One night, the wind blew viciously down a canyon wash in Death Valley National Park, and we worried about specs of dirt and rocks getting into our food.
The next night, we once again put the camping stove down in the dirt. It was then we realized something had to change.
We needed a camping table.
A camping table can change your life if you love to camp and you love to cook. When you’re staying in a campground, oftentimes, the picnic table just isn’t enough.
If you love to boondock in your campervan or RV, you’ll need a camping table to cook in the great outdoors.
Who wants to be stuck in an RV kitchen when you’re out in the middle of nowhere with incredible views?
There are so many portable camping tables out there it can be hard to sort through them all. A lot of what you’ll choose depends on how you’ll use the camping table. Even if you don’t cook in the great outdoors, a folding camp table can come in handy for setting drinks, playing a game or working on your computer.
In this post, you’ll learn all about the various types of camping tables out there so you can pick the best camping table for your next outdoor adventure.
The types of folding camping tables you can buy
Just like anything else in life, there’s a folding camping table for every scenario. Do you want extra seating for larger groups? Or a small portable table for a hike into the backcountry? What about an entire portable kitchen you store in your RV?
Folding camping tables are amazing due to their variety and portability. Every table here folds or rolls into a compact carrying case, whether that’s the size of a briefcase or a rolled-up camping mat.
Here are the types of camping tables out there to pick from.
Cooking or Kitchen Camp Tables
Cooking tables are usually bigger and heavier than other camping tables. These tables are meant to help you organize your camp cooking, and have extra shelving and storage. Some even have places to hang a camping lantern and utensils. Cooking tables won’t work as well if you’re traveling by campervan or car as they take up a lot of space. They will work for someone traveling in an RV who has extra room, or for larger groups staying in a campground. Camp kitchens are perfect for a tailgate party! With a cooking table, you’ll have the conveniences of home under the trees.
Dining Camping Tables
Dining camp tables are made for just that: dining. They’re great for larger groups who won’t fit around a picnic table, or for eating where there isn’t a picnic table in sight. They sit high enough above the ground to fit your legs, and are great for game playing. When choosing the size of your dining table, think about the number of people you’ll need to seat.
Backpacking Camping Tables
If you’re looking for an ultra-light camping table, you might want to consider a table meant for backpacking. The problem with these tables is that they’re usually made with a fabric top, so not ideal for cooking. A backpacking table is great for placing food and drinks, or for playing cards. They are easy to carry to remote spots and are preferred by backpackers, kayakers and cyclists.
Compact Camping Tables
A folding camping side table is a great way to get your gear off the ground. Ideal for small spaces like a campervan or a car, you can use a camping accessory table for setting drinks, cook meals or set your book. If you want to use the side table for cooking, check to make sure it can handle high heat.
What to consider before picking the best camping table
The best camping table you pick will have a lot to do with your circumstances. Someone who’s only going to use a camping table for tailgate parties will choose a different table than a van lifer looking for a portable, compact cooking surface.
Here are a few factors to consider before choosing a folding camping table.
What it’s made out of
There are camping tables made of all types of materials. They can be made of steel, aluminum, plastic, bamboo or even fabric. Aluminum is a popular choice because it’s lightweight, durable and can withstand heat. It also doesn’t rust. The downside of aluminum is that it dents easily. Steel is more durable than aluminum but heavier. Fabric tables will be the most lightweight of them all, so well-suited for backpackers or hikers. Some tables made of bamboo area beautiful to look at and durable, but are heavier than their aluminum or fabric counterparts.
The camping table’s size and weight
This is a huge factor when you’re picking the best camping table for your needs. We travel in a small Chevy Astro van, so a large folding camping table isn’t right for us. But people with a larger RV or fifth wheel might choose a folding table with a greater surface area. They have the room to store that type of table. Look closely at the size and weight of the camping table before you buy. It’s also a good idea to see if the table’s carrying case has a shoulder strap.
Also, think about what you’ll be using the table for. Will you want to seat six people for dinner? Or do you just need a table to set your drink and a sandwich? Are you looking for an outdoor cooking table with a lot of surfaces and shelves?
The durability of your camping table
When evaluating the best camping table for your next outdoor adventure, durability is super important. Who wants a camping table that will break or dent when it falls? Or that can’t handle rain or wind? Make sure your camping table is waterproof and take a close look at the legs to make sure they can take a beating. You want a sturdy table that won’t tip over or shake with the slightest breeze.
Can you cook on the camping table?
People buy camping tables for different reasons. Some people just want a surface to set a drink and to play a game of cards. Others are looking for a robust table that can handle the heat of a camping stove. If you’re planning on cooking on your camping table, make sure it’s made out of aluminum, steel or wood.
