Best Folding Backpack Beach Chairs of 2019


There are few things as indulgent as a relaxing day at the beach in the comfort of a luxury beach chair. Sun kissed bodies and the ocean lapping at your feet, what more could you ask for?

Well, quite a bit actually. A beach excursion could do with a little added finesse if you plan to fully enjoy the sand, sun and sea. Lugging your things to your spot on the sand does not need to be a sweaty, back breaking affair.

The solution? Order one of the Best Folding Backpack Beach Chairs available online!

Effortlessly carry everything you need for a day of ultimate comfort. Refreshments, music, lotions, shades and towel, all neatly contained in their designated pockets. Plus you get to enjoy the sand-free comfort of your beach chair.

Depending on whether you want to recline and take a nap or just people watch with your feet off the sand, we have selected the top 4 winners for you to choose from. This detailed guide will help you choose the perfect companion for your next beach visit.

Note: We also review the very best hiking and backpacking chairs here.

Our Winner, the Tommy Bahama!


Our undeniable winner is the Tommy Bahama. It just can’t be beaten for strength, durability, size, comfort and convenience.

It can hold up to 300 pounds which is crazy strong for a beach chair. It’s also the widest of the chairs with an incredible 24 inches between the armrests.

  • Excellent Durability
  • Light and easy to carry at 7.5 Pounds
  • 300 Pound Weight Capacity
  • Spacious Seat Width of 24 inches
  • Fully Reclinable
  • 2 Convenient Pouches
  • No Footrest on this Design

Tommy Bahama has a cool sense of style when it comes to their products. And their chairs are no different. You can choose from a dozen designs and also mix-and-match as you please.

It can recline all the way down, essentially becoming a beach lounger. The towel rail behind the backrest folds out and acts as an extra support when fully reclined.

There’s a padded headrest which can be adjusted with Velcro and even removed for cleaning. There’s no leg rest though, so you’re legs will remain bent or your feet can be propped up on a little beach sand.

The backpack straps are wide, padded and make the lightweight 7.5 pound beach chair, super comfortable to carry. There’s an extra padded carry handle if you would rather carry the chair by hand.

But the best feature of all is the 2 great pouches on the back. They are both enclosed by a high quality zipper and the lower pouch is also insulated making it fantastic for keeping drinks and snacks cool on a hot day. Read the full review.

The Rio Brands Premium Lace Up Chair


The Rio Brands Premium Lace Up chair uses a sailor style “lacing” system which adds to the absorption and weight distribution of the body, making it incredibly comfortable to sit on.

There are 2 convenient rear storage sections (similar to the Tommy Bahama), one of which is an insulated cooler pouch. They both close securely with a zipper and are great for keeping refreshments, snacks and even phones and sunglasses inside.

  • Good Durability
  • Easy to Carry
  • Light Design Weighing in at 9 Pounds
  • 240 Pound Weight Capacity
  • Seat Width of 20 inches
  • 2 Convenient Pouches
  • Fully Reclinable
  • No Footrest

As is usually the case with Rio Brands, the chair is strong and durable. The frame is solid and this particular model can hold up to 240 pounds with ease.

It reclines all the way with 5 total positions. The rear towel rail acts as a support when fully reclined to ensure you don’t flop over backwards while you get ready to lay back and relax. Not a full lounger though, as there isn’t any foot rest.

The seating area isn’t particularly wide (at 20 inches) between the armrests. It might be a tight fit for larger individuals in which case the Rio Big Boy is a better option.

A nice little side pouch on the armrest is useful for keeping drinks and sun lotion out of the sand.

All-in-all it’s a great value for money, lace-up aluminium beach chair with backpack straps. Read the full review.

Rio Big Boy Backpack Chair


Another Rio Brands winner, the Big Boy combines simplicity with comfort and strength. It’s a no fuss version of the beach chairs above.

The rustproof aluminium frame is strong and durable. The headrest is well padded and can adjust to any height you need.

  • Good Durability
  • Easy to Carry
  • Light Design Weighing in at 8.1 Pounds
  • 300 Pound Weight Capacity
  • Seat Width of 22 inches
  • 1 Pouch for storing valuables
  • Does not Fully Recline or have a Footrest

22 Inches between the armrest makes this the second widest chair on the list (the Tommy Bahama is 2 inches wider) and it also holds 300 pounds.

