Beach chairs come in so many styles that finding your personal preference can require some trial and error. Paul Masi, a partner at Bates Masi + Architects and a longtime surfer who lives in Amagansett, N.Y., has firsthand experience with this struggle.
“We have good friends we’ve been going to the beach with for years, and everyone’s got their own strategy for chairs,” Mr. Masi said.
Some prefer a tall, upright chair; others want to be closer to the sand. And some would rather have a chair that’s laid-back and lounge-y. “All the families have a different style of chair that they swear by,” he said.
For Mr. Masi and his family, there’s only one choice, and it isn’t any of the above: It’s a backpack-style chair.
“You carry it just like a backpack,” he said. “Which is key for us, because we always have surfboards.” The chair also has storage for towels and other necessities.
The Masis are so enamored with their beach chairs that they sometimes even take them abroad. “We just check them in and stuff the pouches full,” he said. “It’s a piece of luggage with an extra function.”
What material is best? Mr. Masi prefers beach chairs with wooden frames for their look and feel when he is close to home, but when he travels he often takes chairs with aluminum frames, because they’re lighter.
How many do you need? At least one for every family member, to avoid confrontation. “Our kids are always stealing our chairs,” Mr. Masi said. “It’s become a hot topic.”
Does it need an adjustable back? Not necessarily, but if you plan to use the chair for outdoor concerts as well as sunbathing, flexibility could be important.
Classic Beach Folding Chair
Teak chair with sling seat and adjustable back
From $279 at Ballard Designs: 800-536-7551 or ballarddesigns.com
Nautical Line Surfside Recliner
Yellow-balau wood adjustable chair with sailcloth seat and back
$245 at Cape Cod Beach Chair Company: 800-809-1750 or capecodbeachchair.com
Wood chair with backpack straps, storage pouches and adjustable back
$336 at Blue Ridge Chair Works: 828-299-9990 or blueridgechair.com
Teak chair with umbrella-canvas back and removable shoulder strap
$149 at Business & Pleasure Co: businessandpleasureco.com