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Would you take a compact chair/stool hiking?

I am doing a design project for one of my classes. My group is designing a portable hiking chair/stool. My question is if anyone would or has taken one of these with you? And if you have taken one what are the pros and cons of it?

Hi there,

As a backpacker I do not carry anything to sit on. For me there's no need to, it's just extra weight

I can always find a log or smooth rock and simply place my doubled up sleeping pad on it, and viola!

I do not take a stool or chair. I have however recently bout a backpacking hammock that it will take on trips where I will be backpack in and then camping for a couple of days then backpacking out. It is a bit of luxuray and weighs in at around two pounds with the straps to wrap around trees.. I would not haowever take it on an extended backpacking trips where I will be moving pretty much everyday.

I dont think so. I'm with Trouthunter on this one

I usually carry my food in a bear can and use it as a stool.

Previously I tried the chair kits made for sleeping bags, just extra weight; inflate the pad and fold it, voila cushioned seating.

I also know a number of people that carry slinglight chairs. They are comfortable but I have my cushioned stool so no real interest in these.


I'm with Trouthunter too

Exped makes a pretty lightweight chair that my wife and I will occasionaly haul along if we feel like spoiling ourselves. The chair weighs 19 ounces. Your sleeping pad slides inside the sleeve and can be laid flat when its time to turn in for the night.


Since most of my hiking is in the desert, yes, I take one. You don't always have the luxury of sitting on a rock/log where I go. And you don't really want to sit on the bare ground because of all of the critters and things that sting crawling around.

For winter camping, I take along several pieces of a blue pad that I have cut up into different sized pieces. Some people who pull sleds in winter just take along a plastic milk crate and put a piece of a blue pad on it.

Therm-a-rest makes several chairs that are sleeves that fit over their pads. You can see those on their website. One of them only weighs 6 oz. so whatever you design will be competing with stuff like that.

My reasons for being out there vary, and may be different from many of you others. As a naturalist I often spend long hours sitting, watching wildlife, rather than walking. So, yes, sometimes I do carry a small 3 legged stool.

*Tip for CampingSteve - Put a back rest on your seat. I thought it was unnecessary when I purchased mine - WRONG! Sitting on a stool for a long time with no back support is BAD for the back.

One thing I found - years ago- that works great as a seat is the Thermarest "Back Pad" lumbar pad. It's smaller then the thermarest seat and rolls quite small to be placed in a day pack. The problem with the pad is that I need to find a good vantage point as I often end up in the middle of "Nothing to put it on" and end up on the ground - Good camo, but not a good place to watch from if there is thick brush. I have taken this to Hawk Mountain to sit on the rocks for 12+ years now.

When I'm backpacking, I usually don't carry a stol but when I am camping (like with the Boy Scouts) I usually do. I have a small, fairly lightweight 3-leg stool that works well but it isn't light enough for serious backpacking.

For a backpacking trip I would not likely take a chair. On a canoe trip or a winter trip I would consider taking one. I'm getting more interested in the packable 3-legged stools, especially for shorter duration canoe trips. For winter trips the milk crates are a great idea.

Having the luxary of doing a lot of canoeing when camping, I do bring the GCI Outdoor Trail-Sling Ultralight Chair because I'm not hauling everything on my back.


It weighs 30 oz and works pretty well. I added a bit of foam to the lower support, just cause if I sat for a long period of time it would dig a bit into my legs.


I also carry a bear canister and sometimes use it as a seat. On weekend hikes I have a small tripod seat which is light. Often thought I should make a seat that would snap onto my camera tripod. I have found I have to have something to sit on as I get stiff sitting on the ground all the time.

On my bicycle tours I use homemade panniers made from 4 square ex-mayo buckets.Each has a snapdown lid, holds all my gear, are totally waterproof, can be used for water buckets when empty and also for a ice chest if need be. And the US Post Office allows me to ship them crosscountry when I travel. And they make great food caches when I hike, hung from the bail in between trees.

I just received my chair from UPS yesterday. I have not wanted to carry a chair either in the past but after the second or third day of sitting on rocks and logs it starts getting pretty uncomfortable for me. When the wife agreed to do an 8 day trip this year into Yosemite I decided it was time for a luxury item. I tried it out last night in the livingroom. While it does not have as much back support as I would have like it is very comfortable. It came with it's own air bladder and at 20oz it will be worth carrying. It rolls up and is about thie size of a 5pc rod holder. They also sell a high back model that I beleive would have given me the extra back support but also added a few more oz.

Gary C.

