The Case for Carrying a Lightweight Backpacking Chair!

Katie 'Oats' Houston
Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review

Picture this… after a long day trudging down the trail, it’s time for camp chores —  filtering water, organizing gear, and preparing to shovel as much food as possible into your body — why betray your backside to brambles and bugs when you could become the envy of your tramily with a collapsible, lightweight camp chair? 

Besides the obvious creature comforts, there are plenty of other appealing attributes that make this luxury item well worth its weight. Read on … as I make the case for carrying a lightweight backpacking chair or stool, offering five reasons to consider giving your bum the upgrade it's been waiting for! 

Smiles Before Miles! 

Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review

Who doesn’t love an opportunity to take a break, kick back, and enjoy nature in comfort? Even those who identify more as “hikers” than “campers” shouldn’t be afraid to live it up at a moment’s notice. If your on-trail philosophy includes putting smiles before miles, it’s time to consider the upgrade your bum has been waiting for.

Essential for Those with Limited Mobility

Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review

If the years have taken a toll on your body, or you're nursing a nagging injury, a camp chair may turn from a luxury item to an essential one. Hauling oneself up off the ground can take huge amounts of effort and, for certain people, lead to knee or back pain. Having a lightweight camp chair that’s easy to deploy at a moment’s notice can make the difference between an enjoyable or miserable experience.

Better Than a Rock! 

Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review

I’ll be honest, before Hillsound's BTR Stool
I didn’t think a camp chair existed that was worth the weight for thru-hikers (notoriously the most picky gear heads on trail); but when the convenience of a camp stool under a pound presented itself, I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl.

After some thorough trail-testing, I’m happy to say the BTR stool lives up to the claim of being Better Than a Rock (and lighter than one, too!)

While my luxury items include a 2.1 ounce inflatable pillow, a 20,000 mAh power bank to support my content creation, and a 3 ounce pair of down booties to keep my piggies toasty at night, I’m always cautious when considering whether to tack on any more weight to my sub-15 lbs pack. But, hey, if “smiles before miles” can justify an extra day in town, then I’ll certainly swing with “if it’s sitting, it’s fitting” any day.

For When There’s No Rock

Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review

Not every trail has nice rocks, or logs, to plop down on. Some trails are filled with dense trees and shrubbery, licking the path at every turn, and sometimes even including poison oak or ivy in their dense mix.

Other trails feature: long stretches of standing water; or exposed cactus-filled terrain; or cold, hard, frozen ground — all conditions that elevate my desire for a camp chair!

Versatility as Vast as Your Imagination

Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review

Well, maybe not that far. But as far as outdoor sports and events go, this stool can accompany you anywhere. While Hillsound includes hunting, fishing, backpacking, and camping as recommended applications, I’ve whipped out my camp chair at music festivals, community events, and even used it as last-minute seating in my apartment (trust me, as far as comfort goes, it’s several notches up from our folding chairs). Waiting in line to vote? Bring your chair!

Additional Thoughts on the BTR Camp Stool by Hillsound

Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review

Thanks to the collapsible design by Hillsound, the BTR camp stool is not only lightweight, but achieves the gear triple crown of packability and convenience as well.

My stool remains strapped to the outside of my pack when not supporting me in my sedentary ways, and is easily accessible at a moment’s notice — whether I’m perusing a trail guide, filtering water, organizing several handfuls of snacks, or otherwise attending to my on-trail needs.

The detachable seat, attached bungee cord for storage fastening, and the quick set-up time of around 20 seconds also ensures ultimate convenience.

Even strapped to the outside of my pack, my camp stool has weathered anything I’ve thrown at it so far. Made of nylon mesh and aluminum alloy poles, the 14 inch tall version weighs 12.2 ounces, while the 17 inch stool weighs 14.1 ounces.

Additionally, Hillsound’s PhantomLock ensures that the legs of the stool are secure in supporting up to 240 lbs when being used, and are retractable when you’re rested and ready to hit the trail once more.

Did the case for camp chairs inspire you to give one a whirl, or are you already carrying one? What do you love most about being able to take a load off while on trail? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Lightweight Backpacking Chair Camp Stool Hillsound BTR Gear Review
BTR Stool by Hillsound



Katie (she/her) has the Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail, and Lone Star Hiking Trail under her belt with a bucket list of many, many more. She enjoys any opportunity to write about her adventures, good trail ethics, and trail stewardship. Check out her adventures with Thru the husky at the links below. 
Trail talk

1 comment

Tom Coffey

Tom Coffey

I’ve taken my BTR on every backpacking outing since I purchased it from GGG when they first carried it. At over 70, while every ounce matters in the pack, this is indispensable as a respite along the trail or around the campfire. Ultralight chairs tend to blow about on a windy day. (Watch the fire! Better turn over the chair if you’re getting up!) I attach my BTR with cord-locked shock cord attached to my waist belt for easy access. Feet are pretty good compared to some Ultralight chairs, but still sink in really soft ground or sand. Just be careful to pull out by the bottom part of the leg since the plastic locking piece can become unmated and the lower leg will slide free. See this in one of the review pictures. All in all, a great addition to my kit and very much worth the weight.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published