The Best Camping Table Review

If used for basic purposes like simple cooking or as an end table  the TAO should last a while.
Looking for the best camping table to bring to the outdoors? Our experts spent months testing and assessing 10 of the most popular and highest rated camp tables to find the top performers. Some were fully featured for a superb glamping experience, while others were simple and more versatile. If you're tired of cooking in the dirt and squatting while you stir, then outfitting your camp kitchen with a camping table is a great luxury that does not have to break the bank. We used these tables in many different scenarios and assessed them across critical aspects, such as stability on even and uneven ground, ability to last, and ease of setup. Keep reading to see which of these models were our favorites and most useful.
 
Review by:
Jason Wanlass
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Wednesday
May 30, 2018

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Updated May 2018
New this Spring: We've taken a step back and looked at just what a camp table can be to different users. We've added several new types of tables to our review, including smaller pack tables that could be used in the backcountry. We even tested a camp table that wasn't exactly designed to be a camp table — and gave it our Editor's Choice Award.

1

Best Overall


Lifetime 4428 Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table


Editors' Choice Award

$38.25
at Amazon
See It

Material: Steel and High-Density Polyethylene Plastic | Weight: 18 lbs.
Built to last
Super versatile
Easy set-up with adjustable legs
Lots of surface area
Heavier than other tables
Less compact when stowed
With a name only an engineer could love, the Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table wins our Editors' Choice Award. Hands down our favorite camping table, it was the highest-scoring model we tested, and the most practical and usable table we studied. It's stable, strong, portable, and easy to set-up and take down. We love the surface area the table provides and its adjustable steel legs.

Yeah, we know, the name rings industrial supplies catalog or military packing list. It's not the flashiest design on the planet either, but don't knock it until you try it — or at least until you read our review.

Read review: Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table

2

Best Bang For Your Buck


REI Co-op Camp Roll Table


Best Buy Award

$64.50
at REI
See It

Material: Aluminum | Weight: 8 lbs.
Very sturdy
Compact and portable
Quality construction and materials
Excellent value
Difficult to expand the base
Cross braces diminish leg room
Could be a little bigger
The REI-Cop Camp Roll Table isn't just some cheaper version that you may want to consider if you're on a budget. This table has nearly every single attribute as our Editor's Choice Award Winner. It is extremely strong, very sturdy, portable and simple to set up. In fact, we almost gave both tables our Editor's Choice Award — no joke. So when we say it wins our Best Buy Award, we are saying we are blown away at the quality this model brings to the table, all at a price that beats more expensive models that didn't even come close to the quality this table offers.

The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table is the epitome of the latest versions of camp tables. It was edged out by the Lifetime 4428 in the areas of durability, size, and versatility. However, if a more traditional-looking camp table is what you're after this REI Co-op Camp Roll Table comes strongly recommended by your friends at OutdoorGearLab.

Read review: REI Co-op Camp Roll Table

3

Best for the Backcountry


Helinox Table One


Material: Aluminum and Polyester| Weight: 1.5 lbs.
Surprisingly high weight capacity
Compact and lightweight
Cup holders
Cannot recommend for cooking
Pricey
Small
Yes, it's a bit pricey. However, the Helinox Table One is perfect for niche backcountry uses like backpacking or kayaking, which need gear to be lightweight and compact. Also suitable as an end table for a camp chair, this table can hold a lot of weight. For short, weekend forays into the forest and lunch hikes to a scenic spot, this table is easy to stow or lash to the outside of your pack to bring some convenience to your experience.

It will, however, set you back the same amount of pennies (or many more) than most of the regular-sized tables we studied. The fabric top isn't suited for cooking, either, which is one of the limiting factors in this table's versatility. We gave the Helinox our Top Pick for a Backcountry Pack Table Award because it boasts the quality and strength needed to withstand the rigors of more extreme outdoor use.

Read review: Helinox Table One

4

Best Camp Cook Station


Camp Chef Sherpa Table


Top Pick Award

$106.22
at Amazon
See It

Material: Aluminum and 600 Denier Fabric| Weight: 10.8 lbs.
Great for organization
Lightweight
Easy to set up
A little short
Narrow table top
It's not everything plus the kitchen sink, but the Camp Chef Sherpa Table is our favorite cooking table. It's not the largest table, but we loved the ability to organize our cooking gear, the ease of set up, and the table's lightweight design. It's a perfect table for cooking up grub for a medium to small sized camp.

