REI Co-op Camp Roll Table Review
Cons: Protective grommets prone to detach, base of table difficult to expand
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
Our Analysis and Test Results
The boxy design of the Camp Roll is what sets it apart from the rest. The table's square shape makes it one of the strongest and most stable tables we tested.
Stability and Strength
Our efforts to tip and flip this table over were futile. We moved from corner to corner and stacked as much weight on this table as we dared to stack, trying to get this thing to fall over. It was like trying tip over a large block of wood. In the end, we stopped at 150 pounds. That was enough to prove a point — this table didn't move, didn't lean, didn't sway. This is an amazing feat that few other tables could accomplish.
Its boxy design and reinforced aluminum frame earned this table some of our highest marks for stability. There are virtually no wiggles, wobbles or swaying from this table. Sometimes thinking inside the box can pay off. In the case of the REI Co-op Camp Roll, we feel it did. The only thing we don't like about this table's design are the X supports which give the table most of its stability. They make it difficult for users to place their knees under the table when dining.
The Camp Roll also scored high marks for portability. For a large and stout table, its overall weight including the stuff sack is just 8 pounds. The large shoulder strap makes it easy to carry from the car to the camp, and it folds down to a manageable size. Additionally, the table was easy to move once set up and loaded. Overall, we are impressed with the packed size and weight of this table. It is one of the most portable tables of its kind that we reviewed.
The only complaint we have is the tightness of the stuff stack. The plastic clips which hold the tabletop to the base tended to catch on the stuff sack fabric when we were stowing the aluminum tabletop. This happened every time we packed up the table, which was a lot, so it did get a little annoying. Still, it's a pretty portable model.
We based our durability rating on a couple of different things including the manufacturer's warranty, materials and design, and a little bit of elbow grease. We unpacked, set up, took down and re-stowed this table more than 30 times to see if we could find any wear and tear that could lead to durability problems. Overall, the REI Co-op Camp Roll performed well.
When compared to other primarily aluminum tables, the Camp Roll scored very well in this metric. Its stout design is much more durable than backpacking tables or even some cook stations.
Before unpacking the table for the first time, we spent several hours reading consumer ratings and feedback on the table. One reoccurring concern we saw surrounded the small plastic grommets that protect the bungee cords that hold the tabletop together. Falling out of place exposes the bungee cords directly to the sharp edges of the aluminum. If the cord gets sliced in half, the tabletop ceases to be a tabletop.
After a few assemblies and teardowns, a few of the grommets had either fallen out or were damaged enough that they may fall out. After more than 30 go-rounds with the table, we saw no visible damage to the bungee system. That said, this may pose some long-term durability issues after movement, weathering, and sun rot takes its toll on the table.
Ease of Setup
This table was not the easiest table set up and tear down, but it also was not the most difficult. It fell right in the middle. For this metric, we took things a little to the extreme to give us a broad view on this table's ease of set up. Not only did we put a stopwatch to several assemblies and tear-downs, but we also asked questions like: Can one person assemble the table? Can the table be assembled with one hand? Then we turned to several bystanders and timed them while they assembled each table without any instructions.
In the end, this table has a relatively intuitive assembly process. It goes together easily but takes longer than average time to complete. One reason for its slow assembly is the reinforcement brackets. The brackets crisscross and the attach to each of the four legs. The attachment section is very tight around the legs, which is good for support but bad for set up. When expanding the base and legs, the attachment pieces don't slide very well, making it a small challenge to open the base. Every time we set up the table, we had to force the brackets up the table legs with our thumbs. This could be a problem for younger people or users who have less dexterity or strength in their hands. A child might not be able to handle this table alone.
The REI Co-op model is a useful camping table. It's sturdy, lightweight, and compact when packed yet large enough for a few people to enjoy. We liked that the metal top allowed us to use a camp stove. At the same time, it's perfect for playing cards, dining, or acting as a small buffet table for serving food. This table also has many uses beyond camping. We liked having it at spectator events, cookouts, and backyard parties.
For its price tag, the table's quality, size, and high marks for stability and portability create plenty of value for the cost.
The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table is in no way a round peg in a square hole. The boxy design creates a stable and strong table that is portable enough for the outdoors. This table has no glaring downsides, but to nitpick, we would appreciate an easier setup, a better-protected bungee system for the tabletop, and a larger stuff sack. All in all, though, the price is right for this one.
— Jason Wanlass