There is a wide variety of seating products for backpacking, ranging from simple pads to foldup chairs with legs and backs, some heavy, some light. Plus all sorts of improvised approaches, ranging from just sitting on the ground or a convenient log or rock to leaning on your ice ax (the pick-adze area forms a "T" to sit on), to sitting on your pack. Among the more interesting seats I have acquired is a fanny pack which has a foldout seat designed for skiers. You stick the skis in the snow, fit two pockets over the ski tips, and loop two belts around the binding area (to keep the seat from slipping too far down, then sit down. The fanny pack section is large enough to hold a wax kit and an avalanche analysis kit plus some repair parts that might be needed in the back country.

Several have mentioned the Therm-A-Restr and its imitators, a sleeve into which you slip an inflatable pad or a foam pad (BigSmoke has a photo above). This has the virtue of being a fairly light addition to your pack, while providing good support. The Crazy Creek chairs (mentioned by Gary C) and their imitators can serve as a supplemental pad for expedition use. I have (and have used) both these options on expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic - ok when you are hauling a sled, but it is an added pound (for the sleeve) or more (for the Crazy Creek type of chair).

On expeditions and backcountry ski tours, you usually dig out a "kitchen" or pitch a cook/dining tent which has benches. You just use your foam pad on these for insulation (I stopped taking the Crazy Creek and ThermARestr along, since there was no need for the extra weight when carving out a bench).

Foldup chairs and stools are nice enough (though some of these are tippy). But they are way too heavy. The smallest one I have (yet another "sample" to test out) is 1.5 pounds, while the heaviest are so heavy that I even hesitate to take them for a car-camp-based base camp. I do take one for the AAC-SNS "Climb-Munity" base camps, though. But I would never backpack one.

Even though I have been given or won in contests at least a dozen seating devices, and even actually spent money for a couple seating devices (part of charitable fundraisers), I have ended up just going the improv route 90% of the time - sit on ground/rock/log/stump, with or without a sleeping pad, or on my pack or using the pack as a backrest. What I observe among my buds and partners on expeditions, overnight backpacks, and car-based base camps is that lots of people acquire a wonderful marvelous seating device, and within a few trips, abandon it for the improv.

pros of seating devices - comfortable place to sit, insulation from the snow or ice in winter, less hard and lumpy than rocks/logs/stumps

cons - extra weight, sometimes suffer structural failures (fabric rips, legs break or bend, stiffeners bend/break/get lost, bolts/nuts/pins/clamps get lost), extra cost, Yet Another Thing to remember to put in the pack or pack out, takes up room in the pack (or you have to strap it on the outside of the pack)

a cusioned seat obviously provides you with some comfort but unless its under a pound I consider it too heavy. That is, for a chair. Theres really no need for it which is another reason I'm hesitant to buy one and also it would just be one more thing to lug around. Not to mention the fact that a lot of hikers (like myself) hike to get away from certain luxuries we take for granted. A cusioned seat out in the woods or on a mountain seems very out of place to me. It's bad enough I need all sorts of other equipment just to surivive. I don't ever forsee (personally) a reason to buy one.

Good luck on your project.

I do carry the Therma-rest ultra light chair. I have some back problems and it makes all the difference to me and am willing to live with the 10oz extra weight.

I used to carry a stool, but at 1lb 8oz and no back on the stool, it was not worth it too me. I now carry a Trekker Chair that incorporates my Thermarest sleep pad into a sitting system with a back. This only weighs 10oz. I would like to have something that has a back and sits up off the ground as well. But I am not willing to use anything over 1lb 8oz and only if it is super comfortable and stable will I go up that high in weight.

I take the thermarest chair adapter that uses the 20 inch thermarest self-inflatable. You still have to sit on the ground mostly, but it's better than having nothing at all to lean on. I've taken a portable backpacking lounger but it was a pain to put up and take down. To make it worthwhile it would have to be a trip where there was beer coming along, too.

I like to say that it's hard to get me ever to say "never", but.....


This is a dilemna that has been on my mind lately. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in January of 2008. When my body temperature goes up my symptoms get much worse, ie vision problems, numbness, weaknes, balance...

As it is I can walk about a half a mile, then I have to rest for 10 minutes or so. I'm looking for some kind of lightweight, quick and easy way to sit so that I can walk a trail. It's got to be a chair that's easy to carry -- too much extra weight or if it's too cumbersome, it'll just make things worse. I need to be able to carry it while weariang an ice vest and using a walking stick. It needs to be quick to set up, when I get hot and need to sit down, I need to do it immediately.

