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Published Jun 15, 2022 10:56 AM

If you are like me, an avid car camper, you probably have owned a camping table at least once in your life. In my nearly 10 years in four different campervans and several Subarus, I learned never to rely on campgrounds to have a picnic table, even when they say they do. Sometimes that table is not where you want to sit, or is in serious disrepair. Over the years, I have toted several types of portable tables across the country, and even one while long-distance backpacking. Now I am settled down in a small cabin with an incredible deck, so these tables get constant use for food prep, dining, and entertaining.  

For this piece, I mainly focused on camping tables meant for the outdoors, as opposed to the folding tables seen at big events. There are a lot of models on the market, but here are some of the best camping tables that are some of my favorites, as well as some newer ones that I wish I had for the road.

How to Choose the Best Camping Table 

The best camping tables fold down for transport and pop up when you need them.
Portable camping tables make dining in the outdoors a lot more comfortable. Justin La Vigne

With so many choices, your first decision is how you’ll use the table. Do you want it for large or small groups? What materials are you looking for in your table? Aluminum or soft sided? Do you want a solid surface or are slats ok? How sturdy and durable do you want it? Does it matter if you are just loading it in the car, or do you need one that can stow in a designated spot? Also, will you be using one of the best camp kitchens with your camping table?

The height of the table is important, too. A standard kitchen table stands about 30 inches tall and a side table can be between 18 and 22 inches tall. Will you be using your camping table for food prep? Do you want to eat meals around it? Do you want it for a side table or just to hold some drinks? Anything over 30 inches is best for standing and for potentially doing food prep. There are some tables that are adjustable, so can act as both a side and kitchen prep table.

One key piece of advice: set a prospective table up in a store before you buy it. Pictures on the packaging don’t do it justice. Ask a sales associate, and see if it comes with instructions and make sure you can follow them. It should not be rocket science to put a table up if, but some are more complicated than others. The last thing you want is to be at a campground in the dark and not know much about the table you brought.

Best for a Big Group: Dometic GO Compact Camp Table

Domestic

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Key Features

  • 3-way height adjustment
  • Made of beautiful bamboo

Why It Made the Cut

The look, feel, and functionality of this table upgraded our camp vibe, almost like we brought along our dining room table.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Easy to adjust to 3 heights
  • Easy setup

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Product Description

This is among the easiest tables I have ever set up and broken down. It folds in half for storage, locking clips keep it stable when opened and locked when shut, and it has a plastic carrying handle. It requires only 25½ -by-19½ inches of space (about the size of a medium suitcase) during transport.

It is also the most beautiful camp table I’ve seen. The bamboo and sleek design makes it suitable for inside use, too. The complete surface of the table is 39½-by-25½ inches and can easily accommodate four grown adults around it. The legs lock into position without any hassle, and are positioned tight to each corner, allowing for optimal leg space when sitting around it.

The best feature is that this table has three different heights: 19 inches, perfect for a coffee table; 22½ inches, which works well as a side or picnic table when using smaller camp chairs; and 27 inches, which is best for food prep or eating around it with larger camp chairs.

The downside is it’s a bit on the heavy side at 20 pounds, but this will last a lifetime and will impress every campground guest. Bonus: For an extra $40, you can buy a padded carrying case for additional protection while tossing it in and out of your vehicle.

Best Features: Coleman Mantis Space-Saving Full-Size Table

Coleman

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Key Features

  • Stores perfectly
  • Solid construction
  • Rigid fabric surface

Why It Made the Cut

This is a nice-sized camping table with a simple hub system assembly and bonus cup holders.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Storage bag
  • Easy set up with instructions are on printed on the storage bag

Cons

  • Top isn’t entirely rigid
  • 3-pole construction

Product Description 

The spring-loaded hub system guides you through the set up, then stores back into the base for easy assembly and breakdown. The bonus is that the two hubs in which the poles come out of convert to drink holders. You know how some tables and chairs don’t quite fit into the carrying case? This storage bag has two zippers that fully unzip, so no need to struggle when returning the table to its bag. It packs down to 26x7x5 inches, fitting into any small car and staying out of the way.

The accordion-style table top opens to a surface area of 24-by-30 inches, has two support poles that slip into each side length-wise and attaches to the base via a secure clip. The table sits 27½ inches off the ground, the ideal height for taller camp chairs.

The feet are rounded and about the size of a halved golf ball, so it can be set up on types of uneven surfaces, like rocky terrain. I left mine out in a downpour and it completely dried out in less than 20 minutes.

Best for Backpacking: Cascade Wild Ultralight Table

Cascade Wild

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Key Features

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Folds into itself, snaps secure legs
  • One complete piece

Why It Made the Cut

This is an affordable and tiny table to bring along for any adventure.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Reflective tape on it

Cons

  • Legs can collapse if too much weight is on the table

Product Description

I have owned this table for many years and use it pretty much on every overnight trip for the past seven years—both car camping and backpacking. Yes, I said backpacking. I like having the luxury of putting my kitchen gear on a flat surface, whether it is my food, stove, or dining ware. They also work well for grill stove combos. I also use this in the tent as a perch for my iPad when I’m in the mood for a movie. I spent 11 days waiting out a storm on Denali, so there was a lot of tent time, and movies. The 8×12 inch surface sits just over 3 inches off the ground and can hold up to 10 pounds. It stays open by snapping the legs in place. It is made of 100 percent corrugated plastic (similar to what cardboard looks), and weighs a mere 2 ounces. It folds down to 4x12x3/4 inch, and can squeeze into any nook or cranny of your backpack.

