It isn’t surprising that, often, thoughts of tailgate chairs conjure up thoughts and images of pretty crappy “$10 special” type chairs that you pick up out of the discount bin at Wal-Mart. But, let’s try to reorient ourselves towards a slightly higher standard and examine the 5 best tailgate chairs you can buy for your upcoming 2020 party season.
Hardcore tailgaters expect a proper chair to not only fold up easily to make transport simple, but to also be extremely comfortable, supportive, and to last through more than a couple seasons. You won’t be able to sit down in your favorite jersey and enjoy the tailgating experience if the chair isn’t doing its job.
Luckily, all of the best tailgate chairs that make our 2020 list have all of these qualities. That being said, it is also important to remember that no single chair is going to meet all of the requirements of any one tailgater. We attempt to cover all of these distinctions along with other features of the chairs in both the included comparison table and the buying guide included with each and every pick.
Best Overall Tailgate Chair
Dimensions: 20.9 x 22.8 x 43.3 in.
Weight: 14.77 pounds
What we like: Perfect for holding your beer and your food without becoming a tangled mess.
What we don’t: The back doesn’t come up as high we we’d like.
- Rugged steel frame, extra large size, can support up to 330 lbs; Seat height 17. 3 inches, width 20. 8 inches, weight 14. 8 lbs;...
While this isn’t a chair you are likely to take on a hike with you, it is still a well-rounded chair perfectly suited for your tailgating needs. Typically, folding chairs considered for casual outdoor use do not have to be inherently light. And, at nearly 15 pounds, this chair is certainly not a feather. But it does provide, in our opinion, the best balance between features, comfort, and durability while not being overly cumbersome to carry (like other similar chairs with a cooler and table).
As well, the 600D style fabric on the seat does that sag and is plenty tough to handle basically anything that you throw at it. And, despite it not being your typical mesh chair, we found that it still breaths fairly well. However, if are tailgating in the rain, you may find that this specific chair takes quite a while to dry out (unlike the mesh chairs on this list). We also found that the cooler is quite good at keeping drinks at a reasonable temperature for a long period of time. You are not going to get ice cold beers out of it, but it certainly beats the alternative of drinking a warm beer. As well, the folding table is sturdy and is large enough to safely hold a full-sized paper plate.
So, what are the downsides of the KingCamp chair? It certainly is not a cheap chair, as the Coleman Quad Chair listed below regularly dips under $20 on Amazon. But, with that price, you sacrifice some build quality. You may also notice that this chair sits relatively close to the ground and some people may prefer a taller back height. But, in the end, the overall stability, comfort, and “accessories” of this chair make us give it the top sport for 2020.
Best Budget Tailgate Chair
Dimensions: 24 x 37 x 40.5 in.
Weight: 9 lb. 14 oz.
What we like: Cheap, adequately comfortably, drink cooler.
What we don’t: The steel has proven to rust over time.
- Camping chair combines a cOuncey design with a convenient built in cooler. Roomy 24 inches seat
The Coleman Oversized Quad is one of the most popular tailgate chairs on the market, and rightfully so. It checks off all the boxes that make up our list of quality tailgate chairs: it has a padded seat and the seat back is high enough to be comfortable, there is a roomy bottom for easy lounging and relaxing, and it is incredibly simple to fold up and store.
We have all probably been tempted by the cheap $10 chairs at department stores. If you have, then give us a little bit of trust when we say it is totally worth it to spend a little more money to get this Coleman. Just the little bit of additional money you pay for this chair will get you a real steel frame and fabric that will outlast cheaper options.
As for complaints? At this price point, you cannot exactly expect top-of-the-line materials. As well, there have been reports of the steel frame rusting over several years of use. In the end, though, this chair truly does outperform its price tag.
Best Crossover Tailgate/Camping Chair
Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 26 in.
Weight: 2 lb. 1 oz.
What we like: A lightweight, super compact option that provides good crossover value
What we don’t: Little to no back support
- Brand New Upgraded Design with Your Comfort in Mind! The new Yizi Go design is 1cm higher and 15% lighter and prior version....