I've actually been considering getting walker to use for this. At least I'd be able to walk a wide flat trail which would be fine for the bike paths around the river here. I'd be able to use it blueberry picking in the summer. Trouble is I couldn't go anywhere really off road with it. And I'd be horribly embarassed. I'm only 40. I'm not really into looking like a crazy old woman lost in the woods.

No one has mentioned the obvious -- a shooting stick. Let's face it, you have two good legs that supplement the stick and voila - a tripod! A shooting stick is nice because you can rock back and forth, you don't need a back on it because it makes you sit up straight, and it isn't heavy because it is your walking stick as well. When you want to stop, just unfold it and sit.

Here are some shooting sticks --


Anyway, you get the idea.



Nope. I sit in my hammock to put on/take off shoes, socks, other clothes, or to just take a load off. Or I throw down my foam pad, if it's along.

If I were to spring for any chair I'd get the slinglight.

I like to take my original crazy creek chair if I'm going on a sitting around kind of bp trip. One where you hike in one day and then commence sitting around floating on airmattresses for a day and hiking out a third day. The old body does not like to sit on logs and rocks for days on end. The chair allows some spinal and body straightness while sitting, and I can open it up to lay on rocks looking for meteors.

carry a pillow...

Jim S

... I'm not really into looking like a crazy old woman lost in the woods.

Why not? Most of us look like crazy old men and women, crazy middle-aged men and women, crazy young men and women, insane male and female adolescents, and just plain crazy weirdos wandering in the woods, instead of being couch potatos spending our time watching (or more likely, sleeping through) "reality TV" shows. Only weirdos and crazy folk go wandering in the woods and hills, all obviously lost.

Hey, if you want to get out there, just do it. Don't worry about what other people think. It's good therapy for whatever ails you, whether MS like you have or just craziness induced by spending too many hours sitting in front of the computer at "work" (or in my current situation building a new house and continuously stressed by everything from the City regulations and bureaucratic "inspectors"). If one of the all-time great climbers, Jeff Lowe, can get out there on his Kinney sticks (his MS is getting pretty advanced) on the trails, and not worry about what others think, so can you (Jeff and his cousins virtually defined modern ice climbing).

I see plenty of people out hiking with walkers, Kinney sticks, prosthetics, and other aids, sometimes several miles out and even sometimes off trail. And they are enjoying themselves. I have great admiration for them and intend to follow their examples as age and other debilitation creep up on me. Say HI! if we encounter each other on the trail, whether it's a city park, some trail in the Sierra, or just a trek around the block.

Oh, wait! It's picking the wild blueberries that makes people think you are crazy! When we lived in Boston, we would go up to Maine every late summer and fall to pick the wild blueberries. People would look at us like we were crazy - after all the berries were not packaged in plastic, so they must be poisonous, right? Barb and I miss the blueberry picking out here in California. Pick a few quarts for me!

I agree so what if people consider us people that wander around out in the wilderness crazy maybe (probably are) we are. But we enjoy our self's when we do and the one of the many benefits to doing so is you don't see very many obnoxious & ignorant people (if any) while were doing out crazy thing.

If you live your life worrying about what other people think, you're not really alive. A unique challenge would be to find something in this world that everyone agrees on. Unique because its IMPOSSIBLE! Think of someone in this world that you admire for what they do/ who they are, now try to imagine being one of the people that hates them. There's always going to be 2 sides of the coin so just do what you want, some will love you, some will hate you, but don't let the haters have their gratification by letting them stop you.

Hiking, climbing, camping mountaineering, etc. tests your strength, endurance, knowledge, skills, and will power. So do many other things but this is how WE test ourselves. In reality its no different than any other sport, we just love the outdoors and we do things a little different.

I like how this thread changed from camp stools to "down with the haters!"

......oh yea, no I dont like to carry a camp stool

I carry one of these sometimes......

I got a press release about the Sierra Trek-or-Chair, a new product, and thought of this thread:

It weighs 37 ounces total, and retails for a hefty $189.95.

Walking sticks that wiegh over a pound a piece? Now that would be a workout.

Hay I think that looks really cool.

Gary C.
After a couple of days your arms will forgive you Heck they may even like it.

I take a tripod stool (made by variety) on every trip.

The extra pound of weight is well worth it. Easy to slip off the pack for the 5 minute breaks

When I'm laying in my hammock, it makes for a nice table for my coffee mug

A stool is a good option it's lighter weight and cheaper. But sometimes it would be nice to be able to lean back and really relax.

