Handy Guide: Lightweight Sleeping Pad Chair Kits


Camping chairs get lighter and smaller every year, but they still have a long way to go.  Even the lightest camping chairs are too heavy for backpacking. Don’t Worry! You won’t have to sit on the cold hard ground if you buy a sleeping pad chair kit.

Sleeping pad chair kits really do come in handy.  These lightweight kits transform your sleeping pad into a comfortable backpacking chair.  They aren’t quite as comfortable as a regular chair, but they’re lightweight and better than nothing.  After a long day hiking having a backrest really helps take the strain off your body.  

Different Types of Camping Chairs

There are two different kinds of camping chairs available today. Portable chairs that weigh a couple pounds designed for car camping and lightweight chair kits that are designed for backpacking.

Most of the lightweight chair kits convert your sleeping pad into a basic camp chair. Backpacking chairs don’t have legs, but they do offer halfway decent back support. If you’re trying to keep weight down you should buy either the Therm-A-Rest Universal chair kit or the Big Agnes Kit. Both options are cheap and lightweight.

There are also a few old-school chair kits that don’t require a sleeping pad(like this one), but I would never buy one. They typically weigh a couple pounds and if you’re already carrying a sleeping pad the added weight doesn’t make sense.

Backpacking Chair Kits Are Worth It

As a backpacker you start to question every piece of gear that goes into your pack. Do you really want to carry one more accessory in your bag? Is the extra weight really worth it?

When you’re talking about sleeping pad chair kits the answer is easy. If you’re already carrying a sleeping pad it’s really a no brainer. You’ll be able to comfortably sit up and relax without much added weight. After a long hike having a backrest really does make a huge difference.

Few of My Favorite Backpacking Chair Kits

  1. Therm-A-Rest Trekker Universal Chair Kit (20″ 9.5 Oz, 25″ 13 Oz)
  2. Big Agnes Big Easy Chair Kit (20″ 14 Oz, 25″ 19.5 Oz)
  3. Big Agnes Cyclone Universal Kit (6 Oz)
  4. Therm-A-Rest Neo-Air (3.7 Oz Requires Neo-Air Pad)

How Much Do Sleeping Pad Chair Kits Weigh?

Hopefully you’re already carrying an inflatable sleeping pad (if not here’s my favorite).  If you’re already carrying a pad the additional weight of a chair kit is going to be small.

Even the heaviest kits are going to weigh less than a pound. It all depends on what sleeping pad you’re using. My NeoAir Seat Kit which works with any of the Therm-a-Rest Neo Air bags only weighs 3.7oz. It literally weighs less than most of my T-Shirts.

Some of the Universal Chair kits are going to be a little heavier. The Therm-A-Rest Trekker Chair Kit is going to be a little under 1lb depending on the size you choose. The Big Agnes Chair Kit is another Great Option but I think it’s a little pricey for what it is.

What About Chair Kits That Don’t Need a Sleeping Pad?

Personally, I would never go with one of the chairs that don’t require a sleeping pad. Since I’m already carrying a pad the added weight of an additional pad just doesn’t make any sense to me. They would be great at the beach or a picnic, but it just doesn’t make sense for backpacking.

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