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Best Camping Table of 2020

If used for basic purposes like simple cooking or as an end table  the TAO should last a while.
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor
Wednesday September 9, 2020
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For the last 6 years, our experts have put the best camping tables to the test. After researching the 2020 market, we bought and tested 10 of the most promising options available today. We studied a cross-section of tables, built for everybody from RV glampers to tent-dwelling backpackers. If squatting in the dirt isn't your cup of tea, your camp kitchen might thrive with a new table. Field testing took us on road trips, setting up camp along rivers and in front-country campgrounds. We assessed the quality and features of each table using strict rating metrics to unbiasedly select award winners that'll give you space to slice, dice, and create while camping.

Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Best Overall Camping Table


Lifetime 4428 Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table


Editors' Choice Award

$49.99
(29% off)
at Amazon
See It

78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 9
  • Portability - 30% 5
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 9
Material: Steel and high-density polyethylene plastic | Weight: 18.1 lbs.
Built to last
Super versatile
Easy set-up with adjustable legs
Lots of surface area
Heavier than other tables
Less compact when stowed

With a name only an engineer could love, the Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table wins our top honors for the third year in a row. Hands down our favorite general-purpose table, it is the highest-scoring model we tested, and the most practical and usable table we studied. It's stable, strong, portable, and easy to set up and take down. We love the surface area the table provides and its adjustable steel legs. Yeah, we know, the name rings industrial supplies catalog. It's not the flashiest design on the planet either, but if you're after function, you won't find a more versatile and capable model.

However, the Lifetime does come with its flaws. It's heavy, and its bright white tabletop clearly shows dirt and smudges. Although incredibly strong and durable, this table has a fair amount of sway, making it a titch wobbly, but that's camping tables for ya. While this might not be the traditional camping table, its utilitarian appeal is vast and its price is right. By not judging a book by its cover, we found the best general-purpose table on the market that's good for camping and so much more.

Read review: Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table

Best Overall Roll-Top Table


Camp Time Roll-A-Table


Editors' Choice Award

$99.00
at Amazon
See It

68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 7
  • Portability - 30% 7
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 6
Material: Wood, poly-vinyl, and aluminum | Weight: 10.1 lbs.
Solid surface
Very packable
Wipes clean easily
Leaves aluminum residue on hands
Can be wobbly

A longtime favorite for car camping and multi-day rafting trips, the Camp Time Roll-A-Table sets up quickly and rolls down into a compact package. It is constructed of wood and covered with a durable poly-vinyl which is easy to wipe clean, and its aluminum legs screw on, a unique design among roll-top models which often have more complicated set-up configurations. It's large enough for food prep, playing cards, or seating a few people for a sit-down meal, and the mesh pocket in the front is great for storing a lighter and other kitchen tools, or for drying smaller dishes or silverware after they've been cleaned.

Though sturdy, the table can be wobbly due to its lack of criss-crossing support beams (although this allows us to comfortably sit at the table, too). One downside we should mention is the aluminum dust that wears off on your hands when assembling the table, which requires you to rinse off your hands after setting up and tearing down. A pair of gloves are useful if you'd like to avoid this. Flaws aside, we know of several people who've used this table for a decade or longer. Though it's not one of the cheapest options in our test fleet, when you consider the years of potential use you may get out of it, its price tag could end up being a bargain. We feel that its packability, straightforward setup, and utilitarianism are great enough to earn it one of the top spots in our review.

Read review: Camp Time Roll-A-Table

Best Bang for Your Buck


Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum


Best Buy Award

$42.99
at Amazon
See It

63
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 6
  • Portability - 30% 7
  • Durability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 6
Material: Aluminum | Weight: 8.9 lbs.
Inexpensive
Lightweight for its size
Sturdy enough
X-frame prohibits most knees from fitting under the table
Potential long-term durability concerns

The table might lack any wow-factor, but it's easy on the bank account and good enough to get the job done. The Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table is your best option if you're looking to save a penny or if you simply need a basic table for light-duty work. The Portal is lightweight and sturdy enough for basic use in most outdoor environments. Because it doesn't rely on a bungee system to hold its folding tabletop design in place, we feel that this model has a leg up in this aspect of durability over similar models that use bungee cords which can be expected to lose their elasticity over time.

