A quick internet search or product search on a retail site for “camping chairs” will often bring up a variety of seating options, including a number of zero gravity chairs.
Over the years I have owned a variety of camping chairs and taken various types of chair on camping trips with me. In this post I will be comparing how a zero gravity chair fairs against other styles of camping chairs. I will look into both the advantages and disadvantages a zero gravity recliner has when compared to other styles of camping chair available.
Since the majority of camping chairs retail at around $50 – $100, I will be mainly comparing them to zero gravity chairs in a similar price range, although I may occasionally point out certain ZG chair options that have more preferable features such as a lightweight design or an extra large variation that may cost a bit extra.
The Camping Chairs Selected to Compare
Below are the 4 camping chairs that will be the main focus of the comparison. Each have been selected due to their high consumer ratings and lightweight yet durable design. These are also some of the most popular camping chairs available in each of their respective styles and they all retail at very competitive prices when compared to similar camping chairs.
Timber Ridge Director’s Folding Chair
TrekUltra Camping Fold Up Chair with Bag
KingCamp Moon Saucer Camping Chair
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair
The Zero Gravity Chair for Comparison
The Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Recliner is one of the most popular standard sized zero gravity chairs available. This particular chair is ideal for use in this comparison, due to its similarity to so many other zero gravity recliners and due to it being in the same price range as the 4 camping chairs.
Although the Caravan Sports gravity recliner is not the lightest zero gravity chair around, at 18 lbs it is a fairly standard weight for a zero gravity chair. It is also fairly standard in size and dimensions when compared to other regular sized zero gravity recliners.
Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chair
The following table details some of the key features of each of the camping chairs compared. Due to constantly changing prices, all chairs are listed as under $100, although most of the chairs below are usually available for around $50.
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The Main Reason to opt for Zero Gravity Chairs Over More Traditional Camping Chairs
As you will have probably already noticed there is one very significant difference between zero gravity recliners and other camping chairs.
This is of course, that on a zero gravity chair you are able to elevate your feet and recline into the neutral body position / zero gravity position.
If this is the most important feature for you to have on a chair that you take camping, you can certainly dismiss most other camping chairs. No matter how lightweight or portable the other camping chairs may be, they do not possess a zero gravity recline feature.
If your camping chair simply must have the ability to recline, we would recommend you take a look at our run down of the most lightweight and portable zero gravity chairs here.
Why A Zero Gravity Recliner may not be the Best Choice for Camping
When it comes to portability, especially when carrying chairs by hand, zero gravity chairs are far from optimal choices to consider.
As you can see from the table further up the page, the zero gravity chair is by far the heaviest chair when compared to the other camping chairs. It is also the most awkward to carry due to its wide and long dimensions when folded.
If you were to buy a carry bag for your zero gravity recliner, it still wouldn’t be the most ideal lightweight chair for hiking, however it would certainly make the chair a little less hassle to carry over short distances.
If you are in need of an easy solution to help you carry your zero gravity chair, the Faulkner zero gravity chair carry bag is one of the best low priced options around.
As you can see in the image to the right, the carry bag is still rather cumbersome, however it is the best solution currently available to aid with carrying either standard sized or extra large zero gravity recliners.
If on the other hand you are looking for a lightweight chair to take hiking, the TrekUltra fold up chair (listed above) is an outstanding choice. The TrekUltra camping chair comes complete with a carry bag and has a very compact design allowing it to weigh only 2.6 lbs.
Considering the lowest weight zero gravity recliner currently available weighs around 15 lbs, and the Caravan Sports chair weighs 18 lbs. You can see why a zero gravity chair is not ideal to carry over long distances by hand.
Is Space an Issue?
When setting off on a camping trip you are often going to be confined to the size of your vehicle. If you have a camper van or RV you are unlikely to need to worry too much about space. Although it may still play a small factor.
However if you are travelling in a car that is packed with other camping necessities you are going to have to be careful what camping chairs you consider.
Lets have a quick look at how to folded dimensions of the Caravan Sports zero gravity chair compares to the other camping chairs when they are folded down.
- Caravan Sports Zero Gravity Chair Folded Dimensions: 38.6” x 26.4” x 6.3” (L x W x D)
- Timber Ridge Director’s Folding Chair Folded Dimensions: 35.83″ x 21.26″ x 7.09″ (L x W x D)
- TrekUltra Camping Fold Up Chair with Bag Folded Dimensions: 14.5″ x 5″ x 4″ (L x W x D)
- KingCamp Moon Saucer Camping Chair Folded Dimensions: 34.6″ x 9.1″ x 7.9″ (L x W x D)
- ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair Folded Dimensions: 38″ x 5″ x 5″ (L x W x D)
As you can see above the zero gravity chair is the least compact, especially when it comes to the area taken up by the length and width of the chair when folded.
This is certainly something to take into consideration if you are limited to a car with a small trunk space.
Travelling with a pair of these zero gravity chairs in the trunk of a car is not going to leave a great deal of additional surface space, whereas travelling with a pair of the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chairs or a pair of TrekUltra chairs is going to free up a lot more room in comparison.
One slight benefit to the zero gravity chair is however, that you can pack objects on top of the fairly flat surface of the chair.
As mentioned above if you are going on a camping trip in a camper van, RV or motorhome, space shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Having recently been on a camping trip in a fairly small sized camper van I can safely say all of the chairs listed on this page would have fitted easily.
