Finding the best camping chair for bad back is hardly a new demand for campers.
After a long week of being occupied with your daily job, there are few better ways to relax and feel lived up again than going on a camping trip.
Either with your family, friends, or all by yourself, spending a day in a campground and unwinding around a warm campfire will help you loosen up your tired body and tense muscles.
But sitting for hours on a regular camping chair may bring a common issue that makes many people want to take a rest from work in the first place: back pain. A traditional chair may strain your back just like your badly-designed office chair.
If you want to swap stories, enjoy the sight of nature, and take a sip of your favorite drink without feeling the pain in your lower back, you will need a new solution. Here are the best options for you.
Our Team's Picks
* Best camping chair with lumbar support: Strongback Low Gravity Portable Chair
* Zero gravity chair with headrest & lumbar support: Ever Advanced Oversize XL Zero Gravity Chair
* Best lightweight & portable camping chair: Strongback Low Gravity Chair, Recliner Style
* Sturdy & easy-to-setup camping chair: GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker Outdoor Rocking Chair
* Best crossover camping chair for camping & outdoor activities: LivingXL 500-lb Heavy-Duty Portable Chair
* Best budget camping chair: Coleman Cooler Quad Chair
* Best comfortable camping chair for bad back: Portal Oversized Zero Gravity Recliner Chair
* Portable chair with removabel footrest: SunTime Outdoor Living Folding Mesh Chair
* Best ultralight & compact camping chair: MARCHWAY Folding High Back Camping Chair
* Best overall camping chair for bad back: ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
Camping Chair For Bad Back Comparison Table
21 x 20 x 24.5
30 x 32 x 45
23.5 x 22 x 24
26 x 24.8 x 39.8
24 x 22
19 x 26.96 x 49
29 x 44 x 30
21.6 x 21.5 x 38.2
17 x 6.6 x 5.5
38 x 20 x 38
Camping Chair For Bad Back Reviews
Before getting to the guide to choose a good camping chair for your back, I've rounded up the most notable choices on the market.
All of them include a short impression of how they could help with back issues during camping trips.
1. Strongback Low Gravity Portable Chair
This Strongback low-gravity chair should appeal to those who have back issues like spinal surgery, sciatica, or a herniated disc. This chair will allow you to enjoy your campgrounds for hours without having to get up and stretch your back.
As its name suggests, the chair has a low profile with around only 4.5 inches of clearance off the ground, allowing you to enjoy your campground as comfortably as possible.
The lumbar support is integrated right into the frame of the chair, while there is also additional padding in front. This comfortable pad helps correct the posture of the person sitting on it, bringing back the natural, healthy lumbar curvature of their spine.
Another impressive part of this Strongback portable chair is its versatility. You can put it on virtually any surface with no issue.
Soft terrains like sand usually bother outdoor lovers as chairs often sink below the ground and make it impossible to set up a chair. Worry not. It's no longer a problem with the Strongback chair as its large feet prevent the chair from sinking into sand or mud.
If heavy-duty construction is your priority, this chair is clearly an ideal choice. The robust build of the Strongback chair can support up to 300 pounds of weight. It's a great option for most people, even heavy adults.
I tested this chair for a long time but still was impressed by how it can stand up to daily abuse for several years. And by “abuse”, I mean using it in my backyard and getting in and out of this Strongback dozens of times a day.
If you're like me and love to have a drink outdoors while gazing into the campground, the ability to keep beverages within reach is a must.
It makes the experience more enjoyable and helps us to forget our back issues, even just for a little white. Strongback doesn't slip behind the competition and provides a built-in holder as well.
The biggest complaint I have about this chair is the lack of any support for the neck or head. You will need an extra travel pillow if you want to comfortably lie sunbathing in the campground.
2. Ever Advanced Oversize XL Zero Gravity Chair
Whether you want to go on an overnight trip or simply camp in your backyard, a zero-gravity chair like this model from Ever Advanced is always a good choice, especially if you suffer from back pain and need plenty of space.
This oversize chair is designed for tall, heavy adults. Once fully open, it measures 29.5x32x45 inches and can accommodate people up to 350 pounds or 6’2” tall.
This upgraded size doesn't result in any compromise in the quality and portability of the chair. The folded dimensions are just 31x7x38.5 inches, so you won't need to worry about setting aside storage space for it during your trip.
The Ever Advanced Oversize XL version retains all the features that have made their regular “zero-gravity” cousins a hit among customers.
Inspired by how our body would be naturally positioned in above-Earth space, the chair can recline to a nearly flat position.
