Why a portable picnic table will improve your camping holidays and outdoor picnics - and the best available
You may not realised how handy a portable picnic table can be - but they’re an absolute godsend on camping trips
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Why buy a portable picnic table?
A portable picnic or camping table is one of those items that you think you don’t really need – until you finally invest in one, and wonder how you did without it.
And while in some ways a portable table is a simple bit of kit to buy, there are a surprising variety of shapes, sizes and designs available.
What type of table should you buy?
You’ll find dining tables, low coffee tables, lightweight, packable tables and even full-blown kitchen cabinet-style tables on sale, so it’s easy to find the right design to suit any kind of camper and picnic-er.
Think about your camping requirements
Quite how portable a table you pick should depend on how much space you have to store it, and how and where you plan to transport and use it. If you have a small car boot or limited storage at home, pick a lightweight, foldable table.
If you need to feed a family of six, pick a larger design that will comfortably seat you all. Off to a festival or to hang out in the park?
A table with its own carry bag makes life much easier if you’re walking any distance. Lower coffee-style tables are great for camping couples, as they take up little space but will still hold drinks and snacks, and work well with lower camping chairs.
And there are even tables that double up as kitchen workstations, designed for holding a camping stove and your chopping boards - perfect for keen chefs who like to take everything but the kitchen sink along with them when they go camping.
Whatever design you go for, look for a table that is lightweight and has foldable legs for easy storage, but that is sturdy and wobble-free once you stand it in place.
Many camping tables have wipe-clean or even antimicrobial surfaces, which is very handy for keeping things spick and span.
Don’t forget to check that your table will seat the whole family, and check that the height of your new table will work together with your current camping chairs or stools.
Decathlon Folding Camping Table
Key specs – Weight: 8.7kg; Dimensions: 120cm x 60cm.
Kudos to Decathlon – they’ve designed a great camping table that will comfortably seat six and that comes complete with four stools, all at an affordable price point.
There’s lots to like about the Folding Camping Table – it can be set up at two heights, one that will suit kids or work as a coffee table and one that works as a dining table, it folds in half for easy storage and there’s plenty of space to eat, pop a camping stove on top or lay out a big spread at a summer barbeque.
The four included stools are simple in design but handy to have to hand, and fold away inside the table when not in use.
Our top pick for family camping.
Regatta Games Table
Key specs – Weight: 2.5kg; Dimensions: 70 x 50 x 62cm.
Regatta’s Games Table does exactly what it says on the tin – this fun table has a printed fibreboard top that includes a chess board, a snakes and ladders board, tic tac toe and two spaces to lay out games of cards.
Perfect for keeping kids (or big kids) busy for hours, but this isn’t just a gimmicky design – the table itself is pleasingly sturdy and wobble-free once you unfold its legs, and can fit four campers around its aluminium frame come dinner time.
At under £25 the Games Table is a bit of a bargain whether or not you use it more often for games sessions or for eating supper together, and when you aren’t camping it’s ideal for use in a play room.
Outwell Dawson picnic table
Key specs – Weight: 12.9kg; Dimensions: 86cm x 150 cm x 67 cm.
Recreate that ‘pint in a pub garden’ feeing with your own portable picnic table.
Outwell’s Dawson design unfolds like magic into a solid picnic table complete with four integrated stools, and the erected table complete with smart bamboo finish is so solid and secure that it’s a surprise when you see how quickly it can be dismantled, folded in half and popped into a carry bag once it’s home time.
We like the comfortable built-in stools, which mean you’ll never forget to bring the right number of chairs.
The Dawson is versatile, too - great as a dining table for a family of four, as a play table, for a game of cards or just set up in the back garden all summer long.
Helinox Table One Hard Top
Key specs – Weight: 870g; Dimensions: 60cm x 40cm x 39cm.
We’re big fans of the bright and bold tie-dye print of this Helinox coffee-style table – it’s so much more fun than a bog-standard aluminium camping table, and will cheer up any campsite or festival setup.
Style points aside, Helinox’s camping kit always stands out for its long-lasting build quality, and this sturdy table is no exception.
We also like this design for its portability - the legs fold down and the top folds up concertina-style for easy storage in a small bag, which weighs just 870g and which will easily fit in a rucksack.
Matching low chairs are available, and there’s a plain black version of the table if you do want to go for a more subtle look.
Hi Gear Basecamp Kitchen
Key specs – Weight: 9.3kg; Dimensions: 128cm x 48cm x 80-111cm.
Our fourth portable table Isn’t really a table at all – it’s more of a moveable kitchen counter for your campsite.
A taller section of the Basecamp Kitchen has a built-in windshield and is designed to hold your camping stove securely in place, while two lower side tables are ideal for food preparation, and three shelves will easily hold a few days’ worth of produce.
The wider side table works as a small dining table for two, so this setup is perfect for couples who like to cook up a storm when they go camping, or just for barbeque enthusiasts to use as a workstation in the garden.
Hi Gear Picnic Table
Key specs – Weight: 3.74kg; Dimensions: 80cm x 60cm x 67cm.
Hi Gear haven’t reinvented the wheel with their Picnic Table – they’ve kept it simple with a sturdy and reliable camping table with folding legs that can seat four snugly but adequately.
The table comes with its own zipped carry bag, which is handy when you’re setting up camp at a festival or that bit further from your car, or for keeping the table clean and dry in storage, plus there’s a side handle for carrying the table itself.
The surface is easy to wipe clean, and legs feel solid and durable. A double version is also available, and will seat six.
Coleman Square Camping Table
Key specs – Weight: 3.9kg; Dimensions: 80cm x 80cm.
If you want a table for a family of four that will do you proud on camping trips and that doesn’t have unnecessary bells and whistles, Coleman’s Square Camping Table is a fuss-free choice.
This is a functional and foldable square table with plenty of space for four adults to comfortably sit and eat at, and we like its antimicrobial-treated surface, which makes this a handy choice for food prep or popping your camping stove on as well as for eating at.
The four slim legs don’t wobble and pop down quickly when you’re packing up.
The table’s surface doesn’t fold, though, so you will need a fair bit of space to store this design, even when flat.