March 06, 2021 7 min read

Relaxing on the beach is one of the most enjoyable parts of a great summer.If you are like us, preparing to go to the beach is an entirely unique and stressful endeavor. It’s a day that is meant to actually sit around and relax. It can be a lot like camping but you have a lot more elements to deal with at the beach.

Consider a few key elements of the backpacking beach chair. 

What makes a good backpack beach chair?

Comfortable: The most important thing is that you are comfortable during your time on the beach. You need to find a chair that can handle you for more than 3 or 4 hours and be easy to sit in and relax. 

Stay low to the ground: I have always preferred to have my chairs low to the ground. It keeps more of your feet in the sand. When you are low to the ground your legs are more supported and you generally have a reclining position. Some chairs sit fully upright and some chairs are low enough to feel like you are in the sand but not. 

Back support:I like to have a chair that leans back a little and doesn’t have an awkward bar at the top of the back.. I often spend hours sitting in the chair so leading back a little really helps me stay relaxed and enjoy the day.  The back support should fit up to your shoulders and not directly on them. If you consider a long chair you could get full head support. Either way make sure you have a good back fit and support. 

Easy to carry:This is why backpack beach chairs are so good. A trip to the beach means you are going to have a lot of stuff to carry. A good backpack chair has shoulder straps or in some cases fits in a bag or backpack. You likely have a cooler, a canopy, blanket, toys and then also chairs. It’s very convenient to be able to throw that chair over the shoulder and tote the chair out to your ideal spot on the beach.

Durability:To survive on the beach a chair needs to be durable. For strength the chairs are normally made from steel, aluminum and heavy polyester. Many popular chairs for campers are made from Aluminum which is the lightest material of all. Also Aluminum has the properties of resistance and is lightweight. It will help you to stretch your legs and still walk with strength. It’s also inexpensive.

Don’t sink: Along with everything else make sure you think about not sinking into the sand Some chair legs have single legs that can sink right into sand or dirt. If you have a chair with individual legs then make sure you have a way to keep it out of the sand. 

Finally, the sand, the sun, the water and the wind can make it hard to be comfortable and stay comfortable. Depending on how much stuff you carry and how many hands to carry them it may greatly affect your decision on what you use. 


What is the best backpack beach chair?

I have tried a lot of different types of chairs at the beach. 

Backpack beach chairs are unique furniture. I broke those down and did a search for the best chairs we could find.You can use a lot of factors to consider what the best backpacking beach chair looks like. We are sharing some of our experiences on what makes a great backpacking beach chair. We need to classify and make sure it’s clear what we are looking for. We want something we can pack easily that is not hard to carry and will stand up to elements on the beach. The most important factor is that it is comfortable and meets the demands of the sand and surf. 



Tommy Bahama Beach Chair

Rio Gear Lounge Beach Chair

Low Sling Chair

Boundary Life Backpacking Chair with Sand Mat







Chair adjusts to 4 positions.

Get maximum all day tanning with the fully reclining, lay flat option.

Open and close in seconds.

Multiple uses, Weighs 2.5 pounds and packs down to the size of a loaf of bread.


Tommy Bahama backpack beach chair

There’s a reason why these chairs are so popular. The Tommy Bahama chairs are the ultimate backpack beach chair. They have a ton of features. Not only do  they pack down flat. There are a number of other features that make life lounging at the beach better. I’ll share three. First, the armrest. These are a really nice feature after a long day in the sand. Armrest keeps your arms at elbow height right by your side. Second, the cup holder for your beverage that you’ll have by your side. Having sand in your drink really sucks.  Finally, the Tommy chair has many more features than armrest and drink holders. The built in pillow seems simple but it's really a big deal. Resting your head on a hard bar for hours gets old. The pillow allows for a good nap and a comfortable day. 

Pro: All the features to make you comfortable.

Con: Only convenient and made for the beach


Rio Brand Classic Lounge Chair

TheRio classic chair does it’s best to match what Tommy does well. They have multiple chairs to consider for your beach trip. It really depends on what you are looking for in a chair. Consider the Beach Lay Flat Lounger. This chair is a little different form the sit upright chair. The lounger chair has the backpack straps. It has three parts that fold out to support your back, your butt and your legs. This chair can open to full body length. It’s best for sunbathing and actually rolls out like a cot. The back can lay flat and sit up. 

Pro: Lay flat option

Con: A little heavier up 8 to 9 lbs.


The Low Sling chair

Theselow chairs set up quick and they are comfortable for several hours.As the name suggests, they are very low to the ground. The low means you are literally just a few inches off the ground. These chairs work great on the beach but don’t usually lean back very far. They also can be hard to get in and out of. 

Pro: Simple to carry

Con: No armrest or place to store your drink


The backpacking portable chair

Backpacking beach chair

The Boundary Life chair makes for a good hybrid option when considering a chair to take on the trail, by the fire and on the beach. Sometimes your trip to the beach is a hike and that makes a perfect fit. The lightweight backpacking chairs are super lightweight compared to everything else on this list. The snap into place and when you have a chair groundsheet in the sand they will stand with the best chairs on the market. 

Pro: Packs down very small inside a small bag. Can be used at the beach and for camping and backpacking.

Con: You must add the sand mat to keep them from sinking in the sand. 


Do backpacking chairs work on the beach?

A good backpack chair can work on the beach and almost anywhere else. Specifically we are referring to the portable, small, lightweight backpack chairs that are generally used for camping. These are a great idea if you have limited space on your way to the beach and if you already have plenty of other stuff they carry. These chairs weigh less than 3 pounds. They can fit in a cart or backpack. They are light so the wind can play a factor. Make sure you pick up a sand groundsheet to keep it stable and from sinking into the sand.  The sheet also makes a great clean place to keep your shoes or sandals. The lightweight chairs often need a little more weight to hold them down. Add a little sand on top of the sand mat. Many of these chairs have multiple pockets to hold your phone and your beverage of choice on the beach. The Boundary Life Backpacking chair has adjustable legs so you can shorten the back and lengthen the front legs. This will help you lean back or sit up further. 


What are beach chairs made of?

Beach chairs can be made of many different materials. The best material is aluminum and polyester for the beach. Depending on the chairs the steel can be strong but susceptible to rust. The aluminum will be lighter and not rust. The biggest issue is the chair has to have a unique shape because aluminum may not have the same strength.


How do you keep chairs from rusting at the beach?

The fact is you can’t keep chairs or anything steel from rusting at the beach. There are a few options to limit or inhibit rusting at the beach. Remember steel will rust and aluminum may oxidize with exposure.


Wash it with fresh water

Hose down all your beach gear the same day you get off the beach. Hose it down and let it drip dry. This will do a lot to help keep your gear from starting rust. 

Paint it 

Touching up your chairs with a rust inhibiting spay paint can really extend their life. It’s a lot of effort to go through to save your chairs but some paint will help when you see rust or corrosion. 

Buy new chairs

You can’t stop rust. You can delay it. When possible keep your chairs out of the surf where it’s exposed to salt water. When you do start to rust realize that you will eventually rust and you’ll have to throw it out. 

The key takeaway 

Finding a very comfortable chair for a day at the beach really helps you to have a  good day. You can have unique chairs for the beach or bring along camping chairs.  It really depends on how often you go to the beach and how much other stuff you have to carry. If you are at the beach once or twice a year then you might not spend the big money for a chair that is only for the beach. You might consider a chair you can use on a hike and on the beach..

If you are just wanting to be comfortable on the beach then heavily consider the Tommy Bahama Chair. If you hike and camp then you might consider the backpacking chair with the ground mat. 

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