This zero-gravity posture will put your legs above your heart's level, distributing pressure and weight evenly along the length of the chair. This shift of weight improves blood circulation and reduces back pain after sitting down for a long time.
You can lock the chair in place at any position between 0 and 170 degrees. The fully padded seat and double bungee-cord design work together to cradle your body and provide more support.
On top of that, the adjustable padded pillow can act as a headrest or lumbar support. There are two sliding cords along with the seat, responsible for changing the position of this pillow. You can detach it all together for a wash when it gets dirty. This is a luxury that you won't find in many camping chairs.
This chair seems to be complex, but it doesn't require any assembly.
You can simply put it down and recline it fully to 72 inches quickly, making the Ever Advanced Oversize chair a go-to choice if you just lounge in your campground on a lazy afternoon.
To support its huge weight capacity, the chair relies on its heavy-duty construction. The strong steel tube frame and the tough polyester fabric are definitely a win for the Ever Advanced Oversize chair, allowing it to take on quite a beating.
It does have some issues, however. The most egregious obstacle is the price tag, which may put off a lot of people at first glance. It costs over twice the price of a regular model, an amount of money that most people aren't willing to pay for a camping chair.
But I can promise that if you have a bad back and don't mind its price, the Ever Advanced Oversize will be a great investment.
3. Strongback Low Gravity Chair, Recliner Style
In addition to the standard design, the Strongback low-gravity chair I have mentioned above is also available in the recliner style. The material and construction are basically the same between those two versions, so this recliner chair is just as worthy for people with back pain.
If your daily office work has taken a toll on your back, a recliner chair could be a godsend.
The biggest difference between this recliner design and the standard style is the front legs, which you can extend using a pivot mechanism and get a steeper front angle. The recliner position offers even better support to the lower back, but you can't adjust this while seated.
Many studies show that the ability to change the angle of your seat can reduce back pain significantly.
When you sleep on a model like this Strongback chair, the flat position also helps with mild sleep apnea, allergies, and asthma. You can take a nap on this chair while everyone else goes fishing or hiking nearby.
This recliner chair can also support up to 300 pounds, thanks to the durable steel frame and wear-and-tear resistant fabric. The outer seat seam has double stitching as well.
However, if you already feel the regular version is expensive, the recliner style of the Strongback Low Gravity chair will be out of the question too. It also lacks a proper headrest, while the carrying bag looks cheap and flimsy.
4. GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker Outdoor Rocking Chair
The GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker is a real game-changer if you prefer to rock back and forth while enjoying the view of your campground.
You will get to kick back and disconnect from your daily grind, including current health issues of your back. If a wooden rocker is your favorite chair in the living room, you will appreciate this one.
It has a fairly simple design for a rocking chair. The fabric supports different-sized folks comfortably, even though it may be too stiff for many.
This mesh back also offers better breathability, while the 19.7-inch height makes it easier for users to get in and out of the chair.
The GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker doesn't have a headrest, but it's tall enough, so you won't feel the need to lean back and overextend your neck. The steel frame of this chair includes two armrests, even though they are too narrow for my liking.
I'm very impressed with the smooth rocking motion of the GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker. It's made possible thanks to the spring-loaded shocks inside the chair, allowing users to enjoy their time on virtually all outdoor surfaces.
All in all, I have to commend the manufacturer for doing a great job keeping the virtues of a good indoor rocker in a camping chair.
Want to rock slowly and take a sip of your favorite drink at the same time? Well, GCI Outdoor provides a cup holder with this chair too. Placed on the front of the steel frame, it can help you avoid spilling your drink while letting your mind wander aimlessly.
Keep in mind, though, that this holder is slightly big without much support. Your small bottles may sit awkwardly in it. But at the end of the day, it's still much better than having none and putting your drink on the ground.
GCI Outdoor says that this chair has a capacity of 250 pounds, and in my tests, it did live up to this claim. My 230-pound friend plopped into and bounced on the seat with no issue.
I attribute this weight support to their durable polyester fabric and powder-coated steel frame. The sturdy construction retained its shape during my tests, and the fabric handle allowed me to carry it with ease like a suitcase.
The GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker is also among the easiest-to-set-up chairs I've tested so far. You will just need to spread out the sides, and that's it. When you need to move it to another spot in your campground, just pull up the chair and collapse it sideways.
The rocker needs to be oiled regularly, however, when the spring-loaded socks become stiff and produce noisy movements. It may also get frayed and damaged if this chair sits under a hot day for a long time.
