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In a hurry? If you are looking for a camping table and just want to know what our top pick is, we recommend the ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table.
Have you ever gone camping and realized that the table at the campsite is just not usable? Either it is broken. Or it is filthy. Or maybe it is full of splinters. What do you do when this happens? We recommend bringing your own.
Camping tables mean different things to different campers. We think they can be divided into three main categories: accessory tables, dining tables and cooking, sometimes also known as cooking stations or outdoor prep tables.
For this article, we are focusing on the subset of camping tables known as dining tables. What do we mean by this? Dining tables at the campsite are tables we can use to sit around, eat on, and play games.
These are not tables intended for food prep or fitted with a wash station for clean-up after the meal is over. We consider those to be camp kitchens and tell you about our favorite one here.
Accessory tables are the shorter side tables or soft top tables that are great for some things but not for holding a plate loaded with hot food. And we tell you about our favorite one here.
Our Picks for Camping Tables for Dining:
- Top Pick: ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table
- Upgrade Pick: Camp Time Roll-A-Table
- Budget Pick: Coleman Folding Table | 4-in-1 Pack-Away Camping Table
- Other Picks:
We love that this table comes in three sizes, each tall enough and large enough to seat adults comfortably for mealtime. The functional X-frame design creates a stable surface which does not bump into the knees of those seated at the table. Measurements below are based on the Regular sized table.
- Open – 28 x 43 x 28 inches
- Closed – 5 x 43 x 7 inches
- Weight – 12 lbs
- Max Load – not specified
- Aluminum fold up top
- X-frame design for open seating
- Carry bag included
- Nonadjustable legs
- End caps pop off easily
This table rolls up to less than 4% of the size when opened, making it an easy table to pack for camping. Plus, the slats create a stable surface. It also does not have cross hatch supports which makes it easy to sit right up underneath the table.
- Open – 32 x 32 x 28 inches
- Rolled-Up Size – 5.5 x 32 inches
- Weight – 10 lbs
- Max Load – not specified
- Packs small
- Vinyl slats easy to clean
- Frame design allows chairs to slide in
- Screw in legs easier with two people
- Can be wobbly
This set can be used as two separate tables, side by side as a square, or end to end as a buffet table. Their heights can be adjusted individually allowing for one solid surface or two separate levels. It holds up to 300 pounds of weight and folds up for easy transporting and storage.
- Open – 31.9 x 3.4 x 16.3 inches
- Closed – 24 x 3 x 16 inches
- Weight – 12 lbs
- Max Load – 300 lbs
- Can be square or rectangle
- Can be one or two tables
- Can be one level or two levels
- Tabletop not waterproof
- Screw on legs not attached
This table assembles quickly and stores easily. The fact that the legs adjust individually means you can achieve a level surface even on uneven ground. It also has a storage net underneath for lightweight items such as paper plates and plastic ware.
- Open – 35.83 x 20.31 x 17.32 (to 25.19) inches
- Closed – 36.81 x 7.52 x 5.12 inches
- Weight – 10 lbs
- Max Load – 66 lbs
- Aluminum rolltop
- Net underneath for storage
- Legs adjust individually
- Protective plastic film is difficult to remove
- Clip receivers for legs are fragile
We recommend this table with reservations. It is great for camping with children. It is very low to the ground and not comfortable for adults. But for its intended purpose it works well.
- Open – 33.7 x 53.1 x 26.5 inches
- Closed – 33.6 x 3.9 x 13.1 inches
- Weight – 18.6 lbs
- Table Max Load – 66 lbs
- Chair Max Load – 220 lbs
- Handle for carrying
- Four attached seats
- Hole for umbrella
- Heavier to carry
- Seats are too small for most adults
What we looked at while researching Camping Tables for Dining:
The three most important factors, outside of price, we find when it comes to camping tables for dining are:
- Intended Use
- Size and Shape
While we do believe that camping tables tend to fall into three main categories, it can be helpful to list out what activities you want to perform with this purchase.
If you are looking for a table designed to help you prepare food, if you are looking for one with a washstand, if you want one that can house your portable grill, you are looking for a cooking table (or camp kitchen) which again we talk about here.
If you are looking for a table to sit beside your chair for placing your drink, set your lantern on, or just have a place for that book you said you were going to read, you are looking for a side or accessory table and again we talk about those here.
Instead, are you looking for a table on which to eat? How about a table around which you can play games? And what about a table intended to bring the group together to enjoy each other’s company? This is what we would call a dining table for camping and what we are talking about today.
