The Best Camp Tables: Functional, Portable Gear
Enjoy a meal outdoors with these camp tables
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON December 3, 2020
If there’s one piece of camping gear you want to have on hand, it’s a camp table. Whether you’re pitching a tent in a remote part of nature or relaxing at a campground with your camper or RV, absolutely everyone needs a table. A camp table offers versatile comfort, storage space, and great functionality. You can use it when you eat your meals, to place drinks as you sit around the campfire, play games on its surface, place lanterns and lighting, or even cook on the tabletop.
But a good camp table is more than just a surface to utilize — it should also be highly portable. Lightweight, compact, and foldable are all ideal features of a good camp table so you don’t weigh down or complicate your next camping trip. Whether you’re planning a backpacking excursion or need a new table suitable for all kinds of campsites, there’s a table that’ll meet your needs. You can find some of the best camp tables on the market below, along with some tips on how to find one that will last.
Featuring a strong frame and durable aluminum top, this lightweight camping table is very sturdy. Large enough to seat four, it is a good choice overall.
- Table is well-balanced when expanded
- Folds down compactly
- Each leg is protected by a polymer base
- Resistant to rust and corrosion
- While strong, it is not as stable as some others
- The table can easily tip with enough force
- Requires completely flat ground
Coming in nine different color options, this decorative camping table is very cost-effective. It can support a fair amount of weight.
- Table is compact and highly affordable
- Entirely resistant to damage from weather
- Features unique picnic-style appearance
- On the smaller side; can only comfortably seat two
- It is vulnerable to rust at the hinges where it closes
With a well-constructed base and strong aluminum surface, this table makes camping easier. It is easy to clean and maintain, and well-suited to outdoor use.
- Lightweight and folds down compactly
- Highly portable
- Wipes down easily
- Overlapping legs are very supportive; capable of holding a lot of weight
- Close to the ground
- Less than 2 feet tall; only effective when everyone is seated
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Benefits of Camp Table
- Keep your campsite organized. By incorporating a camping table with your other gear, you can keep all of your things properly sorted. Instead of hunting around for the cutlery or the flashlight, the table keeps everything in one place.
- Food safety. Tables enable you to prepare, cook, and serve food in a way that limits the risk of cross-contamination. Especially if you are handling meat, it is important to have one spot that is easy to wipe down.
- Eating in groups. With a camping table, you don’t need to put your plate on your lap and struggle to put your drink down. It gives everyone at the campsite a chance to get together and eat. Ideal for communal dishes (like salads), camping tables add a bit of low-key luxury.
- Versatility. Sure, you might plan to use the table just for eating. But you’d be surprised how easily you can turn it into a base for your lantern and camping stove. It can double as a cards table, a place to dry towels, and everything in between.
- Waterproof. It might seem like a small thing, but from dew to rain to water from the lake, camping tables get wet. Instead of rusting away and losing their strength, water rolls right off the table. Wooden counterparts you may find around the campsite won’t bode nearly as well.
- Modern camping. These tables are portable and lightweight. With a camping table at your side, there’s no need to struggle for a flat surface. It has its own value, sure, but a lot of it shows by enhancing the value of other camping gear (lanterns, bug zappers, etc.).
Types of Camp Tables
Perhaps the most common type of camping table on the market, folding tables shrink to a compact, flat shape. The legs bend inwards and tuck behind the surface. Most folding tables are made out of aluminum, though you can also find polymer options. These tables are usually able to support a lot of weight. Depending on the structure, they can also rise quite high off the ground. With folding tables, it’s important to place them on a flat surface to prevent tipping.
Smaller than other tables, these are designed to support smaller items. Not necessarily for eating on side tables are great to support lighting and bug zappers or even drinks. Unlike the folding and collapsing counterparts, these tables aren’t for sitting. Usually, they fold down compactly, working like a TV-dinner table. Waterproof and sturdy, side tables for camping have a high amount of tensile strength.
This type of table is fairly unique. It comes made out of canvas, usually woven polyester. The material is similar to that used on camping chairs. It folds out just like a camping chair as well. With most of these tables, there are cup holders at the corners. Usually, the tables are sturdy and have at least two tiers. While not usually entirely waterproof, the material tends to be water-resistant. Able to hold a decent amount of weight, collapsing tables fit well with other camping gear.
Opening its doors in 1900, this company is based out of Chicago, Ill. It is a well-known international name in camping and outdoor supplies. Products range from portable stoves to tents to seating. A top selection from this brand is the Coleman Camping Table.
Founded in 1993, this brand is dedicated to manufacturing top-quality camping supplies. With a diverse supply of everything from sleeping bags to tents, this name is common in the outdoor arena. One of the leading offerings from this business is the ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table.