The large backpack pouch is perfect for a big towel and then some. It closes with simple Velcro tabs. (Not as securely as we would’ve liked but effortless to close.)

It’s around half an pound heavier than the Tommy Bahama but you don’t notice it. The backpack straps are really comfortable (as with all Rio beach chairs) and carrying for long distances is a breeze.

It does not fully recline either. Let’s face it, The Rio Big Boy is simple, practical and does exactly what it’s meant to. It won’t let you down. Read the full review.

High Back Folding Beach Lounger by Ostrich


The unique design of the Ostrich Deluxe includes a special padded window for your face (when lying face down) so you can comfortably read or just relax while getting your tan on. Your arms slip comfortably into the openings allowing them to hang comfortably forward. This position is really comfortable and is often employed on massage beds.

Besides the awesome face down feature, the Ostrich 3N1 is also a full length folding beach lounger. The footrest pivots up to create 59 inches of padded sunbathing heaven.

  • Easy to Carry
  • Weighs in at 10.2 Pounds
  • Limited 175 Pound Weight Capacity
  • Seat Width of 22 inches
  • Built in Footrest
  • Does Not Fully Recline
  • Average Durability

The extra lumbar support pillow is especially designed to gently extend your spine, relieving pressure on your vertebrae. It really is comfortable. You’ll be dozing off in minutes.

There’s no actual back pouch which is a little unfortunate. You’ll have to carry an extra bag for your gear. Nor is this a true backpack as there’s only one shoulder strap. At 10.2 pounds you don’t really want to carry it for more than a short distance.

The maximum weight capacity is a quite a bit lower than the Tommy Bahama and the manufacturer claims that it can hold up to 275 pounds. We actually found it to be closer to 175 pounds. Anything more and you start to wonder if the chair will buckle under you. This beach lounger is definitely more for a person with a smaller frame. Given the construction, the strength of the other chairs just isn’t quite there.

That being said, the absolute luxury of stretching out at the beach on a full length lounger cannot be overstated. This chair absolutely rocks! Read the full review.

Folding Beach Chair Backpack Buying Guide

Comparison Table

Tommy Bahama
Rio Ultimate Lace-UpRio Big BoyOstrich 3N1 Deluxe
Our Overall RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
Item Weight (lbs)7.598.110.2
Weight Capacity (lbs)300240300175
Seating Width (inches)24202222
Full Reclining
Easy to Carry

How Do These Chairs Compare in Build Quality and Durability?

Off all the chairs we reviewed, the Tommy Bahama is hands-down the best quality backpack chair on the market. Don’t be fooled by the quirky “beach” designs, this chair is a beast when it comes to design and construction. The frame, the material and even the zippers on the pouches are fantastic.

The two Rio Brands chairs are great too. After being used for years, users will still sing their praises with very little visible wear and tear. There have been some cases where the material is showing some separation but this doesn’t really affect the overall integrity.

The Ostrich 3N1 on the other hand has a bit of a poor reputation when it comes to quality and durability. There are cases where the frame is buckling under weight and the screws are also not very high quality. There reason it made it onto the list of best backpack beach chairs is because of its other awesome features. Unfortunately durability isn’t one of them.

How Much Weight Can Each Chair Hold?

Once again, the Tommy Bahama takes the lead with a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds! The Big Boy also carries 300 pounds but the Tommy B kinda feels just a little more stable.

The Rio Lace-Up holds 240 pounds very comfortably. Anything more and you should rather go for the Big Boy.

The Ostrich claims to hold 275 but will most certainly only hold up to 175 quite safely.

Let’s Compare Comfort

The Ostrich has an incredibly unique design which (if you’re under 175 pounds) is simply a pleasure to relax on. Because you can roll over and have the sun on your back, it qualifies as a full length beach lounger. The ability to lie face down while reading a book is more than just a short-lived gimmick. It’s like having a massage bed on the beach. There are thick pillows in just the right places. It even has a foot-rest which lifts up and supports your legs vertically while all the other chairs require you to leave your feet planted in the beach sand.

