There’s nothing worse than spending a day at the beach without a comfortable beach chair. Sand works its way into every crevasse of your body, your beverage can tip over, and before long your backside starts aching while you wish you were at home sitting in a comfy chair!
Avoid this unfortunate scenario with a good backpack beach chair. They’re not only comfortable to sit in for hours at a time – but they’re also super easy to sling over your shoulder and carry around the beach, park, or campground.
There’s a wide variety of beach chairs out there – from basic camper style chairs to tilt-recliners with all the bells and whistles. I’ll break down the best backpack beach chairs on the market, and how to choose the best one for your needs.
Quick Answer: 7 Best Backpack Beach Chairs
- Best Overall: Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler Chair
- Runner Up: Rio Beach Suspension Backpack Beach Chair
- Backpack Lounger: Pacific Beach Lounger
- Best Lightweight & Compact Beach Chair: Sunyear Lightweight Compact Folding Camping Backpack Chair
- High Back Chair: MOVTOTOP Folding Beach Chair
- Chair with Cooler: RIO Gear Ultimate Backpack Chair with Cooler
- Chair for Larger Body Types: Rio Beach Big Guy Backpack Chair
Why do you need a backpack beach chair?
Beyond just a comfortable place to park your rear end, newer backpack beach chairs have several features that make them super handy to have around.
These chairs are a major step up from those cheap white plastic chairs you often see at the beach.
Many come with added features like beverage holders, built-in coolers, towel holders, adjustable headrests and convenient carrying bags. This makes them great for a variety of different uses like camping, sporting events, fishing and more.
Their backpack straps make them easy to carry from your car’s trunk to the beach – even for people with reduced mobility.
Top 7 Backpack Beach Chairs
Lightweight, durable, and endlessly functional, this chair from coastal life experts Tommy Bahama has everything you need to enjoy a day soaking up some rays in style. Its extra-wide rust-proof aluminum frame can hold up to 300 lbs while weighing just 7 lbs.
The canvas is made from 600 denier polyester fabric, making it both breathable and tough.
If extra features are what you’re after, then look no further. The chair comes with all the bells and whistles you could possibly want. Insulated cooler pouch for storing ice-cold drinks? Check. Towel rack? Check. Multiple spacious bottle holders? You betcha.
The backpack carrying straps are soft and padded – making transporting the chair a breeze. Five adjustable reclining positions allow you to find the perfect angle for rest and relaxation. You can also tilt the chair all the way flat and work on your back tan!
A wide variety of colors and patterns are available, so you can easily find the perfect look for you.
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
- Eye-catching designs look great at the beach, park, concerts or sporting events.
- Loads of extra features including insulated cooler pouch, towel rack, bottle holder and adjustable headrest.
- Carrying straps are comfortable and great for prolonged use.
- The extra-wide seat is great for all sized people.
The lace-up suspension on this lightweight aluminum beach chair really makes it stand out from the pack. It provides flexible, contouring support for your body, and is comfortable to sit in for hours at a time.
The seat rests 11” off the ground, which is a good bit higher than the typical 8 ½” found in other beach chairs. This makes it great for sporting events or anytime you want a better view. The seat easily reclines to 4 different positions without any worry of pinching yourself.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t recline completely flat – so look at one of the other options if that’s a priority for you.
As far as extras go, there’s a large storage pouch on the back of the chair, a smaller insulated pouch for storing important items, an adjustable neck pillow, as well as an insulated cup holder.
The carrying straps are soft and comfortable, making it easy to sling on your back for the trek to and from the beach.
- Weight Capacity: 240 lbs.
- Durable 600 denier polyester fabric.
- Flexible and contouring lace-up suspension is comfortable for long term use.
- Elevated 11” seat bottom.
- Weighs just 8 lbs.
If you’re the type that likes to splay out on the sand and soak up the rays, then this beach lounger may be more your speed. It’s a great alternative to traditional beach chairs, allowing you to comfortably lie on your back while still maintaining top-notch back support.
The backrest is fully adjustable, allowing you to set your preferred recline angle – it also goes completely flat so you can comfortably lie faced-down. The steel frame is cleverly surrounded by padded foam, ensuring the frame never digs into your back – even when you’re carrying it as a backpack.
Weighing in at just over 6 pounds, the lounger is ultra-light and easy to sling over your shoulders and carry on your back. Because it can lie completely flat, it also works well as a sleeping platform when camping.
A large zippered rear pocket allows you to easily stash your phone, keys, drinks and reading material. Keep in mind the set comes as a 2-pack.
