REI Co-op Camp Prep Table Review
Cons: Heavy, table top prone to dents, more expensive
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Camp Prep Table
|Price||$99.95 at REI||$70 List||$99 List||$119.95 at REI|
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|$45.99 at Amazon|
|Pros||Large surface, sturdy, all-metal, adjustable, encapsulated table top||Solid plastic table top, quick set up, durable, large but portable, steel legs and base||Compact storage, durable, solid-surface table top, easy to clean, base and table top store together nicely||Lightweight, two cup holders, sturdy yet flexible||Lightweight, relatively strong, metal|
|Cons||Heavy, table top prone to dents, more expensive||A little heavy, more difficult to carry than collapsible aluminum tables, difficult for one person to adjust leg height||Can be wobbly, setup requires top of table to face down, hands get dirty during set up||Small table with a high price, fabric can melt, confusing to set up on first try||A 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 height||This 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 sales||This long-time classic table with a vinyl cover is easy to clean, has a straightforward setup, and packs up nicely||If you're looking for the best ultralight camp table on the market, you've found it||Rigorous 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%)|
|Ease Of Setup (20%)|
|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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Jason Wanlass