Best Camping Table of 2021
$60.66 at Amazon
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$74.95 at REI
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|Pros||Solid plastic table top, quick set up, durable, large but portable, steel legs and base||Large surface, sturdy, all-metal, adjustable, encapsulated table top||Compact storage, durable, solid-surface table top, easy to clean, base and table top store together nicely||Stout, well-built, lightweight for its size, convenient||Amazing storage options, self-contained, ready-to-use design|
|Cons||A little heavy, more difficult to carry than collapsible aluminum tables, difficult for one person to adjust leg height||Heavy, table top prone to dents, more expensive||Can be wobbly, setup requires top of table to face down, hands get dirty during set up||Protective grommets prone to detach, base of table difficult to expand, tight to pack into carrying case, limited leg space||Sits low, does not compress or collapse, small cooking space|
|Bottom Line||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||A heavy camping table to fulfill camping, RV life, and cookout needs for a large surface area with adjustable leg height||This long-time classic table with a vinyl cover is easy to clean, has a straightforward setup, and packs up nicely||This is a square, stout table that that comes in handy for a camping trip, tailgate party, day at the beach, and more||Top notch organization comes at the expense of portability, but having all your camp cooking needs in one place is super convenient|
|Rating Categories||Lifetime 4428 Heigh...||REI Co-op Camp Prep...||Camp Time Roll-A-Table||REI Co-op Camp Roll...||Camp Chef Sherpa Table|
|Stability And Strength (30%)|
|Ease Of Setup (20%)|
|Specs||Lifetime 4428 Heigh...||REI Co-op Camp Prep...||Camp Time Roll-A-Table||REI Co-op Camp Roll...||Camp Chef Sherpa Table|
|Measured Weight (lbs)||18.1 lbs||19.7 lbs||10.1 lbs||8.0 lbs||10.2 lbs|
|Unfolded Dimensions (inches)||48 x 24 x 24/29/36 in||49 x 24 x 22-31 in||32.3 x 32.3 x 28 in||27.5 x 27.5 x 27.5 in||27 x 17 x 28 in|
|Folded Dimensions (inches)||24 x 23.5 x 3 in||24 x 24.5 x 4.25 in||32.3 x 6.5 x 4.5 in||27.5 x 7 x 4.5 in||15.75 x 27 x 18.25 in|
|Table Height (inches)||24 in, 29 in, 36 in||22 - 31 in||28 in||27.5 in||28 in|
|Table Top Material||Injection molded plastic||Steel||Wood and poly-vinyl||Aluminium||Aluminium|
|Claimed Max Support Weight||Not mentioned||100 lb||100 lbs||100 lbs||66 lbs|
Best Overall Camping Table
Lifetime 4428 Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table
When we compare pricing to overall performance, nearly nothing compares to the Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table. We think the product name needs some work, but it's a great general-purpose table and hands down one of the best deals on the market, earning it our top honors for the fourth year in a row. Throughout our testing, it scored high marks and is one of the more practical and usable tables we used. It's stable, strong, portable, and easy to set up and take down. We love the workable surface area it offers, and with the steel legs adjusted to their highest setting, this is the tallest table we've reviewed. Even better, this table has no X-braces, which allows for plenty of room for knees and legs, making it more than a "prep" table. The Lifetime may resemble something from an industrial supplies catalog, but what it lacks in flash, it easily makes up for in basic function, extreme durability, and cost.
The Lifetime has some serious perks but isn't perfect. It's heavy, and its bright white tabletop shows dirt, smudges, and spills. Although incredibly strong and durable, it still has a fair amount of sway. The plastic-based, injection-molded table top is also less fire- and heat-resistant than its all-metal competitors, but it's almost dent-proof and otherwise exceptionally durable. It might not bear the appearance of a traditional camping table, but its utilitarian appeal cannot be denied, and its price is right.
