Best Folding Camping Tables for 2017
Camping is the best! Camping pretty much ALWAYS involves food. When food is involved, counter space is usually necessary. As you well know, counter space is not always available in a tent. (Nor is it inside of RVs) Thankfully, there's a solution. Get a small folding table to put things on.
It's so simple yet so brilliant at the same time. As with all things in life, not all things are made the same. Some small folding tables will serve your purpose better than others. It's not easy to sift through the 'why's' that a portable table will serve a purpose well.
That's why we sifted through the good and the bad of the folding camping tables available out there to make it easier for you to get one without getting that dang analysis paralysis.
Camping Table Reviews
Here you go... the best portable tables in the categories that we think are the most commonly needed. Of course, we can't cover EVERY single scenario out there, but here are some popular needs.
Portable Camping Table Guide
There are a few different types of portable camp tables. We all have different ways we camp and we all have different needs when it comes to tables used for camping.
Typically, camp tables come in about 3 broad categories:
- Cooking stations/ outdoor prep tables
- Dining tables
- Accessory tables
Cooking Stations/ Outdoor Prep Tables
These camp tables are multi-functional in design. They need to be sturdy enough to have cooking utensils and potentially heavy food items and bowls on them without collapsing. Some of them are made to have the grill fit on top of the station.
They are not made to eat on, so don't consider trying to use one as a dining table, it won't end well for you. Look for portable cooking tables that feature lots of different 'compartments' for things you need.
Some have wine glass holders, lantern hangers, utensil hooks, and more. A hanging drying rack under the table is a handy feature for letting dishes dry. Having a paper towel holder is also extremely handy, especially in windy areas.
Dining Camp Tables
Your dining camp table is the table you and your friends/family will eat on. Well, duh... but some people opt not to have a dining table and that's just fine. That's ok, but the reality is that it's easier to have a dedicated place to eat. Especially if you have a lot of people to feed. It can also serve as a general purpose camp table to set things such as condiments, paper towels and more.
The camping equivalent of a home dining table tends to be a little shorter than the standard height of about 30" high. They should have good room underneath for legs to go, or you're going to hate trying to use your table for this purpose.
Your portable picnic table should also be sturdy. People will be bumping it, and it needs to be able to support the weight of your food drink, and the elbows resting on it.
Before you buy, decide how many people will typically be seated at the table and buy accordingly.
Remember, RVs don't have endless storage space, so you still want a portable table that will pack away in a relatively small space.
Consider the weight of the portable picnic table as well because you will need to consider the weight of everything you carry in your RV so you don't go over your weight limit. Doing so is very dangerous.
Again, we can't stress enough how aware you should be of the dining table design you choose. If your legs cannot comfortably go under the table because of the legs or arms that support the legs, then the camp table is useless to you.
Also, consider the camping chairs you are going to use for your portable picnic table. They may be too high for what you want to use them for. Keep these things in mind while shopping.
Accessory Camping Tables
Accessory camp tables can be used for anything from playing games to being a place to set your drinks or appetizers, to using it to place cooking supplies on, to whatever the heck you want to put on them. These small folding tables can come in an assortment of sizes and heights. Here again, it depends on what you want to use one for as far as what size and style to get.
One of the biggest considerations to keep in mind for an accessory camping table is stability. It's not a table you will want to go flying away when there's a big wind gust, that's for sure! Still, these tables will tend to be relatively light. Legs that tilt outward can be helpful as can a low profile.
Depending on how they are built, some of these small folding tables could be weighed down at the bottom but most don't come with a 'part' to do this with. We are talking about using something like a rock or a sandbag. This goes for any folding camp table that you get.
Portable Camping Table Purchase Considerations
Easy Set Up: The last thing you want to have to do while trying to enjoy your camping trip is to set up another annoying frustrating device for your stay. It's pretty important to look for easy setup in your table, no matter what kind you are needing.
It's fairly easy to look at a small folding table and be able to tell if it's going to take forever or be easy. You can also search the online reviews for others' experience with the particular table in question.
The ALPS Mountaineering camping table we selected for best dining table couldn't be much easier to set up. The outdoor kitchen tables will likely take slightly more time to set up, but if you have to read directions to do so, you're probably going to regret your purchase!
Read the reviews for guidance or test it at the store before purchasing. (We already know that the GCI Outdoor Slim Fold takes hardly any time at all to set up.)
Hardiness: Well, what's the point in spending your money on a product that will only crash and burn after a few uses? Really, this is never a good idea. If you are smart, you already know that you get what you pay for and if you get a cheap camp table, likely it's not going to last very long.
Aluminum is one of your best bets for materials for your portable camping table. It won't rust and hot pots and pans won't damage it. The material is softer than steel, by nature, and it is somewhat susceptible to dents. However, it's also a light material, meeting the requirements of needing a light camping table and for it not to rust since you will be using it outdoors.
Many manufacturers make the top out of aluminum. However, they make the moving components, and possibly the legs out of steel, which can rust, so it is advisable to bring your table(s) inside if it's going to rain.
Wood is also ok, though heavier and less durable for a portable folding table. It might require more maintenance.
For side tables, look for the lightest table leg materials that are available. DAC aluminum and carbon fiber are very light and strong. Usually, the table top is made of fabric and barely contributes to the weight.
Lots of tops of this kind are made out of Polyester. Look for 600D polyester for the best quality portable folding table.
Weight and Size: No matter whether you car camp or you have a long Class A rig, you should be concerned with the size and weight of the tables that you bring. Why? Well, your rig has a weight limit to keep under and your car is only so big. The more compact and light your tables are, the easier time you will have storing them.
They are also easier to move around if they are light and compact. There are better made tables out there that were not made for camping. That's why you don't see them in campsites. Even a nice light/small IKEA kitchen table would be too big to try to bring out camping! They simply aren't made for portability.
There are plenty of well sized/lighter folding camping tables out there. Just make sure what you get suits your size storage and camping needs. And don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Camping tables aren't always necessary, but they sure can make your outdoor experience a lot more luxurious. At the very least, it's nice to keep your stuff out of the dirt, keeping things cleaner for when you have to put everything back into your car or RV.
The key is to know your needs before you buy. You can't always anticipate what your needs are, so it might be a good idea to try going on a few outings first to see if you really need a small folding table, and for what purpose you will need it for.
We don't care what you use it for really, we just want you to get out there!
Camp on, Addicts!