Portable and Practical: The Low-Down on Camping Tables

stainless steel kettle, chair,portable gas stove, bowl and vintage lanterns on outdoor wooden table in camping area

Key Points

  • Camping tables bring a wealth of benefits.

  • Follow guidelines to correctly fold a collapsible camping table.

  • Choose from a variety of camping tables: small and lightweight, with a sink, ample storage, or made for grilling.

Picture this: You're in the woods and just cooked a splendid meal. You've got some chairs to sit in, utensils to shovel the food in your mouth, and the finest camping companions imaginable. What's missing is a place to set down your plates, play some cards, and slam your fists in uproarious laughter. When did you last eat dinner at the table with your family or go camping? That's where a camping table comes in.

A good old-fashioned family dinner, where people actually look each other in the face and talk, is good for you. Equally beneficial is an outing in the woods. Fill these two needs with one deed by whipping out a camping table.

It's a simple yet effective piece of equipment that provides space for people to share meals, mirth, and memories.

Collapsible Tables: The Most Underrated Camping Gear

Every camper remembers to bring the basics: food, water, and shelter.

Some things, however, make the experience a little sweeter.

Enter the collapsible table.

The name is surprisingly ambivalent. If your occupation involves massive amounts of data, a collapsible table might be a way to organize information. If that's you, take that definition and expel it out of your brain at lightspeed. It has no place here.

People call soft drinks soda, pop, or soda-pop. It goes by many names. The same thing with collapsible camping tables. Some folks call them portable folding tables. Others use the term compact camping tables.

Whether you say portable, compact, or collapsible, it doesn't matter. The function is the same: It's an easy-to-set-up table when camping.

The Bountiful Benefits of Camping Tables

While certainly not a requirement, a camping table is an excellent addition to the camping gear checklist. It's the prime place to gather for meals and set your coffee when out in the boonies.

This kind of table brings bountiful benefits.


Collapsible camping tables are lightweight and easy to carry. They allow you to enjoy a lovely meal almost anywhere in the woods.

A family enjoys RV camping breakfast around a table

Doesn't Take Up a Lot of Space

The collapsibility of a camping table makes them a breeze to store in a car trunk or lug in your backpack. Space is always limited when camping. Camping tables take up a surprisingly small amount of your precious carrying capacity.


Say you want to cook a quick lunch. All you have to do is set up a camping table.

Imagine you want to play a board game in the woods for an hour. Set up a camping table.

Picture yourself getting stung by a bee and going into anaphylaxis. Set up a — actually, no; go immediately to the hospital.

The convenience is in the quickness. It takes less than a minute to set up a camping table.


Well-designed camping tables are made up of steel, aluminum, or plastic and are ready to endure the trials of the great outdoors. They are sturdy and able to shrug off any extreme weather nature throws at them.


Camping tables are not just places to eat. If you're a painter, it's the place to set up your canvas. If you're a writer, it's a prime place to pump out some prose. If you're camping with many people, it's a perfect space to set out a smörgåsbord.

Camping table and chairs

Easy To Clean

To clean the table, take a wet wipe and scrub it. If you're in a hurry, dip it in a nearby river. The sleek, cleanable tabletop materials make exterminating stains and crumbs effortless.

Camping tables are not regular tables. While the benefits are aplenty, a collapsible table doesn't have the stern, immovable nature of a Victorian oaken table. They also don't support as much weight — so leave the roast pig at home.

If this seems like the piece of gear your next camping trip requires, then indulge the desires a camping table inspires. In other less poetic words, go buy one.

How To Fold a Portable Camping Table

The secret to staying out of prison is simple: Don't commit a crime.

The secret to dealing with camping tables isn't that simple.

There is no one size fits all approach to folding a portable camping table. Every model and design comes with its own steps, but a few general steps apply to all.

Clear and Clean the Table

Clearing and cleaning the table is common sense — but common sense is an increasingly uncommon thing. Remove items from the table and clean up any messes on the tabletop.

Breakdown the Legs of the Table

The structures supporting the table break down in the middle and fold inwards. Often there is a button to press or a lever to pull before the legs break down.

Fold the Tabletop

Once you secure the legs, fold the table top onto itself — like folding a piece of paper. Some tables fold in half, while others fold into quarters. Look at the hinges at the bottom of the tabletop to determine how your table folds.

Secure the Table

Find the latches or straps that secure the table into its storage position. You don't want the thing to unravel when you're hiking.

Sturdy and well-designed camping table and stove

Best Small Camping Tables

If you're looking for a lightweight table that two people may comfortably sit around, stop your search right here. The following recommendations are the best small camping tables on the market in 2023.

Helinox Table One

When packed, the Helinox Table One is 16 inches long and weighs one and a half pounds — far lighter than a newborn baby, and doesn't cry. For its small size, it holds up to 110 pounds of weight.

Set up is quick and easy. The five-year warranty covers you for a new one if something goes wrong.

