Three Keys to Finding Your Next Folding Outdoor Table

A collapsible, portable table doesn’t seem like an important piece of gear, until you’re off the grid without one.

Camp Knife cutting salami
Collapsible tables are ideal for camp kitchens, camp meals, and just about any other “community” activity you might enjoy around your designated pit stop.Mali Maeder

After you stash a folding outdoor table in your truck or camper, you’ll never leave home without it. No more fiddling with the camp stove as it wiggles on a rock. No more messing with a lantern trying to balance it on a log. Even the most civilized tasks go smoother on a great outdoor table—kids doing homework around the campfire, a S’mores buffet, even cleaning all those fish for dinner. Folding tables can be big enough to skin a deer on, or small enough to simply hold a book and a glass of wine. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without one.

Lifetime 80160 Commercial Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table

Heavy or Light Duty?

This table is tough—it comes with a 10-year warranty.Lifetime

It’s one thing to set a folding table for a campsite dinner. You won’t need a beefy build for that. If you’ll use the table as a makeshift workbench, however, or for heavy-duty tasks like processing big game or working on outboard motors, look for strong powder-coated steel frames and a tough high-density polyethylene top that can take a pounding but still turn away stains. And check for secure locking mechanisms on legs. While a folding table is convenient, hard users will definitely need a strong lock-up on the legs.

Cosco Deluxe 6 Foot x 30 inch Fold-in-Half Blow Molded Folding Table

How Low Can It Go?

This table stretches out to a full size, but folds in half for easier storage.CoscoProducts

Many outdoor tables are one-height-fits all, there’s no way to adjust them up or down for users of differing sizes. But some of the better models allow you to adjust and lock the legs in various positions. A 24-inch height is perfect as a child table. A 29-inch table is a better fit for adults who will be eating around the table. And for food preparation and crafts, a countertop height of 36 inches makes for more efficient work.

Camco 51680 Aqua Regular Adirondack Portable Outdoor Folding Side Table

A Side Gig

This all-weather table won’t split, chip, or rot.Camco

You won’t always need a full-size dining room table. For hanging out at the beach or backyard, a small side table keeps drinks close at hand, yummy hot dogs away from your dog’s snout, and can double as a card table or light stand.