How to keep your camp chair from sinking into the ground

by | Mar 3, 2023 | Backcountry camping

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Have you ever sat down in your camp chair, only for one of the four legs to sink several inches into the ground, causing you to lose your balance and fall over?

It’s happened to use hundreds of times!

Camp chairs are built to be convenient, a lot of them have skinny legs and feet.

That’s great for packability and saving weight, but not so much for sitting on soft ground.

In fact, you can expect your camp chair to sink on any of the following terrain:

  • Sand
  • Grass
  • Gravel
  • Dirt
  • Mud
  • Snow

Yes, snow.

Here’s Ross sitting in one of our camp chairs and sinking straight down into the snow on a campsite in mid-February:

Ross winter camping

Lucky for you, we’ve figured out a few good hacks to stop this from happening.

It’s winter here now, so we’ve got snow—the perfect opportunity to show off our ideas for making your camp chair un-sinkable!

Here’s what we’ve got to show you…

Idea #1: Put a plastic container on each foot of your camp chair

A plastic container used with a camp chair to keep it from sinking.

Chances are you’ve gone a bunch of plastic containers at home in the recycling.

But these can also be put to good use on your camping trip.

Just take four plastic container, make sure it’s clean so it doesn’t gunk up your chair, and place one over each of your camp chair’s feet.

The containers will act as mini platforms, dispersing weight and keeping your chair from sinking into the ground.

Not a bad idea, right?

Idea #2: Use a couple of 2x4s or another type of wooden platform

A wood plank used with a camp chair to keep it from sinking.

This idea is just as easy, and perhaps sturdier due to the nature of wood.

The big downside is that wood is heavy, and it’s not always convenient to bring it camping.

All you need to do is grab two 2x4s, or anything similar in size and shape, and place them side-by-side under your camp chair’s feet.

If you don’t have any 2x4s, you can also use other sizes of wood planks.

The platforms will act as supports for your chair, keeping it from sinking into the ground.

If you’re handy, you could even cut four separate pieces for each foot to help save on weight and space.

And if you wanted to take it a step forward, you could bring along a few shims in different sizes and thicknesses to help balance out the chair on uneven ground.

Idea #3: Bring a mat to place beneath your camp chair

A mat used with a camp chair to keep it from sinking.

A mat is another simple, inexpensive, and lightweight solution for keeping your camp chair from sinking.

It can do the job on semisoft ground that’s relatively even, but you may still have some trouble if the ground is especially uneven or super soft.

However, if you’re planning on sitting on grass or sand, you should be fine.

The more you can do to even out the ground before you place your mat down, the better.

We recommend choosing a that has some thickness to it.

This will prevent the feet of your chair from digging into it too much, which can still cause sinking.

Idea #4: Make or buy ground sheet add-ons for your camp chair

Two camp chairs with ground sheets to keep it from sinking.

We have two ultralight camp chairs from Helinox (the Chair Zero to be specific), which we absolutely love because of how strong, cozy, and lightweight they are.

The problem is that their feet are so small and thin that they sink into any kind of soft ground.

It wasn’t until recently that we discovered that you can get a ground sheet for them for this exactly problem—sinking!

A ground sheet for a camp chair.

As you can see, the ground sheet is just a super strong piece of mesh material with slots on each of the four corners.

Beneath each slot is a plastic platform for the foot to rest on.

All you have to do is slip each foot into a slot, clip the extra little cord over the base of the chair so it doesn’t go anywhere, and that’s it!

A ground sheet for a camp chair.

You’re ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view without having to worry about putting too much weight on one side of the chair and risking it sinking into the ground.

Now, if you’re crafty and up for a challenge, you could certainly try to make your own DIY ground sheet for your own camp chair(s).

You would just have to choose really strong material, size it accurately for your chair, and figure out how to fasten slots on each of the corners so firmly that the feet of your chair don’t rip them or puncture through.

You could probably do it, but it certainly isn’t the easiest DIY project!

Idea #5: Buy camp chairs that don’t come with the sinkable design flaw

A camp chair overlooking a lake.

If you’re in the market for new camp chairs, you might as well look at ones that aren’t prone to sinking in softer ground.

Anything that has four separate legs made with thin rods are bound to sink.

We’re happy with our Chair Zero chairs and ground sheet from Helinox, but if we every find that we need to replace them, we’ll probably consider switching to their Ground Chair model.

It’s like the Chair Zero, except it doesn’t need the groundsheet because all of the feet are connected to form a square that helps spread the load out.

So there you have it—five super solid ideas you can use to keep your camp chair from sinking into the ground.

The best thing is that they all work well and are easy to do, so you can pick whichever one suits your needs the most and get your camping trip off on the right foot!

Some other ideas that can help you avoid sinking include:

  • Picking a spot that is firmer or less wet
  • Stomping down the ground to firm it up and even it out before you place your chair on it
  • Keeping your weight distributed evenly on the chair
  • Readjusting your chair every time you get up sit back down.

Next up: 23 tent camping setup ideas you’ll love

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Elise & Ross

We’re Elise and Ross, avid backcountry campers and outdoor adventurers! We started Gone Camping Again as a way to share our knowledge and experience about wilderness living and travel. Our hope is that we inspire you to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer!

Read more about our story.