What makes the best outdoor folding armchairs?

I am writing this review from a camp chair in my backyard. Three months ago, that sentence might have read like a thinly veiled humble brag about the flexibility of my long-standing work-from-home schedule—but that is no longer the case as the world continues to be locked down by the pandemic. I’m here out of fear of annoying my swamped wife in our shared office or stepping on a creaky board in our hall and waking up our napping daughter, which would torpedo productivity for the both of us the rest of the afternoon. I can’t complain, though, because I’m thankful for work, the weather is lovely, and the Coleman Aluminum Deck Chair with Swivel Table ($66) that I’m sitting in is awesome.

I first reviewed this straightforward deck seat two years ago at the advice of my old friend Tommy Fallon. Fallon is an expert in all things, including Chevy Suburbans, car-camping equipment, and how to cook perfect bratwurst. When I told him I was testing camp chairs, he said I would be blowing it if I didn’t try one of these Coleman ones. I scoffed. What would I, the Gear Guy, testing a $300 Yeti chair at the time, get from a clunky $60 Coleman chair with a plastic swiveling table? But I tested the chair to appease him and, it turns out, not only was I a snob but an incorrect snob.

I’ve gotten so much use out of this Coleman since that review. It lives on our deck and is an excellent stage for mini-snowman builds after winter storms. Even after eight seasons outdoors amid the elements, taking beatings from rain, wind, ice, and snow, it’s still a perfectly functional chair, which speaks volumes to its durability.

Thanks to COVID-19, I’ve spent a portion of every single nice day since mid-March on this chair. Its rigid canvas back and seat haven’t sagged at all and support my back so it isn’t sore after extended writing sessions there. The swivel table accommodates my MacBook, so I don’t have to lurch over my lap to type. I do get stiff after working in it for a while, but it’s still by far my best backyard desk. 

As Fallon promised, the table is also a fantastic companion for burgers and beer and has been my seat for dozens of picnics with my daughter and wife since we’ve been quarantined at home. And it is my backyard-happy-hour chair of choice because of its cup holder. 

The Coleman has helped me be at peace with, and even enjoy, sheltering in place the past few months. I have a garage full of fancy chairs loaded in bins for camping trips, but this one is what I use every day.

Jackson County, where we live in Oregon, recently began its phase-one reopening. Thanks in part to this chair, I was getting pretty comfortable rarely leaving my house. Frankly, I’m not sure how to start socializing again. One of the options we’ve been discussing with friends is meeting up on public lands and enjoying socially distanced beers. A key element of this plan is the BYOC (bring your own chair) rule. I know which one I’ll be lounging in.

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