The Portal certainly isn't big-boned and most of its key moving parts are made from thin plastic, leaving a large question mark on this table's long-term durability. It's also a little short, and the X-shaped metal braces force most adults to sit sideways instead of placing their knees under the table. These drawbacks aside, we still think that this model proves its value by sufficing for lots of camping and backyard needs without costing too much.

Read review: Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table

Best Lightweight Model


Helinox Table One


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 5
  • Portability - 30% 9
  • Durability - 20% 4
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 7
Material: Aluminum and Polyester | Weight: 1.5 lbs.
Surprisingly high weight capacity
Compact and lightweight
Cup holders
Cannot recommend for cooking
Pricey
Small

Yes, it's a bit pricey. But, if you're needing a high quality, lightweight pack table, the Helinox Table One is worth it. This table is super light, compact, and strong. Also suitable as an end table, the Helinox can often be found accompanying a camp chair for an outdoor meal or holding drinks during sunset watching at the beach. For short, weekend forays into the backcountry, river trips, and lunch hikes to a scenic spot, this table is easy to stow or lash to the outside of your pack to bring some convenience to your experience.

This table will set you back some serious cash. The fabric top isn't suited for cooking, either, which is one of the limiting factors in this table's versatility. We recognize the Helinox for its backcountry prowess because it boasts the quality and strength needed to withstand the rigors of more extreme outdoor use, all in a tiny, lightweight package.

Read review: Helinox Table One

Best Cook Station


Camp Chef Sherpa Table


Top Pick Award

$119.69
(18% off)
at Amazon
See It

66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 8
  • Portability - 30% 4
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 8
Material: Aluminum and 600 Denier Fabric| Weight: 10.8 lbs.
Stellar organization
Relatively lightweight
Easy to set up
A little short
Narrow tabletop

It's not everything plus the kitchen sink, but the Camp Chef Sherpa Table is our favorite cooking station. It's smaller than the largest cook stations we examined, but this table is an organizer's dream. The Sherpa's stand-out feature is its colorful, separate storage totes. They fit perfectly into the table's interior and allow users to organize, pack, and carry nearly all of their cooking supplies in one system. The Sherpa sets up super fast and has a very reasonable base weight. It's an ideal table for keeping everything you need in one place, and for cooking up grub for a medium to small-sized camp.

While this model has plenty of storage space, it doesn't boast a large workspace. It's also a bit vertically challenged. It's shorter than the other cook stations we tested, and our testers felt it needed more than just one setting for height. Yet, for its extreme convenience and organization, this is our favorite cook station.

Read review: Camp Chef Sherpa Table


Reviewer Jason Wanlass toting several tables for testing.
Reviewer Jason Wanlass toting several tables for testing.

Why You Should Trust Us


OutdoorGearLab Review Editor Jason Wanlass, makes Utah his home. On any given day, he can be found wandering about in the nearby Rocky Mountains. An avid hiker and backpacker, he also spends a lot of time on the road and enjoys finding unique, out of the way, weekend campground spots. When on foot, Jason enjoys wandering trails in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, the Tetons of Wyoming, the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, or the Grand Canyon. Cruising up to campsites regularly, either in public campgrounds or BLM land, Jason has more than 20 years of camping experience. Having a vast working knowledge of camping gear, he applied it to this review of camping tables and cooking stations.

The Portal is great for light-duty work. We enjoyed using its metal table surface as a base for our camp stove.
The Trekology model provides the option of a small table that can be cooked upon. This is one thing we didn't dare do on the fabric tops of the Helinox or the Moon Lence tables.
Campground meal classics made their way into our testing period.