5. LivingXL 500-lb Heavy-Duty Portable Chair
If you're seeking a top-of-the-line heavy-duty camping chair, LivingXL is always a name you should have a look at.
With a capacity of 500 pounds, this is among the highest weight support you can find on the market. There are few models available in this segment - the main reason that makes this LivingXl stand out.
At first glance, you will easily notice that it's a good-looking, roomy chair. The seat is 24 inches wide and 22 inches deep, while the dimensions of the backrest are 23.5 and 19.5 inches. This combination allows the LivingXL 500-lb chair to provide a generous sitting area for heavy, tall adults.
What's more, this heavy-duty chair comes with a 14x15-inch drawstring mesh pouch on the right arm. The roomy space it offers is enough for several gadgets, snacks, and other items you may bring along.
The oversized gadget/cup holders in both sizes are also the icing on the cake, giving you the ability to enjoy your favorite beverage right in the campground.
As far as comfort for heavy people is concerned, I don't have any significant complaints about this chair. The 22mm tubed frame feels incredibly sturdy and stable, so you won't have to worry about it collapsing into the ground.
The entire seat and backrest are made of 600-denier polyester and fully padded, distributing your weight evenly across the chair. It's really a game-changer for people who have become frustrated with other smaller-capacity chairs.
This high-quality material plus its outstanding weight capacity ensure that the fabric won’t stretch while sitting, causing repercussions on the lower back that worsen your pain.
The frame of the LivingXL 500-lb chair may look complicated, but it doesn't require you to do much to get ready for use.
Just take it out of the trunk of your car and unfold it on the ground. The chair doesn't have any complex locking mechanism, so everything is straightforward to set up.
But I still wish that this heavy-duty chair could be more adjustable.
Depending on your body size and shape, your thighs might get poked by the metal frame. It's a real bummer, and the main reason is that LivingXL has designed the front legs that way to reduce the width of the front.
The easiest workaround I've found out is to use some foam to cover those areas of the frame. This extra padding between the metal bits and your legs should solve the issue easily.
6. Coleman Cooler Quad Chair
Coleman has always been known for its tough-as-nails coolers. So this company definitely knows a thing or two about making high-quality outdoor equipment. And this camping chair is no exception.
As its name implies, the Coleman Cooler Quad chair comes with a side storage pouch, a four-can cooler, and a smaller mesh cup holder. This arm cooler sets this comfortable camping chair apart from the rest of the pack.
I have fallen in love with the additional storage Coleman provides. It's hard to deny that these accessories expand the functionality of the chair further beyond what its competitors can come up with.
This is especially true with a roomy pouch, which I can hold multiple items at once, including my phone, sunscreen, snacks, extra shirt, a book, and more.
The comfort of this inexpensive chair is above average, I must say. It can’t rival the premium options you can find at much higher price brackets, but it's still something people with back issues will appreciate.
The sling seat doesn't have a tendency to sag and lead to sleeping butt like other models with minimal back support. The fully-cushioned seat and backrest are roomy and supportive even after a long period.
Portability is another area the Coleman Cooler Quad chair really shines. It weighs under 10 pounds, light enough to carry once you have packed it into the carrying bag. And not taking heavy gears is a blessing for those with back pain.
The only minor issue here is the cooler, which is harder to collapse, and you may feel some resistance when trying to pack the chair.
The Coleman Cooler Quad chair is a joy when it comes to usability as well.
All you need to do is to pull it apart at two opposing support legs and let it take care of the rest. This ease of setup will come in handy when you switch between places often in your campground and prefer a hassle-free chair.
The price is another highlight of this camping chair. A top brand like Coleman usually goes along with an expensive price tag, but this is not the case here.
This chair is one of the most attractive offers at this price point. And since it seems to be durable enough to survive many years of camping, it'll be a great investment for outdoor activities.
All of those accessories and extra comfort come at a price, however.
The build quality of the side pouch is certainly not on par with that of the frame. After some use, the mesh of my chair has begun to sag and stretch out. It's a minor issue, but clearly, there is still room for improvement on future products.
7. Portal Oversized Zero Gravity Recliner Chair
Another oversized chair worth considering, but this time around, it comes from a less popular brand - Portal. Don't let its popularity mislead you. It’s still an amazing recliner chair for people with back issues.
This zero-gravity chair has a sturdy construction and keeps a solid position when you sit or lay in it. You can adjust the reclining angle between 0 and 170 degrees, and it doesn't lean or wobble at all.
Just lock it at your desired point, either fully reclined position, a middle-of-the-road angle to elevate your feet a few inches, or a smidge just enough to keep your feet off the ground. Never during my tests did it occur to me that the lock was going to fail.
