Hardcore campers may frown upon such luxuries as dining tables on the trip, but those who want to enjoy the experience know that little comforts make a big difference. To save time, we’ve narrowed down the search and found the best camping tables for your upcoming outdoor adventure.
|ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table||Amazon||A|
|Camp Time Roll-A-Table||Amazon||A|
|GCI Outdoor Slim Fold Cook Station||Amazon||A|
|GCI Outdoor Compact Camp Table 25||REI / Amazon||B|
|Helinox Table One||REI / Amazon||A|
|ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table||REI / Amazon||B+|
|Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top Kitchen||REI||B+|
Why Take A Camping Table?
When you go camping, the last thing you want is to lug furniture with you. The whole point of camping is to get out of the city and to enjoy the Great Outdoors. But just because you’re taking the time to smell the roses doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable and prepared.
Have you ever tried to find a perfectly flat rock to balance open containers, use for food prep or just sit around and enjoy a meal? Chances are they are almost nonexistent. Why struggle?
Camping tables are versatile and portable. Whether it’s an area for the kids to color and play board games, a flat surface to set up your prep station so you can create your culinary masterpieces, or even if it’s just someplace to put down your drink, every member of the family will appreciate a portable camping table.
Different Types of Camping Tables
The rising popularity of “glamping” takes everyday conveniences to a whole new level. The camping tables of today are not what they were even five years ago. They’re now lighter, more versatile and more portable.
Rather than having to settle, consumers now have multiple options when it comes to finding the best camping table for their needs. We’ve broken down the basic styles to help you make your choice.
These are basic usually camping tables with a flat larger flat surface that is typically solid plastic or wood. While they may not be the steadiest, dining tables offer portability by collapsing or rolling up into a smaller size convenient to store in a carrying bag.
These tables can be wobbly so make sure they can accommodate the weight of whatever you are placing on the surface. Dining camping tables are best to use for lighter weight items, as a flat surface for coloring or board games, or to set out food as a serving station.
Soft Top Camping Tables
Usually constructed out of nylon or mesh, these soft-top camping tables are versatile. Even though the top layer is stretched taut to provide a flat surface, it’s not the best idea to balance an open bottle or cup on it. Most come with cup holders for this very reason. They’re not as good for drawing or coloring, but they are great for mealtime or card-game time.
Cooking Station Tables
These tables are designed specifically to help the chef prepare for mealtime. Their rectangular shapes are created to balance stoves, bowls, cups and anything else a chef may need for a good old-fashioned cookout. Some even have multiple levels to provide convenient storage.
How To Choose A Camping Table
The most important part of picking out a camping table is to know why you are taking it with you. Will it be used as a place to gather around for meals? Will it be specifically for the chef to prep meals? Or will it be a combination of the above?
Once you know why you’re taking a camping table, then you can find the right one for you.
If the table is going to be a place to entertain and if everyone prefers to eat at a table, then a folding camping table will be the smartest choice. Its sturdy surface will provide the support needed for that cutthroat game of Go Fish later.
If the table is there just in case or if it’s just someplace to keep your drinks safe, then a collapsible nylon/mesh table will do the job. They have cup holders and are easy to fold up and carry.
But if you need a solid surface to use for meal prep, then you can’t go wrong with a cooking station table. It’s the sturdiest and most practical for keeping all cooking utensils and equipment at arm’s length.
We’ve reviewed five different types of tables to help you with your final decision. They are all portable, so carrying them from point A to point B shouldn’t be a problem.
ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table
This ALPS table is an aluminum fold-up top, which means it’s lightweight and collapsible. Its X-Frame design allows for chairs to be pulled up right under the table. Available in different sizes, you can choose from a Dining Square, Dining Regular (rectangular), or Dining XL. It folds up like an accordion, two slats at a time and comes with a convenient shoulder bag to carry it around. Easy to set-up, this table is great for activities, meals, or a prep space.
- Lightweight – it only weighs 8 lbs.
- Portable – easy to set-up, fold and store in its shoulder bag
- Relatively steady – unless heavier items are placed too close to the edge, this table should stay upright
- Seats 4 – 5 people, depending on the size of the plates
- Unpainted aluminum silver means you don’t have to worry about paint chipping
- The middle brace between the legs takes up space
- Although it has the extra brace to steady the legs, this table is still a bit wobbly so not recommended for heavy items or breakables
- Need a reasonably flat surface to set-up the table to prevent it from being too wobbly
Camp Time Roll-A-Table
This simple table is as basic as they get. With four aluminum legs and a roll out vinyl-covered table, the Camp Time is both portable and versatile. At only ten pounds, most members of the camping party should be able to carry it. It comes with its own carrying case.
Set-up is quick and takes less than five minutes on average. For an uncomplicated trip, the Camp Time is about as straightforward as you can get.