The spacious tabletop has enough room to set down a few plates or play a card game with ease. If you're sipping some coffee or even chugging Johnnie Walker, the mesh cup holders give you a perfect spot for your beverage.

ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table

The ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table is a wonderful camping table, complete with many nifty accessories.

It's a solid piece of equipment, poised to withstand hardcore weather. The fabric is waterproof, so mold and stench aren't a concern if it gets wet.

The zippered pouch on the side is perfect for storing your cell phone or a deck of cards. Below the tabletop is another surface made of the same polyester material as the tabletop. It has space to store other things you want to keep close by and two cup holders.

A set of corner straps and a buckle system give you control over the tautness of the table. If you need the polyester tabletop to be hard as oak to provide a flat space for a chessboard, adjust it. It's that easy.

A two-person foldable camping table in front of RV

Best Camping Tables for Grilling

If you're looking to cook up something scrumptious outside, a camping table designed for grilling is the way to go. The tops are solid, capable of holding the legions of burgers and hotdogs your expert hands cook.

The space is generous, welcoming not just main courses but also a host of chips, dips, and chicken strips. On the downside, they're bulky and not easy to carry around.

If you want to prepare an outdoor buffet, get a camping table made for grilling.

Lifetime Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table

The Lifetime Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table isn't the sexiest camping table on the market. What it lacks in looks, it makes up for in utility.

The table top is expansive and ideal for large get-togethers or beer pong tournaments. The legs are solid steel, giving it a sturdy, unbreakable demeanor — like a weightlifter who never skips leg day.

It's heat-resistant, dent-proof, easy to clean, and affordable. While easy to set up, it's not the lightest camping table. Campers on the move best avoid this one.

For those looking to host a BBQ, create a space for children to craft, set up some sports tournaments (with or without alcohol), and share a meal with comrades, this table is for you.

Coleman Pack-Away Folding Camp Kitchen

Cooking and grilling are at the heart of Coleman's Pack-Away Camp Kitchen.

The fiberboard top is a prep area. The side table accommodates mid-sized grills. Going from prep to cooking is effortless since everything is within your grasp.

No chef is complete without their tools. If it's dark, this table has a place for you to hang a light. Five hooks are also available for hanging spatulas, ladles, or game meat.

Below the table is a mesh shelf for storing any other odds and ends you might need.

When tummies are full and eyelids are heavy, the table folds snugly into a storage case with straps. Do some bicep curls with it; it's 14.33 pounds.

Camping picnic table with cooking accessories

Best Camping Tables With Storage

Some people need a lot of space for their mountains of stuff. If that's you, no worries. Sometimes having an absurd amount of things is necessary, like when you're camping with a baby.

AHB Outdoor Folding Camp Table

With the AHB Outdoor Folding Camp Table, the top holds 66 pounds. Below are two sizable storage bags, capable of holding 33 pounds each. That's a whopping 132 pounds in total! For the visual learner, that's roughly a baby-elephant-worth of weight.

Sturdy, anti-corrosive aluminum sheaths the table, adding resistance to rust and mud.

The storage bags attach to Velcro strips underneath the table. Pull them off the Velcro strip to take them out.

Browning Camping Basecamp Cook Station

The Browning Camping Basecamp Cook Station is the ideal camp kitchen. It's not a table for eating. It serves as a place to store things and cook a meal.

The tabletop is aluminum and removable. It comes with a windscreen that protects the tabletop from adverse weather. If you're looking for more working room, remove the windshield.

The polyester storage cabinets below the tabletop give plenty of breathing room to whatever you store there. The shelves within the storage cabinets are the star of the show if you like to be organized. It makes it easy to organize things logically instead of just chucking things in the cabinets.

Lightweight, check. Durable, check. Heat-resistant, check. Easy to set up, check. Cooking food in the woods on a gorgeous, piney night, checkity-check.

Best Camping Tables With a Sink

Civilization peaked when it created camping tables with sinks. Indoor plumbing and penicillin are cool, but washing your hands when camping 15 miles from the nearest road — C'mon!

Camping table in front of Volkswagon travel van

Outsunny Portable Folding Camping Sink Table

The Outsunny Portable Folding Camping Sink Table has two sink basins — one for whatever you want and the other for whatever else you want.

It has a garbage bag holder and a built-in ruler.

It's straightforward to get the water running. Just plug in a hose.

At 22.4 pounds, it is light for this kind of table.

If you need running water and still want to enjoy some rays, this camping table/sink combo is ideal for your next backyard extravaganza.

Unfold and Expand Your Camping Experience

Nature is just a place. Nothing within it is enough to make a memorable camping experience.

As the Ghanaian author Ama Ata Aidoo wrote, "Humans, not places, make memories."

The joy of camping comes from shared memories. Good people are what make the experience memorable. Similarly, breaking bread with others runs laps around a TV dinner for one.

Fuse the two by getting a camping table. It's the place to share a meal cooked over the fire, take off your boots, smell the fresh piney air, and create those memories that make life worth living.

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