Portal has done a great job making the bungee suspension in this chair, making it possible to lift a weight of up to 350 pounds. The chair is large enough, even if you're 6'2" tall.
It provides great support for a bad back thanks to the padded seat and adjustable pillow, which you can use as either headrest or lumbar support.
The mesh lined along the seat is breathable as well. I'm a sweaty person, but I did not feel like being covered with sweat when I tried this chair on a sunny afternoon.
The wooden handle is usually the favorite part of a reclining lawn chair for many people, and with this Portal chair and its natural wood armrests, you can feel right at home.
The side tray has a respectable capacity as well. It could hold more than I expected, including a book, a full beer, and my 40-ounce bottle, without tilting down or dipping.
However, shorter people may find it hard to touch the ground in the full reclining position.
Its price tag does make sense for all the quality and features it brings, but the Portal oversized zero-gravity chair is still a huge investment for an outdoor chair.
On top of that, you should be aware that there are certain reclining positions that may hurt your lower back. The pillow might help a little, but for your own sack, avoid those angles once you have figured them out.
8. SunTime Outdoor Living Folding Mesh Chair
Despite its cheap price tag, this SunTime Outdoor Living camping chair comes with all the bells and whistles.
It features a detachable footrest to help you relax your feet. When you want to make room in front of the chair, just rotate the knob at the bottom of the footrest.
There is also a removable spine pillow, which is attached to the headrest by velcro.
On top of that, the right arm is where you can find a cup holder and a side pocket. It's spacious enough to stash multiple personal items, including a smartphone, sunglasses, magazines, and sunscreen, among others.
All of those components are made from breathable mesh fabric, including the entire seat and back of this SunTime Outdoor Living chair. Not only can it keep you cool on a sunny day, but its ability to promote airflow also prevents unpleasant odors from sticking to the chair.
This SunTime Outdoor Living outdoor chair offers great support for the legs and the back, allowing users to recline the back between 90 to 130 degrees. Reclining positions will put the least pressure on your spine and say goodbye to the annoying back pain.
But I wish I could do this too with the footrest. There is no way to lower it other than a complete removal. When attached, this footrest may also make getting in and out of the chair a bit tricky.
9. MARCHWAY Folding High Back Camping Chair
This is a collapsible chair that has a shock-cord structure and foldable aluminum pole. The assembly process may need a minute to complete with velcro straps holding the frame together.
It's a durable camping chair with an aircraft-grade corrosion-resistant 7075 aluminum alloy frame, providing a load capacity of up to 250 pounds.
This material is often selected to make products lighter and easier to carry, and MARCHWAY has pulled it off. This folding chair is extremely lightweight at 3.7 pounds, an advantage that no other model on this list can keep up with.
The fabric used to make this comfortable seat is strong as well.
It's 1000D ripstop polyester, the go-to material for rugged outdoor gear like heavy duffel bags or backpacks. This heavy-duty polyester can hold up against rough conditions like a campground with ease.
Depending on your posture, your back can get supported by the lower sponge pillow or the sponge sleeve at the top. They keep your head and back in a natural and comfortable position, so you can relax for a long time while camping.
The high-back ergonomic design of this MARCHWAY chair also raises the height of the legs, so people with back pain can get in and out of it easier.
But this high profile does have a big downside. If it's windy around your campground, this lightweight chair may blow away easily. You will need some heavy stones to put a firm grip on it.
10. ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
Love the LivingXL heavy-duty chair but want something even a bigger capacity? Say hello to the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong chair.
This is a massive portable chair for a single adult but has a capacity of multiple chairs combined. This heavy-duty model can handle 800 pounds with ease.
And don't worry about its portability.
It's certainly a big chair, but ALPS Mountaineering provides a durable shoulder carry bag so that you can handily pack the chair and keep it compact for storage and travel. The two adjustable shoulder straps will help you lug the bag however far your campground is.
The ALPS Mountaineering King Kong chair is no slouch in the accessory department either. It comes with a total of five storage compartments, including two side pockets, two cup holders, and a big pocket on the back.
The side pockets are large enough to accommodate a thin book or magazine, while you can easily put small bottles and cans in the cup holders.
For anything bigger, take advantage of the mesh storage pouch behind the head. It did a great job of holding many items of mine, such as lighter and keys, at once.
ALPS Mountaineering has got pretty much everything right with the padded armrests of this camp chair. Even though it's not a special feature that can gather much attention from users, it sets an example for other manufacturers.
On other models, the armrests are usually either uncomfortable, difficult to reach for short people, or even non-existent.
