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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best camping tables

Camping always involves a certain amount of roughing it, but there’s no reason why you can’t be comfortable at your campsite. If you’ve already invested in a high-quality tent, cot, and chair, a camping table is the next piece of camping furniture you’ll want to grab.

A camping table provides a convenient surface to prepare and eat meals, play games, rest a speaker, and more. If you usually camp with a group, a camping table makes it easier for everyone to gather around at mealtime. The best models are lightweight and compact, so they’re easy to carry to your campsite. Some models are even foldable, making them perfect for backpacking.

In the market for a durable, travel-friendly camping table? First, you’ll want to consider what type, material, and size of camping table is most compatible with your camping style. You’ll also want to think about other features that can make camping easier, like weather resistance and portability.

camping table
A camping table can come in handy even when you’re not at a campsite. You can use the table for a backyard barbecue, picnic in the park, trip to the beach, and even tailgating.

How to buy the best camping table

Do I need a camping table?

If you’re not sure whether you really need to invest in a camping table, start by considering your usual camping style.

Campers who usually stay at well-maintained campgrounds may not need a camping table because the campground often has picnic tables you can use. However, if you typically hike to your campsite in a more remote area, you’ll definitely want a camping table to provide a surface where you can eat and prepare your food.

Even if you are staying at a campground that has picnic tables, you may still want a camping table. That way you can set up your table wherever you like, such as beneath a shady tree or beside a picturesque stream. You can also place your table closer to the campfire so it’s easier to cook and prepare food – or just stay warm when playing a game of cards.

If you’re staying at a site you’ve never visited before, having a camping table with you ensures that you’ll always have a usable surface for eating, cooking, and more.

Types of camping tables

Camping tables are available in several types. The most common options include:

  • Folding camping tables: These are the most common and popular types of camping tables. That’s because they work for most camping styles, including backpacking. They feature a foldable design that makes them extremely compact and easy to carry. Some foldable tables even have a handle to make them highly portable. Folding camping tables generally come in the most size options, too.
  • Roll-up camping tables: These tables have legs that fold up beneath them so you can then roll them up into a tube. They’re even easier to set up than folding tables and are very lightweight. Roll-up tables aren’t typically as sturdy, though, and require quite a bit of space in the back of your car, so they don’t work well for smaller vehicles.
  • Cooking station camping tables: These tables are ideal for campers who mainly want to use their tables as a food-prep area. They usually provide a generously sized surface that can easily hold multiple bowls, cups, and plates. These camping tables also offer space to set up your camping stove. You can even find some models with multiple levels and additional storage space.
  • Soft-top camping tables: These tables are some of the lightest models you can find, so they’re very easy to carry when hiking. They can’t support much weight, though, and are susceptible to moisture damage, making them unsuitable for eating or drinking. However, they do work well for playing games while at your campsite.
  • Camping table and chairs sets: These camping tables come with chairs in a set. Some models have several freestanding chairs or benches. Others feature attached bench seating that folds out from the table. If you don’t already own separate camping chairs, a table and chairs set can be an excellent choice for the money.

Material

A camping table’s material determines its weight and durability. Wood is a classic material for all types of furniture. Camping tables are usually made of hardwoods like teak, cedar, eucalyptus, or acacia. They have a charming rustic appearance and are typically highly durable. However, you should choose a sealed wood camping table to ensure that it won’t be prone to moisture or pest damage.

Metal camping tables are typically made from aluminum or steel and are highly durable. While aluminum tables are lightweight, steel tables are usually fairly heavy to resist moving around in heavy winds. Their weight makes them a poor option for backpacking. Metal camping tables can also rust if not cared for correctly.

Plastic or PVC camping tables are often the lightest and most affordable. They’re easy to carry, so they work well for hiking and backpacking. They’re generally pretty durable, too. If exposed to moist conditions, though, they can develop mildew.

Size and weight

You’ll want a camping table that’s large enough to meet your needs but not too large for you to carry comfortably. Small camping tables can usually fit two to four people, while larger models can fit up to 12 people. Consider a table’s weight, too. Avoid models that weigh 20 pounds or more because you’ll have a difficult time carrying the table to your campsite.

Some camping tables have a built-in sink, making them ideal for cooking and washing your hands.