On my most recent trip we took along a pair of moon saucer style camping chairs that are very similar in dimensions to the KingCamp moon saucer style camping chairs.
Both chairs easily fitted underneath the seats of the camper and the inclusion of the carry bags with each chair meant that any dirt or mess that accumulated on the feet and frame of the chairs, didn’t make its way onto the interior of the camper van.
On other camping trips we have taken along a pair of zero gravity chairs and they also fit nicely either under the back seats of the camper, or in a more upright position at the back of the van.
Chair Weight Capacity and Size
When it comes to comparing the weight capacities of the camping chairs there isn’t a great deal to separate the choices. As you can see from the table earlier in this post the average tends to be around 300 lbs for the standard sized chairs.
One thing to mention is the massive 800 lbs weight capacity on the King Kong Chair from ALPS Mountaineering. This is truly a huge weight capacity, although to some it may seem fairly unnecessary. Even if someone really did need this huge weight capacity for a chair to hold them the chances of them fitting in it comfortably are slim. The extra strength of the chair may be good however for if you have kids or a loved one sat on your lap when in seated in the chair, or if you just want a very solid and robust camping chair!
If you are in need of a camping chair that can hold a greater amount of weight or one that features a wider seat, there are plenty of options available and many are as lightweight and compact as the chairs listed on this page.
Likewise if you need a zero gravity chair that holds more weight or provides an extra width seat you can find some very good ones on the market. You can take a look at our comparison list of the best extra large zero gravity chairs here for an idea of what is available.
You may also be interested in the highly recommended Timber Ridge padded XL zero gravity chair which can hold up to 350 lbs and features a 21 inch width seat.
Due to the sturdy nature of this particular chair, it is more bulky and heavy weighing around 21 lbs. It is therefore not a suitable choice for carrying too far by hand, but is a great choice to transport in a Camper van or motor home. This is also true of many XL zero gravity chairs, they are almost always going to be heavier and have larger folded dimensions than standard sized zero gravity recliners.
You can read our review of the Timber Ridge oversized zero gravity chair here.
Are Zero Gravity Good Hiking Chairs?
As you have probably figured out from the rest of the content on this page the answer is clearly No!
As much as we love zero gravity chairs, at an average weight of 18 lbs you certainly do not want to be lugging one around on a nature hike, even if you have the chair contained in a carry case.
The folded dimensions of a zero gravity chair also make them fairly awkward to carry by hand. Carrying your zero gravity chair over a short distance to the beach for example, will not be a huge hassle. However, those of average strength probably would not want to carry a zero gravity recliner for more than 100 meters as it would require a lot of effort.
Out of all of the camping chairs featured on this page there is one clear choice when it comes to a chair to take hiking and that is the TrekUltra Camping Fold Up Chair.
The strong 350 lbs weight capacity of this camping chair make it a very good option for a range of users. Likewise the very low 2.6 lb weight of the chair makes it perfect to carry on foot. The easy to use hassle free carry bag also makes it an ideal choice for exploring the great outdoors.
Are Zero Gravity Chairs Good for Camping?
As we have touched upon above, a zero gravity chair is an excellent choice of camping chair, especially if you want to put your feet up and provided you have enough space in your vehicle.
Although all of the other camping chairs on this page are amazing choices that are both sturdy and lightweight, they lack the versatility of a zero gravity recliner as they are very much fixed into one seating position.
It is true that when it comes to storage and transportation a zero gravity recliner isn’t the most compact option around when it comes to surface area. However the flat design of the chairs make them more than suitable for transportation in most vehicles with a fairly well sized trunk.
When considering a zero gravity chair or more traditional camping chair it really is a toss up between what features will suit your trip better and what your personal preference may be.
The Main Pros of a zero gravity recliner being:
- The zero gravity position
- A recline function
- A more flat folding design suitable for storage and transportation
On the other hand the main reasons to opt for a camping chair over a zero gravity recliner are:
- You get a more lightweight and manageable chair, especially when carrying by hand
- A carry bag is often included making storage and transportation even less effort
- You get a more compact chair overall when folded down, that will generally take up less space
- Most camping chairs have accessory and drinks holders built into the chair
When I go camping I must admit I do not do too much sitting down and prefer to explore the nearby area. I also do not tend to go camping for a long duration of time and it is for these reasons that I could quite happily leave my zero gravity chair at home for a few days.
If I was to go camping for more than a few days however, my zero gravity chair would certainly be packed for the trip since I like to use it on a regular basis. I am also not really pushed for space on my camping trips so taking my chair along is never much of a hassle.
As mentioned earlier, one benefit of using a more traditional camping chair that I have personally found on my camping trips, is they are less likely to bring dirt into the interior of your vehicle when the weather isn’t too good.
When placed upon wet and muddy ground the small feet of camping chairs tend to pick up less dirt than the lower bars of a zero gravity chair frame. Also since the camping chairs I own each have their own storage/carry bag, most of the dirt and debris from the feet will be contained in the bag when the chair is stored after use.
Overall I find emptying and cleaning the camping chair carry bag far less hassle at the end of the camping trip over having to wipe the lower bars of my zero gravity recliner every time it is placed on wet ground, or having to clean mud from the interior of my vehicle.
If you would like to find out more about any of the camping chairs listed on this page you can do so by clicking on the “Find Out More” buttons below.