The folding dimensions
Another good thing to look at when considering the best camping table for your needs is its folding dimensions. This will help you figure out where you can fit the camping table. Can it fit in your car’s trunk? What about in your van’s back hatch? Where would you store it in your RV?
The best camping tables comparison chart
We know going through a bunch of options for the best camping tables can be overwhelming. That’s why we put together this comparison chart so you can quickly see the tables by price, material, weight and purpose. You can quickly skim through all the tables based on what you need.
|Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top Kitchen||Kitchen||Aluminum||10 lbs., 3.2 oz||$90|
|GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Camp Kitchen||Kitchen||Aluminum/Plastic/Steel||18 lbs., 9 oz||$85-$100|
|Camp Chef Sherpa Table||Kitchen||Aluminum||13 lbs., 5 oz||$99-$145|
|Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Portable Kitchen||Kitchen||Aluminum||24 lbs., 2 oz||$115-$145|
|ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table||Dining||Aluminum||12 lbs||$70-$100|
|Kamp Rite Kwik Set Table||Dining||Aluminum||15 lbs||$55-$75|
|Trademark Innovations Folding Camping Table||Dining||Aluminum||8 lbs., 5oz||$40-$45|
|Beckworth SmartFlip Bamboo Folding Table||Compact||Aluminum/Bamboo||10 lbs||$100|
|REI Co-op Camp Roll Table||Compact||Aluminum||8 lbs., 8 oz||$64|
|Coleman Outdoor Compact Camping Table||Compact||Aluminum||10 lbs||$40-$50|
|Camp Time Roll-a-Table||Compact||Aluminum/Wood/Vinyl||10 lbs||$100|
|Trekology Portable Camping Table||Backpacking||Aluminum||1 lbs., 8 oz||$30-$50|
|Helinox Table One Camping Table||Backpacking||Aluminum/Polyester||2 lbs., 1.6 oz||$140|
|GCI Camping Table||Compact||Aluminum/Steel||4 lbs., 13 oz||$38|
The best kitchen camping tables for camping, RVing and campervans
Some people like a lot of the conveniences of home when they go camping. That’s why many love these portable camp kitchens. Camp kitchens have multiple shelves and a lot of counter space. Plus, many have hooks for your utensils and garbage bags. One is even equipped with a sink for washing dishes!
Keep in mind that while camp kitchen tables offer convenience, they are the heaviest and bulkiest camping tables of the bunch. You’ll need to have a larger vehicle or an RV to store a kitchen camp table.
Here are our top four favorite kitchen camp tables.
Weight: 10 pounds, 3.2 ounces
The Mountain Summit Gear roll-top kitchen takes less than a minute to set up and break down and weighs just a little over 10 pounds. Perfect for your two-burner camping stove and pots, pans and utensils. The sturdy aluminum frame is resistant to rust, and is lighter than similar steel camping tables. It also folds up and stores away easily in a bag with a carrying handle. Reviewers love that this camping table is lightweight and sturdy, but don’t love that the table is made of particle board.
- Rust resistant
- Plenty of counter space for a two-burner stove, pots and pans
- Adjustable legs work well on uneven ground
- Comes with a carrying case with a handle
- The table part is made of particle board so not as weather resistant as the aluminum parts
GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Camp Kitchen – $85-$100
Weight: 18.9 pounds
The CGI Slim-Fold Camp Kitchen fits all your cooking needs, from a 2-burner camping stove, to utensils and pans, to a handy hook for your wine glass. The heat-and-rust-resistant countertop is made out of aluminum – perfect for a hot stove. The plastic pull out side tables can hold 30-pounds of weight apiece and each have beverage holders, stemware holders, a paper towel holder and hooks to hold grilling tools and garbage bags. This is a versatile camping table that’s easy to open and set up. It folds flat for storage and includes a carrying bag with handles. The reviews for this camping table are amazing.
- Rugged and well designed
- Plenty of surfaces for all your cooking needs
- Easy and quick to set up
- Comes with a carrying case and handle
- Folds flat for easy storage
- The center shelf is hard to access due to the table’s supports
Camp Chef Sherpa Table – $99-$145
Weight: 13.5 pounds
The Camp Chef Sherpa isn’t just a cooking table, but a camping table and a camping storage unit in one. You can use the four removable storage bags to store all your camping gear, from plates and cutlery, to pots and pans, to cooking oils and spices. One of the bags is waterproof for doing dishes or using as a spare cooler. When you’re done with your camping trip, just push up the telescoping legs, put the storage bags inside, and carry your stove to your car with the side handles.
