Best Hunting Chair of 2018 & Buying Guide
Hunting remains one of America’s most popular sports, and a necessary one, at that: not only does it help control animal populations that would otherwise grow too quickly and diminish food supplies, but for some people, it serves as their primary source of food.
More than 12 million people (age 16+) partake in hunting every year; over half the nation’s wildlife allows hunting, with the proper permits and equipment within selected seasons.
Whether you’re a newbie trying out their first trip, or an expert who spends more weekends in the woods than your own house, a good hunting chair can be just as important as the rest of your equipment. When designed well, hunting chairs can make your trip far more comfortable—a must when you’re sitting still for long periods of time.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll address some common questions regarding hunting chairs, and look at a few of today’s best-selling options for buyers to consider.
ALPS OutdoorZ Tri-Leg Stool, Realtree Xtra
Guide Gear Swivel Hunting Chair Black
Ameristep High Back Chair, Realtree Xtra Green
Browning Camp Woodland Hunting Chair
Dead Ringer Hunting Camping Chair
What is a hunting chair, and how is it different from a camping chair?
Hunting chairs are just what they sound like: chairs designed specifically for use while hunting. They’re lightweight, sometimes camouflaged to reduce hunter visibility, and (ideally) comfortable enough to sit in for long periods of time. The best hunting chairs are also silent, so as not to scare off prey.
Camping chairs might look similar, and some manufacturers tout their products as being suitable for both, but the main factors they have in common are portability and weight.
Campers and hikers need less to carry and faster set-up and take-down times, just like hunters, but don’t need the low-profile appearance or silent movement that hunting requires.
An easy way to distinguish the two is that almost any hunting chair can be used for camping, but not all camping chairs can be used for hunting.
What should I look for in a hunting chair?
This depends on how long you’ll be hunting, and, to an extent, what kind of game you’re trying to catch. First, though, consider the practical aspects of a chair: it has to be lightweight, since you’ll have plenty of gear with you as it is; it has to be easy and fast to set up, since you don’t want to disrupt the animals nearby any more than necessary when your trip begins; it has to be comfortable, so you can sit in it for long periods of time, and it has to be silent. There’s nothing more annoying than lining up the perfect shot, only to have your chair squeal and send your target scurrying away.
You should also consider fabric choices, if you’ll be hunting outside of a blind and out in the open. Camouflage options are best, for obvious reasons, but darker solid colors are sufficient, too. Tempting as those hot pink or lime green options might be, you’re better off skipping most of them, to decrease your visibility.
The exception to this rule, of course, is safety: reflective orange or yellow fabrics are a must if you aren’t wearing adequate safety vests, so fellow hunters won’t mistake you for an animal at a distance.
Hunting chairs should be kept scentless, so choose a fabric that’s easy to wipe clean. Softer materials retain scent more than vinyl or polyurethane coatings, for instance, and can be harder to neutralize.
Finally, there’s type. Swiveling options are best if you plan on hunting out in the open, without a blind, because you can get 360-degree views. High-quality swiveling hunting chairs will be silent (but prepare to grease them up periodically, so make sure you keep the squeak at bay).
I see a lot of different styles out there: sling, stool, folding. Which is best?
This is up to you, and what you find most comfortable. Some hunters like using stools because they’re very light and simple to set up. They’re adequate if you plan on standing or kneeling most of the time, and just want a chair available when you’re in need of a quick break.
Sling styles usually attach to a tree, and can be very comfortable for some people. They often allow for greater visibility, as well, which is handy if you’re hunting alone or after quick-moving game. They can be pretty uncomfortable for heavier folks, though, and aren’t always the easiest to set up or take down.
Finally, there are folding chairs. These can be simple folding chairs like you’d see in schools, churches, business buildings, etc., or collapsible ones like canvas camping or beach chairs. Their heights vary a great deal; you can find ones as tall as a standard dining chair, while others are very low to the ground, just a few inches left between you and the dirt.
Some have full backrests; others have high or partial ones. They can come with padding or without, and be made of steel, fabric, plastic, or some combination.