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What should I look for in a camping table?

Shape

Most camping tables are square or rectangular, but you can find some round or oval options. Square or round tables can work well if the size is right, so it’s mainly a matter of personal preference.

Table legs

The best camping tables have large, sturdy legs that provide a stable base. Thinner legs can sometimes bend or warp, causing the table to wobble or shift. Models that feature a crossbeam or bar to stabilize the legs are usually sturdier than tables with no additional support. Legs with capped ends are generally more stable, too, because the legs aren’t as likely to shift or slide.

For the most versatility, you may want to choose a camping table with adjustable legs. These allow you to set up the table at various heights.

Weather resistance

On a camping trip, it’s not unusual to find yourself caught in an unexpected rain shower or other harsh weather. That’s why you’ll want a camping table that can stand up to rain, sunlight, wind, dirt, and more. Most materials used for camping tables offer some type of weather resistance, but you can find models with special coatings or treatments to provide additional protection from the elements.

Storage

Some camping tables feature storage compartments so you can keep your camping gear organized. Most models with storage offer closed compartments that prevent the items inside from getting dirty at your campsite.

Portability

The best camping tables are easy to carry to your campsite because they’re lightweight and compact. Folding models are usually highly portable, but you may also want to find a table with a handle for easy carrying. Other tables come with a storage or carrying bag to make them easier to pack.

camping table
DID YOU KNOW?
Be careful not to scratch the surface of your camping table. Metal tables can develop rust if scratched, while plastic tables can become rough and textured.
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Accessories for camping tables

Camping chairs

If you plan to eat and play games around your camping table, you’ll need a camping chair or two to sit comfortably. Like a camping table, camping chairs are designed to be lightweight and easy to pack while still offering enough durability to stand up to the elements.

Camping stools

If you’re backpacking or hiking to a remote campsite, you may prefer a camping stool for your table. Stools are even more lightweight and collapsible than camping chairs and work extremely well if you’re a solo camper.

Camping pots and pans sets

If you plan to cook meals to eat at your camping table, a high-quality set of camping pots and pans is a must-have. Some sets also include other tools and accessories you may need to prepare a meal.

Camping tableware sets

When you’ve finished preparing your meal and are ready to sit down at your table to eat, a camping tableware set makes it easy to enjoy your food. Depending on the set you choose, it may include plates, bowls, silverware, and cups.

How much do camping tables cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable camping tables are usually soft-top or PVC models. They’re typically extremely lightweight but aren’t the most durable option. These camping tables generally cost between $10 and $45.

Mid-range

Mid-range camping tables are typically wood, metal, or higher-quality plastic models. They’re often larger and heavier but also more durable. These camping tables generally cost between $50 and $180.

Expensive

The most expensive camping tables are usually large wood or metal models. They’re highly durable and offer special features like closed storage compartments. Some tables even come with included chairs as a set. These camping tables generally cost between $180 and $500.

When rinsing clothes or towels on a camping trip, a camping table makes a good surface to lay them out to dry.

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Tips

  • Set up your camping table on flat, stable ground. The table may not have much traction, so it can wobble and slide around if the ground is uneven. It may even fall over if it’s not properly stabilized.
  • Pay attention to a camping table’s weight limit. If you overload the table, you can wind up breaking the legs.
  • Find a clean, dry spot to store your camping table. While the table can withstand the elements, it will last much longer if it’s not regularly exposed to moisture and sunlight.
camping table
A camping table makes it easier to prepare, cook, and serve meat at your campsite without any contamination or other safety issues.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best material for a camping table for backpacking?

A. It’s essential to choose a lightweight table if you’re going to hike to your campsite. Aluminum, plastic, and PVC tables are typically the easiest to carry in a backpack.

Q. What’s the best way to clean a camping table?

A. It depends on the material. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the table. That said, you can usually wipe down plastic and metal tables with a damp cloth and mild dish soap. If there is stubborn dirt, you can use a garden hose to spray the table down. Wood tables can be washed with warm water and mild soap, too, but it’s crucial to dry them thoroughly to prevent moisture damage.

Q. What type of maintenance does a camping table require?

A. A camping table doesn’t require much maintenance. Clean it after each use, and dry it well before placing it in a clean, dry spot for storage.

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