Get the sun loungers out – it’s summertime! No caravan holidays would be complete without a bit of time to relax in the open air, with drinks, snacks or a barbecue. Even if the weather ends up forcing you back under the awning or a gazebo, we all know it’s worth being equipped with sets of comfy reclining chairs and sun loungers on holiday.

So, which are the best sun loungers and recliners to buy? To find out, we collected a bunch of rival products from well-known outdoor accessory brands for testing.

The best recliners and sun loungers, we discovered, were the chairs with multiple positions. We wanted to use them in semi-reclined positions for reading and sunbathing, as well as lying flat out. It’s much easier to get on and off a recliner chair, when its in the upright position, than it is to rise from a traditional flat sun lounger. We’re not all as supple as children, any more. We also love that delightfully relaxing feeling when you sink into recliners with just the right amount of comfy padding and well contoured shapes. 

But what’s this? The camping accessories world has a new solution in mind. A number of two-part recliner chair and footstool products are now available. Sold separately, these two clip or fit neatly together, for the best of all worlds. You get both a camping chair that you can use for sitting up at a table to eat, as well as a recliner for sunbathing and snoozing – with your feet up.

We looked at how comfortable each chair was, in all its various modes, and checked the maximum load weights. Generally this tends to be between 100kg and 120kg (15 stone 7lbs and 19 stone) as a maximum weight limit. There are some reclining chairs that will support people, up to 150kg (almost 24 stone). It’s a good indication of the chair’s strength, even if you only tip the scales to a far lighter weight than these maximum figures.

We considered the overall weight and packed-down size of the sun loungers and recliners we tested, too. We know how precious your storage space can be in a caravan and we also don’t want to overload your payload unnnecessarily! Most of the chairs have aluminium frames, but there’s still quite a variation in the weights and dimensions.

We looked at armrests and reclining positions, checking how easy it is to get in and out of the chairs. And of course we sat up and took note if there were any bonus features like headrests, lumbar support padding and somewhere to put a cuppa or a glass of wine. 

Value for money is always on our minds when testing camping accessories and we have added the chair and footstool prices together for this comparison.

We’ve checked out the Westfield Avantgarde Noblesse Chair, £104.99, with its Breeze Stool, £34.99, and compared it to the Kampa Comfort Tuscany Chair, £35, and matching stool £19.99 as well as the Outwell Melville Chair and Dauphin Footstool, costing £59.99 for the chair plus £17.99 for the stool.

No group test of sun loungers would be complete without traditional styles such as the Argos Folding Sun Lounger, £19.99. Looking for more softly padded chairs, we tested the Kampa Verona Indulgence Deluxe, £105, the Quest Elite Ragley Sage Stepless Relaxer, £69.99 and the Kampa Opulence Amalfi, £74.99.

In this review we’ll focus on the Quest Elite Ragley Range Sage Stepless AntiGravity Relaxer, which costs £69.99 and comes with an attractive sage green centre panel.

At around £35 less than Kampa’s Verona Indulgence Deluxe, at first glance Quest Leisure’s very similar Elite Ragley Range Sage Stepless AntiGravity Relaxer looks to be a bargain alternative.

Like the Kampa Verona and Kampa Opulence Amalfi, it has bungee cords to secure the fabric to the frame and allow the chair to mould to your body shape. But in terms of all-out comfort, the two Kampa chairs just have the edge.

Other similarities that we like include the step-less reclining mechanism and adjustable headrest. Sadly, though, the table and cupholder are missing in this model (other chairs in the Elite Ragley range do have this). And, while this chair also folds down well — far better than the three chair-and-stool combos featured here — it’s a kilogram heavier than the Kampa despite a reduced maximum load capacity of 120kg (just over 18 stone 12 lbs).