Nov 18, 2023
The 11 Best Camping Tables of 2023
Our list includes everything from lightweight roll-top picks to full cooking stations with storage. Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is a passionate and voraciously hungry home cook and eater. She's been writing
Our list includes everything from lightweight roll-top picks to full cooking stations with storage.
Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is a passionate and voraciously hungry home cook and eater. She's been writing about food in all its forms since 2014 and is a big believer that anyone can and should love to cook.
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Anyone who has ever been camping knows that at a campground, meal prep space is often quite limited. Sure, most sites have a picnic table, but the surface is usually quickly taken up by sandwich-making, card games, and all the essential camping gear that piles up. For Damon Menapace, an avid camper and the culinary director at Primal Supply Meats in Philadelphia, the built-in picnic table poses another major issue.
“Picnic tables are usually far away from the fire pit, which is where I do most of my cooking,” Menapace says. “A camping table allows me to have a prep space near the heat source, which reduces schlepping back and forth.”
Menapace’s cooking approach to camping centers around the fire pit, but even if you’re cooking over a camp stove or portable grill, you'll appreciate the added space a camping table provides for building burgers and stacking s’mores. With meal prep in mind, we researched hundreds of options to find the best camping tables for your next outdoor adventure.
Pros: This table has adjustable legs, which makes it easy to set up on uneven terrain.
Cons: The sturdy construction of this table means that it’s heavy, so it’s only ideal for campgrounds where you can pull your car right up to the site.
With an aluminum surface and steel construction, the REI Co-op Camp Prep Table is a sturdy, dependable option for all kinds of use. Its biggest draw is the adjustable legs, which make it appropriate for both standing tasks like chopping and prepping meals, and for sitting. The adjustable legs are also helpful on uneven ground, where they can be used to create a flat surface.
The table folds in half to carry and store, but the legs pop out easily so one person can quickly assemble the table. The surface is powder coated to avoid rusting and heat-resistant so you can move a hot cast iron without worry. The table features a handle and canvas bag for storage and travel.
Price at time of publish: $149
Pros: At an affordable price, this table is great for camping and appropriate for other like tailgating or backyard barbecues.
Cons: The surface of this table is not heatproof, so you’ll need trivets or other heat protectors if you’re working with hot cooking tools.
When a straightforward table is all you need, our budget pick is the perfect option. With a lightweight but durable polyethylene surface and a steel base, this table can be topped with a tablecloth for dinnertime, set next to your cooking space for prepping, and then easily folded up for transit. The legs easily fold down into the back of the table surface before the top gets folded in half. Sturdy notches hold the two halves together while folded, and a handle makes it easy to carry from place to place.
With a 200-pound weight capacity, you won’t have to think twice about what you’re using it for at your campsite. The adjustable legs are a bonus, making it easy to lower to a height perfect for kids.
Price at time of publish: $55
Pros: This fold-up picnic table includes seating for four adults.
Cons: Each seat has the capacity for up to 225 pounds, which might be too low for some users.
If what you’re after is an all-in-one table with built-in chairs, Mountain Summit’s folding picnic table is an excellent option. The lightweight aluminum table starts folded into one compact, easy-to-carry rectangle with a comfortable handle. It intuitively folds out into a four-seat picnic table with a heatproof top and four small stools.
For off-roading or backcountry camping without a campsite picnic table, this table is a great addition to any camping setup. For warmer weather locations, the table has an umbrella hole in the center that makes adding a little shade simple. The unit is aluminum and won’t rust even when exposed to wind and rain.
Price at time of publish: $175
Pros: The roll-top construction of this table means it packs down small and weighs less than other options.
Cons: A lower weight capacity means heavy-duty gear might overwhelm this table.
Roll-top tables are an excellent option when size and weight are a concern. This roll-top table from Moosejaw is lightweight and folds up efficiently to avoid taking up too much space. The setup process is easy and takes just one person. We love the storage added by the mesh sling underneath the tabletop, perfect for holding water bottles, jackets, or other items that aren’t in use.
The table adjusts from coffee table to counter height, allowing you to use it for multiple settings. Gather four people around it to eat dinner, or raise it to allow for better slicing and dicing. Later in the evening, lower it down and use it as a resting place for beverages and card games.
Price at time of publish: $89
Pros: A mesh shelf under this table is perfect for drying dishes.
Cons: This table’s small size makes it better for couples or used as a side table.
