CAMPING & HIKING

Best Folding Table: A Buyer’s Guide and Review of Some Top Picks

Best folding table
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Folding tables are a great piece of furniture to have around. They are useful for a wide variety of endeavours that require a working surface. The great thing about them is the ability to quickly stow and move them as the need arises.

They are great for outdoor events such as barbecues, birthdays, and just lounging out in the sun. They’re also handy when you find yourself in need of an additional table when inside, whether you’re working on a DIY project or a bit of minor home repair.

Camping folding table

Since the demand for these pieces of furniture has grown tremendously over the past few years, and one folding table is going to be vastly different from another. We’re going to be discussing what you need to know to find the best folding table for you as well as a review of some great choices in the market today.

What Makes An Ideal Folding Table?

As with everything else you would want to buy, there are certain characteristics you will want in a folding table and some of these will vary depending on what you intend to use the table for.  Whether you want one for indoors, outdoors, for eating, or work, there’s a folding table perfect for your needs.

Camping table

Here are a few things you will want to keep an eye out for:

  • Weight: Just how heavy is the folding table? Will it take more than one person to carry it around? Will you be moving it a lot? These are a few concerns that have to do with weight.
    If the table is too heavy to move around, and assuming you need to move it a lot, then weight becomes a concern. You will want one that’s light if your intended use is for casual camping, especially when you can’t park your car right by the campsite.
  • Leg Mechanisms: The legs are quite literally the foundation of your folding table. How the legs are set up will factor into the table’s stability, ease of use, and storage as well. So it’s definitely something to look out for.
    Good legs should be bolted to the lower portion of the table. Wooden screws are a sign that the table might not be able to take a beating.
  • Tiers: Do you simply need a table or will you require storage underneath? If you want a folding table, simply as a surface where you can eat then a single surface is probably going to be fine.
    However, for purposes such as food preparation and cooking, you might want to have a folding table that has two or more tiers. This allows you to cook or work on the top while placing other necessary implements on the tiers underneath.
  • Size: A folding table’s size will greatly impact how convenient it will be to carry around and store. Size will also dictate the surface area of your table. You will want to consider what you want it for. If it is to serve as an eating surface, how many people do you tend to eat with?
    You will want a table that has just the right balance between size and convenience in relation to your usage. Size will also tend to factor in if you can carry the table in a tote bag, which is definitely a plus, depending on your need.
  • Warranty: A folding table, especially one that you’ll be using outside should be able to take a beating. It pretty much beats the reason for your purchase if the product you get breaks easily.
    No matter what it is you’re spending your hard-earned money on, you will want peace of mind that anything defective should be replaceable. Consider getting a table with a decent warranty. You will regret not checking for a warranty if you end up with a flawed product.
  • Edges and Corners: This should also factor into your search. If someone should inadvertently tip your table over, the edges and corners will take the brunt of the fall. If the edges aren’t well built, you’re going to look at a beat-up table after just a couple of falls.
  • Maintenance: Wear and tear are realities you’re going to have to deal with no matter what piece of furniture you get, especially if you use it regularly.  What you want is a table that is easy to clean and is resistant to corrosion as well as be stain resistant.
  • Material:  What material is it made of? Certain materials can be folded up more easily as they have cloth-like properties. Others may be made of wood or plastic which may be a tad bit stiffer but can offer a more reliable flat surface.
  • Height: This will be highly dependent on your use. Will you want a folding table for use in the garden, with people standing around it? How high are your chairs?
    The height of your table should be adjusted for seating. There are few things less comfortable than trying to eat a meal on a table that’s either too high or low.

Reviews of Top Folding Tables

APAK Goods Folding Table

APAK Goods Folding Table

Specifications:

  • Surface area: 18.5×18.5in
  • Height: 15 in
  • Weight: 2.09 Lbs
  • Color: Forest Green
  • Material: Nylon
  • Construction: Powder Coated Steel
  • Best for: Casual camping, garden use, eating surface (2 people)

Description: The APAK Goods Folding Table is a great option if what you want is a table to take with you on outdoor trips. Whether it’s the beach or a casual camping trip, this table’s construction works well.

