range aren’t exactly heavy, they’re obviously not meant for backpacking.
To choose the right chair for you, think about how you plan to use it. Are you going to carry it to and from your car to your campsite and set it up by the fire for a few days? Or are you going to be carrying it on your pack with all of the other gear you’ll need for a weekend adventure camping and backpacking in the woods? There are a few great options if you want a lightweight backpacking chair. They even collapse and pack away neatly into easy-to-carry travel bags.
We should note that even the larger, heavier chairs fold down small enough to fit in your car or truck for easy transport. They’re just not very convenient for carrying long distances.
Warranties on these products vary a lot. We found one that’s covered for 60 days and another with a limited lifetime warranty. Most of these chairs are covered for 1 year.
Keep in mind that every warranty is different so make sure you read the fine print. That said, most warranties only cover damage that was caused by faulty materials or craftsmanship. Again, this is one reason why you have to obey the weight capacity. Damage from too much weight likely won’t be covered.
Some of these chairs have extra features that we really liked. While they don’t necessarily add to the comfort of the chair, they may help you make up your mind about which one is the right fit.
A few of these chairs have integrated cupholders that are either integrated into the armrest or clip on to the frame. This is a great way to really kick back and relax whether you’re next to the campfire or hanging out on the beach.
We included one camping chair, the KingCamp, that takes this a step further and actually has a small integrated cooler in the arm rest where you can keep three cans of your favorite drink so you’re prepared for a few relaxing hours.
Some of these chairs have storage pouches which have really great. You can slide in your favorite book or magazine so it doesn’t get ruined by sand or dirt and it gives you a safe place to stash your smartphone or tablet.
It depends how short you are but, generally, a chair with a shorter back is better. Tall seats that are ergonomically designed may not fit your back right if you’re really petite and could end up causing more discomfort. This is especially true of reclining seats.
There are a few different options for lumbar support. Some chairs have integrated lumbar support in the frame while others come with an adjustable pillow so you can place the support right where you need it for proper support.
Zero-gravity chairs got their name because their recline position mimics that of an astronaut during lift-off. They use bungee supports around the perimeter of the fabric so there aren’t any bars or other support underneath you as you sit. They don’t go to a fully flat position, but they do have a pretty steep recline that usually lets you get your feet above the level of your heart.
Our top pick is the Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Chair. The padded foam seat and ergonomic support keep you comfortable and the durable steel frame holds up to 350 pounds. It features a locking mechanism to set the perfect recline and features stylish natural wood armrests and a convenient cup holder.
Next, we recommend the STRONGBACK Elite Folding Camping Chair. This award-winning design features frame-integrated lumbar support and the ergonomic support lets your spine and hips relax for superior comfort. Plus, it comes with a storage bag.
Finally, there’s the MARCHWAY High Back Camping Chair. This chair weighs only 3.7 pounds and uses a simple shock-cord structure for fast and easy set-up. It’s perfect for travel plus the thickened aviation-grade aluminum alloy poles are really strong and durable. This chair also comes with a lifetime limited warranty.