But I found the armrests of the King Kong chair very satisfactory. They're spacious, adjustable, and easy to reach. And since these armrests are lined with non-porous materials, you can wipe out any spills easily.
This ALPS Mountaineering chair knocks most of its competitors out of the park when it comes to comfort. It's bliss not just for people with a bad back but also for everyone. The seat is fairly high at 15 inches, making it easier to get in and out of.
It has a big, well-padded seat and backrest in addition to the stable armrests I've mentioned. They work together and make the chair comfortable to sit in even during a long lounge session.
This fully padded seat is always a bonus for health issues like back pain. It's slightly slouchy and supports a healthy upright posture.
This fabric does gather and hold a lot of water during rainstorms, but unless you always leave your chair in the rain, it should not be a problem.
This comfortable chair allows users to scooch around easily and find their ideal position. You can adjust the padded armrests to your preferred height with the straps.
My friend, who is way heavier and has a bigger build than me, was impressed by how it allowed him to sprawl out and made use of every inch of this roomy chair.
The durability of this chair is praiseworthy as well. Its frame consists of sturdy powder-coated steel bars, and the seat is made of strong 600D polyester fabric.
The widely spaced legs of the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong chair make it extremely stable even on rocky or uneven terrain.
Even rocking it sideways or leaning back doesn't show any stability issues. The carry bag provided in the box is also up to the task and well-matched with the lifetime warranty carried by the chair.
The cup holders seem to be the only part of this chair that hasn't been reinforced with thick materials. Any contact against a rough surface may fray the fabric, but the damage is mostly cosmetic and doesn't affect the functionality of the chair.
To enjoy all those features, comfort, capacity, and durability of the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong chair, you must comprise its portability a little. At 13 pounds, it's a real burden if you have to carry for a long time.
How To Choose The Best Camping Chair For Bad Back
When your back is not in the best condition, having a proper chair to sit and relax while camping is crucial to at least not make the situation worse.
In addition to the regular factors of a portable chair, you should pay extra attention to its lumbar support.
1. Comfort and Lumbar Support
This is the key factor determining whether you will have a pleasant time with your camping chair. It should keep your spine in a healthy curve and relieve the pressure points of your back.
Most people suffer from lower back pain, and as a result, lumbar support is a must. The low back is also called the lumbar region, and that's why “lumbar support” usually means the cushion installed to the lower part of a chair's backrest.
I recommend this ergonomic design for not just camping but also regular office chairs for sedentary jobs. It aligns your spine into a natural curvature where your back muscles feel relaxing the most.
2. Other Considerations
While good lumbar support is incredibly helpful for your back, don't forget other parts of a camping chair.
- Materials: The frame and fabric can be made from different materials. The price often reflects these material choices, as they control the durability and comfort of the chair.
- Chair Styles: Classic camping chairs are the most common and simplest design. They usually feature four legs, a flat seat, and an upright back.
They are easy to set up and bring along with your trips. On the other hand, recliner or rocking chairs offer more sitting positions, but they have more complicated frames and might be a challenge to carry.
- Weight Capacity: The maximum weight support of a camping chair can be anywhere between 200 pounds and 1000 pounds. You should already figure out this requirement from your own body weight.
- Accessories: Outdoor chairs often come with a range of accessories, including pillows, cup holders, side pockets, back pockets, and footrests, among others.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
During the research on the needs of potential users of camping chairs, I have noticed some questions that commonly pop up.
1. I’m a short person. Which seat height is optimal for me?
If you don't have long legs, aim for models that have a seat height under 15 inches. Anything higher may be inconvenient to get in and out of the chair and lead to dangling feet.
2. How do I know a chair will support my lumbar properly?
When sitting on a camping chair, the lumbar support should be flush with the small of your back, providing support for the lower back. It should be able to keep your spine in a natural inward curvature. Your hips, shoulders, and ears should be kept in alignment while the chair maintains that natural position of your spine.
3. Is it easy to assemble/disassemble these chairs?
Most chairs on this list are pretty easy to set up or break down. A lot of them don't require anything else apart from spreading the legs out and putting them on the ground.
Due to the wide range of preferences and needs of campers, it's hard to say which single model is the best camping chair for bad back. But if I had to give two general recommendations, I'd go for the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong and the GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker.
These chairs all come from reputable, well-established companies who have got considerable experience in making amazing outdoor gear.
Their chairs have excellent comfort and support for the back. Additionally, the frame and fabric are sturdy and able to hold up against frequent outdoor uses, reflected by their lifetime warranty policies.