After humble beginnings in Oregon, Trekology expanded its product line to various outdoor supplies. With products crafted by experienced engineers, the goal is to make camping, hiking, and everything outdoors-related more accessible. A popular supply from this brand is the Trekology Portable Camping Side Tables.
Camp Table Pricing
- Under $50: Camping tables in this price range include all different types. Most of the tables are made of canvas, polymer, or aluminum. Side tables fall almost exclusively within this price range.
- $50 and up: Higher-end tables tend to be either collapsible or folding. Usually able to support a lot more weight, these tables tend to be more durable.
Every table needs legs, but not all legs are made alike. The first thing to look at is the leg placement and how the legs are connected. There should be some form of crossbeam to help improve the table's strength. Ideally, the legs will be sturdy and large enough to plant the table firmly. The legs shouldn’t be prone to warping or bending. Capped bases also help prevent the table from shifting during use.
A critical feature for any table is the surface. Having a solid base is one thing, but a smooth, flat surface with enough area is another matter. Opt for a table that is large enough to handle everything you need to set down. Look for materials that aren’t easily scratched and not prone to rust. Something that wipes down easily is ideal. Some tables incorporate two surfaces for added storage.
Any camping table is bound to be exposed to the elements. This ranges from sunlight to wind, rain to dirt and mud. Choose a camping table that is made out of tough material. If it is constructed of canvas, pick something that won’t fray. Polymers may scratch, but they are not rust-prone or easy to dent. Ideally, if it is a metal table, it would be made of aluminum since this material doesn’t corrode.
Another important feature of camping tables is the ability to transport it easily. All camping tables are built to either collapse or to fold into themselves. However, once they are in a compact state, some are larger than others. Look for something that is easy to carry (either includes a case or has a distinct handle. Lighter weight tables tend to be easier to carry, especially if you use the proper tools like a carabiner if the site is far from the vehicle
- Storage: When you go to purchase a camping table, consider that you probably won’t be using it every day. In between your camping trips, you are going to have to store it somewhere. Make sure that there is space indoors to keep it. Many campers place it in their RV or tuck the table in the garage.
- Maintenance: All camping gear requires a reasonable amount of upkeep. It is more than quickly wiping the table between serving and preparing food. By selecting a table that hoses down quickly (or is easy to wash with soap and water), you can save a lot of time. Aluminum and polymer options are usually easier to dry than canvas counterparts.
- Weight Threshold: Depending on how you plan to use the table, you will need to check its weight threshold. None of them are going to do well as a chair, though some can support more weight than others. To check, look at the size and placement of the legs relative to the surface area. Larger legs that are reasonably spaced improve the weight threshold.
- Seating Capacity: Consider how many people need to sit at the table. Tables that seat only two people and tables that seat a whole family are drastically different. Think about how many people will be at the table at any given time. Side tables work for personal use, though folding tables are better for larger groups.
- Height: Finally, when you go to make your choice, take a look at the table’s dimensions. It’s about more than the surface area on the top of the table. It is about how high it comes off of the ground. Taller tables require less reach, though tend to be less stable. Shorter tables are harder to tip over, though only work easily when you are seated.
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- Keep the table well-maintained and store it indoors. Wipe the table down in between uses and keep it dry. Even the most resilient tables can get damaged.
- Check the weight threshold of the table if you plan to use it for heavy objects. This way, you don’t end up with a broken table leg.
- Avoid scratching the surface. With metal tables, when you scratch the top of it, there is more chance of rust. With plastic models, there is really no way to fix the damage.
- Place the table on flat ground. Most tables are fairly slick and don’t have a lot of traction. To prevent your items from falling, keep it on a flat surface.
- Take the time to install it properly to avoid issues once you get to the campsite. Most models are easy to put together in less than half an hour.
Q: What is the best camping table?
The best camping table is one with enough room to support all of your items. It comes high enough off the ground and is made out of durable material. So long as you identify the type of table you are after, there are tons of good options. A favorite is the Coleman Compact Roll Top Aluminum Table.
Q: Who makes the best camping table?
Different brands excel in different ways, so it all depends on what you’re looking for. Figure out what type of table you’re after first (how many people it needs to seat, durability expectations, etc.). From there, you can find the right manufacturer. Industry leaders include Coleman and ALPS Mountaineering.
Q: What is the most comfortable camp table?
The most important factor in comfort when it comes to camp tables is the height. Make sure the table rises high enough off the ground yet isn’t so tall that it tips over easily. From there, it’s just a matter of looking into the surface area.
Now that you know the ins and outs of camping tables, you can find the best fit. It may be the Coleman Compact Roll Top Aluminum Table or the Camco Large Adirondack Outdoor Folding Chair, a cost-effective choice. There’s a table for every style.
Have a camping story to share? Hit us up in the comments below. Happy camping!