The 2.09lb weight makes it a cinch to carry around. If you want one of the kids to participate in setting up camp, carrying and deploying this is something that even a 5 or 6-year-old can accomplish (with adult supervision of course).

Closing it up is just as easy. The nylon material makes it resistant to drink spills and easy to fold as well. The powder coated steel body gives it a decent enough resistance to rust and corrosion. The table also comes with a pair of drink holders as well.

Tension lines are included to provide additional stability and it comes with a carry bag for easy transportation and storage.

While it is definitely a good option for an outdoor adventure, the Apak goods folding table tends to experience small dents on the  surface as you put on heavier dishes and drinks.

It also doesn’t leave a lot of room if 2-3 people are using it.  The table’s height might leave a bit to be desired if you’re a bit tall and want to dine on the table.

All in all, APAK goods is a great folding table for outdoor use. Small, compact, easy to put up and rugged. It is definitely a great option.

GCI Outdoor Slim Fold Cook Station

GCI Outdoor Slim Fold Cook Station

Specifications:

  • Weight: 20.8 Lbs
  • Tiers: 2
  • Additional: 4 fold out tables
  • Counter Top: Aluminium
  • Counter top space: 24×16 in
  • Construction: Powder-coated steel
  • Best for: cookouts, casual camping, outdoor parties

Description: The GCI Outdoor Slim Fold Cook Station is a robust folding table that’s absolutely great for an outdoor cookout. The 24x13in aluminium counter top provides sufficient space for a stove or grill. The aluminium is also great at fighting stains that come with regular use.

The powder coated steel construction of the legs and pivot points make for a resilient and corrosion resistant build. The components of the folding parts are built to withstand constant use.

Folding it time and again won’t break it down as quickly as many lighter alternatives. It can be folded into and out of storage in less than a minute. The wire shelf below is also able to take a lot of weight.

You could put a relatively heavy cooler or ice box with your meat or drinks and it will be fine. (manufacturers specified that this section can safely carry 35lbs worth of weight)

The outward folding side tables can be used for a variety of purposes such as hanging garbage bags, paper towels, utensils, and glasses. These can hold 30lbs each.

The GCI Outdoor Cook Station provides what it is built for, a solid cooking surface that can take punishment. The ruggedness does come with a minor drawback. The 20lb construction is going to seem quite heavy relative to a lot of the competition.

Outsunny Portable Folding Outdoor Camp Suitcase

Outsunny Portable Folding Outdoor Camp Suitcase

Specifications:

  • Weight: 15lbs
  • Table Weight Capacity: 66lbs
  • Seat Capacity: 265 lbs
  • Table top: 33.5in x 25.5in
  • Frame Construction: Aluminium and steel
  • Table Surface: ABS plastic
  • Best for: Eating surface for 4 people

Description: The Outsunny Portable Folding Outdoor Camp Suitcase is easy to carry and maintain, great for small family outings. The 15lb table can easily take on 4 people with seats slated to be able to take 265lbs of weight.  The 33.5×22.5in table top allows ample space for food and drinks of four people.

Stacking a couple of bags on the top as well is alright as the table top can take 66lbs of weight. The ABS plastic table top and seats make for easy cleaning up after use and the folding mechanism allows it to take very little space.

It folds up neatly to a suitcase with no parts hanging out. The aluminium and steel construction of the body allow for a decent amount of corrosion resistance and toughness.

While this offering of Outsunny provides a decent option for small families, a group of heavier-set people may have trouble with it. The seats are rated to be able to take 265lbs but having four people sit on the seats may leave some with a feeling of unease.

The table’s strength also leaves a bit to be desired as it has no central support to the ground and is only held up by the sides. Abusing it with weight can potentially be risky.

ALPS Mountaineering Square Dining Table Anodized Aluminium

ALPS Mountaineering Square Dining Table Anodized Aluminium, One Size

Specifications:

  • Weight: 8lbs
  • Table top dimensions: 32x32in
  • Height: 28in
  • Includes: Bag
  • Best use: light to moderate outdoor use, light to moderate indoor use

Description: The Alps Mountaineering Square Dining Table, One Size is a nice, solid table for one to two person use. The 32×32 in table top dimension provides plenty of room for two people to sit down and enjoy a meal.