Best Bang for Your Buck: GSI Outdoors Macro Table

GSI Outdoors

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Key Features

  • Adjustable legs for two heights
  • Made of strong aluminum
  • Heat resistant

Why It Made the Cut

Who says durability can’t be affordable?

Pros

  • Durable
  • Low Price
  • Carrying case included

Cons

  • Can be tricky to set up
  • Legs don’t lock into place when opened

Product Description

I have owned this table for over 9 years and have used it for many purposes, which is why I deem it worth the $65. I’ve brought it car camping, but it also lives on my deck. It’s been covered in snow, pelted with rain, spilled on, and held many dirty boots when I’ve kicked up my feet to relax. Amazingly, it still looks like the day I bought it with minor scratches, but no failures in the parts.

The table surface is 18×24 inches and can sit either 15 or 8½ inches off the ground with its adjustable legs. GSI says it can hold up to 20 pounds, but I know it can support so much more because I’ve used it as my water station table and it held up a 5-gallon blue container of water, which weighs close to 45 pounds.

The whole table folds up accordion style, with the legs tucking inside. To assemble it and flatten the slotted table, there are two skinny rods that you slide through a small hole and 8 table rungs. Sometimes the rods slide right through, sometimes they give a little resistance. I’ve gotten used to the process and hassle, so it feels like no big deal to me. It weighs 4.4 pounds and collapses to 24×2.4×4.8 inches.

Best Design: Nemo Moonlander Dual-Height Table

Key Features

Why It Made the Cut

Adjustable height, hard durable surface, and it looks like it came from the future.

Pros

  • Instructions attached to the inside of the case
  • Smooth surface

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not the best for a big meal

Product Description

I love the dual height option on this table. The fold-out legs allow the table to be 4 inches off the ground, which is perfect for picnics. When you add the aluminum legs that slip through the fold-out legs and lock via a twist and grip, you increase the height to 16 inches, which is ideal for a side table while lounging in your camp chair.

The Nemo Moonlander folds up small and has adjustable height
The author found the Moonlander to be easy to clean and durable. Justin La Vigne

The tabletop is made of a heat-stabilized nylon that is super smooth and cleans off very easily. The table can handle a whopping load of up to 100 pounds, so can even double as stool for a smaller person.

For packability, the longer aluminum legs snap into the bottom of the table, and the table folds to 14½ x9½ x1½ inches, about the size of your laptop. It comes with one the nicest cases I have ever seen for a table—padded with a one way zipper and handle. Kind of looks like a computer case. With the case, it weighs just over 5 pounds.

Best for a Picnic: Cabela’s Folding Aluminum Picnic Table

Cabela’s

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Key Features

  • Portable picnic table for four
  • All-in-one piece
  • Easy set up

Why It Made the Cut

If you want a picnic, but want to be off the ground, this all-in-one portable picnic table with seats sets up in minutes.

Pros

  • Packable, folding up like a suitcase
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Need a flat sturdy surface
  • Seats are a bit small for a bigger person

Product Description

Not every park or campground has a picnic table, so this allows you to bring your own. Sure you can bring any of the other tables, plus chairs, but this is an all-in-one package for a reasonable price. There is even a hole in the middle of the table so you could add an umbrella if you want (not included).

It weighs just 25 pounds, and folds up to 18x32x9 inches, similar in size to a large suitcase. The set-up is easy and one person can do it on their own. It has four small seats that can hold up to 300 pounds per seat. The frame is made of durable aluminum and the top is constructed of medium density fiberboard, so it can be easily cleaned. I like that if one person sits at the seat, the table does not lean. I did notice that placing the picnic table on level ground is best because when multiple seats are being used, the frame could bend. 

Best Construction: Helinox Table One Hard Top Large

Helinox

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Key Features

  • Superior stability
  • Lightweight
  • Compact

Why It Made the Cut

Even though this camping table is extremely lightweight and packable, it is made of quality materials.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Easy to carry and store
  • Large footprint 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Three-pole system

Product Description

You get what you pay for with this steep price tag: quality and durability. Made from a high-tech aircraft aluminum alloy with fiber reinforced hubs, this table delivers maximum stability. The cloth and hard board surface area is 29×22 inches and can hold up to 110 pounds.

The three-piece system can be easily put together by one person, as the bungee hub system practically falls into place on its own. It weighs just over 3 pounds and packs to the size of a yoga mat (23×8 inches).

It stands 20 inches off the ground, so matches well with lower chairs, like the Helinox Chair One.

Methodology 

The best camping tables for your next trip.
The camping tables tested by the author. Justin La Vigne

First I looked at what I have been using effectively for the last 20 years, and then I scoured the Internet to discover new models for different needs. I look for a table that is easy to set up, especially if they don’t come with instructions. All of the above options were easily put together alone, and in just minutes. I look for a variety of heights, but especially appreciate tables that can be adjusted to various heights. The construction of the table is very important. I need sturdy and stable materials that won’t break or crack under constant use and weather; all the models here could be left outside for an extended period. All of the models in this review are robust with good materials and I expect these will last a long time. Their weight capacity is important, as some of them can be used for big meals and some just hold your morning cup of joe and a bowl of oatmeal.

FAQs

Q: Are camping tables necessary?

Camping tables aren’t necessary for camping, but if you can bring one along they add a lot of comfort the experience.

Q: How much weight can a camping table hold?

The weight rating will vary depending on the model, but even lightweight models like the Nemo Moonlander will support 100 pounds.

Q: Where can I buy a camping table?

Retailers such as Amazon, Backcountry, and Cabela’s all carry camping tables.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re backpacking ten miles or spending a night in one of the best roof top tents, having the best camping table is a luxury. A table won’t make or break your camping trip, but they serve as an accessory that will make your camp life easier and more comfortable.

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