Depends how long the trip is actually, if it's just a few days it might be neat to take it with you, but for trips over 3 days i wouldn't i'd rather save the weight and space for something more useful :P

Welcome to Trailspace MonkeySkills

... trips over 3 days i wouldn't i'd rather save the weight and space for something more useful :P

Do you mean like FOOD lol.

Welcome to Trailspace MonkeySkills

... trips over 3 days i wouldn't i'd rather save the weight and space for something more useful :P

Do you mean like FOOD lol.


Amongst other things yeah :D

I take one with me just about every trip. My knees can only take so much and getting up, down, up, down to do simple tasks like preparing meals, taking off and putting on boots, eating meals taking breaks on hikes etc... I will usually find a tree and plant my tripod stool at the base for back support. It does weigh a little over a pound but my knees thank me every time.

Also, not sure if everyone else does this but while taking short 30 sec - 2 min water break or to check my gps or maps, I will sometimes wedge my trekking pole under my backpack to take the weight off while I stand. I thought it would be neat to incorporate eyelets on both sides of my back pack so I could flip my poles around and stick the ends through to basically do what I’m doing when I wedge the poles under the pack. Any thoughts?

swrye, welcome to Trailspace.

I also use my trekking poles for support during breaks, it does give you a chance to relax those muscles without unsaddling the pack, and it does make it easier for me to make certain pack adjustments.

Sometimes I'm blessed with a rock ledge of the appropriate height on the side of the trail that serves the same purpose.

The areas I pack in are full of fallen trees or large flat rocks so I do not carry a stool or chair, but I do use an elevated seat and cook top whenever possible.

So true! A place to put it is usually the problem for me! They are very nice and comfortable!


I agree about the virtues of the rock ledge. In fact, I found myself using a rock ledge so often (you take it for granite after a while) that I now carry my own in case the terrain doesn't provide one.

This is the kind I find most restful. I can place it practically anywhere.

I found it just lying on a golf course (I wasn't lying, I don't golf, the stone had the lie). The height is perfect and the writing is somehow encouraging; no matter where I am, I have only 350 yards to go.

HaHa, nice one!

Nope.Weight and just one more thing to carry.

Only if it could keep up with me!

Not so much hiking, but for canoe and kayak trips where you can afford some extra weights a Crazy Creek or Thermarest lounger is indispensible.

In a car camping setting -- base camp for ski trips -- I saw a guy pull out a folding aluminum/nylon rocking chair. I tried to track one down for my wife, really as kind of a joke, but didn't come up with anything. Anybody ever seen one of those?

I use a piece of blue foam pad;as a seat,to wrap around your water bottle to insulate it, to make a good splint for forearms,for extra padding in a frameless pack,as a fan for firelighting and finally a head pad for use during head spins if wilderness inspired rap dancing takes hold ( duct tape helps here)

Whenever I go hiking with my wife I carry a folding tripod golf chair for her. It weighs about 2lbs so I strap it on my pack, and it only cost about $15 at most sporting good stores.

I never have packed a chair.

Perhaps maybe if I one day let someone tag along and they will do the totin' ;0)

I do now that I am older, sitting on the ground makes me stiff when I stand up.

Never leave home without it! A therma-a-rest 3/4 mattress inserted in the chair is light, fast to fill & deflate and fold into my backpack. I am super comfortable when I stop, keep clean & dry (especially on rainy or snowy hikes) and is a wonderful way to mattress lounge unfolded at a destination. It is a MUST for any hunting stand too! Mine has about 20,000 miles (50 miles a week-super day hikers we are) on it over the last 8 years.


I agree about the virtues of the rock ledge. In fact, I found myself using a rock ledge so often (you take it for granite after a while) that I now carry my own in case the terrain doesn't provide one.

This is the kind I find most restful. I can place it practically anywhere.

I found it just lying on a golf course (I wasn't lying, I don't golf, the stone had the lie). The height is perfect and the writing is somehow encouraging; no matter where I am, I have only 350 yards to go.

350 yard dogleg left par 4... As a golfer that plays a fade primarily, I would hit a 3 wood to the right side to keep it in the short grass, then knock a wedge past the hole and pull the string. Roll the rock and watch your buddies clean it up for a double. Sure I'll take the honors.

I carry a Coleman Exponent Trekking stool. It weighs 1.2 lbs. I used to just sit on rocks, logs, ground but as I've gotten older and heavier I like the stool.

Don't get a 3 legged stool, they will hurt a man.



My pack has wayyyy too much stuff in it already, and is wayyyyyy too heavy... so I really can't imagine actually carrying a chair with me when backpacking or hiking. But I do carry one when I go in my Jeep :).