The x-frame aluminum construction provide a strong base of support and the shoulder carry bag allow you to stow and carry it with ease. The table top is aluminium, hence it can safely be used as a cooking surface so feel free to set your stove or grill on it.

Alps’ Mountaineering Square Dining Table is all around great for indoor or outdoor use. Though it may be a bit too bulky when folded up for anyone going on anything more rugged than a casual cookout.

Folding Camping Table with Drink Holders and Carry Bag

Folding Camping Table Folding Table with Drink Holders and Carry Bag by EZ Travel Collection

Specifications:

  • Color: Navy Blue
  • Table top dimensions: 19x19in
  • Height: 17.5 in
  • Weight capacity: 30lbs carry
  • Comes with Carry Bag
  • 2 drink holders
  • Weight: 2.5 Lbs
  • Best use: light outdoor use.

Description: The Folding Camping Table by EZ collection is a nice cost-effective folding table, great for a day at the beach or by a stream or campsite when paired with a small tent or large umbrella and folding chair. The easy folding in and out makes it a breeze to set up and pack away.

The 2.5 lbs carry weight and free tote bag makes it easy to carry. Two drink holders will allow a user to easily share a few drinks, talking as they enjoy their surroundings. The legs are also built to take on slightly uneven terrain, so it won’t topple as easily as the average table.

In terms of heavier use, this table will not be able to hold its own. The table is only able to hold 30lbs worth, definitely not something you want to stack your camping gear on. The top is also cloth/nylon based this makes it a tad bit flimsier than other folding tables with solid tops.

The 19x19in surface area will also only allow space for two people to enjoy their meal. 4 can use the table for a card game or some drinks, but only two will be able to comfortably store their drink on the table. Putting a filled glass or cup on the table is not highly recommended as the surface is not stable.

Helinox Table One

Helinox Table One

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.3lbs
  • Surface dimensions: 23.5x16in
  • Height: 24in
  • 2 Drink Holders
  • Polyester fabric surface
  • Free storage sack
  • Best for: light camping/ domestic use

Description: The Helinox Table One is a solid choice for your next outdoor trip. The lightweight 1.3lb table is a breeze to carry in its compact storage sack. Set up only takes seconds as the table’s construction is easy to put together.

Bungee cords on both ends help lock the table in place and stop it from collapsing. The polyester fabric surface is very taut and can pretty much be expected to hold up your drink, assuming the drink holders are occupied.

For tables with its size, it is the strongest, with manufacturers claiming that it can hold up to 110lbs or 55kg. If your requirement for a camping table is something that is very light, compact, and can hold a strong, taut table, this may well be the best camping table for you.

Despite its strong points, the Helinox isn’t perfect, the two drink holders won’t hold anything too big. And standing at 24 inches, it may be a bit too low for you if you use regular-sized chairs. The light weight also makes it very vulnerable to an errant gust of wind.

Leaving it alone near a campfire on a windy day is asking for trouble. Though you can remedy this by anchoring it with some weight. It’s also a pretty hefty investment. This is among the more expensive folding tables out there.

On the whole, it’s a very sturdy, solid, and compact surface great for “glamping” or just relaxing by the beach. Alternatively, it can easily double as a spare table for home use.

Coleman Pack-Away Outdoor 4-in-1 Table

Coleman 2000003098 Pack-Away Outdoor 4-in-1 Table

Specifications:

  • Weight: 12lbs
  • Material: aluminium
  • Surface area: 31.5×15.5inches
  • Height: Adjustable (3 heights)
  • Levelling feet
  • Table Weight Capacity: 300lbs
  • Best for: light to moderate indoor use and light outdoor use

Description: The Coleman 2000003098 Pack-Away Outdoor 4-in-1 table is a highly versatile, folding table that can take on a wide variety of possible uses and scenarios. Adjustable leg lengths allow you to keep them at the height necessary for their use.

If children will be using them, a lower configuration might be ideal. If adults will be eating on it, the highest configuration might prove appropriate.

