The Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair does what its name says; it can recline so you can stargaze, and for a collapsible camp chair, this is a luxurious ability. Nemo Equipment launched the original Stargaze in 2017, and this second iteration hit the market in 2019, lowering the center of gravity and extending the fit range.
The Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair provides incredible relaxation in the reclined position, and the free-swinging ability only adds to the sensation. It is sturdy and easy to set up and transport, considering these functions. But enjoying the luxury comes with a cost; the chair is not comfortable in the upright position.
The first quality that struck me when unpacking the Stargaze for the first time was the sturdiness of the bungee-corded suspension frame. The anodized aircraft aluminum frame poles are much larger in diameter with a thicker wall than any other camp chair in my collection, and the connecting lugs are equally massive.
The chair is made of microfilament mesh that resists bacteria, sun exposure, and water retention. The fabric has a burly, somewhat stiff feel, delivering the perception that it is just as sturdy as the frame.
Nemo rates the Stargazer to 300 pounds.
Setup and Takedown
The Stargaze Recliner is only a tad bit more involved in the setup up than other camp chairs. The bungee-corded frame and color-coded connections made setting up the suspension frame a no-brainer. The chair clips into its two suspension points on the frame, and it’s not directional, making this step equally simple after initial reference to instructions.
What is not normal, but still simple, is inserting the two segmented, small-diameter poles into the back of the chair; these support the chair’s backside to give it the proper form.
The takedown is the reverse, and the entire Stargazer will fit into the included 23.5” x 6.5” x 6.5” padded carrying case. It does take a fair amount of cramming to get the case zipped closed, but it became easier as the fabric broke in. At a touch over 7 pounds, it’s best to reserve the Stargazer for car camping, vanlife, and short walk-in campsites. It isn’t a backcountry item, but it also made a perfect addition to my porch.
The Stargaze Recliner does two things that no other camp chair has been able to do for me; recline and swing freely. These two functions alone give it an ability that sets it above others. The chair is stupendously comfortable and relaxing in this mode, especially with the feet elevated (a matching hammock-style footrest, Nemo?) I couldn’t help but engage the natural feeling of rocking motion, and looking up at the night sky without craning my neck was terrific. I am six-feet tall, 167 pounds, and the dimensions felt perfect for the reclined position. The fabric was stiff at first but broke in over time to become adequately soft. The mesh was airy, which proved invaluable for the heat and humidity in my home state of Texas, and the adjustable height pillow accommodated my friends.
My petite friends and seven-year-old daughter also loved the reclined position, even if the pillow didn’t adjust down far enough. These campers enjoyed balling up in the chair, feet on the seat, rocking away in almost a fetal looking position.
But the extreme comfort while reclined did not translate to the same while sitting up. The seat’s deep “pocket” made sitting up straight to work on my laptop or to engage in conversation uncomfortable and wieldy. My hips felt sunk into the chair, and I couldn’t lean my lower back against a vertical surface. So, I would switch to another chair or sit on my powered cooler to gain an upright position to work or talk face-to-face.
I doubled up with a friend to test the weight limit, and everything was fine. The suspension frame visibly gives as designed, potentially adding to the comfort.
The Stargaze Recliner has a cup holder and a stash pocket, but they are in unusual positions on the seat’s sides. I have a slender build, and I could put a drink in the cup holder and not touch it, but I was aware it was there and had to avoid certain positions to prevent potential spills. The stash pocket wasn’t as problematic, and I used it for my phone or book without issue.
And it may be the ultimate in laziness, but using the pockets required some unrelaxed arm contortions and potential body readjusting to access due to their inboard locations. After a few uses, I continued to put a book or phone in the stash pocket, but I abandoned the cup holder and just put my drink on the ground.
Lastly, there is the price. With an MSRP of $220, this chair is quite the investment.
Recline and swing. Those abilities make the Nemo Equipment Stargaze Chair standout and guarantee that it gets packed for all my van and car-based camping. And, indeed, it is luxurious to stare into the galaxy and swing freely.
The only negative worth mentioning was the drink holder’s unusual and partially unusable location, but this was never a showstopper. The Stargaze Recliner never gets left behind, and it’s a mainstay of my porch, taking much of the sting out of the price.
Here you can find more information about the Stargaze Recliner and purchase directly from Nemo Equipment – your purchase supports the work we do at Gear Institute.