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beach chair

A solid beach chair is a sure way to enhance your visit to the coast. Photo: Rebecca Parsons


The Inertia

There’s nothing better than sinking into a comfy beach chair after a long surf. Perched on your beachfront throne, you can enjoy well-deserved R&R and/or take time to sip on a cold one, eat lunch, watch the waves roll in, or read. While there are countless options on the market, there’s a wide range in price and quality among the chairs out there. After testing a bunch of different chairs, and factoring in our lifelong experience as surfers, we’ve rounded up some of the best. For more detailed info, check out our Comparison Table and Buyer’s Guide.

The Best Beach Chairs of 2023

Best Overall Beach Chair: GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair
Best Lightweight Beach Chair: Helinox Beach Chair
Best Budget Beach Chair: Coleman Broadband Mesh
Best “Deluxe” Beach Chair: Parkit Voyager
Most Durable Beach Chair: YETI Trailhead Camp Chair
Best Beach Chair for Couples:
Kelty Low Loveseat
Best Low-Profile Beach Chair: Cascade Low Profile Camp Chair


Best Overall Beach Chair

GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair ($80)GCI Big Surf Beach Chair

Pros: Built-in sun shade, padded headrest.
Cons: Kind of goofy looking.

The GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair is tailor-made for post surf chill sessions. Featuring a built-in adjustable SPF sun shade, the UPF 50+ fabric allows you to easily take a much needed break from the sun. Designed with comfort in mind, the chair includes a padded headrest and a four-position mesh backrest that allows you to configure the chair to your preferred sitting position. When you’re ready to pack it up for the day, the Big Surf Chair folds flat and includes backpack style straps for the walk back to the car. Although it looks a little dorky, we’re big fans of this chair for its function.

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Best Lightweight Beach Chair

Helinox Beach Chair ($170)Helinox Beach Chair

Pros: Super portable, pocket for stashing items.
Cons: Not the most comfortable option.

If you’re someone who values portability above all else, you’ll love Helinox’s Beach Chair. With all the comforts of a beach-ready lounger, but the packability of your classic lightweight camp chair, the Chair Zero ticks all the boxes. With a low profile and legs that are splayed so as not to sink into the sand, this unit is beach-ready, and it even has a couple pockets for smaller items. Weighing in at just 3.25 lbs, It’s easy to carry and bring on hikes either up or down long trails to get a bit off the beaten path.

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Best Budget Beach Chair

Coleman Broadband Mesh ($30)

Coleman Chair

Pros: Tried and true design, cup holder.
Cons: Not the most durable.

Ahh, the classic camp chair. Hard to mess with something that’s been around for so long and is still this wildly popular. The classic folding camp chair is certainly not proprietary to Coleman, and their’s isn’t even the cheapest option out there, but when it comes to the right combination of price, features, and durability, Coleman has hit the nail on the head. The Coleman Broadband Mesh Chair comes with a single cupholder, a mesh back to make the most of that sea breeze, and a carry bag for easy storage and transport. For $30 bucks, you certainly can’t ask for more than that.

For a souped-up version for a few extra dollars, check out the Coleman Cooler Quad which features an integrated four-can cooler, additional storage and a padded back.

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Best “Deluxe” Beach Chair

Parkit Voyager ($225)Parkit Voyager Beach Chair

Pros: Attachable cooler, mangrove planted for every purchase. 
Cons:
Pricey.

Designed to be functional, durable, and comfortable, Parkit’s Voyager is the ultimate outdoor adventure chair. Crafted to last, the chair features industrial framing, woven polyester webbing, and a wooden armrest. Thoughtful features include hands-free backpack carry straps, a versatile cupholder, and an under the seat attachable cooler for stashing food and beverages. In an effort to support the environment, one mangrove tree is planted for every Voyager chair purchased, so you can feel good about the chair you’re sitting in.

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Most Durable Beach Chair

YETI Trailhead Camp ChairYETI Trailhead Chair

Pros: Supportive, durable, comfortable.
Cons: Heavy, pricey.

