If you do a fair amount of car camping, then a camping table like this one from Timber Ridge might be just what you need for better camping meals. As you may already know, there are a variety of different options out there when it comes to camping tables – everything from something you can stow in your pack to something a bit larger like this one where you need a reasonable amount of space in your vehicle for the table.
Here at Active Weekender, we got the opportunity to test out this table and see how it is out in the field. So, if you’ve been considering buying yourself one of these, then keep reading to see what our team thinks about this model.
Disclosure: We received this table for free from the Timber Ridge team in exchange for our honest review. This does not bias our opinions below.
When this table arrived, the first thing I thought when taking it out of the box was – “wow, this is heavier than expected!” Personally, I’m more accustomed to the smaller, more lightweight tables that REI makes so this thing was feeling heavy to me at the time (turns out my arms were just tired, lol!) – but I also immediately noticed that it has a lot more surface area than what I’m used to from a camping table.
Once completely out of the box, we all agreed that this is a bigger camping table than most of the models out on the market, which seems like a great option for families. Sure, a lot of families end up at campgrounds that have picnic tables, but what about those who don’t? One of these offers a good amount of surface space for your camp stove and for everyone to crowd around and chow down.
I also took the time to weigh in the table to see just how much it did weigh – only 10.2 lbs. So, while it is heavier than some models, it’s actually not as heavy as I first thought.
The surface of this table is also hard, which is great for sturdiness. If you’ve ever tried to set up a camp stove on a surface that isn’t level and hard, then you know what I’m talking about here!
As expected, the table folds in half and the legs pop out. You secure them in place much in the same way that you do with a card table, so it looks easy to use and set up.
At first glance all set up, it looks more suited for my back patio than at a campsite beside the car. That’s because it looks really nice and it’s a larger table that doesn’t break down all that small. But, if you’re just car camping, the size might be a non-issue. Though I do wonder how one of these fits in the back of a hatchback or other small vehicle that someone might use for car camping.
Before digging more into what the team thinks about the Timber Ridge Camping Table, let’s take a look at it’s specs so that you know what you’re getting if you buy one of these.
Direct from their Amazon page, the features are listed as:
- STRONG STABILITY: 47″Lx 23.5″W MDF adjustable height tabletop. Item weight: 10 lbs. Solid Powder-coated aluminum frame and heat resistant table top
- TWO ADJUSTABLE HEIGHTS: Table top has two heights: 21” and 28”
- PORTABLE DESIGN: Both the desktop and legs are foldable. Folds up into convenient carrying case for easy transport and storage. Packing dimension: 26 x3.5 x25.5 inch. Handle strap on the case for easy carrying
- VERSATILITY: Great for outdoor activities such as Camping, Hiking, Picnics, Fishing, Sporting Events, Garden, BBQ and so on. A great HOLIDAY GIFT for friends and families
- 1-YEAR MANUFACTURE’S WARRANTY: We back our products with a full 1 year manufacturers warranty against any defective workmanship and material. We offer industry leading customer service on all of our products
In regards to what it’s made out of and the listed weight, that comes in at:
- Panel: Medium Density Fibre Board
- Frame: Aluminum frame
- Package Weight: 11.88 lbs
I think it’s also important to point out that despite me thinking this table would look great on my patio, it’s actually not designed to be left out in the elements like that. The metal bits will likely rust out in the rain and I suspect that the MDF will warp or otherwise damage. So, don’t leave this one sitting outside while you sleep in your tents!
Cleaning and Maintenance information from the manufacturer:
1. Do not leave in the elements, as the metal parts may rust.
2. Check stability regularly. Screws may loosen and need to be tightened.
Setting Up The Table
Before taking the table out in the field, I decided to set it up in my house just to see how it does and to make sure that it was working as intended. You have to unclasp that levers at either end of the handle (see image above) so that you can open up the folded table.
Once you do that, you’ll notice that there is some criss-crossed thin metal strips on each side of the table’s under side. These seem to be for stability purposes, which I’ll get to in a moment.