- Folded Measurements: 5” x 21”
- Open Measurements: 8” x 21”
- Lightweight folding design is durable and easy to transport.
- A great alternative to traditional beach chairs.
- Fully adjustable backrest can be set to preferred recline angle – or completely flat.
Best Lightweight & Compact Beach Chair
Weighing in at a paltry 1.8 pounds, this compact nylon folding chair is perfect for slinging over your shoulder anytime you’re heading to the beach. It’s small enough to throw inside your backpack when camping or stash inside your trunk for whenever you need it.
The frame is made from ultra-light aircraft-grade aluminum and can hold up to 250 pounds. It features non-slip rubber covers on the feet to ensure a firm grip on any surface.
The seat design is different from typical beach chairs, with a unique reinforced deep seat similar to a lounge chair. This allows you to really sink into the chair – kind of like you would with a la-Z-boy.
Setting up the chair takes less than a minute, making it convenient for when you’re on the go. Keep in mind this is not a full-sized chair, so it won’t be quite as comfortable as larger models.
- Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
- Collapsed Measurements: 6” x 3.9” x 3.9”
- Lightweight and ultra-compact design.
- Quick set up and take down.
High Back Chair
With an extra-high backrest and lowered seat, this beach chair is the pinnacle in seaside comfort. The backrest is a full 9 inches taller than typical beach chairs, making it perfect for taller folks. The design imparts a cozy feeling – cocooning your body in a comfortable position.
The lowered seat allows you to spread your legs in the soft sand – measuring just 7 inches from the seat ground. Its design is optimized for use at the beach, but it also works well for camping, fishing, concerts, patios, and sporting events.
The main canvas material is soft and breathable while a waterproofed bottom layer prevents you from being accidentally soaked by a rogue wave!
The powder-coated steel frame supports up to 300 pounds, putting it on the high end as far as weight capacity is concerned. The entire chair neatly folds up to fit in a slim carry bag that’s easy to sling over your shoulder.
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
- Collapsed Measurements: 7 × 7 × 6.3 inches
- High backrest is ideal for taller people.
- Seat design is snug and comfortable.
- Chair weighs just 7 lbs.
Chair with Cooler
Have you ever brought an ice-cold six-pack to the beach, only to have it turn lukewarm and undrinkable? I certainly have.
Enter the cooler chair. The chair comes with a built-in insulated pouch with enough room to store 3 – 4 cold drinks. There’s also a large dry storage pack on the pack for stashing snacks or other important gear.
The chair itself is no slouch either. Its rust-resistant frame is tough and durable – easily holding up to 240 pounds. 5 different recline positions (including completely vertical) allow you to find the perfect lounging position.
Two molded plastic arms provide comfortable arm support, while an adjustable and removable headrest lets you find the perfect seating position. The chair weighs in at a respectable 8 lbs, with comfortable shoulder straps for when it’s time to get going.
- Weight Capacity: 240 lbs.
- Folder Dimensions: 5” x 25” x 4.5”
- Rear-mounted insulated pouch and dry storage pouch.
- The lace-up suspension is comfortable for long term use.
- 5 different recline positions – including completely flat.
Chair for Larger Body Types
If you’re a bigger guy or gal, smaller beach chairs can seem like flimsy kids’ picnic chairs – they can easily bend, break or collapse entirely.
Enter the Rio Big Guy backpack chair. This chair was designed with larger folks in mind. With an extra-large aluminum frame, 300-pound weight capacity, and a locking bracket to prevent the chair from tilting or folding while in use, you’d be hard-pressed to break this bad boy.
A thick cushioned pillow provides excellent neck support, while molded cushion arms offer excellent armrests. At 22” wide, the seat is extra roomy – making it perfect for big and tall folks.
The seat easily reclines to 4 different positions, allowing you to find the perfect seating angle. Large Velcro storage on the rear of the seat offers plenty of room for snacks, keys, water, and a beach towel.
Weighing 11 pounds, the chair is a bit heavier than most other models, but it’s burly frame more than makes up for it. It’s still easy to carry on your back, with adjustable and comfortable backpack shoulder straps.
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Extra-wide 22” seat supports larger body types.
- Locking bracket prevents the chair from tilting or folding while in use.
- Highly versatile – perfect for picnics, camping, tailgating, and other outdoor use.
How to pick the best backpack beach chair?
With so many options out there, picking the right backpack beach chair for your needs can seem like a confusing task. No worries – ill break down some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a beach chair.
Anytime you’re using gear near the ocean you’ll want to be sure it’s rust and corrosion-resistant. Saltwater is highly corrosive to metal – which can lead to chairs seizing shut or corroding beyond repair.