In our experience, all of YETI’s products are exceptional and the Trailhead Camp Chair is no exception. The chair features a supportive, UV-rated FlexGrid fabric that’s extremely comfortable and perfect for relaxing in after a long session. Additionally, the Camp Chair is very well made and includes a convenient cup holder. Weighing in at 13 pounds, the Camp Chair is on the heavy side for a beach chair, but it does pack into a travel bag complete with a shoulder strap to combat the weight. It also includes instructions for set up and tear down on the armrests, which we appreciate. It is pretty pricey but is likely a chair that will last a long time.

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Best Beach Chair for Couples

Kelty Low Loveseat ($140)Kelty Loveseat Low

Pros: Room for two, beverage holders, comfortable.
Cons: Big and heavy.

If you’ve got a couples surf trip on the books or plan on getting away to the beach with your significant other, look no further than the Kelty Low Loveseat. Its double-wide design lets two people get cozy instead of awkwardly holding hands from separate chairs. It’s like a couch, but for the outdoors. Beverage holders on the armrests tick the “storage” box, and despite weighing in at 15 pounds (it’s basically two chairs, remember), a roll-up sling helps transport this bad boy from the car to the sand.

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Best Low-Profile Beach Chair

Cascade Mountain Tech Low Profile Camp Chair ($43)

our pick for the best low profile beach chair was this camp chair from cascade mountain tech.

Pros: Sits low to the ground, portable.
Cons:
Doesn’t have any cup holder or storage areas.

We always love it when a product name says what it is without any flashy jargon. The Low Profile Camp Chair from Cascade Mountain Tech is just what it says it is, but you can also do much more than take it camping. There’s something relaxing about being low to the ground with the knees above the waist. It puts us in a naturally reclined state, getting us in proper chill mode just by simple body positioning. We’re sure there’s some sort of scientific explanation, too, but we all intuitively know what we’re saying here and we’re sure many of you agree. Not only that, but having a seat that’s low to the ground will keep you in the good books of anyone behind you at an outdoor movie or concert. Nobody wants to get food or insults hurled their way for being a head above everyone else.

This chair could also be in the running as the “best budget chair” as it boasts a remarkable price tag for its portability and craftsmanship. You could get a few of these for less than others in this list. Which is always a good idea, because sitting at the beach is better in good company.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Other Chairs We Tested

Snow Peak Low Beach Chair ($170)Snow Peak Low Beach Chair

Pros: Well made, durable, lightweight.
Cons: No extra frills, pricey.

Available in two different colors, Snow Peak’s Low Beach Chair is designed for long days at the beach. Featuring a rugged canvas fabric, bamboo wooden armrests, and an aluminum frame, this chair has a nice, sleek look. Weighing in at eight pounds, the Low Beach Chair is fairly lightweight and easily packs into its included carry case, so transportation is a non-issue. Although the chair doesn’t recline or include any add-ons like cup holders or storage space, it’s quite comfortable enough to chill in between surf sessions.

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Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair ($90)Coleman Flat Fold Beach Chair

Pros: Simple design, lightweight.
Cons: Not the most comfortable, doesn’t come with a storage bag.

If you’re looking for a simple, fold up beach chair, then the Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair fits the bill. The teal and aluminum design is simple yet cute and wooden arm rests complete the look. The chair sits low to the ground, folds up easily, and weighs just four pounds, so it’s super easy to transport. The backrest isn’t padded, and it hits about mid-back, so it’s not the most comfortable design we tested, but, if you’re looking for something simple, it gets the job done.

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Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair ($250)

snow peak camping chairs

Pros: Classy wooden arm rests, storage pocket.
Cons: Pricey.

The Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair is a high-quality chair that is durable enough for the beach, the campground, and everything in between. The wooden arm rests coupled with the canvas seats gives the chair a classy look. The canvas feels super durable and the coated aluminum frame is rust-resistant. The chair packs down small and is light to carry and includes a mesh storage pocket on the back for stashing essentials. The chair sits low, which is nice for sitting back and relaxing. The price is definitely steep but it does seem like a chair that will last for years to come. This chair is super similar to the Snow Peak Low Beach Chair, it’s just a little higher quality.

