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REI Co-op Camp Prep Table Review

A heavy camping table to fulfill camping, RV life, and cookout needs for a large surface area with adjustable leg height
REI Co-op Camp Prep Table
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $100 List | $99.95 at REI
Pros:  Large surface, sturdy, all-metal, adjustable, encapsulated table top
Cons:  Heavy, table top prone to dents, more expensive
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 24, 2021
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 9
  • Portability - 30% 5
  • Durability - 20% 8
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 8

Our Verdict

The REI Co-op Camp Prep Table is one of the better general-purpose camping tables we've tested. All four legs are independently adjustable for maximum stability when the ground is uneven. Its fully-encapsulated tabletop is sleek and solid. The all-metal design is weather-proof, strong and simply built to last. We appreciate that this table is incredibly sturdy, without the need of annoying cross-braces. This allows ample space for knees and legs. Due to its sturdy materials, this table is also fairly heavy. We believe this table can handle camping needs for the long haul, but also recognize that many might balk at the high price tag for non-technical gear.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $99.95 at REI$70 List$99 List$119.95 at REI
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Pros Large surface, sturdy, all-metal, adjustable, encapsulated table topSolid plastic table top, quick set up, durable, large but portable, steel legs and baseCompact storage, durable, solid-surface table top, easy to clean, base and table top store together nicelyLightweight, two cup holders, sturdy yet flexibleLightweight, relatively strong, metal
Cons Heavy, table top prone to dents, more expensiveA little heavy, more difficult to carry than collapsible aluminum tables, difficult for one person to adjust leg heightCan be wobbly, setup requires top of table to face down, hands get dirty during set upSmall table with a high price, fabric can melt, confusing to set up on first tryA little wobbly, can't place knees underneath
Bottom Line A heavy camping table to fulfill camping, RV life, and cookout needs for a large surface area with adjustable leg heightThis is a sturdy and spacious folding table that can provide years of use at everything from BBQs and camping to tailgating, birthday parties, and bake salesThis long-time classic table with a vinyl cover is easy to clean, has a straightforward setup, and packs up nicelyIf you're looking for the best ultralight camp table on the market, you've found itRigorous daily use isn't this table's gig, but it can hold its own in basic situations and compares well against similar lightweight models
Rating Categories REI Co-op Camp Prep... Lifetime 4428 Heigh... Camp Time Roll-A-Table Helinox Table One Portal Outdoor Ligh...
Stability And Strength (30%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Portability (30%)
5.0
5.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Durability (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
Ease Of Setup (20%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Camp Prep... Lifetime 4428 Heigh... Camp Time Roll-A-Table Helinox Table One Portal Outdoor Ligh...
Measured Weight (lbs) 19.7 lbs 18.1 lbs 10.1 lbs 1.5 lbs 8.9 lbs
Unfolded Dimensions (inches) 49 x 24 x 22-31 in 48 x 24 x 24/29/36 in 32.3 x 32.3 x 28 in 24 x 16 x 14 in 27. 5 x 27. 5 x 26 in
Folded Dimensions (inches) 24 x 24.5 x 4.25 in 24 x 23.5 x 3 in 32.3 x 6.5 x 4.5 in 16 x 3.5 x 3 in 28 x 7. 5 x 2. 2 in
Table Height (inches) 22 - 31 in 24 in, 29 in, 36 in 28 in 16 in 26 in
Table Top Material Steel Injection molded plastic Wood and poly-vinyl Polyester Aluminum
Claimed Max Support Weight 100 lb Not mentioned 100 lbs 110 lbs 60 lbs

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


From prepping to cooking to eating, this table offers luxury in the...
From prepping to cooking to eating, this table offers luxury in the outdoors. The simple setup and large surface area make it easy to use.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Stability and Strength


With a powder-coated, adjustable steel frame, the Camp Prep Table is just about as sturdy and strong as you can get with a portable camping table. We conducted several tests to determine how likely this table is to tip over. With a fully extended height of 31-inches, the Prep Table is one of the taller tables on our list, but also one of the sturdiest. Independently adjustable legs allow the Prep Table to be sturdy on uneven terrain, a feature we loved. Each leg works like a trekking pole and can be extended and secured into place with lever locks.

Supported by an all-steel frame and legs, the Camp Prep Table also has a fully encased 49" X 24" aluminum, slatted top that is neatly framed in powder-coated aluminum trim. To date, we've never seen a slatted table like this one. Most are roll-top style with slats held in place with elastic bungee cords. The Camp Prep Table's slatted top is enclosed in the dark-colored trim, which nicely holds all of the individual slats firmly in place. It works well to provide a sturdy and reliable table surface. However, we also feel the slatted design is more difficult to clean than solid-surface camping tables. We also didn't love the locking pin mechanism, due to it being made of plastic, which locks the two halves of the table in place once they are unfolded.