Camping tables do come in a variety of materials, all of which are at least somewhat appropriate to the outdoors, although some of them will last longer than others. The main materials are metal (possibly with a fabric top), plastic or pvc, rattan or wicker, and wood. Each of these materials will provide a different vibe to your campsite so for those looking for a specific ambiance should keep in mind the tone each material sets.
Metal tables run the gamut from a utilitarian feel all the way to a sophisticated look depending on the type of metal and the lines of the furniture. These are typically made from aluminum, iron, or steel. Iron and steel are nice and heavy for campsites which can be windy. Aluminum tables are lightweight and can be long-lasting. However, any metal table can rust if not properly cared for.
The cheapest option available, plastic or PVC tables provide a nice casual feel to the campsite. Extremely lightweight, these easy to carry items are also the easiest ones to break so they are our least favorite types to use.
Some campers like the look of rattan or wicker furniture. To us it has a beachy feel and makes us think of Margaritaville. Unfortunately, this does not weather well and should be kept dry or they will develop mildew and mold. Therefore. we only recommend this if you are an rv camper with an awning for a covered porch.
With its classic, rustic quality, wood provides a natural feel to the campsite. You can purchase items made of treated or sealed wood which are more durable than bare wood. However, woods such as eucalyptus and teak retain their natural oils which provides damage resistance. Teak, in particular, has a lifespan of greater than 50 years. Other good woods are acacia and cedar.
Size and Shape:
Tables can be as small as a bistro table, typically intended for two people, and as large as a buffet table, which can accommodate up to 12 people. While one could possibly squeeze three or four around the bistro table, we prefer a little more elbow room. We also do not need a large buffet table as there is generally a picnic table and we have our camp kitchen for counterspace. Therefore, we prefer the square tables that fit 4 to 6 people.
Indoor tables tend to come in two heights, pub (or balcony) and standard height. Standard height usually run 30 inches, while pub height typically run 36 inches. We have found that most outdoor tables are only 26 inches high. It is good to keep that in mind when you are thinking about what chairs you are going to use while sitting around this table.
Other Factors to Consider in Looking at Camping Tables for Dining:
- Weather resistance
Portability, weight, and stability:
Let’s be honest. If the camp table is heavy or awkward to carry around, I’m not going to want to take it along. We want this gear to increase our camping enjoyment and not cause fights over who has to get it from point A to point B. Therefore, we want one that doesn’t weigh more than one person can easily carry and one that comes with a carrying case or handles for ease. And we want one that is stable once it is set up so we don’t have to worry about it tipping over when (not if) one of us bumps into it.
We want a table that is going to stand up to some wind, some rain, some sun…you know, the elements it will face outside while we are camping. Which is why we like a table with a structure made from aluminum.
Most of these tables are fairly straightforward. There are no bells and whistles. However, the picnic table style tables might come with built in seating which is a nice option for the kids. Unfortunately, most of these seats are not comfortable for adult size bodies.
Frequently Asked Questions about Camping Tables for Dining:
How many people are going to be using the table?
We are a family of three therefore we want a table that will sit four comfortably. Bistro size does not work. Buffet size is overkill. Additionally, if you are looking to also spread out with activity books or playing games, you will want some extra room.
How tall of a table will you need?
As mentioned earlier in this article, standard dining tables are roughly 30 inches tall while pub or balcony height tables are roughly 36 inches tall and outdoor dining tables are roughly 26 inches tall. We don’t see any reason to bring a pub height table on a camping trip. So standard dining tables, 26-30 inches tall are our preference. However, this begs the question of what chairs will you use. Not all camping chairs will allow you to sit comfortably around a typical dining height table. Luckily some of them come with their own benches, chairs, or stools. Look at what chairs you will be using while you make your decision.
Will there be any maintenance requirements?
As with all of our equipment, we do need to take care of our table. We hose it down regularly to get rid of spills and dirt. We have not found the need for any more in-depth maintenance although we do keep an eye on the hinges.
How easy it is to set up or take down?
All of the tables we recommend can be set up and taken down by one person in just a few minutes. There are more complicated setups out there. We do not suggest any of them because we don’t need to be frustrated with our table. And we prefer to spend our time on things like sitting around enjoying something tasty we cooked over the fire.
While there are many types of camping tables available, when it comes to a dining table, our choice is clear. We prefer the ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table for our camping dining table. After all, it meets all our criteria for dining, stability, weather resistance, and provides the most value for the price.