It’s nice to sit on a camping chair after a long day of hiking. You can finally let your feet rest and enjoy food to replenish your energy. While looking around the camp, you might notice that the ground is slightly wet and the clouds are getting dark.
It probably rained heavily the past day. It might rain again at any moment. You quickly do a mental check of all your gear’s water resistance. Hopefully, you brought a waterproof tent so you won’t have to deal with leaks. Would it be okay to leave the chairs outside?
Are camping chairs waterproof? Yes! but there are some things to keep in mind when you choose a chair.
Before anything else, let’s specify what waterproof means. Dictionaries define it as being impervious or unaffected by water. It could also refer to products that have been treated to prevent water penetration.
When it comes to jackets, it’s vital for the fabric to repel water so that wearers won’t get soaked to the skin.
As for camping chairs, users probably don’t mind if the items get wet but they don’t want these to sustain water damage. Camping chairs are made from different materials with each having its own properties. Let’s see how water might affect them.
The Framing of Camping Chairs
Chairs need to be strong and sturdy. After all, they have to bear the weight of the user. Adults typically weight over 100lbs with some exceeding 300lbs. The frame must be able to carry this much load or higher. It must not creak, bend, or break.
Campers must feel safe and secure when sitting down. Clever engineering is used to create structures that can support heavy loads. Stress points are reinforced to increase capacity. Of course, the materials need to hold up well to make it all work.
For camping chairs, you will find three common options: aluminum, stainless steel, and other steel alloys.
Aluminum is preferred when the goal is to lighten the pack as much as possible. Hikers who need to carry the chair on their back along with other gear want it to be as light as possible. They can go faster if they are not burdened by an aching back.
Aluminum fits the bill while also providing excellent resistance to corrosion. Even if this metal gets wet, it will not rust away. That’s because it does not contain any iron.
However, it may succumb to another form of corrosion known as oxidation. The surface can develop a thin, hard layer called aluminum oxide. This layer can actually prevent further corrosion.
2. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel contains iron but it is highly resistant to rust. This is thanks to the surface coating of chromium oxide that acts as a corrosion barrier. Even when this is breached, it can repair itself naturally. Of course, there are limits to this protection as well.
Extensive damage can lead to different types of corrosion such as pitting and crevice corrosion. General corrosion only occurs upon contact with chemicals such as acids.
Therefore, stainless steel camping chairs are mostly resistant to damage from regular rain. However, you may want to protect it from acid rain.
3. Heavy Duty Steel Alloys
Some camping chairs will use heavy-duty steel in order to increase strength. The actual composition of the alloy will vary but this is usually more likely to develop rust. You will have to trade load capacity with corrosion.
You will also need to be prepared for the heavier frame. Unless you are a strong person who lifts at the gym and only needs to hike a short distance, it can be pushing to carry on your back.
This works best for glamping trips and RV camping as you can simply store it in your car as you drive to the camping grounds. If the paint is coming off, then repaint the chair to protect against moisture.
The Fabrics used in Camping Chairs
Now let’s consider the fabrics used in camping chairs. Most of these are designed to be sturdy yet breathable, although there may be winter models that are thicker than usual. They rely on quality stitching to stay in place with edged wrapped around parts of the frame.
Some have additional foam padding for the seat and a pillow on a headrest. Some even have plastic armrests and back support.
Hikers generally prefer the lighter and simpler fabric constructions but there may be cases when the added weight is worth carrying. Let’s take a look at how water affects each of the following:
Polyester is a synthetic fabric. Each fiber is waterproof which means that you can soak the strands and they won’t absorb moisture.
However, weaving them together creates gaps between the fibers. Water can find these gaps, inhabit them, and cross other to the other side. That is why polyester jackets will require PVC coating or other barriers in order to be considered waterproof.
Since people don’t usually rely on their camping chairs to remain dry, it is uncommon to see waterproofing on these trail items. The fabric tends to dry fast without any visible damage from moisture.
Older camping chair designs may use canvas instead of polyester. This tends to be thicker and heavier. It is actually closely woven cotton that is known for its durability. It’s a good choice for higher loads.
As everyone is aware, cotton is incredibly absorbent so moisture will soak the fibers. It will also take longer to dry out so place the wet camping chairs in the sun to speed it up.
This level of absorption should not be a problem with normal rain. However, colored liquids such as juices and sauces can leave stains that are hard to remove.
Mesh fabric features visible holes of various sizes. These promote breathability which is essential during hot summer camping.
The fabric is made from knitting synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester. Nylon tends to have more stretch and better durability. It also has a pleasant silk-like feel to the touch. Go with nylon mesh if you want a lightweight yet a tough and breathable piece of gear.
Given the large holes, one cannot expect mesh to be waterproof although this does not affect its utility for camping chairs.