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REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair ($90)

rei co-op beach chair

Pros: Simple yet comfortable, chair includes backpack straps.
Cons: Doesn’t provide neck support.

The REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair is like a classic lawn chair, only a whole lot better. It has a simple, lightweight design, but the cushioned seat and backrest make it nice and comfy. The chair features backpack straps, which make it easy to carry, and the secure closure system allow you to stash blankets and sweaters in the chair while you travel. The wooden arms add a little bit of style and the coated aluminum frame ensure the chair is strong yet lightweight. The only way this chair could be more comfortable is if the back went up high enough to provide some neck support, but then it would undoubtedly weigh more as well.

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Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch ($40)

chillbo swaggins beach chair

Pros: Incredibly comfortable, portable, pocket on the side.
Cons: Can be tricky to set up.

Calling the Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch a chair is a stretch, but it serves a similar purpose and is insanely comfortable. The Chillbo Shwaggins is essentially an inflatable couch/chair, but instead of blowing it up with your mouth or a pump, you use wind to inflate it. If you’ve never set one up before, or there isn’t any wind, it can be tricky to set up at first. But, once you get the hang of it, set up is a breeze (pun intended). The Chillbo Shwaggins is super lightweight and packs down into a convenient bag with a strap, so you can easily bring it along to all of your beach days. It’s also insanely comfortable and allows you to stretch out and relax. The only way it could be more comfortable is if it had some sort of a head rest — to rectify this, we simply balled up our towel and place it under our head. Available in thirteen unique patterns, you’ll undoubtedly be turning heads with this set up.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

REI Co-op Camp Low Chair ($50)

rei co-op chair

Pros: Padded seat, made from recycled materials.
Cons: No arm rests or neck support.

The REI Co-op Camp Low Chair is a no frills chair that is comfortable and has everything you need. The chair sits low, making it easy to lean back and relax and the seat is padded, so you don’t have to worry about your butt going numb. The chair is well made and the powder-coated steel frame ensure the chair is plenty durable.

While the Camp Low Chair is comfortable, it doesn’t have armrests or neck support, so you may want to look elsewhere if that’s important to you. The chair includes a rear pocket for storing essentials and it includes an adjustable shoulder strap for easy transport. At the end of the day, the Camp Low Chair packs down flat, which is nice for storage.

Check Price on REI

Comparison Table

Model Price Weight Weight Capacity Features
GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair $80 9.7 lbs. 250 lbs. Sunshade
Helinox Beach Chair $170 3.25 lbs. 320 lbs. Splayed legs for stability
Coleman Broadband Mesh $30 7 lbs. 250 lbs. Great price
Parkit Voyager $225 12 lbs. 350 lbs. Underseat cooler
Kelty Low Loveseat $140 15 lbs. 6 oz. 400 lbs. Room for two
Cascade Mountain Tech Low Profile Camp Chair $43 7 lbs. 250 lbs. Low to the ground, easy to carry
YETI Trailhead Camp Chair ($300) $300 13 lbs. 500 lbs. Sturdy yet mobile
Snow Peak Low Beach Chair $170 8 lbs. 220 lbs. Stylish canvas/bamboo
Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair $90 4 lbs. 14.4 oz. 250 lbs. Folds easily, flat design
Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair $250 7 lbs. 8 oz. 240 lbs. Mesh storage pocket
REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair $90 7 lbs. 7 oz. 250 lbs. Backpack straps
Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch $40 2.64 lbs. 440 lbs. Side storage pocket

REI makes some great, affordable beach chairs. The REI Co-op Camp Low Chair pictured front and center is a prime example. Photo: Rebecca Parsons

How We Tested

In order to test these chairs, we took them to the beach and planted our butts in them. Seriously. We packed them in the car, carried them down the beach path, set them up, and sat back and relaxed. We considered how easy or difficult they were to transport, how set up went, if there were any cup holders or storage compartments on the chairs, how comfortable they were to sit in, how tear down went, and any fun extras they had. We let our friends test them out as well because it never hurts to get a second opinion, or two, or three, or four (we have a lot of friends). We consider ourselves professional beach bums, so this was right up our alley.