Sometimes a small table that can be easily moved around your campsite is the best option. In those situations, opt for L.L. Bean’s super-portable camp table. With a detachable roll-top and accordion-style base similar to a camping chair, this table can be quickly picked up and placed wherever you might need it, whether that’s next to your chair to hold a beverage, in front of you for eating a meal, or next to your camp stove.
A super-convenient mesh shelf underneath the table adds extra storage for snacks, cooking utensils, flashlights, and more. A canvas bag makes storage and transport easy.
Price at time of publish: $89
Pros: This large yet lightweight table is perfect for big groups.
Cons: Unlike some of our other picks, this table is not adjustable.
When you’re heading out on a camping trip with a larger group, a second full-size table can be invaluable. For those occasions, bring along ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table, a roll-top unit that packs down small and is surprisingly lightweight, but is large enough to seat four to six people. The construction makes this table very light: simply roll up the surface and fold down the base to pack it up.
Safe for hot items and rustproof, the only drawback of this table is that it lacks height adjustment, making it better for seated activities like eating or playing games.
Price at time of publish: $110
Pros: All the storage you could need is built into this all-in-one camping cook station.
Cons: The cook station doesn’t come with a carrying bag.
When you’re cooking for bigger groups or setting up a campsite for a longer stay, a cooking station offers all the bells and whistles. This one from GCI has a hook to hang a lantern at night, plenty of space for a camp stove, a canvas sling for dirty or unused dishes, plus several shelves and even a place to hang a roll of paper towels.
The GCI cook station is best for campgrounds or backyards with a flat surface as the legs are not adjustable and can be shaky on uneven or rocky terrain. The unit is easy to unfold and set up but doesn’t come with a carrying bag.
Price at time of publish: $145
Pros: Efficient construction makes this table easy to set up and break down.
Cons: This small table has a comparatively low weight capacity of 100 pounds.
For groups of two to three people, REI Co-op’s Camp Roll Table is a lightweight and easy-to-set-up dining table. The accordion-style base is braced with aluminum piping that creates a very stable base, while the roll-top surface is rigid and heat-safe. The table breaks down for storage in a canvas bag, and can easily be set up by one person.
This table does not have adjustable legs, which means on rocky surfaces the table won’t always create a perfectly flat surface. It also means that this table is specifically best for seated activities: users will find it uncomfortable to lean over the table to do prep or other standing activities.
Price at time of publish: $80
Pros: This slightly smaller cooking station is good for car camping.
Cons: Most of the cooking station is made from aluminum, but the canvas is not waterproof.
When you’re looking for a little more storage than just a table, but don’t want something as large as the GCI outdoor cooking station, we recommend the Mountain Summer Gear Deluxe Roll Top Kitchen. Set up, it is slightly more compact than our other pick, but still has a surface perfect for prepping food or settling your camp stove. Off to the side, it also has a canvas-protected shelving unit that can keep dishes clean and out of the way or store food that doesn’t need to be in a cooler.
We like this unit for its lightweight construction and because the tabletops are roll-top, which makes the whole unit compact when packed down.
Price at time of publish: $150
Pros: At just nine pounds, this table offers the best size-to-weight ratio.
Cons: A low weight capacity of just 66 pounds might be a problem for some users.
This lightweight table is made from aluminum with a roll-top construction, which makes it the lightest large table we recommend. If weight is an important concern, this table weighs in at just nine pounds and comes in an easy-to-carry and pack canvas bag. The table is large enough to seat four people and offers plenty of space for prep and storage. The adjustable legs make it even more versatile.
Because of its lightweight construction, however, it has a relatively low weight capacity, which makes this table incompatible with heavier items like large fish or breaking down large animals.
Price at time of publish: $72
Pros: This small side table is great for moving around your campsite.
Cons: The table legs are not adjustable, which means they can be unsteady on rocky or uneven surfaces.
A side table is a great addition to your camping setup when you find yourself needing just a little more storage or a place to set drinks, food, and ingredients while hanging out by the campfire or cooking a meal. This side table weighs less than five pounds, so it’s easy to quickly move around a campground or backyard, and it folds down easily into a small package that’s easy to pack.
It’s not adjustable, so rocky surfaces can cause an issue, but the aluminum construction is durable and won’t rust. Ideal for card games and meals for one or two, this table is versatile for all kinds of outdoor adventures.