- The aluminum top can be used for cooking
- Storage bags keep your gear organized
- One insulated, waterproof storage bag can be used as a sink or cooler
- Easy to assemble
- Bulky – doesn’t fold flat for storage
- Legs don’t slide in very easily
- Some have a hard time with initial setup
Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Portable Kitchen – $115-$145
Weight: 24.2 pounds
The Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Portable Kitchen has the most features of any camping cooking mentioned here, but is also the heaviest and most cumbersome. It may not be the best choice for someone traveling in a small car or van. What this camp table is good for is large groups and families who need some extra space for food prep, cooking, cleanup and storage. It comes with utensil hooks, a paper towel holder and mesh shelves for additional storage space. There’s even a sunken tub to do your dishes – talk about bringing your entire kitchen to the great outdoors.
- Lots of surface space for food prep and cooking
- Extra shelves and mesh bags for storage
- Utensil Hooks
- A hook to hang a lantern for after dark cooking
- A washbasin to do your dishes
- Great for organizing your cooking area
- Quality seems cheap
- Can be hard to level
- Difficult to store and transport
The best camping tables for dining
Dining camping tables are a great way to eat in comfort while camping. Instead of sitting at dirty, hard picnic tables that come with your campsite, just sidle up to one of these dining camping tables in your comfortable camp chair. Dining tables should easily fit your knees beneath. Dining tables are versatile camping tables as they can also be used for cooking or for playing games.
ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table – $70-$100
Weight: 12 pounds
The ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table is a great addition to your campsite. The table is high enough that you can scoot your chair right up to it without hitting your knees. The aluminum top and frame is lightweight and rust-free, and can even be used as a cooking surface. The entire table rolls right up and folds into a carrying bag for easy transport to and from your campsite.
- Easy to set up
- Compact and portable
- Comes with a carrying bag
- Can be used as a cooking surface
- Stuff sack isn’t great
- Can be tricky to roll up to store
Kamp Rite Kwik Set Table – $55-$75
Weight: 15 pounds
The Kamp Rite Kwik Set Table is an easy-to-use rolltop table made out of heavy-gauge aluminum with non-skid rubber feet. This affordable table is perfect for camping, tailgating and backyard barbecues, and gets excellent customer reviews. Hardy and rugged, this camping table won’t take up much room in your vehicle or garage. It’s high enough that you can comfortably slide your chair up to it and use it as a dining table. Plus, the aluminum top means it can withstand the high temperatures of a camp stove.
- Sets up and takes down quickly
- Comes with a carrying bag with shoulder strap
- Folds to the size of a camping chair
- Some say legs seem flimsy
Weight: 8.5 pounds
This lightweight, affordable camping table by Trademark Innovations folds in half for easy storage and portability. It also has adjustable legs with two different heights. The aluminum top means you can set a cooking stove or grill on this table, but it is light enough that it can’t withstand windy conditions or rough weather. This folding camping table is a great addition to a campsite, picnic or tailgate party. Reviewers say it’s a great size for RVing.
- Folds in half for storing
- Easy to carry
- Not good for windy conditions
The best compact camping tables
Compact camping tables are much smaller than kitchen camping tables and dining tables. They are sometimes referred to as camping end tables. These small, lightweight tables are great if you’re camping with a smaller vehicle or traveling in a campervan without much space. Here are our top picks for compact folding camp tables.
Weight: 4 pounds, 13 oz
This GCI compact camping table is affordable and sturdy, with an aluminum top perfect for cooking. It stores flat, then extends to two different heights. We love how lightweight this camping table in, making it easy to store in a smaller car or campervan. It’s also easy to carry around and doesn’t include a separate carrying bag. The table feels like it’s made out of high-quality, long-lasting materials.
- Has telescoping, adjustable legs
- Folds flat for easy storage
- None found
Material: Aluminum and Bamboo
Weight: 10 pounds
This lightweight compact camping table by Beckworth & Company has aluminum telescoping legs and a roll-top bamboo table. It folds up easily and fits into a small bag for portability and storage. This Smart Flip table is adjustable – it goes up to 25.6″ (waist height) and down to 17″ (knee height), and you can set it up at anything in between. Some reviewers say it’s just big enough for two people to put plates and drinks. Can also be used to set your laptop or play a game. We love this table because there are no crossbars that your knees might hit like many other compact folding tables.
