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Coleman Compact Review

This table is offers decent quality and basic function, and there's a place for that, especially at the price point
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Price:  $43 List
Pros:  Inexpensive, lightweight for size
Cons:  A little wobbly, extra steps to set up, can't place knees underneath
Manufacturer:   Coleman
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 14, 2020
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 5
  • Portability - 30% 7
  • Durability - 20% 5
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 6

Our Verdict

The Coleman Compact is a very basic, aluminum, roll-top camping table that is good enough for simple, light-duty outdoor use. It's sturdy enough, strong enough, tall enough and large enough. We wouldn't recommend it for heavier usage situations, but it's certainly a good, inexpensive choice for a picnic at the beach, basic car camping, or playing cards at the park.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

It doesn't measure up when compared to other heartier tables we've recommended through the years, but the Coleman Compact is a decent, inexpensive choice if you're looking for an outdoor table to perform light-duty work. It lacks sturdiness and is made from thinner steel and aluminum. It also employs a cheaper bungee cord system to hold the individual aluminum table-top slats together, and requires a few extra steps during set up and take down. However, if all you need is a very simple table for simple tasks, it's certainly an option.

Performance Comparison


The Coleman Compact is strong enough to hold a few items while finishing a tent or getting a start on lunch. It shouldn't be used for anything involving a lot of weight.
The Coleman Compact is strong enough to hold a few items while finishing a tent or getting a start on lunch. It shouldn't be used for anything involving a lot of weight.

Stability and Strength


Three words came to mind the first time we used the Coleman Compact: Easy does it. This table is meant for light-duty use. Although strong and sturdy when compared to its weight and thin design, this table should be used for simple functions. It's strong for its size, and it's square designed allows the table to remain relatively steady when holding items that are not evenly distributed.

One of the weakest features of the Coleman Compact are its X-braces. They are thin and bow easily under pressure. This creates sway and wobbling  and allows the table's legs to stretch out of place when sliding the table  especially when it's loaded with weight.
One of the weakest features of the Coleman Compact are its X-braces. They are thin and bow easily under pressure. This creates sway and wobbling, and allows the table's legs to stretch out of place when sliding the table, especially when it's loaded with weight.

While the base frame is made from powder-coated steel, the table's biggest weakness lies in the frame's X-shaped braces. The braces are made from very thin metal and bow under pressure, which causes the table's legs to move and become unsteady. While this would only happen under higher levels of stress, it did raise a concern with us regarding the table's overall stability and strength scores.

Carrying this table from car to camp was a breeze. Its stow sack is large and tough  and it comes with a decent shoulder strap.
Carrying this table from car to camp was a breeze. Its stow sack is large and tough, and it comes with a decent shoulder strap.

Portability


The Coleman Compact is lightweight for its size and be carried easily from car to camp. Its large stuff sack easily accommodates the table and comes with sturdy shoulder strap. Once set up, we feel this table loses points for portability. First, the table is lightweight and the X-braces are flimsy. This combination causes a lot of instability when the table slides across uneven ground.

There is only one way to pick this table up. The table top only connects to two sides of its base. We consistently found ourselves grabbing it by the wrong side -- not much of problem when nothing is on the table  but a slightly bigger problem if lunch was sitting on top.
There is only one way to pick this table up. The table top only connects to two sides of its base. We consistently found ourselves grabbing it by the wrong side -- not much of problem when nothing is on the table, but a slightly bigger problem if lunch was sitting on top.

Additionally, care must be taken when picking the table off the ground. The aluminum slats that form the tabletop are held together by a bungee cord system. Only two ends of the four-sided table attach the table's base. If the tabletop is grabbed incorrectly, the bungee cords can stretch out of place, causing the entire top surface to lose its shape.

Most cheaper aluminum tables employ a bungee cord system to hold table slats together. We find this system annoying. Like a roof on a house  the table top gives added strength and holds the table together. This system easily becomes unhooked and the bungee cords generally do a poor job of holding the table squarely in place.
Most cheaper aluminum tables employ a bungee cord system to hold table slats together. We find this system annoying. Like a roof on a house, the table top gives added strength and holds the table together. This system easily becomes unhooked and the bungee cords generally do a poor job of holding the table squarely in place.

Durability


The Coleman Compact is supported by a one-year warranty. As long as it is used for basic light-duty purposes, we feel this table could last more than a few years, but not a lifetime. All of the table's key joints and pressure points are made from plastic or rubber, which will eventually deteriorate over time.

The Coleman Compact is easy to set up  but does take a little extra time. After expanding the base  the user then places the crossbars into place. Each cross bar has a plastic dowel that slides into a receiver slot on the bottom of the tabletop.
The Coleman Compact is easy to set up, but does take a little extra time. After expanding the base, the user then places the crossbars into place. Each cross bar has a plastic dowel that slides into a receiver slot on the bottom of the tabletop.

Ease of Setup


A few extra steps require a little more time for setting up and tearing down, earning the Coleman Compact lower points for ease of set up. This table is not difficult to put together, it simply takes a little extra time to pop everything into place. After the base is expanded, two crossbars need to be snapped into place, before the tabletop can be secured. The aluminum top is held into place by a peg-and-hole system which takes a few extra seconds to line up and push into place.

Considering the price tag of the Coleman Compact  we feel it's a good deal  and is a good choice for consumers looking for a very light-duty  inexpensive camp table. We mostly used ours for food prep and eating.
Considering the price tag of the Coleman Compact, we feel it's a good deal, and is a good choice for consumers looking for a very light-duty, inexpensive camp table. We mostly used ours for food prep and eating.

Value


It won't hold a cast-iron Dutch oven cook set, but that's not what the Coleman Compact was designed to do. If we see this table for what it is — a cheaper, lightweight camp table — we feel it's perfectly priced and will offer value to users who use it for basic functions.

Conclusion


The Coleman Compact will not stand the test of time. This is most likely not the last camp table you'll ever buy. However, it will serve you well if you plan to use it for card games, picnics, basic camping functions, or as a side table at a tailgate party. This table is not heavy duty and shouldn't be used in more rigorous situations. It's cheap, good enough, and will last you at least a few years if moderately used.


Jason Wanlass