For our recent camp table testing, we started off by researching the latest models to be released over the past year. We purchased the most intriguing models, using our experience to decide which models would fill out our review line-up best. Then, Jason hit the road, winding through mountains and beautiful red rock country. On several occasions, our lead tester incorporated the assistance of other campground veterans in the tests and assessments. Along the way, he spent countless hours testing each table to determine its overall performance. The test each model's ability to support weight, we added unbalanced weights to their corners until the point of failure. We cooked several meals on all models that would support two-burner camping stoves, and assessed the give and wobble in each table's legs. From specific tests to all-around use, we got to know these tables very well in order to provide in-depth performance assessments.

Related: How We Tested Camping Tables

We tested each table individually and then compared each table to their peers to see exactly how they stacked up against their competition.
We tested each table individually and then compared each table to their peers to see exactly how they stacked up against their competition.

Analysis and Test Results


We narrowed our test metrics down to four vital assessments; stability and strength, portability, durability, and ease of setup. Of these four metrics, we weighted the first two the heaviest, which means scores in these two areas had a greater impact on the table's overall score. After all, we feel a camp table needs to be stable and strong, and it needs to be portable. We recommend that you focus on the metrics you find most important, though, to lead you to the right product for your needs.

Related: Buying Advice for Camping Tables


Value


We realize price is a key decision-making factor for most folks making gear decisions. While specialty tables can offer extremely low weight or systematic organization and features, expect to pay more. But if you just want a surface for cooking and eating upon, you can save a great deal of cash. The biggest bargain of the models we tested happens to also be our favorite table overall, the Lifetime model. Instead of specializing in any given area, it's a utility table that can be used camping and in many other scenarios, and it's built to withstand years of abuse while ringing up for a very fair price.

If used for basic  light-duty activities  the Portal is durable enough to last more than just a few years. We don't feel it will last a lifetime  but considering its price tag  it's still a great value.
If used for basic, light-duty activities, the Portal is durable enough to last more than just a few years. We don't feel it will last a lifetime, but considering its price tag, it's still a great value.

Should you want something that takes up less packed space and is more portable, the Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum table impresses with its performance per dollar spent. It lacks the utility of the do-it-all Lifetime table, but most campers just need some kind of surface to cook or eat upon, and the Portal table suffices with an inexpensive price tag.

Stability and Strength


At its core, a table's purpose is to hold things. Therefore stability and strength should be major components of any table. A table should be able to support a reasonable amount of weight and do so without tipping, twisting, or bowing.


Our stability and strength scoring accounts for 30 percent of each table's overall score. We conducted several tests, including adding weight incrementally to the same corner of each table until it began to tip. We also examined each table's construction and the materials used to create it. We studied its pressure points, design, and sturdiness. Then we conducted tests to determine how much sway the table had and scored them accordingly.

We weren't very nice. We pushed  twisted  yanked  forced  and much more  to find out how each of these tables would perform in the outdoors. In the end  we feel a camp table should be strong and stable.
We weren't very nice. We pushed, twisted, yanked, forced, and much more, to find out how each of these tables would perform in the outdoors. In the end, we feel a camp table should be strong and stable.

In the end, we found steel-framed tables to be the strongest and generally the most stable. Both the Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table and the GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station employ powder-coated, steel frames. We found these two tables to be the strongest. However, the Slim-Fold didn't receive as high of marks for stability. Its fold-out design creates a base that is much more narrow than its width, creating a potentially top-heavy design, depending on the weight of the items it is holding.

The Lifetime's steel frame and legs don't get in the way of knees. This is one of our favorite features. We also like that the table has three height settings -- 24 inches  29 inches  and 36 inches.
The Lifetime's steel frame and legs don't get in the way of knees. This is one of our favorite features. We also like that the table has three height settings -- 24 inches, 29 inches, and 36 inches.

Among the smaller, backpacking variety, the Helinox Table One crushed its peers in this category. Additionally, we found the Coleman Compact Aluminum Table and the Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table to virtually have the same basic design. Each is an inexpensive, light-duty table; however, of the two, we feel the Portal has design components that make it stronger and more sturdy than the Coleman.

Rei Co-op table is extremely stable and strong  making it a perfect place to store gear  cook or serve as a buffet table.
The Helinox's unique design allows the table to lean and adjust to weight instead of toppling over. Here it easily handles a 30-pound river stone right on its corner.