- Made from premium materials
- Folds down into small rectangular carrying case with handle
- Has telescoping, adjustable legs
- Easy to carry
- Easy to fit in a campervan, small car or RV
- Adults can sit and eat at this table without hitting knees
- None found
Weight: 8 pounds, 8 ounces
The REI Co-op Camp Roll table is a lightweight, portable table that can be used for anything from cooking, to playing cards, to dining. The table rolls up into a small carrying bag, making it easy to store in your car or campervan. Reviewers say this table is very sturdy and doesn’t show a hint of blowing over in windy conditions.
- Comes with a carrying case
- Durable and sturdy
- Can withstand wind
- Knees might hit the crossbars when you sit at the table
- Connectors are made of plastic that can break
Coleman Outdoor Compact Camping Table – $40-$50
Material: Aluminum and steel
Weight: 10 pounds
The Coleman Compact Camping table is has a steel frame and aluminum roll-top for easy camp cooking and dining. The accordion-style frame is easy to set up and take down, and it comes with its own carrying case with a strap. Campers love the sturdy nature of this table, and recommend it for any type of outdoor use, from camping, to picnicking, to backyard garden events.
- Knees hit crossbars when sitting at the table
- Some say it isn’t easy to set up
Camp Time Roll-a-Table – $100
Material: Wood, vinyl, aluminum
Weight: 10 pounds
The Camp Time Roll-a-Table is a convenient outdoor table made out of wooden slats encased with a waterproof material. The rolling top easily breaks down and fits into a slim carrying bag. It’s not recommended to cook on this table as the waterproof material is made of vinyl and wood melt with the heat of a camp stove. People love that this table doesn’t have any crossbars beneath so they can sit at it without hitting their knees. This table is best used for dining or playing games.
- Good for dining without hitting knees on crossbars
- Easy to set up and break down
- Can’t cook on it, would melt the vinyl top
- Carrying case does not include a shoulder strap
The best backpacking camping tables
If you want an incredibly lightweight camping table, you’ll probably want to go with a backpacking table. These tables are great for people who want to hike, kayak or bike to a secluded location to have lunch or drinks. Beware that some backpacking tables are made with a fabric top, which means you can’t use them for cooking. These ultra-light, portable tables are great for campers with a small space. Perfect for drinks, sandwiches or playing games.
Trekology Portable Camping Table – $30-$50
Weight: 1.8 pounds
This Trekology Portable Camping table comes in three sizes, the lightest being just 1.8 pounds. This waterproof, aluminum camping table has a low height, up to an adult’s knee, so you can use it either sitting in a chair or on the ground. It folds up small enough to fit in a car, canoe or RV without taking up much space. Campers love that this table is sturdy for its weight and size. The top is made out of aluminum which means you can cook on this table.
- Aluminum construction means you can cook on it
- Can be used sitting in a chair or on the ground
- Small enough to fit in a canoe, kayak or backpack
- Some say it’s too bulky for backpacking
- Some say it’s not very sturdy
Material: Aluminum and Polyester
Weight: 2 pounds, 1.6 ounces
The Helinox Folding Camping table has a hard top made from polyester, perfect for setting drinks, plates of food, or cutting cheese on your camping or backpacking adventure. This table is easy to set up and break down and folds up into a small carrying case. Campers love that it’s lightweight and very easy to assemble. The main downside of this folding camping table is its price – it’s way more expensive than any folding camping table we found.
- Good for backpacking
- Easy to set up and take down
- Comes with carrying case
- Very expensive
- Can’t cook on it
So, which camping table did we buy?
It wasn’t easy picking the best camping table, but we settled on the GCI compact camping table from REI. This table has totally changed our lives! We went from cooking on the ground in the dirt to feeling very fancy with this lightweight table.
We love how it adjusts to two different heights and folds down to easily fit in the back of my Chevy Astro van. We set our single-burner JetBoil Half Gen stove on the table for cooking in our pressure cooker. We also use it to eat, set our beverage glasses, and make coffee.
The table is also the perfect height for our tiny camping chairs, the MoonLence Outdoor Ultra Light Chairs.
To say this table has been a game-changer isn’t an understatement. It’s durable, sturdy and made from high-quality materials. (Also seen in this picture is our portable fridge, check out our review here: ARB Fridge Review. )
Conclusion on the best portable camping tables
A folding camping table is a great accessory to your camping trip, whether you’re boondocking or staying in an established campground. Camping tables give you extra space for cooking, dining and playing games.
There are all sorts of folding camping tables, from entire kitchen camping tables, to dining tables, to compact camping tables to backpacking tables. It all boils down to what you’ll be using the table for and how much space you need.
Camping tables are generally affordable, ranging from $140 at the high end to $40 at the low end.
A camping table gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility, especially if you’re boondocking in remote places with no picnic table.