Look for aircraft-grade aluminum or powder-coated stainless steel frames to ensure they’ll hold up to sea spray or rouge waves.
If you’re one of those people that can never seem to find a comfortable seating position – then you’ll want to look for a chair with multiple adjustable seating positions. Higher-end chairs typically have around 4 or 5 reclining positions.
If you like to lay face-down and work on your back tan or catch some Z’s, then make sure to look for a chair that can lie completely horizontal.
Most chairs will be fairly easy to adjust, but cheaper chairs can pinch and collapse when you adjust them. All of the chairs reviewed above are designed to avoid this happening.
One of the major advantages of a backpack beach chair is its portability. Compared to traditional beach loungers, these chairs are ultra-portable and easy to transport. They typically fold up flat into a compact profile, making them easy to fit inside your car’s trunk or a beach cart.
Adjustable backpack straps allow you to easily sling a folded chair over your shoulders for the trek to and from the beach, park, sporting event or campground.
Most of these chairs are also fairly lightweight, weighing approximately 7 – 8 lbs. each. That’s significantly less than clunky beach loungers, which can be a pain to transport.
Construction materials vary widely among manufacturers. In general, you’ll want to look for a chair with a rust-resistant metal frame and tear-proof canvas chair material.
Most canvas materials are made from tear-resistant 600 denier polyester fabric. This fabric will provide a good balance of durability, support, and comfort. It will hold up to long term use and can handle a fair bit of wear and tear.
Newer backpack beach chairs come bundled with a variety of accessories that make them a valuable addition to every beach outing.
Many come with rear insulated and non-insulated dry storage bags capable of stashing snacks, cold drinks, keys, cellphones, and other electronics. Some have large storage bags with room for kids snorkel sets, beach towels, reading material and even floating GoPro camera mounts.
Other useful features to be on the lookout for are beach towel racks, cup holders and fully adjustable headrests.
To be sure, weight capacity is an important consideration when selecting a beach chair. The last thing you want to happen on your relaxing beach day is your new chair to collapse, forcing you to park your rear end in the hot sand.
Most of the models reviewed above have a weight capacity between 240 and 300 pounds, with the Rio Beach Big Guy Backpack Chair being specifically designed for big and tall folks.
If you’re looking for higher weight capacity, there are several beach chairs available with 500 pounds weight capacities, but unfortunately, they don’t come in backpack configurations.
Seat Height & Back Support
Seat height is an often-overlooked factor when considering any chair, but it really shouldn’t be. If your backrest is too low, you’re going not going to find a comfortable seating position and won’t be able to relax fully. Think of those high-backed leather chairs you often see in cigar lounges or man-caves – now those are comfortable!
Just as important as the seat height is back support. Properly supporting your back is key anytime you’re sitting in the same position for a long time. Look for a chair with good lumbar support to keep your spine aligned correctly.
Another feature to consider is padded armrests. While this might seem like an unnecessary add-on, good padding in your armrests can make a huge difference when sitting in the same seat for hours at a time.
Waterproof / Fade-proof
Lastly, some models come with canvas featuring waterproofing and fade-proofing. While these aren’t strictly necessary, they can extend the lifespan of your beach chair so that it lasts for many years.
Waterproofing is most often found on the bottom of the seat material, so your rear end doesn’t get soaked by wet sand or unexpected waves. Fade-proofing is also nice to have, especially as the harsh sun can cause wear and tear to many materials.
If you’re planning on using your chairs directly in the sun, without the shade provided by a beach tent or canopy, then fade-proofing is doubly important.
Q: What’s the most comfortable beach chair?
A: That is a pretty subjective question. It really depends on the person and their preferences. If you’re on the taller side, you’ll want to look for a chair with a higher backrest. If you like to lie horizontally, make sure to get a chair that adjusts completely flat.
Q: How much does a beach chair weigh?
A: Most of the beach chairs reviewed above are between 6 and 8 pounds each. Backpack beach chairs tend to be on the lighter side, as they need to be lightweight and extremely portable.
Q: What’s the best backpack beach chair for bigger people?
A: Without a doubt, the best backpack beach chairs for bigger folks are the Rio Beach Big Guy Backpack Chairs. These chairs are specifically designed with big and tall users in mind. The seat is extra wide at 22”, the aluminum frame is extra-large, and a tilt-lock bracket prevents accidental tipping or folding.
I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember. I grew up fishing, canoeing, and camping throughout the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s what lead me to start this site and share my passions for fishing, diving, kayaking and more. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or (preferably!) preparing for my next outdoor adventure.