Camping furniture has come a long way in recent years, as advances in durable fabrics and lightweight yet sturdy frameworks have revolutionised the way we relax once we’ve got the tent up.

There are some really high-end chairs available now, and while the trend is towards bucket-style chairs that pack up with minimal effort, there’s also still a lot of demand for more traditional recliner chairs.

It all depends on what sort of camping trip you’re going on in terms of what’s going to be best for you.

We looked at a selection of chairs and graded them in terms of weight and portability, how big or small they pack up – because space is often at a premium – and, of course, how comfortable they were.

If you’re on a weekend break or going to a festival there are some good-value, utilitarian chairs out there, and for anyone who requires more of a glamping experience, then we’ve got you sorted as well.

We tested rigorously in a simulated campsite environment (well, a garden…) and ensured several posteriors of varying shapes and sizes gave the chairs a good workout.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

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Outwell casilda XL chair: £49, Taunton Leisure

This is essentially the Iron Throne of camping chairs – not in that it’s uncomfortable and made of swords, but because everybody in your party, whether you are camping in Westeros or the West Country, will be fighting to sit on it.

All but the lankiest of campers will be able to properly curl up in this, and it’s absolutely perfect for whiling away an afternoon with a book or an evening in front of the fire-pit. It goes up and collapses with a simple movement, and is likely to get as much use at home in the garden as it is on the camping trip.

This is one big beast though. It weighs 7kg and is almost as big as some small tents when packed away. So it’s definitely not one for the weekend camper tossing a few essentials into the back of a Smart car. This is for the serious holidaymaker with room to spare in the trailer or caravan.

But if you go into it knowing it’s going to take up some space, then it really can’t be beat in terms of comfort. Shaped like a large half-moon, it is well-padded, especially around the rim, which forms a comfortable pillow. It’s sturdy and solid, and looks stylish in its black fabric and grey legs.

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Vango entwine chair: £72.25, Taunton Leisure

It was a toss-up between this and the Outwell Casilda for Best Buy, but the Outwell squeaked ahead in terms of an edge on comfort and price. That said, this is one cosy chair, with the most padding of any item that we tested.

In fact, sitting in the Entwine is a little like sinking into a gigantic marshmallow, and if your idea of camping heaven is to have a little snooze in the afternoon, then this is totally the chair for you. Structurally, it’s more of a traditional chair shape than the bucket/half-moon chairs we tested, and offers fantastic head and neck support.

The steel frame feels strong and stable, and at 6.2kg it does have a little weight advantage over its rival, packing away to much the same size, so again it’s one for the camper with a lot of packing room. It folds up easily and has a strong strap to keep it together in its bag.

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Eurohike peak folding twin chair: £30, Blacks

Camping chairs made for two are quite the thing at the moment, and are a great idea for those who don’t mind cosying up together. They’re also a great space-saver, folding down to the size of most single chairs, and a great boon for family camping trips where everything has to be carefully packed with military precision.

Eurohike is a great mid-range camping brand and it’s poured a lot of its experience into this, which was the best of the double chairs that we tested. The fabric is strong and the frame feels a lot more solid than it looks, and each arm has a cup holder.

It’s not a bad little chair to take to festivals or events, either, given that it packs up so well and clocks in at 5.6kg. And there’s plenty of room for two without having to get uncomfortably close if you don’t want to. It’s all one piece of kit, despite the larger size, and couldn’t be easier to set up and fold away.

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Quest elite ragley recliner chair: £44.99, Robert Dyas

Although the trend is for bucket chairs that concertina down, there is still great demand for the more traditional fold-out recliner, and the Quest Elite Ragley ticked all our boxes for this type of chair.

This really is for the serious relaxer, and apart from all its superb features, what completely sold us on it was the side-table, which folds away underneath the chair when it’s packed up, but when set up stands firmly to one side, solid and strong enough to hold a glass of wine and a book.

