When you are out camping in the wilderness “roughing it” is definitely part of the experience, but there is no need to push it. Little pieces of extra comfort, such as a lip balm or a softer sleep mat, can make the difference between a fun trip and a nightmarish experience. Make no mistake, if those tough mountain men of old could, they would pack as many comfort items as possible. Why not? After all, you can appreciate nature much better without a rash, chapped lips or a sore back, right? And one of these outdoor camping luxuries is the camping chair. These are usually foldable frames of wood or steel with cloth seats and backs, and they come in various styles and in various price ranges. Having one of these chairs next to the campfire certainly sounds good, but what are the pros and cons of this possibility?
Of course, the first pro that comes to mind is “comfort”. Chairs, after all, were created for the comfort of mankind. It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to see that it is certainly going to be much more comfortable sitting in an honest-to-goodness chair rather than on a rock or ant infested log.
The next pro is directly related to the previous idea of having to sit on an ant infested log. What if there are poisonous bugs or plants lying around? It would really ruin the trip if you got stung by a wasp in the kneecap, or sat in a pile of poison ivy, which you are allergic to by the way. Arguably, the best cure for poisonous objects is to simply avoid coming into contact with them, and something as simple as having a chair to sit on, instead of squatting on the ground, can make this possible.
Lastly, coming back to the previously mentioned “comfort” advantage a little bit, remember that chairs may actually be a must for elderly people or people who have sensitive joints. Sitting on the ground or bending knees is simply not a pleasant pastime for some people, and having that chair available can make camping trips possible for individuals with these kinds of physical issues.
The first and biggest con of camping chairs in general basically boils down to you having to carry them when you are not sitting in them. It is that simple. They are that much more weight to lug around along with everything else in your backpack or truck bed which may already be heavy enough in the first place. Granted, portable camping chairs are usually not that heavy, but stuff does tend to add up quicker than you imagine. Also, even though they are often foldable they can nevertheless be a little awkward to pack.
The next con depends on the quality of chair that you get. Camping chairs have been known to break and collapse–something that is especially fun when you are sitting in them at the time. This is usually because the folding mechanism snaps or the cloth parts wear through. Once again, higher quality chairs are less likely to do this, but, when it does happen, bear in mind that a broken chair immediately becomes dead weight to be carried. Plus, it is sort of depressing.
Well, that sums up the pros and cons fairly well. Notice that the pros seem to outweigh the cons at least in number, but this does not mean that the consensus is camping chairs are definitely something to take for an outdoor trip. Like all camping trips and survival episodes, it must ultimately come down to personal choice and decision. The best thing to do is to assess what you will be doing, where you will be going, and what are the physical capabilities of each member of your party, which includes how much stuff they can carry and if they can possibly add a folding chair to the pile. Simply balance how much you want to tote around with what you want to have when you reach the chosen site, and make a decision. Be happy, campers.