Whenever you decide you are going to opt for a lightweight and highly packable chair, you are of course going to be making some compromises including things such as the cup holders and coolers on the above chairs, the height of the seat bottom, and general neck and back support.
That being said, the Trekology YIZI Go is a sub-2-pound solution for those looking for an ultralight tailgating chair that also offers enough back support to at least get you buy. With only an 11-inch seat height, it is still tall enough for most but can be cumbersome to get in and out of compared to your standard chair. This is doubly impacted if, say, you are partaking in alcoholic beverages while tailgating.
For the price, weight, packed size, and the overall design, this is outstanding choice for that person that would like purchase a chair to use for both tailgating and hiking and/or camping.
Best Heavy Duty Tailgating Chair
Dimensions: 20 x 38 x 38 in.
Weight: 13 lb.
What we like: A very comfortable and padded seating area
What we don’t: Heavy when compared to the KingCamp which includes a tray and cooler, weighing only one pound heavier
- Sturdy powder-coated steel frame and 600D polyester fabric provides stability and comfort
The Alps Mountaineering King Kong is the largest chair on this list and also the most padded. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this chair is the list weight limit: 800 pounds. It blows the competition’s weight capacity way out of the water. You can feel how strong this chair is each and every time you sit on it. The fabric is taut and supportive, and the metal framing is incredibly sturdy.
That being said: the King Kong seems unnecessary in its size compared to the above KingCamp. The KingCamp is only a pound heavier, and includes a tray and a cooler. However, in terms of overall construction quality, the King Kong might have the hand up. If deciding between the two, it would truly be a matter of personal preference.
Best of the Rest Tailgating Chairs
Dimensions: 20.5 x 18.9 x 25.2 in.
Weight: 1 lb. 1 oz.
What we like: Light as air and extremely packable
What we don’t: The price tag
- Lightweight, compact camping and backpacking chair packs smaller and weighs less than a bottle of wine
Weight an almost unbelieveably low 17 ounces, the Helinox remains study enough to handle the abuse typically doled out to tailgate chairs. The company was able to achieve this by using DAC to construct the aluminum frame. As well, the entire chair uses a shock-cord design to quickly compact down to an easy to pack size.
Best Tailgate Chair Buying Advice
Tailgate Chair Build Quality: Seat Fabric and Frame Construction
It probably doesn’t come as a shock, but we have found that – in general – overall build quality of a tailgating chair directly correlates to the overall price. The higher price a chair, the more likely you are going to receive a well-built tailgating chair that is going to last you for years to come.
However, there are exceptions to any rule and this one is no different. For example, a budget camping chair like the Coleman Oversize Quad from above is durable and reliable. That is because what we consider to be build quality has a lot more to do than what material the frame is made out of or how many rivets the framing has. That is because, generally, the quality of the seat fabric improves with price on a linear scale.
Cheaper chairs will have fabric that quickly begins to stretch and sag. It will have seams that fray. The chairs that use mesh will develop holes. So, if you plan on using your tailgate chair long term, it is important that you consider the benefits you receive in quality of chair by spending a little more cash.
The ground-to-seat height measurement is simply the distance from the ground to the bottom of the seat. The lower the seat, though, means a less comfortable position for your legs and, maybe worse, much more effort required to get in and out of the chair. If you do prefer a lower seated chair, we recommend not going below 5 inches off the ground. Anything lower than that has proven to be incredibly uncomfortable.
On the other end of the spectrum, the taller the chair is the more natural sitting position you will find yourself in. The King Kong, for example, is like the Iron Throne, standing at 18 inches tall. We have found that chairs between 15 to 18 inches provide the most natural seating position. However, this also means more weight and more issues with packing.
Other Tailgating Reviews
We searched high and low, and personally sampled a never-ending line of chairs, in order to develop a ranking system we thought was fair. We then ranked our favorite tailgating chairs according to this system.
Ideally, you’d like them to last more than two seasons. Because of this, our list of best tailgate chairs includes those with a strong frame and reliable fabric for the seat.
In our opinion, it is portability. We ranked these metric quite heavily as we developed our list of best tailgate chairs because packing, unpacking, and moving a hefty chair is just not fun.