Price at time of publish: $47
Camping tables come in a variety of styles, from roll-tops, which are generally the most lightweight and compact, to heavy-duty folding tables with a metal or plastic top. The style you need will depend on what kind of camping you’ll be doing. If you plan to pull a large car right up to the campground, something larger and more durable might be better, since you don’t have to worry about space or carrying the table too far. For camping where you might need to walk a little further or at sites with less infrastructure, a table with built-in seating might be your best bet.
When choosing the size, you’ll need to think about height and capacity. Different heights are better for different activities. For example, it’s uncomfortable to do a lot of food prep hunched over a low table. If food prep is the main use for your camping table, be sure to get something that is higher. Adjustable height tables are great for creating different types of use.
For capacity, consider the number of people who will need to comfortably gather around a table. If most of your camping trips are solo or small-group activities, there’s no need to get a table that seats six. If you generally camp with larger groups, though, something bigger will get more use.
Stability and durability are important features for an item that you’ll be taking with you into outdoor environments. Any credible camping table will be safe from getting wet overnight, as they’re all built to withstand dampness and won’t rust. But features like adjustable legs can make a big difference if you’re in a more rugged space where the ground is rocky or potentially uneven.
If you plan to do a lot of cooking using a heavy cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, you’ll also want to make sure your camping table is heat-resistant and won’t be damaged by high temperatures.
The importance of portability comes down to how you plan to use and store the table. Car camping lends itself to larger items, but if you’re working with limited space, a roll-top table that folds into a smaller, lighter package will help you out. Smaller tables are also easier to move around a campsite, lending themselves to different uses. For longer trips where basecamp will be around for more than one or two nights, something larger can be used for sitting down to dinner.
Most camping tables are designed to be simple to set up, requiring only one person. There are a few styles: roll-top tables with collapsible bases, which typically are stored in a canvas bag like a camping chair, or heavier-duty tables with metal or plastic tops that get folded in half for flat storage. If you’re smaller or more sensitive to heavy items, roll-top tables are usually the lightest, while a folded table takes just seconds to open up.
Extra features like loops for trash bags, seating, and shelving can help set up a campsite that runs efficiently. If you’re camping with children, a folding table with seating is great for mealtimes, when you might want to gather more formally to encourage kids to eat. Mesh storage is a helpful feature for letting pots and pans dry, but is less useful if you’re camping solo or with small groups and don’t need as much space.
There are a variety of everyday materials for camping tables, but generally, lightweight materials like polyethylene and aluminum are the most common. Some have stainless steel frames that are great for adding a little more durability.
Camping tables come at different heights for different uses. Camping tables meant for prepping should be counter height, while those intended to be used as side tables or dining tables should be lower.
“I have used camping tables for prep in the past,” Menapace says. “It’s helpful to have something to set your ingredients on when you’re cooking, and just to have a surface that you can move around the campsite.
Different camping tables are set up differently, but you want to always make sure that the legs are fully extended or screwed tightly into place. Follow directions closely and take care to ensure that pieces are in place before you start weighing down the table.
Camping tables are great for meal prep, though Menapace recommends doing as much prep as possible before you get to the campground. “Everything is just a little harder when you’re out there,” he says. “I prefer to do as much prep as possible before I get to the campsite, then all I have to do is cook.” Even a camping mess kit can help you stay organized with just the cooking essentials.
Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is an experienced professional home cook. She has worked in restaurant kitchens, professional test kitchens, and also on farms and at farmer's markets. She's an expert at translating techniques, recipes, equipment, and ingredient information for all skill levels. She's dedicated to making the home cooking experience more enjoyable and is always on the lookout for the next great tip or trick to pass along to readers.Pros: Cons: Price at time of publish: $149Material:Weight: Dimensions:ProsCons:Price at time of publish: $55Material:Weight:Dimensions:Pros:Cons:Price at time of publish: $175Material:Weight: Dimensions:Pros:Cons: Price at time of publish: $89Material:Weight: Dimensions:Pros: Cons:Price at time of publish: $89MaterialWeight:Dimensions:Pros: Cons:Price at time of publish: $110Material: Weight:Dimensions: Pros:Cons:Price at time of publish: $145Material:Weight:Dimensions:Pros:Cons: Price at time of publish: $80Material:Weight: Dimensions: Pros:Cons:Price at time of publish: $150MaterialWeightDimensionsPros:Cons:Price at time of publish: $72Material:Weight:Dimensions:Pros: Cons:Price at time of publish: $47MaterialWeight: Dimensions: