Camp Chef Sherpa Table Review
Cons: Sits low, does not compress or collapse, small cooking space
Manufacturer: Camp Chef
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Fully assembled, the Sherpa forms a crate-like structure. It's a little bulky, measuring 27" x 17" x 28", but surprisingly only weighs about 10 pounds when empty. The table's initial setup is the most time-consuming of any table we reviewed, requiring about 30 minutes of tinkering. However, once completed, the only necessary step is expanding the telescoping legs to place the table at full height.
Inside the table are four organizational fabric cubes in red, yellow, green, and blue. Each cube comes complete with a handle, zipper opening, and a see-through label holder. The blue cube is rubber-lined and can be used as a cooler or washbasin. The Sherpa's storage compartment that holds the cubes can also be customized to store larger items like a camp stove.
Stability and Strength
The combination of a rectangular design, aluminum frame, and tough 600 denier fabric, give the Sherpa a head start on in our stability tests. However, even when the legs are fully extended, the table (unfortunately) doesn't stand very high, which indirectly adds to its stability.
Its box-like design allows the Sherpa to resist swaying or tipping when fully loaded, which is a real plus when there's a cooking stove resting on top. Overall, this table scored in the upper tier for stability. When specifically compared to other cook stations we looked at, the Sherpa crushed the competition for stability. During our tests, we were impressed with its ability to remain upright, despite being loaded unevenly with extra tabletop weight.
For its size, the Sherpa's base weight is impressive, coming in just over 10 lbs. The manufacturer made good use of 600 denier fabric and an all-aluminum tabletop and frame. Although large, the table comes with two padded end handles and can be easily carried (cooler style) by one or two people, depending on how much weight you've packed inside. We found the table's design to be quite sturdy and were please at its resistance to twisting or bowing when carrying heavier loads.
One drawback to this table's portability rating is it's sheer size when limited trunk or car storage is considered. Once the legs are retracted, the table's crate-like design measures about 27 inches long by 17.5 inches wide and over 18.5 inches tall, giving it the overall largest and boxiest collapsed size of any table we've ever studied. In all fairness, we did take into consideration the Sherpa's ability to store and carry many items that would have been stored in our vehicle, regardless.
Overall, we still have a hung jury on whether the Sherpa saves on storage. For example, some of our testers preferred using a more collapsible table and then finding small nooks and crannies throughout the vehicle to store cooking supplies and accessories. Others like having their entire camp kitchen living inside the Sherpa in their garage or storage space because this made packing for a camping trip quick and easy.
During our testing, no durability issues were encountered. However, after examining and using the table for several days, our testers did note some areas of the potential concern. A large portion of the table is 600 denier fabric, and nearly all of the seams are comprised of single-stitching, which may decrease the usable life of the table. Also, fabric comes with a higher potential for tearing, punctures, and burn marks.
Zippers are a key component of the Sherpa. We found the table's main zipper to the storage compartment could be difficult to maneuver under the weight of the fully packed storage cubes, leaving a potential for the zipper to fail. Additionally, the plastic end caps on each of the table's four legs are a low-expense design and unlikely to last forever, depending on use.
Additionally, we were disappointed with the Sherpa's 90-day limited warranty. Still, we feel the Sherpa is well-built and strong and has an average or slightly above-average durability rating. When compared to other cook stations we reviewed, there are some more durable options, yet we think normal use will see this product lasting many, many camping trips.
Ease of Setup
The factors surrounding the Sherpa's ease of setup are a two-sided coin. Out of the box, this table requires much more pre-use assembly than any table we've tested. The initial setup is time-consuming and slightly complicated. However, once all the parts are connected, the only set up required at camp is telescoping the table's four legs into place.
There are two options when deconstructing this table: Leave the frame constructed, remove the tabletop, and retract the legs or completely deconstruct the table for storage in tighter spaces. We recommend leaving the table assembled if space permits.
The Sherpa is a breeze to set up. Pull out the table's four telescoping legs until they lock into place and snap the aluminum roll table top into place. The only setup issue we experienced involved the table's four telescoping legs: They don't glide very smoothly and often require a little elbow grease to pull them out and into place.
The Sherpa serves the same purpose as the cupboards in your kitchen. It can easily be used to store and carry all you need for cooking in the outdoors. After the fun is over, the Sherpa doubles as a great storage tote to keep all of your outdoor kitchen stored together in one place in your garage, basement, or closet.
This system is perfect for people who love to organize. Group trips where multiple people help with the cooking will benefit from not having to track down the one person who knows where everything is packed away. However, it lacks a great deal of available cooking area, which quickly becomes a factor when you need to move cooked bacon to a plate or stack pancakes. This table comes with a bit of irony; it's a perfectly portable kitchen, but lacks in the way of a kitchen counter. We love this table, but recommend it for outings with basic cooking or to be combined with another table for added food prep space.
The value of this table is mostly dependent on what the user values. If they value organization and uniqueness, they'll love this table. Overall, the table does its job well if the job description is organization. However, we are a bit disappointed with the table's lack of prep and cook space — sometimes you just need space to place a bowl of pancake batter or a carton of eggs. In terms of a kitchen storage system, this table is worth the cost. If you need to pair this cook station with another camping table, costs will add up, decreasing overall value.
Whether at the beach, the lake, the woods or in the parking lot of your local football stadium, the Camp Chef Sherpa lives up to its name by allowing adventure seekers to pack and carry most of their cooking needs in one compact, easy to use system. It lacks counter space and sits lower than most tables we've studied, but it offers a unique approach to outdoor cooking — just be sure to have an extra table near by to place the hash browns once they're cooked.
— Jason Wanlass