While this model has plenty of storage space, it doesn't boast a large cooking space. It's designed for cooking, not for holding a large water reservoir or for pulling up a chair for convenient dining. It excels at its intended purpose, though, making it our favorite cook station tested.

Read review:Camp Chef Sherpa Table

5

A Great Dining Table Option


ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table Regular



$55.10
at Amazon
See It

Material: Aluminum | Weight: 10.7 lbs.
Long with plenty leg room
Easy set-up
All-aluminum design doesn't rust
Does not hold a lot of weight
Larger packed size than other models
Durability
With a lightweight, all-aluminum design, the ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table Regular is perfect for lunch, dinner, or playing cards or board games. At just under 4 feet in length, its design allows enough space for four adults to use without bumping knees on annoying cross beams. Portable and quick to set up, this table's large stuff sack and shoulder strap give adventurists the ability to easily bring along added convenience and luxury to many an outdoor venue.

We were surprised how little this model supported weight-wise during the test period. It's enough for a camp stove for sure, but its weight limit was reached sooner than we expected. The bungee cords that hold the tabletop together are also susceptible losing their snap over time, which would render this table useless. That said, this is an impressive table that will serve you well as long as it lasts. You can't always bring along the kitchen sink, but now you can take the kitchen table.

Read review: ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table Regular

6

A Unique Roll Top Design


Camp Time Roll-A-Table



$86.00
at Amazon
See It

Material: Aluminum, Wood and Poly-Vinyl | Weight: 10.1 lbs.
Surface cleans easily
Strong design
Packs up with speed
Wobbles
Tabletop can get dirty during set up
Tabletop prone to damage
The Camp Time Roll-A-Table is a unique take on popular, slatted, roll-top camp tables. Instead of an aluminum top, The Camp Time utilizes wooden slats and seals them completely in poly-vinyl, creating a one-piece, roll-top table without any gaps or elastic cords.

Simple to set up, the table top and its aluminum legs roll into a single tight bundle when not in use (no stuff sack necessary) and store easily in the back of a trunk, a garage shelf, or a coat closet.

Read review: Camp Time Roll-A-Table

7

A Shelf-Lover's Dream


GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station



$84.99
at Amazon
See It

Material: Steel and Plastic | Weight: 19 lbs.
Lots of sturdy storage space
Convenient height
Resistant to tipping
Heavy and doesn't pack down small
Cooktop is small
Not sturdy on uneven ground
Built like a tank but still maintaining its slim figure, the GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station folds down flat when stored but unfolds into a multi-dimensional cook station that is portable and sturdy enough to bring along to your next camp out, cookout, or tailgate party.

This table offers layers of storage shelves, making it easy to place the pancake batter and bacon aside while you tend to the burning hash browns. Designed with cooking in mind, it stands tall, giving your back and shoulders a break.

Read review: GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station

8

A Kitchen Away From Home


Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Kitchen



$85.48
at Amazon
See It

Material: Steel | Weight: 31.1 lbs.
Built to last
Several useful storage features
Lots of surface area
Built-in sink
Very heavy
Less compact when stowed
Top heavy
The Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Kitchen is as close to having a portable kitchen as you can get. Ideal for large groups, especially RVers with ample storage space. It is fully featured, with loads of tabletop space and storage for simultaneous preparations while cooking.

While this table provides a great kitchen away from home, it may not be ideal for anyone with limited space or someone on a budget. It's also heavy and a bit of a pain to lug around. However, this is a great value for families needing an all-in-one kitchen where you can both cook, prep, and store food and utensils, as well as wash your dishes in a single space.