I've noticed that on the first day or two of a backpacking trip I find a nice smooth clean rock to sit on, by the third day I just sit down in the dirt or what ever is under me at the time.


ya dis one is for me ill be orderin one real soon.

Chairs sure are comfortable to have around camp, but I do not lug them any more. However, I met a fellow along the JMT who said he would rent out his chair, but the price was too steep.


As jmcwatty posted above, hammocks do make comfortable camp chairs:
scroll down at this link:


Just a 10" X 12" CCF sit pad at 1 oz.

Sometimes I do when I'm canoeing the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, but then I'm only carrying things when portaging, so the weight isn't a big issue.

However, when backpacking, I go ultra light and wouldn't even consider it.

I don't take one. I think that there are plenty of chair/stools provided in the woods. Granted they might not be as comfy as a fancy one, but they are all over and I don't have to carry them in/out!


I agree with Trout Hunter as well.... GCI makes a tri-pod type stool that is quite light, but for the most part you can find something to sit on right alongside the trail.

I have one like the pictured above with four legs and a canvas seat with a velcro strap. I also use a Crazycreek chair too.

I’d only bring a chair if my fellow campers like shooting the bull around a fire in the evening. Otherwise there is no reason to sit for any duration of time. Bringing your own seat has advantages. It gets you out of the dirt, makes it easier to don winter gear and boots, you can easily relocate your seat when camp fire smoke drifts your way, and you don’t have to further impact nature, dragging stones around to arrange a camp.
I take the sling lite on base camp trips, when having a veg recliner is sheer bliss. The Sling Lite otherwise is too hard to get in/out of, if active around camp, due it its design. If I am on trips requiring a Bear Canister, I use that as a stool, affixing ½’’ layer of blue pad to the lid using Velcro. If on trips not requiring a bear canister, I use a very light weight folding stool, constructed of two upside down U-shaped aluminum tubes with a cloth seat.

Ed, I really like the idea of the velcro/pad on the bear can. I may have to give it a try.

I am the camp cook and I prefer to sit comfortably while cooking. Also you cannot always find a log or rock to sit on. I purchased a Stikstool which solved the problem. It is a hiking stick that converts into a stool. I have used it five times now and I give it five stars. The stick is very strong and to convert it into a stool was simple. It's one of those simple things that make you say "Why didn't I think of that". Check it out!!!

Only if it could keep up with me. :)

I mentioned the Stikstool. I forgot to add a pic of it so here it is.

I think many of you are missing a golden opportunity here. Here's a designer who wants to hear what we want and don't want in a backpacking stool/chair!

Let's face it, you may not always find a log or rock to sit on... and if you're traveling with others as most people do, it's even less likely that all of you will find one to sit on... or not together anyway. And having a seat is a big comfort after being on your feet with 30-40lbs on your back all day- particularly for cooking, eating, changing boots/sox, sitting around the campfire, etc., and especially in the rain when everything around you is soaking wet or muddy.

I have one of these 3-legged stools that cost around $10 found at most camping/sporting goods stores:

Pros: provides a decent 16-17" seated height, inexpensive, folds up to the same size as a bundle of tent poles for a 2-man tent but shorter.

Cons: steel legs make them real heavy at over 2 lbs., has no back.

I guess the aforementioned StikStool would be a slightly lighter 1.6lb, multi-use alternative but I shudder at all the small parts- o-rings, end caps and collar that can be misplaced while it's used as a hiking stick. $30:

CampTime's Roll Up Pack stool:

is similar but with aluminum legs that cut the weight down to a pound but the legs are larger in diameter so they take up a little more space. $25. This would be comparable to the aforementioned Coleman Exponent Trekking stool.

CampTime also make a Roll Up Chair with a back (that can also fold down into a stool) which is real comfy but the weight is a whopping 2.5 lbs. despite the aluminum legs and it's a rather big bundle when folded. $45:

So, CampingSteve, if you can design a sturdy, comfortable chair or stool that weighs around 1/2 pound, folds up like a compact umbrella and doesn't cost an arm and a leg, then I've got a troop with 50+ scouts and leaders waiting to be your first customers!

In reference to the Stikstool comment, I too worried about the extra parts but I keep the O-rings on the stick and sometimes the collar. Normally I have the seat, collar and 4 caps in the top of my pack (under 6.5oz). I have always carried a tripod stool but I am happy I switched to the Stikstool. As a side note I found the Stikstool much sturdier than the others I have used.

May 10, 2021
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