Beach Chair Ratings Table

Beach Chair Comfort Storage Portability Cost Overall
GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair 4 4 5 4 4.25
Helinox Beach Chair 4 3 5 3 3.75
Coleman Broadband Mesh 4 3 4 5 4
Parkit Voyager 4 5 4 2 3.75
YETI Trailhead Camp Chair 5 3 3 2 3.25
Kelty Low Loveseat 5 3 3 4 3.75
Cascade Mountain Tech Low Profile Camp Chair 4 0 5 5 3.5
Snow Peak Low Beach Chair 3 0 5 4 3
Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair 2 0 5 4 2.75
Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair 3 0 5 3 2.75
REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair 4 0 5 5 3.5
Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch 5 3 5 5 4.5
REI Co-op Camp Low Chair 4 3 4 4 3.75

What Makes a Good Beach Chair?

When picking out a beach chair, there are a few things we take into consideration. First and foremost, we want our chair to be comfortable. Additionally, we want our beach chair to have some storage space, be portable, and come at an affordable price point.

Comfort
If you’re anything like us, summer days call for hours and hours at the beach. When we’re not in the water, we’ll post up in our beach chair to read, write, and watch the waves. Since time on the beach is our down time, we want to spend it being as comfortable as possible.

kelty beach chair

The Kelty Low Loveseat comfortably seats two, or one, and comes equipped with cup holders. Photo: Suzanne Sheley

Storage
We don’t require a lot during our time chilling at the beach, but we think a good chair should include a cup holder (or two) and a spot to stash a few essential items like keys, sunscreen, etc.

Portability
If you’re lucky, your favorite surf spot offers beachfront parking. But for most of us, all day beach days require a few trips to and from the car. Beach chairs come in many shapes and sizes but the most important factor to us is that it’s easy to transport. We look for backpack style straps or a shoulder sling and prefer that our chair is lightweight. Added points if it can carry a few items as well.

Cost
We’re not sure why the price range is so drastic when it comes to beach chairs, but it is. We want a chair that ticks all our boxes but also comes at an affordable price so we can spend our hard earned dollars on other necessary surf equipment.

helinox beach chair

Lightweight chairs like the Helinox Beach Chair are great for long treks to the beach. Photo: Rebecca Parsons

What Else Should I Look For In a Beach Chair?

Durability

Have you ever bought a beach chair that falls apart after one summer? When we’re in the market for a new beach chair, we want that will last years, not just a single season. We consider the materials the chair is made of and if it seems well made. Because in our opinion, a good beach chair should be built to last.

Support

Support goes alongside comfort, but varies based on what you’re looking for. Some chairs come with armrests and others don’t. If you like resting your arms on something, then be sure and look for a chair that includes armrests. Additionally, some chairs offer generous back and neck support but others are cut lower to save weight. If you like extra support and aren’t worried about weight, consider a chair that comes up high like the Trailhead Camp Chair.

Weight and Weight Capacity

Weight is an important factor to consider when purchasing a chair. First, you’ll want to consider the weight capacity of the chair. If your weight, or the person intending to use the chair’s weight, exceeds the chair’s weight capacity then you should look elsewhere to ensure you have a chair that can reliably support you.

Best Overall Beach Chair
Best Overall Beach Chair

The GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair is tailor-made for post surf chill sessions. Featuring a built-in adjustable SPF sun shade, the UPF 50+ fabric allows you to easily take a much needed break from the sun in maximum comfort.

Price: $80

Check Price on Amazon

Additionally, you’ll want to take a look at the weight of the actual chair. If you don’t plan on carrying your chair far, then weight may be a non-issue. But, if you travel far with your chair or find yourself carrying a lot to the beach, then you may want to look for a lightweight chair. Lightweight chairs don’t tend to be as comfortable as their heavier counterparts because something’s got to give — think about which factors are the most important to you.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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