The other 3 chairs are pretty much on par with each other and have great comfortable padding and ergonomics. You simply can’t go wrong with any of them.

Do You Like to Go “All The Way”?

The Tommy Bahama, The Rio Lace and the Ostrich all recline all the way down. They each have an additional bar along the top of the backrest which folds out for support when the back is laid flat. This acts as a convenient towel rail when the seat is up.

Only the Big Boy doesn’t go all the way down. It does recline, but only about 45 degrees.

One of the more difficult things to do when designing a folding chair that reclines, is to make the “fold” between the seat and the backrest abate while the seat is down. (Otherwise you’ll be lying down with the cross-bar pushing right into your back.)

These 4 beach chairs have all accomplished this perfectly.

Which Has The Best Storage?

The Tommy Bahama and the Rio Deluxe Lace-Up have 2 almost identical pouches on the back. They are both zippered and one of them is an insulated “cooler” pouch. The space is really quite fair, given that it is attached to the back of a chair.

The Rio Big Boy has one large pouch on the back. It can easily hold twice as much stuff as the other pouches but it doesn’t close very well. Think of it as a big compartment with a closing flap. The flap has 3 small Velcro tabs which help it stay closed but Velcro and sand are not the best of friends. That being said, the pouch will work great if you need to throw in some none-valuables like a towel or some snacks.

The Ostrich has no pouches.

Which One is Easier to Carry Across the Beach?

Both Rio chairs and the Tommy Bahama have two padded backpack straps. The make the chairs very easy to carry, even over long distances. (Eg. from the car down to the beach.) The fact that you can stow some goodies in the pouches even means you don’t even have to carry anything in your hands. This is the real magic of a backpack chair in action.

The Tommy Bahama also has an extra carry handle! At only 7.5 pounds most people could easily carry two over a short distance.

The Ostrich is much harder to carry far. It only has one shoulder strap, even even though it’s padded, doesn’t have nearly the same comfort. It seems a little hard to get over your shoulder due to the length of the strap. It also happens to be the heavier of the 4.

Product Videos

How to Close the Tommy Bahama

Rio Deluxe Lace-Up Video

Rio Extra Wide (Big Boy) Review

Ostrich 3N1 Review Video

Folding Backpack Beach Chair Packing List

So you’re off to the beach for a day of sun and fun. To ensure its an effortless day free of sunburn and overexposure, here are a few basics for you to put together before you leave the house.

Bathing costumes are obviously a must, this goes without saying, but slip it on before you get to the beach to avoid unwanted attention. The sand can get toasty as the day warms up so have a pair of flip flops to avoid that mad dash back to your car.

  • Bathing Costume
  • Flip Flops
  • Folding Backpack Beach Chair
  • Sun Tan Lotion
  • Towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Hat
  • Cool Drinks / Refreshments
  • Music & Earphones
  • Waterproof Pouch
  • Games

If you are going alone for some beach solitude, pack a book or phone and earphones if you plan to listen to music or post an Instagram worthy beach shot. If you plan to meet up with friends, games like Frisbee, volleyball or Beach Badmington are always a winner.

If you plan to take a dip in the ocean, bring along a waterproof pouch that is sand and water proof. You can choose to bury your valuables, like money, cell phone and car keys, in the sand or take them with you to ensure they don’t get lost.

Stay hydrated and avoid too much sun, a nasty sunburn can ruin a vacation and patchy skin is not the sun kissed look you’re after. When it’s time to head home, the ease and convenience of simply folding up your beach chair which holds all your valuables is a breeze. Happy beach days!

Hit The Beach!

We hope you found the comparison review useful. A great deal of effort went into making sure all the information was accurate and that the review was both fair and conclusive. If you have any more questions about the chairs above, or would simply like to add something, please leave a comment below!

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2 Comments on "Best Folding Backpack Beach Chairs of 2019"

  1. My main interest is a backpack beach chair that sits as high as possible. I can’t get down low to sit in normal beach chairs anymore. Thank you

  2. Challenged Chef | July 15, 2018 at 4:29 am | Reply

    I very much appreciate your having done the work to make my purchase so easy. Thank you.

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