Read review: Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table
Best Overall Roll-Top Table
Camp Time Roll-A-Table
A longtime favorite for car camping and multi-day rafting trips, the Camp Time Roll-A-Table is also one of our personal favorites for the second year in a row. It sets up quickly and rolls down into a compact package. Its tabletop is constructed of wood slats that are fully encased in a durable poly-vinyl that is easy to wipe clean. Its aluminum legs screw into the tabletop, a unique design among roll-top models, which often have more complicated setup 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 odds and ends and kitchen tools. It can also serve as a drying rack for recently washed dishes. One of our testers put this model through the wringer with several years of rafting trips and it still has lots of life in it.
Though sturdy, the table can be wobbly due to its lack of crisscrossing support beams (although this allows us to comfortably sit at the table, too). Aluminum dust from the legs wore off on our hands when assembling the table, which required us to rinse off our hands after setting up and tearing down. Flaws aside, we know of several people who've utilized 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 general usefulness are worthy 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
It might lack a wow factor, but if you're simply looking for a table, the Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table is easy on the bank account and good enough to get the job done. This is your best option if you just need a basic table for light-duty work. The Portal is lightweight and sturdy enough for general use in most outdoor environments. It doesn't rely on a bungee system to hold its folding tabletop design in place, and 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. If you won't use your table a lot, this one works and saves cash.
Read review: Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum
Best Cook Station
Camp Chef Sherpa Table
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
Best Lightweight Model
Helinox Table One
If you're needing a high-quality, lightweight pack table, the Helinox Table One is worth the high price. 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.
Again, 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
Why You Should Trust Us
OutdoorGearLab Review Editor Jason Wanlass makes Utah his home, where he has year-round access to a variety of outdoor settings and activities. On any given day, he can be found wandering about in the nearby 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 in Utah or its neighboring states. When on foot, Jason enjoys wandering trails in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, the Tetons of Wyoming, the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, 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.
For our recent camp table testing, we started 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. To 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 to provide in-depth performance assessments.
Related: How We Tested Camping Tables
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
We realize cost 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 is the Lifetime model. Instead of specializing in any given area, it's a utility table that can be used for camping, cookouts, and many other social gatherings, and it's built to withstand years of abuse while ringing up for a very fair price.
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. Among camping tables, one typical tradeoff for a lower price tag is long-term durability. This applies to the Portal model, as well as many of the low-priced products we tested. Still, if you don't use the product frequently and don't abuse it, bargain products like the Portal get the job done without having to spend money on a larger, sturdier table.
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.
In the end, we found steel-framed tables to be the strongest and generally the most stable. Our favorite, the Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table, mixes a heavy-duty steel frame with a lightweight injection-molded tabletop, giving it incredible strength at a slightly lower weight. All-metal tables like the REI Co-op Camp Prep Table and the Mountain Summit Gear Heavy-Duty Roll-Top offer a bit more style along with their strength and stability. Both scored high marks in this area; however, both come with a larger price tag than the Lifetime product, which is every bit as strong and stable. The GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station also employs a powder-coated, steel frame. 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.
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 is slightly stronger and more sturdy than the Coleman.
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.
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 and the Portal Aluminum tables are both relatively lightweight and fit nicely into carrying bags with shoulder straps. Of the heavier models, we feel the Lifetime model was easier to transport than many of the steel-framed models we tested. This is accomplished by the Lifetime being well-balanced when stowed, making it easier to carry with a single, well-placed handle.
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 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.
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. We feel the Lifetime 4428 Adjustable Folding Utility Table has one of the more durable designs of any camping table on the market, especially when considering its price. Additionally, REI Co-op Camp Prep Table and the GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station are made of durable materials when it comes to repeated use and exposure to outdoor living. Next in line is the Camp Time Roll-A-Table, which employs a mixture of metal, wood, and vinyl to achieve high scores in this metric.
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 is one of our larger and heavier models; however, it sets up and tears down in just seconds. Additionally, the REI Co-op Camp Prep Table, the GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station are three of the heaviest tables we studied, but they can be set up and taken down in under a minute. Other tables that were a breeze to use are the Camp Chef Sherpa Table and the Trekology TAO.
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.
— Jason Wanlass
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