Price: £35 | Decathlon
Helinox Chair Zero
Lightweight comfort anywhere
If you’re under 30 or a total sadist, feel free to go camping without a chair, but for everyone else there’s Helinox, purveyors of the lightest, most comfortable camping chairs on the planet. Packed down it’s the size of a water bottle (10x35cm), and weighs just 488g, but crucially it will support your back and let you stretch out your legs. It’s only 23cm off the ground so after a couple of hours ‘relaxing’ we can’t guarantee an easy exit, and it may actually fly away in strong winds, but don’t worry, they sell a tether to prevent disaster.
Coleman Deckchair with Table
A camp chair that doesn’t compromise on comfort
Cheap collapsible chairs, generally bought from service stations, have their place. Sadly that place is usually in a landfill. This design from Coleman however is hardwearing, collapsible and practical, and is an ideal height to pull up to a table to eat at, and comfortable enough to relax in for the evening. It weighs 3.46kg, can cope with people up to 113kg, and the drop-down table is far less prone to spillages than those daft little mesh cup holders.
Price: £70 | Amazon
Vango Radiate DLX Chair
Game changing heated seats
Vango sells a wide range of decent camping chairs, but if you get cold once the sun goes down this luxury recliner features a graphene heating element in the seat. It’s powered by a separate battery bank – you can use any standard USB battery pack (not included) – and offers four blissfully warm heat settings. Thankfully the steel-framed chair is also extremely comfortable, with a deep padded seat and high back that can take up to 140kg, and also folds nicely flat for transportation.
Price: £90 | Outdoor World Direct
Ingenious seat/backpack hybrid
Designed primarily for bushcraft and birdwatching trips where being still for long periods is part of the fun, but in reality, thanks to the built-in metal frame that doubles as a stool, this heavy duty backpack is the ultimate festival rucksack. Made in Fjallraven’s eco-friendly, super tough G-1000 cotton canvas with a fully waterproof base, it has a generous 27 litre capacity for all your gear, the main compartment can be accessed through the top or side (when you’re sat on it) and the seat is surprisingly well cushioned. This thing is comfortable. At 2.1kg it’s heavy when loaded, and lacks the comfort of a technically walking pack, but the payoff is worth the effort.
Price: £240 | Fjallraven
Biolite Headlamp 330
Midnight walk essential
You’re camping for a few nights, not spelunking with Bruce Wayne, and while the kids will be fine with something simple like the £3.50 Eurohike 12 LED Torch we recommend the rechargeable Biolite 330 because at 69g it is ultralight, the light only protrudes by 9mm to minimise bounce when walking, the soft headband is more secure than most, making it a good option for night running. It’s powerful too, with 330 lumens and a choice of three powers, and the beam can be easily adjusted, essential for task lighting and not blinding the people around you.
BioLite Solarhome 620
Illuminating home comforts
More quality from hi-tech outdoor energy brand Biolite, and while we’re not suggesting it’s an absolute essential, if you want off-grid comfort and lighting it’s a fantastic option. Packing down to the size of a shoebox it consists of a six-Watt solar panel feeding electricity into a 20-Wh control box with LCD display for monitoring charge levels, which, in turn, powers three hanging LED lights – each with a surprisingly bright 100-lumen output – two USB ports for power-ups at night and a built-in MP3/FM radio system.