What Material Are Camping Chairs Made Of? Seat of Adventure

by | Sep 22, 2023 | Camp Equipment

The simple camping chair: an emblem of relaxation amidst nature’s grandeur. Whether it’s perched beside a roaring campfire or nestled in a serene meadow, the humble camping chair offers solace to weary travelers and adventurers alike.

But have you ever paused to consider what allows this foldable marvel to bear our weight, endure the elements, and yet pack away neatly for the next adventure? Beneath its unassuming exterior lies a fusion of design and material science. In this deep dive, we’ll unravel the fabrics, metals, and plastics that come together to craft the camping chairs we’ve come to know and love, offering not just a seat, but a story of innovation and engineering.

Common Materials Used for Camping Chairs

The most frequently used materials for camping chairs are aluminum or steel for the frame, paired with polyester, nylon, or mesh fabric for the seat and backrest. These materials provide a balance between durability, weight, and comfort.

Diving deeper, the choice of aluminum as a frame material in many modern camping chairs is due to its lightweight nature combined with commendable strength. Aluminum frames often have the advantage of being corrosion-resistant, making them ideal for various outdoor conditions. Steel, on the other hand, boasts greater durability and can generally support more weight, but it might be a tad heavier and require protective coatings to prevent rust.

The seating area, which prioritizes comfort and breathability, usually employs materials like polyester and nylon. Both are known for their resilience against wear and tear, with polyester being slightly heavier but more resistant to UV degradation. Nylon shines in the lightweight department, offering a silky texture and impressive tensile strength. For those sweltering summer trips, chairs featuring mesh inserts or panels can be a game-changer, promoting airflow and reducing the chance of a sweaty back.

Together, the combination of these materials ensures that when you unfurl your camping chair after a long day’s trek, it stands ready to provide a comfortable and reliable resting spot.

A table comparing the weight, durability, breathability, and price of each of the mateirals used in camping chairs (aluminum, steel, polyester, and nylon). Note that price can vary significantly based on brand and features.


Among the lightest metals used in outdoor gear, aluminum stands as a favorite for campers who prioritize portability without compromising strength. Its natural resistance to corrosion is another added advantage, especially for those who camp in humid or coastal environments. While aluminum might not boast the sheer strength of steel, its strength-to-weight ratio is commendable, making it an ideal choice for backpackers and hikers who are conscious of every ounce they carry.


Durable and robust, steel is the go-to choice for camping chairs designed to support more weight and endure rugged conditions. It offers a sturdiness that’s hard to match, ensuring that the chair remains stable even on uneven terrains. However, there’s a trade-off: steel is heavier than aluminum. To combat its natural propensity to rust, most steel-framed camping chairs are coated with protective layers, enhancing their lifespan and reliability in varied weather conditions.


Recognized for its versatility and durability, polyester is the top choice for the seating and backrest portions of camping chairs. One of its significant advantages is its resistance to UV rays, reducing the risk of the material breaking down or fading with prolonged exposure to the sun. Additionally, polyester is known to dry quickly, a crucial feature for those unexpected downpours during camping trips, ensuring a dry seat in a short time. As you can see in our table below, most camp chairs are made primarily of polyester for the fabric.


Lightweight and strong, nylon has earned its place in the world of outdoor gear. In camping chairs, it offers a smooth texture combined with impressive resistance to abrasion, ensuring longevity. While it might not be as UV resistant as polyester, its feather-light nature often makes it a preferred choice for ultralight camping gear. When treated or coated, nylon can also repel water effectively, adding to its list of qualities that make it a sought-after material for outdoor seating solutions.

Popular Camping Chairs and Their Material

Here’s a table comparing some of the most popular and highly rated camping chairs currently on the market and their material, weight, and weight capacity.

Camping ChairFabric MaterialFrame MaterialWeightWeight Capacity
NEMO StargazePolyesterAluminum8 lb. 11 oz.300 lbs.
REI SKyward ChairPolyester sheel, Nylon meshSteel7 lbs. 3 oz.300 lbs.
Coleman Portable ChairPolyesterSteel8.2 lbs.300 lbs.
Helinox Chair ZeroRipstop polyesterAluminum1 lb.265 lbs.
GCI Outdoor KickbackRipstop polyesterSteel10 lbs. 9.6 oz.250 lbs.
Mountain Summit Gear Cooler ChairPolyesterSteel11 lbs.300 lbs.
Amazon Basic Camp ChairPolysterAlloy Steel6.11 lbs.225 lbs.
A table comparing popular camping chairs and their fabric material, frame material, weight, and weight capacity.

Considerations When Buying a Camp Chair

Choosing the right camping chair is a combination of understanding your needs and knowing what the market offers. By considering these aspects, you ensure that every outdoor venture is accompanied by a reliable and comfortable resting spot.

Budget: One of the first considerations for many campers is their budget. The price of camping chairs can vary significantly based on the materials used, brand reputation, and additional features. It’s essential to set a budget range before shopping to help narrow down options and ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Do you want a basic camping chair or something fancy like the NEMO Stargaze?

Material: As we’ve discussed earlier, the material plays a significant role in determining the weight, durability, and overall lifespan of the chair. Aluminum offers lightweight advantages, steel is durable, and fabrics like polyester and nylon balance comfort with wear resistance. Depending on your camping style and needs, the choice of material can make a considerable difference.

Weight Capacity: Not all chairs are created equal when it comes to weight capacity. Ensure the camping chair you choose can comfortably and safely support your weight. This is especially crucial for heavier individuals or those who like to occasionally have a child or pet hop onto their lap.

Comfort: A chair’s primary purpose is comfort. Look for features like padded seats, ergonomic design, or adjustable armrests. Chairs with mesh panels can offer added breathability, making them ideal for warmer climates.

Durability: For those who frequent the great outdoors, investing in a durable chair is a wise decision. Ensure the joints are well-constructed, the fabric doesn’t tear easily, and the chair remains stable on various terrains. Remember, a more durable chair often means less frequent replacements and better value in the long run.

Portability: If you’re a backpacker or someone who has to trek to their camping spot, the chair’s portability becomes paramount. Look for chairs that fold up compactly, come with carrying bags, or even ones that can be strapped to your backpack. Weight also plays into portability; lighter chairs are easier to transport.

Cool Features: In the modern age, camping chairs aren’t just about sitting. Many come equipped with features like cup holders, pockets for storage, adjustable recline settings, or even built-in coolers. While they might increase the price point slightly, these features can significantly enhance your camping experience.

Versatility: Think about where you’re most likely to use the chair. If it’s exclusively for camping, certain features are a must. However, if you’re considering using it for other outdoor events, like festivals or beach trips, versatility becomes key.


Selecting the right camping chair is about more than just having a place to sit. It’s about ensuring comfort during those moments of rest, durability to withstand nature’s unpredictability, and features that enhance your outdoor experience. As with all outdoor gear, the decision should be a balance of personal needs, intended use, and budget.

With the vast array of options available today, there’s a camping chair out there tailor-made for every adventurer. So, whether you’re sitting by a campfire, watching a sunset, or simply taking in the tranquil sounds of nature, make sure you’re seated in a chair that’s just right for you.


What are camping chairs made of?

Camping chairs are typically made of a combination of materials, including steel or aluminum frames and fabric seats and backs. The frames provide stability and support, while the fabric is durable and comfortable.

What is the best material for camping chairs?

The best material for camping chairs depends on your specific needs and preferences. Steel-framed chairs are sturdy and resistant to wear and tear, while aluminum-framed chairs are lightweight and easy to transport. Fabric options can include polyester, nylon, or mesh, each offering different levels of breathability and comfort.

Are camping chairs with steel frames better than those with aluminum frames?

Both steel-framed and aluminum-framed camping chairs have their advantages. Steel frames provide extra stability and durability, making them a good choice for heavier individuals or for use on uneven terrain. Aluminum frames, on the other hand, are lightweight and easy to carry, making them ideal for backpackers or those who prioritize portability.

Are camping chairs with mesh fabric more comfortable?

Camping chairs with mesh fabric can offer increased comfort due to their breathability. Mesh fabric allows for better air circulation and can help prevent sweating, especially in warmer climates. However, individual preferences may vary, and some people may find solid fabric or padded seats to be more comfortable.


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