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Camp Chairs for High Sierra Backpacking | High Sierra Backpacker

Camp Chairs for High Sierra Backpacking

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 22 December 2014

Backpacking Camp Chairs

I was first personally introduced to backpacking camp chairs by a couple of cool PCT hikers in the late nineties or early this new century, Marie and Susan from Seattle.

Marie was convinced her portable camp chair was totally worth its weight in gold for the relaxation and comfort it brought. She insisted I sit in it, and I agreed.

Hey, I was hesitant. I don't want other folks to carry my comfort. I had not carrried that chair for well over a thousand miles, as she had, so I did not deserve to sit in it.

Marie insisted I try it, and it was good.

It was an ultralight alumimum frame that you used your inflatable sleeping pad to create the backrest and butt pad. It was the Thermarest chair.

A little bit heavier version is the Kelty Camp Chair, retailing for 24.95 at the time of these words.  I had enjoyed these a few times, meeting backpackers who carried them. The Thermerest Chair is a bit more comfortable and lighter, but requires use of the Thermarest pad, which I do not use in my sleeping/sitting systems.


The fact is that your rest time is as important, if not more important than your hiking time. If you cannot recover or get comfortable this can degrade performance as surely as good rest and recovery improves performance and endurance.

Personally, I have a seating "system." Hell, I have a system for everything. Eating, shitting, sleeping, and even a set of various "gaites" for different terrains.
 I use a closed cell Ridgecrest foam pad for sleeping. Rolled up it  provides a foot rest for a boulder backrest, or a backrest or butt-pad, depending on the requirements of terrain.

In other words I use my rolled up sleeping pad, my sleeping bag in its bivy sack, and my garcia food canister as backrest, butt-pad, and foot rest respectively, set up in such a way to turn the local terrain into a comfortable, relaxing seat.

Nature is made to comfort us more than its torture capacity. We've just got to align the elements of our Natural terrain into a comfortable configuration.

I seem to be able to do this anywhere. I prop up my backpack as my backrest if no natural backrest is available, wedge my rolled up Ridgecrest in as the butt-pad, then elevate my feet on the Garcia food canister. Voila, a very very comfortable seat with no extra gear needed.

With elevated feet, soft butt-pad, and perfect backrest.

Since I seem to be able to configure a comfortable seat in almost any terrain using my standard gear bits I don't pack a backpacking chair. But if you need one to create a comfort zone for yourself in camp, by all means bring a camp chair.


Thermarest chair, 7 to 9 ounces, 49 to 59 dollars. 


Kelty Camp Chair, 24.95, 1 lb. 


REI Flex Lite, 69.50, 1 lb 12 oz. 


REI Trail Stool, 22.50, 1 lb.



Members Favorites

ptskaff                          Thermarest Chair


tstockt                          Alite Monarch chair


I don't carry the extra weight of a chair, but I carry tent, white gas (all season) stove, tripod, and even a couple of books. The point is to carry everything you need to keep your safe and comfortable, or I should say, have the capacity to carry everything you need.

Packing lightweight gear does not make up for a lack of fitness, it just allows folks with inferior fitness to more easily put themselves in harm's way.

Don't make up for your lack of fitness with lightweight gear. Improve your fitness to carry the gear necessary.

Sacrificing safety by not having the physical strength and emotional stamina necessary to carry the weight of responsibility is sacrificing your safety on the alter of the ultralight fetish.

Don't carry extra, unnecessary weight. But have the capacity to carry what you need for safety and comfort.

Post up your take on fitness and capacity, and you experiences, advice, and opinions about getting and staying comfortable in High Sierra Backpacking Campsites below through the comment link below, and find more information about grades of backpacking gear on the following pages:

Camp and Trail Skills

Gear List


Check the Members Favorites for


Best Internal Framed Packs


Best External Framed Backpacks


Best Ultra Light Packs


Best Backpacking Boots


Best Backpacking Socks


Best Trekking Poles


Best Backpacking Stoves


Best Backpacking Cookware


Best Backpacking Water Purification


Best Backpacking Tents


Best Sleeping Bags


Best Sleeping Pads


Best Backpacking Shirts & Pants


Favorite Backpacking Gear Bits


Best Backpacking Camp Chairs


Best Backpacking Guitar


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