Designed to keep the table in it's open position, we feel this...
Designed to keep the table in it's open position, we feel this push-button locking hinge should be made from metal instead of plastic for greater longevity.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

We also noticed the individual leg-locking mechanisms do not withstand excessive pressure. The manufacturer's maximum weight listing is 100 pounds. We discovered that when heavier weight is forced onto the table, the leg locks do fail, allowing the extended legs to retract, despite being locked. This could occur if a larger water container or heavy cooler were dropped too aggressively onto the table. However, under normal loads, the table performs perfectly.

Despite its packed size and weight, we feel most teenagers or adults...
Despite its packed size and weight, we feel most teenagers or adults can still easily transport the Camp Prep from car to camp without much issue.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Portability


Compared to its peers, the Camp Prep Table is heavy. Tipping the scales at just a little under 20 pounds, it certainly pulls on the hands and shoulders a bit when being carried from car to camp. Despite being one of the bigger and heavier tables tested, we felt the tradeoff of size, stability, and durability may still make this table worth the extra effort to some campers. The sleeved carrying case attaches like a fitted table cloth onto each end of the Camp Prep Table and folds with the table when it closes. Heavy-duty hook and loop tabs fasten each end of the table together, allowing it to be carried by a single, reinforced handle. We loved the carrying cover and feel it was well thought out and very effective. We do feel it would benefit from an optional shoulder strap; however, the current design of the carry case doesn't allow for this feature.

When at camp, to keep the tabletop protected and clean, simply slip the carrying case in place. It makes a perfect table cover. It also is great to use when playing games with dice or small pieces. When in place, the cover helps prevent losing smaller items through the slatted tabletop.

This table's mostly-metal components bump up the cost and the weight...
This table's mostly-metal components bump up the cost and the weight but also increase this table's durability. It easily handled several camping trips during our testing
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Durability


Despite many hours of use and miles of road time, the Camp Prep Table easily handled anything we threw at it. We feel this table is designed for the long haul. We set it up and tore it down dozens of times and saw no concerning wear and tear. It's served as our dinner and game table. It also worked perfectly as a prep table and cooking station. Its metal design easily stands up to regular and frequent camping use. Our concerns: The table's key moving parts are plastic, which over time, may not hold up as well as steel or aluminum. The aluminum top withstands heat and fire better than plastic tops, but it also dents and scratches more easily. Additionally, the leg locks are plastic.

Given its extra weight, we feel the easiest way to deploy the Camp...
Given its extra weight, we feel the easiest way to deploy the Camp Prep is to lay it upside down on the ground while we unfold and adjust the legs. The carrying case/cover does a great job at keeping the table clean.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Ease of Setup


The Camp Prep Table doesn't require much to set up. Simply open the two halves until they lock in place, then open the legs and secure the reinforcement braces. Given its size and weight, the setup can be a touch awkward, but it's easy enough and takes less than a minute. The average time for our testers was about 40 seconds. After years of testing, we feel the best tables should set up intuitively, ideally without the need for written instructions and diagrams. The Prep Table passes this criterion. Its setup is simple and intuitive.

For an easier way to set up or stow this table, we suggest leaving it in the carry case and opening the table while it lies upside down on the ground. After deploying the legs to your desired height, flip the table to its upright position.

The Camp Prep is easy to use and very strong and stable. Generally...
The Camp Prep is easy to use and very strong and stable. Generally, one person can transport it and set it up.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Value


The Camp Prep Table doesn't come cheap, but then again, it isn't made cheaply either. It's well-crafted, sturdy, durable, large, and simple to use. It's a very nice table, and we have no major complaints. However, we do admit that paying this much for a camping table will feel a bit steep for many campers.

Conclusion


This table is ideal for nearly any general camping scenario. Its adjustable height, sturdy frame, and spacious top space are simple but often overlooked features. It folds up well, when compared to its size and certainly adds a bit of flair to a campsite or cookout compared to other tables with a more utilitarian appearance. As long as the plastic locking mechanisms aren't abused, we feel this model should last for years of service.

The trim around the edge of the table keeps the aluminum table slats...
The trim around the edge of the table keeps the aluminum table slats firmly in place, providing increased stability, function, and good looks.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Jason Wanlass