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What if I told you that camping tables could be the key to experiencing the great outdoors like a seasoned overlander? Boiling one serving of Ramen at a time over a Jetboil is fine for lightweight backpacking trips, but if you have access to a vehicle, there’s no reason you can’t up your cooking game.
A folding camping table doesn’t take up that much room in a truck or SUV, and can transform your workspace when the time comes to cook, clean, repair gear, or plot your next route on a physical map. Luckily for you, there are options that blow old-school pop-up tables out of the water.
We tracked down some of the best so you can spend less time researching the best camping tables and more time — you know — actually camping. Here’s what we found.
- Best Overall: Coleman Folding Table
- Best Budget: Lifetime Folding Table
- Best Eco-Friendly: GoSun Solar Table
Car camping and backyard cookouts don’t present the same gear restrictions as backpacking, but it’s still better to have equipment that is strong and light rather than flimsy and heavy. Coleman knows this as well as any manufacturer in the outdoor space, and it delivers with these folding tables.
Above all else, these camping tables stand out with an all-metal construction. That means they’re strong — in fact, they can support up to 300 pounds. Because the metal used is aluminum, Coleman accomplishes this without adding weight. Both tables combine for just 12.3 pounds. The adjustable legs can be set to heights of 14.5, 27.5, and 31.5 inches. Because you get two small collapsible tables instead of one big one, you can use them together or separately, making them perfect for larger groups that want to spread out.
At $90, these tables hit the sweet spot of functionality and value. They work well, outlast the competition, and require minimal effort to set up and take down. Just watch out for the corner supports on the legs to avoid pinched fingers.
Why it made the cut
This set of two aluminum folding tables is light enough to go anywhere and tough enough to not rust if the weather turns sour on you.
- Weight: 12.3 pounds
- Weight limit: 300 pounds
- Tabletop size: 31.5 x 15.75 inches
- Folded dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3 inches
Aluminum is light, strong, and weather-resistant
Includes two tables
Can be adjusted to three heights
Folding legs can pinch fingers
Wobbly when used on even ground
Have you ever been to a cookout or outdoor event? If you have, you’ve seen this table before. Lifetime keeps costs low with inexpensive plastic that costs pennies to produce and holds up to the elements better than many materials that cost a lot more.
This folding camping table is easy enough for one person to carry with the attached handle but opens to provide a large, eight-square-foot workspace. You can set the legs to heights ranging from 22 to 36 inches. Some owners have pointed out that the leg supports are tucked further into the corners than usual, opening up extra legroom underneath. The load rating of 200 pounds should be more than enough for hearty cookouts. If the popularity of this folding table is any indicator, it should meet your car-camping or RV needs for years to come.
Even though its top is plastic, this is the heaviest camping table on this list by about half a pound. You can also expect it to show signs of wear earlier than a more expensive table. But, for less than half the price (on sale), it’s a damn good buy.
Why it made the cut
Your camping budget should go to things that are more exciting than a pop-up table; this one gets the job done without breaking the bank.
- Weight: 19 pounds
- Weight limit: 200 pounds
- Tabletop size: 48 x 24 inches
- Folded dimensions: 24 x 23 inches (thickness not specified)
Plastic top is durable and low-maintenance
Plastic top is unaffected by the elements
Load-rated at 200 pounds
Plastic is more susceptible to damage than metal
Feels flimsy compared to metal tables
If your style of camping involves a table, it’s safe to guess that you like to bring along an electronic device or two. I’m a big proponent of solar charging for off-grid power, and this table from GoSun uses a solar panel for half its surface area to double as a portable charging station.
Surprisingly, the Solar Table is about the same size as the Lifetime folding table and half a pound lighter despite all the high-tech gadgetry. Wrapped inside the metal frame are a traditional tabletop and one made from a durable, weather-resistant solar panel. Under the solar panel is a pouch to keep your devices while they charge. Like the other tables on this list, the Solar Table has adjustable legs that can be set to a few different heights.
Because this camping table’s solar panel is only rated at 60 watts, it’s really only intended to charge small, handheld devices. That means your battery bank, phone, camera, and flashlights are good to go but a laptop and electric refrigerator are out of luck. If it were up to me, I’d plug in my Bluetooth speaker, drop it in the side compartment, and keep the playlist rocking as long as I want.
Why it made the cut
What’s more eco-friendly than a camping table that harnesses the power of the sun? Pair this with a solar power bank to gain access to clean, reliable energy anywhere you go.
- Weight: 18.5 pounds
- Weight limit: 75 pounds
- Tabletop size: 48 x 28 inches
- Folded dimensions: 28 x 24 inches (thickness not specified)
Use the solar panel as a tabletop when not in use
Three height settings available
Designed to be water-resistant and outdoor-friendly
Realistically to be used for charging handheld devices
Bring your own power bank or adapter
Things to consider before buying a camping table
First and foremost, you need to make sure that whichever table you buy is large enough to get the job done and small enough to fit in the space you have available. Do yourself a favor and pack your vehicle as you would for a camping trip, then measure the space you have to work with. Don’t eyeball it, call it “plenty of room,” and find out your small camping table is an inch too long to get the door or tailgate shut.
Camping gear benefits from being light, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Make sure your next camping table is strong enough to survive being bounced around in the back of a truck, set up and broken down multiple times every day, and loaded with weight on uneven ground.
Obviously, your camping table will have a flat surface and a few legs. But what else does it have to offer? You can get one with storage, a small collapsible table, or even one with solar panels built into the tabletop. Look through our picks with an eye toward the rest of your gear to see what will work best in your overall loadout.
FAQs about camping tables
Q: Are camping tables necessary?
A: No, but neither are sleeping pads, and both make camping a lot more enjoyable.
Q: How much weight can a camping table hold?
A: That varies, but you should always check the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit to be safe. Remember that the ground conditions underneath your table will factor into the weight limit, too.
Q: How do you set up a camping table?
A: That varies from table to table, but most are designed to be easily set up and taken down by one person.
Q: Where can I buy a camping table?
A: There are lots of stores where you can hunt for a parking space, fight for the attention of understaffed salespeople, and find out that the table you want isn’t in stock after all. If it were me, I’d just click one of the links in this story and have it sent to my doorstep.
It doesn’t matter what kind of camping you’re doing; you need to be able to count on your gear. The Coleman Folding Table is light enough for one person to carry and set up, won’t rust in the rain, and is stable enough to support a grill. It also does a good job of prioritizing quality, so you pay for a reliable product instead of extra features that may or may not add value for you. If you’re looking to keep things simple, it’s the camping table for you.
It’s nice to spend less when you can, but not at the expense of getting a decent product. Unfortunately, we found dozens of camping tables and most of them come from brands we’ve never heard of that raise a lot of questions about quality. A quick Amazon search yielded seven pages — about 64 results — and a lot of the tables looked like rebranded generic products pumped out of the same anonymous factory. To protect your investment, I stuck to a few brands with reliable track records of success. I prioritized products with enough information about materials and construction that I felt like I had a good idea of what would show up in the mail. The three I ended up with are the ones I’d be most confident buying.