Read review: Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Kitchen

9

Stylish Mini-Me Roll-Top


Trekology TAO


The Trekology TAO

$29.99
at Amazon
See It

Material: Aluminum | Weight: 2.7 lbs.
All-aluminum design
Good looks
Easy setup
Can be cooked upon
Short
Lacks utility
Heavier than other small, lightweight tables
Color top shows scratches
Sporting your choice of a dazzling blue or copper brown all-aluminum roll top, the Trekology TAO is a cool miniature version of larger camp tables. It's a great accessory as an end table to your camp chair and a great mini table for kids.

For backcountry thrill-seekers, this table is likely too heavy at 2.7 pounds for anything more than a couple of miles from the car, but still has a wide variety of possible uses in the great outdoors from kayaking to backpacking. Even better, its all-metal top allows campers the option cooking above the ground with a small stove — not a bad option when you're on your fourth day of a week-long river trip and you're camping on a sandy river bank.

Read review: Trekology TAO

10

A Budget-Friendly and Lightweight Option


Moon Lence Ultralight Table



$26.99
at Amazon
See It

Material: Aluminum and Rip Stop Oxford Cloth | Weight: 1.5 lbs.
Weight savings
Low price
Sturdy
Easy setup
Lots of surface area
Doesn't support a lot of weight
Short
Want the conveniences of a lightweight pack table but don't want the price tag that comes with high-end backpacking gear? The Moon Lence Ultralight Table is a viable option that won't break the bank. It's relatively easy to set up, and the ripstop oxford cloth stays tight as a drum.

Light enough to shove into your beach bag or strap to a backpack, the Moon Lence is a fine addition to any outdoor adventure in need of a basic surface to place a camera, a PB&J, or hold a card game.

Read review: Moon Lence Ultralight


How to Choose a Camping Table


We strive hard to find which products stack up to the competition so that you can find the best product for your needs.
We strive hard to find which products stack up to the competition so that you can find the best product for your needs.
Load any search engine, and search for any of the following: 1960s camping tables, first-ever camping tables, antique camping tables or retro camping tables. If your search was like ours, you probably found very few old-school tables.

Now simply search "camping tables," and you'll find more designs than you can shake a stick at — even a marshmallow roasting stick. Our point?

What was once just another use for a card table, camping tables as their own category are a relatively new thing. The outdoor industry is exploding and there are more camping tables out there than you have time to research. So we put our noggins together and came up with a few things you should consider before buying.

How Do You Recreate Outdoors?


Exactly what do you like to do outside? Are you a car camper? A backpacker? A river rafter? A beach bum? A National Park visitor? Maybe you're all of these and more, or just some or one. When it comes down to it, what you do is connected to what kind of table you should buy. Basically, there are four types:

Cooking Tables


The Coleman table is the largest table we tested  with ample amounts of storage and counter top space for all your camping needs.
The Coleman table is the largest table we tested, with ample amounts of storage and counter top space for all your camping needs.
These are traditionally more complicated, bigger, heavier, and are solely designed for preparing and cooking grub. They also provide the most storage for cookware and other items you might want handy. The Camp Chef Sherpa Table is our favorite example of this type of table. Here are some key advantages and drawbacks within this subcategory:

Specifically designed with cooking convenience in mind
Help you organize your cooking experience
Safer to cook on (designed to support cooking elements)
Lots of surface area for storing or preparing
Heavy
Less compact when stowed
Far less portable
Not very Prius-friendly (take up a lot of space)
Not very versatile (not designed to double as a dining table)

A closer look: If your camping adventure involves finding a road less traveled, pitching a tent, and enjoying a place few people go, a cooking table is not your best purchase. They are heavy and limit your ability to easily move your camping supplies from your car, down the path, and across the river to that perfect spot. Besides that, if this is your idea of camping, you're probably more minimalistic and don't need or want your entire kitchen at camp.

However, if you enjoy your RV or travel trailer and like to set up shop at a public campground, having a cooking table is a perfect accessory to your camping gear. They are also great for multi-day stays in one spot. These types of tables allow you to organize your food and cooking supplies with a little more luxury. Cooking tables also allow you to cook away from the main eating table, which is safer if you're with children or animals and makes for an overall great mealtime experience. If you want a cooking table with all of the perks, the Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Kitchen may be the fully-featured option you're seeking.

In short: Cooking tables are for (but not limited to) tailgaters, public campground lovers, people who do a lot of cooking outdoors in areas more unique than the backyard; people who have less space restrictions (fifth-wheel owners) or people who just like cool gadgets. They aren't for the rare-occasion camper, free-range campers, or car campers who own a small car.

Dining Tables


This dining table from Alps Mountaineering is great for dinner or as a snack table at all-day events.
This dining table from Alps Mountaineering is great for dinner or as a snack table at all-day events.
How do you use your kitchen or dining table at home? Camp-dining tables, like the ALPS Mountaineering Regular Dining Table, are designed for the same types of activities. They are longer and lower to the ground than cooking tables. They are best for serving or eating food or for playing games. Here are some pros and cons of this table style:

More leg room (less cross supports to bump your knees on)
More room for more friends and family
Longer and sometimes wider
Good for serving food buffet style
Lots of surface area for preparing food
Portable (allows you to dine anywhere you can carry it)
Lower to ground
Not ideal for cooking
May not hold as much weight
Not as versatile (mostly used for food and games)

A closer look: Imagine yourself walking along the beach looking for the perfect place to have a candle-lit dinner with the one you love. How about mountain air, a crackling fire and a group of friends playing cards into the evening? This type of table is ideal for what its name details: Dining and enjoying the company of loved ones and friends in an outdoor setting.

Please don't imagine slamming down a 5-gallon jug of drinking water onto this table right next to the large camping stove and dutch oven. If you need a table that can handle more use and abuse, then a dining-type table may not be your pick.

In short: Dining tables are for people looking for a table used primarily for food, good company, and games. They tend to be straightforward with a modest weight and an easy setup but might not be incredibly versatile.

Small Backpacking Tables


Lightweight tables like these are portable enough to travel further from your vehicle than larger  traditional models.
Lightweight tables like these are portable enough to travel further from your vehicle than larger, traditional models.

Like the Helinox Table One, these tables are small, compact, and lightweight. Standing around 15 inches high, they are best used as end tables for a camp chair or for more extreme outdoor adventures like backpacking, river rafting, or cross-country motorcycle journeys. Here are some things to think about:

Lightweight, lightweight, lightweight
Most portable
Best option for backcountry use
Compact
Easy to set up
Applicable in unique outdoor settings (like a small lunch at the beach)
Very small (good if you're a backpacker, bad for dining)
Not ideal for cooking
Most don't hold much weight
Gimmicky to some people
Not very versatile
Less than durable

A closer look: While sitting at camp in your camp chair, you need a place to place the book you're reading — ideal time for a lightweight table. It's the third night on of a 5-day river trip and you're getting ready to eat a freeze dried meal. Just as you open your meal, a fellow rafter strolls a little to close and crop dusts your meal with a healthy coating of riverbank sand — another fine time for a small table. These scenarios are two of many uses for these types of tables. They are great as an accessory to your camp furniture or as a table for backpacking or other backcountry activities.

Small, lightweight tables tend to be made of less durable materials, which by default makes most of them fragile when compared side by side to a heavy duty table like the Lifetime Adjustable Folding Utility Table. They also often have a soft fabric top, which isn't designed as a cooking surface.

In short: Lightweight tables are an accessory, a friendly helper to hold your sandwich while you get up to grab a drink from the cooler or a flat surface for card games. They are also a great luxury item for backpackers who want to carry along a few comforts from home on short trips. They are not intended for regular, abusive campground use.

Utility Tables


As its name implies  these models can be utilized for all kinds of occasions.
As its name implies, these models can be utilized for all kinds of occasions.
The Lifetime Adjustable Folding Utility Table falls into this category. These models can be cooked on, dined on, gamed on, or stacked full of camping gear. Utility camp tables have taken the place of the old square card tables your parents used to use. Here are a few things to ponder:

Multipurpose (bake sale anyone?)
Sturdy and strong
Generally more durable
Can be used in nearly any outdoor setting
Usually great for preparing, cooking, eating, gaming
Often heavier
Sometimes larger packed size (not as easy to carry or store in your car)

A closer look: Utility tables have a basic design and are suited for just about any camping situation near your vehicle. These tables are versatile enough to be an extra back up Thanksgiving Dinner table and then be thrown into the camper the next day for a Fall hunting trip. They usually have a more industrial design.

If you desire that a model that has the "I am a cool camp table" look, a utility table may not be for you. They are basic and industrial-looking. The utilitarian look reflects its all-around function.

In short: Utility tables are for people who love to camp but don't want to buy another table just for camping. This type is a jack of all trades, which makes it very appealing to some — but not to those who desire that camping table look. The utility table we reviewed is applicable in the most extensive variety of situations, from tailgating to banquets to backyard parties to events to so much more. Oh, and camping. They are great for camping.

Other Factors You May Want To Consider


Portability


If you plan to carry your table often from car to camp or if you are willing to seek out the best camp spot at all costs, including walking hundreds of feet or more, then portability is a crucial factor to consider. In particular:
  • Study the item's specs and find the listed weight. Anything more than 10 pounds crosses over into the less-portable category.
  • Does the stuff sack have a shoulder strap? This feature can make a huge difference if you are carrying multiple items at the same time.
  • What are the table's packed dimensions? Portability isn't only how easy is it for you to carry, but how easy the table is for your car to transport. Many larger tables aren't small-car friendly when considering all the other camping gear you have stuffed in your trunk.

Of all the tables we studied, the REI Co-op Camp Roll Table meets all three of these considerations without sacrificing dining or cooking experience. It's relatively lightweight, compact, and has a great shoulder strap. As you would expect, the three small, sub-three pound tables are the most portable but know they sacrifice functionality as a trade-off.

Durability


Let's face it, these are camping tables; they should be built to last. More than that, they should be able to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Some things to consider:
  • Is the table you're interested in backed by a decent, understandable manufacturer's warranty? In our opinion, a 2-3 year warranty is preferred.
  • Does the table you're looking at have any weak spots our areas of concern that may break down or wear out sooner than reasonable? Ideally, the table's top is a solid surface. A solid surface leaves less to wear down and break. More moving parts and complexities in design tend to lead to more points of potential breakdown.
  • Can the table withstand accidents, being blown over, or having something dropped on it? Does the table have a frame adequate for its intended use? The trade-off for ultimate durability is heavier metals like steel, which produce a heftier product.

Paper or Plastic?


When it comes down to whether you select an aluminum table, a steel table, a plastic table or a steel-plastic-aluminum table, you have a lot of choices. Here's our opinion on how these types of materials compare side by side:
  • Steel-framed tables are more durable but heavier and generally less portable, which makes them less desirable if you plan to walk a lot from car to camp. So if you want lightweight, go with aluminum.
  • Aluminum framed tables are much lighter and portable, but they don't recover as well from direct impact, like a falling tree limb in a windstorm or a falling friend who tripped over the black lab during the same wind storm. If you want greater strength, go with a steel-based design. However, if you value lightweight and portable, then stick with aluminum and accept its limitations in the durability category.
  • Aluminum top tables can fold down compact and are very lightweight, but they dent, bend, and they rely on elastic cords to stay together. If the cords rot out, are cut by a knife, or sever on the aluminum's sharp edge, the table is useless. So it's either durable and easy to clean plastic or lightweight and easy to fold aluminum.
  • Solid plastic table tops respond to blunt force better than aluminum. They are much easier to clean and use a knife on while preparing food. They are also better for board or card games (no gaps for items to fall through). However, plastic doesn't fold down that well and can be heavy, which limits portability. You also can't put a hot pot down on a plastic tabletop without a heat-resistant layer of protection in between.

Conclusion


We had willing strangers set up and take down each model to get a broad range of opinion on relative setup ease (or difficulty).
We had willing strangers set up and take down each model to get a broad range of opinion on relative setup ease (or difficulty).
We're going to lay it all out on the table: There is no perfect camping table for everyone. It's critical to consider how you plan to use the table, what you are willing to pay, and what type of construction materials best suit your style of planned outdoor use.

Buying a camping table is not the most important decision you'll ever make. That said, you still want your money to acquire the best value. So we hope that after reading our review and buying advice, you're a few steps closer to buying your ideal camping table.
Jason Wanlass

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