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Backpacking chair ya or na?

I know this one is debatable but I’m looking for opinions on both sides. I’m ready to pull the trigger on a REI Flexlite chair. Seems a bit pricey? Plus the extra wt. I’m trying to lighten up my gear not add to the wt. Justifying it by looking at a lighter pack like the ULA Circuit. Of those that have one is it worth the extra pound?

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10 Replies

I don't have one - have never felt the need.  There is always a log or the ground.  Expend the weight and the money on something more critical.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Hello @Timoe1.  This is a common struggle for many folks, including myself.  Personally a chair has become a standard part of my base kit.  I have used sit pads, logs, rocks, and the ground for years, but feel the benefits of a chair is worth the weight.  Some think the comfort is worth it, others don't.   It really boils down to whether you feel the benefits outweigh the additional weight.


These are a couple of options I have used over the years.

The Flexlite Air and the Helinox Zero Chair are both great options and only add 16oz. to your load.


I'm sure many in this community would love to share their personal preference.   Happy Trails!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hey @Timoe1,

I use one, but probably take it on only half my backpacking trips. It keeps me from having to sit for extended periods on the frozen or wet ground. The length of time I will be sitting around on a trip (i.e. if I am going to be taking long exposure photos, or looking through a spotting scope) determines if I will bring it or not. I have the Helinox Zero and would recommend the snow/sand ground sheet. My biggest advice is, if you can, to sit in a couple models in the store and find out if they are comfortable to you. The position you sit in is kinda awkward and you might feel too tippy in one model compared to another. 


Unnecessary and the 1# ones are not that comfortable.  Get a sit pad instead. 

Does depend a bit where you go and what you do there.  If you sit around at camp a lot and the places you go don't have convenient rocks or logs to perch on then it might make sense for you.


I think it really comes down to your goals and hiking style.

If you're going to be hiking all day for long miles, you won't be sitting around much anyway. You'd be better off cutting weight so you'll be more comfortable while you're hiking. The best way to cut weight isn't to buy lighter gear, but to leave stuff behind.

If, however, you're generally taking a more relaxed pace and will be spending more time in camp, one pound isn't going to be too burdensome for some extra camp comfort.

100% YES!  One has been a part of my kit for 7-8 yrs now. Great support for my back,(too many parachute jumps?) much better than a log or pad, adds 1lb. Hike your own hike. 

REI Member Since 1979

Backpacking chair: my vote is yes.

When I started backpacking, it would have been sacrilege. ( any one remember Colin Fletcher?) Backpacking was a calculation, ounces x calories x miles. For me, the  equation was not balancing out on both sides. 
Yes, we are all different. We hike our own hike, within and without. I decided that “comfort “ was missing from the formula.

Now, I have a backpacking chair, a pillow, and some really great food. That is comfort to me.

Not for me, but then I'm generally going more for distance than time spent in camp.  Instead, I bring a little sit "ground cloth" I can use to keep the seat of my pants clean and dry.  At least relatively.  😁  It often doubles as an entry mat to my tent.

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Thanks for everyone’s input. I figured it would come down to personal preference. I got a gift card for a wellness thing they work so it made it a no brainer. Purchased a REI Flexlite Air last night. Will have to see how it works out. If anything I can always use car camping as well.  

Liking the forum so far.