- Lack of cross beams connecting the legs means that chairs can fit completely underneath the table to take up less room
- The vinyl coating makes for easy cleanup
- The storage bag is attached to the table, so you never have to worry about losing it or the legs
- Sturdy legs even without the cross brace
- No shoulder strap on the storage case, which makes it harder to carry
- The space between the slats collects food and game pieces
- The mesh pocket that stores the legs can separate at the ends, allowing for the poles to slide out
- The legs are not adjustable, so the table is only one set height
Helinox Table One
This low-profile camping table is very close to the ground and has short legs, so it’s best used alongside the Helinox Chairs. Two inset cup holders mean your drinks will be safe from toppling over. Its tight nylon tabletop can only withstand about 10-15 pounds comfortably, so this is not the table to take with you to hold anything heavy.
It’s probably best used as a side table than the main dining table. Weighing in at less than two pounds, no one can get out of having to carry it because it’s too heavy. At such a low height, this table is probably better suited for summer movies in the park than camping.
- Super Lightweight – only 1.3 pounds
- Cup holders keep drinks safe from getting knocked over
- Perfect size storage bag with zipper closure and grab handles
- Single shock-corded pole structure allows for quick set-up and easy storage
- Nylon tabletop – not as steady as a solid one and should not be used near an open flame to avoid flying embers
- Cup holders are designed for narrow cups and regular cans
- Pricey for a table that can’t be used as a dining table
GCI Outdoor Slim Fold Cook Station
Although this isn’t technically a folding camping table, it deserves to be included in this review. This cook station provides the sturdy surface necessary for the chef to prep meals for a hungry camping crew.
Multipurpose, this all in one includes built-in fold out, side tables, bottom storage, as well as beverage, wine glass, garbage bag, paper towel and utensil holders. This unit folds up flat and has a heavy-duty handle for easy transport.
Although it’s heavier than the other products reviewed, it is still light enough to carry to and from a campsite fairly easily.
- Four plastic side tables fold out as needed to increase surface area and each holds up to 30 pounds
- Powder coated steel tube construction means a sturdier and better quality product
- Countertop is made from heat resistant aluminum, so it’s safe to use for camp stoves and grills and can hold up to 35 pounds
- Reasonably priced
- Easy to set up and fold back up for storage
- Not as easy to use as a traditional dining table
- At 18.9 pounds, this is not as lightweight as the other products reviewed
ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table
This double level portable camping table offers additional surface space for storage. With four inset cup holders, you don’t have to worry about your drinks being knocked over or taking up precious surface space.
Hanging side pockets allow you to keep essential items within arms reach. Buckles at each corner allow for a quick setup and adjustment of the tautness of the tabletop. At only four pounds, this portable camping table is easy to carry and quickly collapses for cleanup but requires a level floor.
- Dual layer provides more surface or storage space
- Folds up to the size of a standard folding chair for easy transport
- Tension straps adjust tautness and add stability
- Great quality for the price
- Since it’s made out of material, the surface of the table is not as sturdy as a solid one and may not always be taut enough
- Although it is fairly light weight, when collapsed it can be awkward to carry
- Neither surface will hold heavy items, and unless pulled really tight, they sink in the middle
GCI Outdoor Compact Camp Table 25
The GCI Outdoor Compact camp table 25 is a 1 piece fold up table. Ideal if you want something that’s relatively small and light enough to move around. Made from Aluminum and steel it weighs 5 lbs 9oz and measures 27.5 x 25 x 25 inches unfolded. So don’t expect to have a family feast over it but it’s definitely good enough for a few people.
- Telescoping legs
- Compact size
- Easy to move
- (also a pro) small size might be to small depending on what you need.
- Some feedback complained of quality issues
Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top Kitchen
Perfect if you plan on cooking for several people on your camping trip. The Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top Kitchen is easy to setup and take down. Made out of Aluminum it weighs in at 10lbs 3.2oz so relatively light weight for its size of 47.2 x 18.9 x 31.5 inches unfolded.
There are 3 surfaces to use in total, 2 roll-tops and 1 fold out counter. So there will be plenty of room for stoves, pans and plates. The table comes with adjustable legs to help setup on uneven ground surfaces.
- Large size ideal for camp cooking
- Lightweight for its size.
- Easy setup and put away
- To big for backpacking
And The Winner Is…
After much debate, we’ve decided that the non-traditional GCI Outdoor Slim Fold Cook Station is the winner of the title of Best Camping Table. Although it may not be a dining table, its versatility makes it useful for everyone to enjoy.
When not in use by the Chef, the cook station can double as a card table, as a side table to rest your drinks or as a s’mores supply table next to the campfire. It’s less than 20 pounds and folds up with a heavy-duty handle so carrying it back and forth should be fairly easy.