Aside from that, this chair has six positions from sitting up straight to almost horizontal reclining, making it the best for doing a spot of sun-bathing. On that score, it is made from a strong, breathable mesh that is both comfortable and stops you from perspiring too much.

It’s light for the size of it – 5.7kg and folds nice and flat. And the high back and adjustable headrest makes it great for mealtimes as well.

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UMI essentials chair: £29.99, Amazon

Now this is a fantastic little chair, perfectly designed and proportioned for those planning some festival action this summer. Of all the chairs we tested, nothing compared to this in terms of portability – once packed away, it’s honestly about the same size as a bottle of wine.

With such ease come a couple of compromises, one of them being ease of setting up. It’s not difficult, as such, but perhaps when we’re used to the unpack-and-fold-out chairs, the extra few minutes assembling the leg and support poles for the frame is noticeable.

The UMI is also not built for languorously relaxing in decadent comfort, but then it doesn’t claim to be. It’s a lot stronger than you’d expect and while sitting a little low, is perfectly comfortable. The USP of the UMI is its portability, making it a great chair for any event, and not a bad choice for any anglers among you.

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Quechua reclining chair: £34.99, Decathlon

This is an extremely good-priced reclining chair that can fill multiple roles on any camping trip, from helping you relax outside the tent to being a great dining chair as well. It’s highly versatile and very good looking, and is fabulous value for money.

We especially liked the high back on this chair that provides notably good back support – that can be a tremendous boon for anyone who’s out of their usual bed-and-chair environment at home and perhaps suffers a little from discomfort when not in their usual surroundings.

It’s also very light, at 4.85kg, and folds up really well. We really liked this chair, which would suit anyone for their garden as well as camping trips.

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Charles Bentley double folding chair: £24.99, buydirect4u

Another double chair, though perhaps a tad narrower than the other one we tested out. Not a problem unless you particularly need a lot of room, and we liked this chair a lot for its stylish grey fabric and solid design.

This, we decided, was better for a festival trip rather than a camping excursion. It’s extremely light and portable, weighing in at just 4kg, and a couple of these around a barbecue or campfire would make any festival go with a swing.

It’s got all the right bits in the right places – the all-important drinks holders in each arm – and comes at a price that gives you a lot for your money. A great little relaxer for when you need a sit down after all that dancing.

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Eurohike deluxe moon chair: £30, Blacks

This bucket-style chair was the snuggest, let’s say, of its type that we tested, but that didn’t stop it from being surprisingly comfortable. Surprising, because it’s perhaps half the price of the top-end camping brand’s similar products.

It’s got decent padding and was comfortable enough for an afternoon’s relaxation. It’s also very light at just a shade over 4kg, which makes it an attractive choice if you need three or four chairs for a family outing. And it packs into its bag pretty well, taking up a lot less room than the other similar chairs.

What is lost perhaps to the Outwells and Vangos of this world in terms of design and production values is undoubtedly gained in the price.

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Outmore folding chair: £15, The Original Factory Shop

Simple, effective and cheap – what’s not to love? Anyone planning a camping trip or festival/event visit could do far worse than stock up on a few of these. And for the price, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean these are hugely inferior to chairs four times their price. They’re comfortable enough, with good support and a solid-enough feel, and have a handy pocket at the side for storing books or cans, or both.

The chairs are not available to order online, but can be bought from branches of The Original Factory Shop, and the website does have pictures of them on its catalogue. Cheap but definitely cheerful.

Available in-store

The verdict: Camping chairs

While not quite the most expensive chair, the Outwell Casilda won our hearts for the sheer luxury of it. Which comes at a price – not just monetary, but weight and bulk. The same for the Vango entwine. If you’ve got lots of space and a bit of money, these are the ones that will make your camping trip into a glamping trip. At the other end of the scale, festivals and sporting events will be made much more comfortable with the likes of UMI’s chair, which packs away to almost nothing, and the Charles Bentley double seater.

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