All in all, the most important factor is comfort. It doesn’t matter how fancy a chair might be: if it causes you to squirm and shift (and hence, make noise), it’s not the right chair for you.
Top 5 Best Hunting Chair Reviews
1. Dead Ringer Hunting Camping Chair Review
This hammock-style camping chair from Dead Ringer is easy to carry and set up, and can be installed quickly around almost any tree.
Its design lets you pivot back and forth fairly easily for a 360-degree scan of your surroundings, making it ideal for hunters who’d rather not perch themselves far off the ground to get adequate sight lines.
Because of its design, the Dead Ringer hammock camping chair can be very comfortable and useful to some, but just as uncomfortable and cumbersome to others. Heavier folks might find the bracing rod jabs them or can’t hold their weight as well, and those with back issues might prefer something more structured than the hammock seat. For users who don’t fall within these categories, however, this chair can be the perfect add-on to your next hunting trip.
2. Guide Gear Swivel Hunting Chair Review
This silent swiveling chair from Guide Gear will fit anyone more comfortable than a sling-style, and comes at a price cheaper than many other options, too.
It has a seat back to relax when those all-day trips take it out of you, and generous cushioning to help relieve pressure from long periods of sitting. At about 11 lbs., it’s easy to travel with, too.
While a camo option for out-in-the-open use would be handy, the all-black design of the Guide Gear Swivel does blend in better than some options. It’s intended for use inside a blind (a camouflaged tarp or tent) more than anything else, though, so color isn’t much of an issue. For those who find hammock chairs too uncomfortable, and are tired of making do with squeaky folding chairs, this padded, silent option is a good fit.
3. ALPS OutdoorZ Tri-Leg Stool, Realtree Xtra Review
ALPS is a popular brand with hunters and outdoorsmen; founded in 1993, the company offers a wide variety of outdoor equipment and hunting gear, all crafted with both quality and price in mind.
This stool design has a simple operation and light carrying weight that anyone can handle, even youth hunters, and comes backed with a limited lifetime warranty.
We think this is a sound option for most hunters, though some will definitely prefer a model with a backrest, instead. The seat is more comfortable than some hammock systems, since its support rods don’t go under the seat, but around it. It doesn’t swivel, however, and might not be ideal for open-air use. For hunters using blinds, however—or even just campers looking for easy, lightweight seating—we’d recommend this model highly.
4. Ameristep High Back Chair, Realtree Xtra Green Review
This sturdy foldout option from Ameristep has a fabric backrest, so it’s got stool-style hunting chairs beat in the comfort department—though a full, sturdy or padded backrest would still be more comfortable, overall.
This design doesn’t swivel, either, so it’s probably best inside the tent or blind, instead of out in the open.
The Ameristep High-Back Chair is budget-friendly and pretty good in terms of comfortable seating—and the handy storage pouch underneath will function well for ammo, calls, snacks, phones, and anything else you need to take with you and keep close at hand. It’s intended for use in blinds, but could be a viable open-air option in some cases, too.
5. Browning Camping Woodland Hunting Chair Review
This chair is definitely a standout from the others in this guide, with a slim profile and low height that decrease visibility, but a fabric seat and backrest that increase comfort. There’s also an easy-access hanging pocket for storage, and an attached strap to make packing up a breeze.
While it doesn’t swivel—in fact, the leg design requires the user to stand to readjust the chair’s position at all—the lack of back or leg pain from sitting in this hours on end might be a fair trade for some.
You might forget you’ve gone hunting and dream you’re lounging on the beach with the Browning Camping chair! Its design is, indeed, reminiscent of the popular low beach chairs that let you relax in the sun and get your feet wet in the waves, so we imagine the comfort is comparable, as well. The low height might make getting in and out a little tough for some, but other than that, we think the design is a smart one.
Hunting is a sport of patience, so the last thing you need is an uncomfortable or heavy chair trying yours while you wait for game to saunter on by. Shoppers should look for designs that won’t strain their backs, can support their weight, and will allow for the views they want—and the silence they need.