The two tables can be configured into one long continuous table, great to stack bags or to display food in a buffet fashion. Alternatively, they can be put together to form a larger square table, great for a variety of uses, including dining and work.

If you have limited space at home, you can use this as a temporary workstation for either you or the children and be able to easily pack it away afterward. The top of the table is also solid plastic, giving it a stability advantage over flimsier nylon based tables.

Despite its solid build, Coleman’s Pack-Away Outdoor table does have its weaknesses. The table top, unlike the aluminium beam construction underneath, is made of plastic. It is not heat-resistant, making this table a no-go for anyone in need of a table to set a stove or grill on.

At the highest setting, the table is prone to easily getting knocked over from slight bumps. It’s a good idea to find ways to anchor it for stability, especially on ground that is uneven.

Overall, the Coleman Pack-Away Outdoor table is great to have for indoor use. The versatility it provides is well worth its cost. For outdoor use, however, you may need to find workarounds for certain requirements, but does a great job nonetheless for non-cooking utilization.

Fold It Out

There are indeed many folding tables out on the market today. But to find the right one, you simply need to focus on what is it that you need the table for as well as price.

Choose your Camping table

Also be sure to thoroughly check the table you get for any defects. This way you won’t have to bother arguing with the seller if it breaks after use.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Greg Hart

    Late last summer (2015) I invested quite a bit of money in the Helinox Cot One. Being an avid outdoors man and camper, I wanted something that was not only comfortable and lightweight but something that would be sure to stand the test of time. Though a little more expensive than most on the market, the Helinox Cot ticked all the boxes for me, and it has proven to be a worthy investment. Therefore, when the time came to replace my folding table, Helinox was my go-to. Like the cot, the folding table was a little more expensive than many other on the market, but once again, it has been worth it. The Helinox table is strong and sturdy, lightweight, and incredibly easy to unfold. Though your bank manager may not be pleased with how much you’ve spent, after a couple of uses you’ll be glad you paid a little more.

    • Dennis Owens

      Whenever you are outside, you really have to have a reliable and sturdy folding table. Looking for folding tables is not as easy as it seems, because if you’ll get a wobbly unit, it can cause injuries and not to mention mess.

  • Andy Brooke

    My wife and I wanted a folding/camping table for an upcoming camping trip, however, as this is the first we’ve taken as a family (or at least one where we’ve taken the kids along), we didn’t want to spend too much, just in case it was the first and last.

    After a little research, we finally settled on the Outsunny portable table, which we picked up from Amazon for a little over 50 bucks.

    Though we were excited to try it out, there were some reservations as a few of the reviews we’d read, suggested that it wasn’t strong enough to hold the weight of adults.

    Our family consists of four people, two children aged 5 and 7 who are both small in stature, and myself and my wife. I am 6’2″ and around 220 lbs and my wife is around 5’5″ and 180 pounds.

    I’m happy to say, though we were careful, the chairs were big enough for us to fit on and held our weight just fine.

    It folds up nicely, is relatively lightweight so both myself, my wife and even my 7-year-old have no problem carrying it. Overall, this is a great table, but, I probably wouldn’t recommend it weekly use, look for something a little sturdier if you plan to use it regularly.

    • Dennis Owens

      One of the most important aspects to consider when looking for a folding table for a family with young children is safety and safety mechanism. Some tables tend to be too rough on the edges, or the folding function can cause cuts or injuries. The Outsunny is a good choice, and it addresses all the needs you’ve mentioned which I think is a great decision to get one.

  • George Miller

    I bought Coleman table 5 years ago without any previous research. Considering that, I’m very satisfied with it. I can use it wherever I take it. It’s practical and I used it as a kitchen table, food prep, dish washing table… The collapsible legs allow this table different variations, so you just need to use your creativity. I’ve used it for backpacking, although it was a bit heavy, but other than that I’ve had only positive experience with it.

    • Dennis Owens

      Coleman has been around for years, and their dedication to quality and premium feel never faded. The company showcases a lot of folding tables and, as you’ve mentioned, some of them can be customized and adjusted based on your needs.

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