Best Beach Chairs for Bad Backs (Buying Guide)
It’s hard not to relax when reclining in a lounger or a camping chair in the warm sand and bright sun of a breezy beach. Unwinding just comes naturally, that is, so long as you don’t belong to the one-half of working Americans who report back pain symptoms each year.
Whether it’s acute or chronic, the lingering result of a serious injury or a hereditary susceptibility to the effects of gravity over time, back pain can be a serious damper on a beach trip even if the only goal is to sit and soak up the sun. A bad back isn’t a problem relegated only to older folks, either. All ages can experience back pain from time to time or have a recurring tightness in their lower back.
Fortunately for ailing thalassophiles, many manufacturers who design popular models of thrones for reclining on the beach have turned their attention to making folding beach chairs with lumbar support, headrests, and other ergonomic design features to soothe a bad back and prevent it from interfering with a day at the beach. New medical knowledge about the spine and how best to cushion it alongside new manufacturing techniques have brought about some great places to take a load off on the beach without suffering back pain.
Standard camping chairs and loungers are usually made of either hardwood or polyester fabric or similar synthetic material. The material is strung up or looped over an aluminum frame or a steel frame, using the tension to create a platform for sitting just about anywhere.
With the addition of some extra features like a headrest, padded armrests, a padded seat, and cushioning for back support, the super-convenient folding beach chair can be enjoyed by everyone, whether they have a strong back that never gives out or a bad back that plagues them with discomfort.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between camping chairs past standout features like cupholders, storage pockets, a footrest, and a carry bag. There are some characteristics, such as weight capacity or ease of use, that aren’t immediately apparent. Portability is a crucial aspect for folding beach chairs since ideally, they’re to be carried out to the perfect vantage point on the beach.
We’ve worked our way through the Amazon camp chair market to find the optimal model for your next beach trip. Read on to see what we found out and check out our winner for the best beach chair for bad backs at the end!
Best Beach Chair for Back Backs – Overview
1. Coleman Quad Chair
- Camping chair combines a cozy design with a convenient built in cooler. Roomy 24 inches seat
- Built in 4 can cooler pouch keeps cold drinks within reach
- Fully cushioned seat and back provide support and comfort
- Mesh cup holder and side pocket for quick access to personal items
Industry giant Coleman has done a pretty good job with this straightforward beach chair. The seat is fully cushioned although it can be hard to tell at first glance. It provides some nice back support and the roomy 24-inch seat is comfortable enough.
Coleman’s quad chair has an aluminum frame with a weight capacity of up to 325 pounds. The aluminum frame folds up readily and stows away in the included carry bag quickly. It’s slightly bulkier to carry than other models, so more petite user might have some trouble, but it isn’t so unwieldy that it can’t be used on a beach trip.
A few conveniences have been included in the design that are nice to have for long days at the beach. A mesh cup holder for one drink on the right-hand side allows you to stay hydrated (or in whatever other condition you may want to be in at the beach) and there’s also a cooler built-in that’s large enough for four regular-size aluminum cans.
A storage pouch on the lower right-hand side is great for keeping things like car keys and cell phones out of the sand. Overall, everything required is definitely here and the back support is enough to keep back pain at bay, even if the padding may not be the most supportive on the market.
- Cupholder and built-in 4-can cooler
- Roomy 24-inch seat
- Sizeable weight capacity
- Carry bag included
- Storage pouch
- Slightly bulky to carry
- Fair to middling back support
2. Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Padded Lounge Chair
- Maximum loading capacity: supports up to 350lbs with sturdy steel tube frame, bungee suspension system, and durable polyester fabric
- Adjustable reclining position: Easy locking levers adjust and lock the chair to any position from upright to fully laid-back. Easiest locking mechanism on the market. Patented locking mechanism
- Open dimension: 43. 5 x20 x21. 5 inches. Length of chair when fully reclined is 72 inches
- COMFORTABLE DESIGN: Bungee-cord suspensions system design to provide maximum relaxation in any position from upright to full reclining with locking system, padded headrest and lumbar support, plastic armrest, folding sliding side table for resting your phone or drink on
Timber Ridge has just about built the folding beach chair as well as it can possibly be done with their Zero Gravity padded lounge chair. Don’t expect to be hovering over the sand, now. Zero Gravity describes the bungee system that both adds like-air comfort and works in tandem with the steel frame construction to offer a whopping 350-pound weight capacity.
The durable polyester fabric doesn’t retain too much heat out in the sun and feels nice to the touch. There’s a padded headrest and the back of the chair is rigid enough to provide users with lumbar support without being so hard they’re painful.
The back support this chair provides is optimal for avoiding back pain. Timber Ridge has designed a dual lock mechanism that allows this chair to recline quickly and easily. It’s one of the few beach chairs on the market that can alternate from completely upright to fully reclined and several reclining positions in between. For those who may want to doze off a little while they sunbathe, this is a great option to have.
Additional design features Timber Ridge has put into this beach chair include a folding sliding table which also has a cupholder as well as plastic armrests that are ideal for resisting spills from your drink or sunscreen. While the lack of padded armrests may disappoint some anglers, they can easily be covered with a beach towel or discarded t-shirt to avoid heating up in the sun. Timber Ridge has also promised a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty with this chair for some ease of mind.
- Steel frame and a 350-pound weight capacity
- Padded headrest
- Lumbar support
- Fully reclines with dual lock mechanism
- Side table with cupholder included
- Warranty included
- Plastic armrests are not ideal for some
- No carry case
3. Kijaro XXL Dual Lock Sports Chair
- This portable Dual Lock chair gives you a premium seating experience with no-sag seating, durable diamond ripstop polyester, and breathable mesh on seat back
- The Dual Lock chair is perfect to take with you whether you are tailgating, camping, or watching your favorite sports teams
- Includes: 2 cup holders, organizer with zip & mesh pockets, carry strap attached to chair, and carry bag
- Supports up to 400 pounds
This Kijaro model may not stand out against some other models that come with tons of additional design features like a side table or reclining ability, but it is definitely one of the best beach chairs for those looking for something sturdy where they can relax and also store items like car keys, cell phones, and sunscreen.
With its 400-pound weight capacity, this Kijaro leads the market in solid construction and it’s one of the only ones that make a point to promise that there won’t be any sagging in the seat. The sturdy dependability of this chair is due to the dual lock that allows users to lock the chair when it’s set up as well as when it’s folded for storage or transport.
The polyester fabric used to build this chair is ripstop and durable so it can withstand many beach trips. Mesh material sewn into the back of the seat makes it breathable, which is optimal for warm days and catching beach breezes. Kijaro has constructed this chair with two cupholders, mesh pockets, and comes with its own carry bag for easy transport.
The chair itself also has a carry strap so that it can be readily transported without the carry bag too. While it may not look like the fanciest beach chair, this model packs a punch and it’s about as sturdy as they get. The only significant drawback is the lack of lumbar support or a padded seat to help with back pain.
- Incredibly sturdy
- Industry-leading weight capacity
- Ripstop polyster fabric
- Breathable mesh seatback
- Carry strap is on the chair
- Storage pouch
- No padding or lumbar support
4. KingCamp Ergonomic Chair
- HEAVY DUTY FRAME: Durable polyester fabric and steel frame support up to 300 lbs
- BREATHABLE MATERIAL: 600D oxford fabric with breathable moisture wicking mesh/Padded back
- DESIGN ESSENTIALS: Padded hard armrests, padded headrest, storage pocket, and a cup holder
- PERFECT SIZE: Opens up to 21 x 32 x 37 inches
KingCamp has built one of the most supportive beach chairs on the market with this ergonomic model. Considering it doesn’t have any dedicated cushioning for lumbar support, it’s surprisingly comfortable and easy on the spine, so users can sit in it for a good while without suffering any back pain. The 600D polyester fabric used in the construction of this folding chair is also treated with moisture wicking to keep it in good condition after repeated exposure to seawater from wet swimsuits. The entire back of the seat is padded slightly and made of breathable mesh.
All the basic features that are most desirable in a beach chair are here: a storage pouch, a cupholder, and an included carry case for easy transport to the ocean. What sets this model apart are the padded armrests and the padded headrest, which aren’t singular features of only this chair but still far from being universal in the market.
The padded armrests are made of the same material as the rest of the steel frame, which works to make the chair sturdy and also supports the forearm, benefitting posture and preventing back pain in the long run. The 300-pound weight capacity isn’t the highest number available but enough for the majority of users. KingCamp has made an all-around great chair for relaxing at the beach with this ergonomic model.
- Ergonomic design
- 600D polyester fabric with moisture wicking
- Padded armrests and seatback
- Breathable mesh back
- Cupholder and storage pouch
- Steel frame
- Lower weight capacity than some competitors
- Less cushioning
5. Strongback Low Gravity Reclining Beach Chair
- Dual reclining Low Gravity with an extra comfort boost and the same award winning, patented lumbar supportive design, improves your body posture and eases tension; supports your back which provides relief to your spine and relaxes your muscles
- 2-year warranty: compare with our competitors - we guarantee durability
- Spacious ergonomic seat designed to align hips and back for maximum comfort and relaxation
- Easy to use and lightweight: the perfect portable chair for camping, travel, picnics, beach trips, sports, concert events and other outdoor activities
The Strongback Low-Gravity Reclining Beach Chair is one of the best-known chairs on the market, probably second only to Tommy Bahama’s model (see below) in name recognition. That’s not without reason; this chair not only comes with a sturdy quad chair construction, it also blows most of the competition out of the water with its award-winning ergonomic design that provides users with lumbar support that’s practically unparalleled. Strongback has created a chair shape that aligns the hips and back, supporting good posture to take tension off the spine, relax the muscles, and thereby prevent back pain.
This is a heavy-duty chair that has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, which is plenty for the majority of users. Strongback is so sure of their product that they offer a 2-year warranty on it. It’s missing some common features like a cupholder, but it does come with a carry case that has shoulder straps for hands-free transport and they’ve also added extra wide feet at the leg bottoms to prevent the chair from sinking into mud or sand. It is lower to the ground than competing models which may not be ideal for people who have a hard time lifting themselves up with their knees.
This reclinable version of the Strongback offers a bit more versatility than the original Strongback Low Gravity Beach Chair, which already rose to the top of the market on its own strengths. It’s hard to argue once you experience this chair, which is why we’ve picked it as our winner for the best beach chair for bad backs.
- Industry-leading lumbar support
- Sturdy construction
- Ergonomic design
- 2-year warranty
- Carry case with shoulder straps
- Wide feet
- No cupholder
- Low to the ground
6. Rio Beach Chair and Lounger
- Unique layout tanning beach chair with 5 position recline and read-through lounge design.
- Special memory foam, removable pillow with face hole opening
- 31 inch backrest with arm opening slots
- Adjustable, multi-position footrest with removable pillow
This Rio beach chair is perfect for people who want to sunbathe and catch a tan while they’re out at the beach and still support their back while they do so. It has 5 reclining positions for maximum comfort, making it ideal for lounging in the sand. There’s a padded headrest that’s made of memory foam and removable.
Rio was thoughtful enough to put a face hole underneath the pillow for users’ breathability. There’s a footrest that’s also completely adjustable and has its own removable pillow. It has an armrest cupholder and an insulated zippered pouch on the side of the seat with an additional mesh pocket and a phone slot built right in.
It doesn’t come with a carry case but there is an adjustable carry strap on the chair itself for easy portability. Use the chair clip for a sturdy fixed position. The aluminum frame can take a beating and should last a long time. It sits higher up off the ground for taller people or those who prefer to be up off the sand. A pillow on the seatback provides users with lumbar support and is also removable. Overall, unless you have specific back pain in a different part of the back than the lumbar area, this chair is a great option.
- Three removable pillows
- Storage pouch and phone slot
- High off the ground
- Face hole
- Aluminum frame
- Carry strap and adjustable clip
- No carry case
7. Tommy Bahama Beach Chair
- Deluxe lace up design
- Backpack straps and storage pocket
- Tommy Bahama logo
Tommy Bahama is more famous for its restaurants and apparel, but this beach chair is an admirable contribution to the market. There’s noticeably less cushioning than some big-name competitors, so those with the highest level of back pain or long-term spine conditions might want to try one of the more heavily padded beach chairs on this list.
For those who just want to avoid slight back pain while they kick back on the beach, this is a good model. The lace-up design makes the seat really sturdy and it certainly looks more stylish than a more standard chair.
There is one head cushion that is nice for resting your neck while you lay out but a footstool would make it much more useful. You can always put your feet up on a makeshift footstool, though. A storage pocket is on the side for extra gear and there are shoulder straps and a bookbag integrated into the back of the chair that make a carry case unnecessary.
There aren’t many frills on this straightforward beach chair, but for those who are looking for a nice seat for their next beach trip and don’t need maximum comfort or spine support, this Tommy Bahama model should work just fine.
- Integrated backpack and shoulder straps
- Head pillow
- Stylish design
- Storage pocket
- No cupholder
- No footstool
- Doesn’t recline
The Amazon market for beach chairs offers a wide variety of options to choose from, ranging from straightforward models like Tommy Bahama’s backpack-style folding chair with integrated shoulder straps to fully-equipped ones like the Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Lounging Chair. However, if support for a bad back is your main concern then there is just one beach chair that rises above the rest and that’s Strongback Low-Gravity Reclining Beach Chair.
It’s hard to deny that a beach chair with lumbar support that has won awards will be the best beach chair on the market. The Strongback reclines for maximum comfort, it has all the requisite design features like a cupholder, and the carry case with shoulder straps makes it super portable. The 2-year warranty offered by Strongback certainly helps bolster their claim to be cream of the beach chair crop.
Every beach trip is better enjoyed if you have a comfortable place to sit off the hot sand. Maybe those with a strong back or those who aren’t planning to stay at the seaside more than a few hours can sit on a beach towel or directly on the sand, but the best way to avoid back pain is to head for the ocean with an ergonomic folding chair with you.
There’s no better chair for the purpose than the Strongback Low-Gravity Reclining Beach Chair, our winner for the best beach chair for a bad back. Now that you’ve finished our guide to the market, pat yourself on the back for time well spent and head out to the beach without fear of back pain!
Bonus tip: Headed to the beach? Watch this quick video for some tips on swimming safely with waves!