Portability


A table is often considered a luxury item in the outdoors, and luxury shouldn't be arduous or inconvenient. After all, camping has its own set of innate challenges, so what is the point of adding a bit of luxury if that luxury is more trouble than the comfort it provides?


While spending time outdoors, be it camping, traveling, or tailgating, one key component a camping table should possess is portability. Weighing in at 30 percent of each table's overall score, we believe portability is equally important to stability and strength. Simply put, a camping table should be reasonably lightweight, easy to carry, simple to move or reposition, and compact.

We like the storage bag of the Mountain Summit table. It's large enough to easily fit the table's components and convenient enough to easily sling over a shoulder for easy transport.
We like the storage bag of the Mountain Summit table. It's large enough to easily fit the table's components and convenient enough to easily sling over a shoulder for easy transport.

The tables that received our highest marks in this area are the smaller, backpacking tables like the Helinox Table One. In the cooking station category, the Mountain Summit Gear Deluxe Roll Top Kitchen is the most portable, based on its overall weight and ability to collapse for transport. For smaller, square tables, the Coleman Compact Aluminum Table and the Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table are both relatively lightweight and fit nicely into carrying bags with shoulder straps.

Attaching to a backpack is a breeze for the Helinox.
Attaching to a backpack is a breeze for the Helinox.

Durability


Given the nature of how and where camping tables are used, they should be durable. Outdoor living, whether it be in a stadium parking lot, a picnic at the beach or multiple days in the woods, comes with more inherent challenges. We expected the tables we examined to be able to withstand repeated use in these more challenging environments, and if we didn't feel they measured up, we made sure to adjust their scores accordingly. This metric weighed in at 20 percent of each table's overall score.


In this category, we looked first at the company's warranty. In general, a manufacturer's backing of their product is a tell-tale sign of how durable the table is, before ever taking it out of the box. We also put each table through the wringer by deploying and stowing each at least a dozen times, while examining them for even the slightest bit of wear and tear.

A camp table will often be subjected to environments that your home dining table would never want to see. That's why a camp table should boast a durability that will last for years.
A camp table will often be subjected to environments that your home dining table would never want to see. That's why a camp table should boast a durability that will last for years.

Additionally, we scrutinized every inch of each table, used them repeatedly in the outdoors, and gave them each an objective score based on our own experience. In the end, we felt the steel-framed tables excelled. The Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table and the GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station are made of more durable materials when it comes to repeated use and exposure to outdoor living. Next in line was the Camp Time Roll-A-Table.

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.

Ease of Setup


A camping table should be a breeze to set up and take down. Overall, it should also be easy to use. In general, the reason you're outdoors is to have fun and relax, not to spend time reading instructions and counting and organizing a parts list. We expected the tables we used to be set and stowed in less than one minute — preferably in seconds. We also expected each table to be deployed by one person.


Of all the different tables we looked at, we were surprised to discover that the easiest to use were not always the smallest and lightest ones. For example, the Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table and the GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station are the two heaviest tables we studied, but they can be set up and taken down in seconds. Other tables that were a breeze to use are the Camp Chef Sherpa Table and the Trekology TAO.

The outdoors is about rest and relaxation  not fumbling with parts and instructions. We feel a camp table should be easy and intuitive to set up -- preferably in less than a minute.
The outdoors is about rest and relaxation, not fumbling with parts and instructions. We feel a camp table should be easy and intuitive to set up -- preferably in less than a minute.

Conclusion


Throughout our review, we didn't give these tables any leeway. Regardless of price or brand, we held all to high standards, and we were not afraid to score them according to their performance. We researched everything we would want to know if we were buying these tables for ourselves, and we did our best to score them on plain old performance. There are many different types of camping tables. One size does not fit all. We hope this review provides you with the necessary insight to find the best table for your outdoor adventures.

The most important thing to consider before your next camp table purchase is where and how you plan to enjoy the outdoors.
The most important thing to consider before your next camp table purchase is where and how you plan to enjoy the outdoors.

Jason Wanlass