Those strips seem to only be connected to the tables sides on the edges, and not in the center. And yes, they are thin, but having them there is better than not having them!
Next, you lift up each side of the legs. And then you have to lock in on all four corners, just like with a card table. You can see what I mean in the image below.
Getting these locked into place is easy, as expected. However, getting them unlocked is a bit more of a challenge as the metal is thin and it kind of hurts your hand since you’re pulling on it to unlock it. (I suggest wearing a pair of gloves to do that part when you’re taking down the table.)
The last part of setting up the table is locking the surface levers so that the table doesn’t try to fold in half on you! The levers are easy to flip over, as seen in the image below.
That’s what it takes to set this thing up.
This table can also extend to a higher height, if you desire. I found the easiest way to do that was to start at one end, put your foot on the middle of the bar that connects the two legs, and then lift up on the table surface until you hear each side click into place. Then, go to the other side and repeat. A little silver button will pop out once it clicks into place.
The real challenge when it comes to extending this table is getting it back down. See, you have to push in that little silver button – all the way in – in order to be able to push the table back down. The problem with this is that the silver button doesn’t easily get into place.
Honestly, I hate products that use these, since they are basically just a finger-pinching disaster waiting to happen. I feel like this is the cheapest possible design and that there has to be a better way of adding this feature. This is one of my big complaints about this table. Of course, it’s not a deal breaker, but just more of an annoyance.
Testing It Out For Practical Use
I noticed when playing around with the table that I had a few things that I wanted to test –
- how much weight could it hold?
- how sturdy is it?
- can it support weight where there aren’t any of those black support strips on the underside of the surface?
If you’ve read our VSSL Cache review, then you know that when we do hands-on reviews that we really like to give products a serious stress test. And we did just that with this table!
How Much Weight Can It Hold?
Unfortunately, the product page for this table doesn’t tell you how much weight you can safely put on the table without breaking it. I noticed that one Amazon owner mentioned maybe 40 lbs – 50 lbs being a good guess for their experience, but that wasn’t enough for me!
So, we setup the table on it’s lower setting (the standard height setting) and began adding weight to it.
We started out with 45 pounds and the table was still standing.
Then, we added 12 more pounds, followed by another 16 pounds. Yup, the table was still standing with a total of 73 pounds sitting on it’s surface.
It’s possible the table can support more weight, but it was getting so shaky that we stopped adding weight to it.
We repeated the same weight test with the table extended fully and it also supported the 73 pounds of stuff.
How Sturdy Is It?
The table is made of decent components for the money, so it is relatively sturdy. The surface is smooth and solid, which is nice.
Based on our experience, we would not choose to use the table at it’s most extended height because it was just not sturdy enough. If you were only playing cards or something, then it would be fine. But we’d hesitate to put a camp stove or drinks on it at it’s highest, especially if you are camping with children who may bump into the table.
At it’s lowest height, it is reasonably sturdy when empty and we think about 40-45 pounds it the most weight you can put on the table without having to worry too much about stability.
Of course, keep in mind that we are assuming that you are evenly distributing the weight on the table’s surface. As you’ll see in just a moment, the sturdiness of the table can change if the weight is not evenly distributed.
Can It Support Weight Where There Aren’t Any Support Strips On The Underside Of The Surface?
As expected, if you don’t have your gear on the table so that it is evenly distributed along the support strip lines, then there is some diminished stability from the table.
We tested adding different amounts of weight directly in the center of what would be the white squares on the underside of the table. These are the areas of the table surface with zero support – and this makes up a lot of large spots on the table.
What did we find?
First, we tried 28 pounds and that was definitely too much! The table surface bowed down and dipped a bit. Upon seeing this, we quickly removed some weight.
At 20 pounds, even that was pushing it since the surface was still dipping down a bit.
Based on our testing, if you cannot evenly distribute the weight along the surface where there is support, then you should not put more than 8-10 pounds of stuff in those areas.
At the end of the day, the Active Weekender team thought that this was a decent option for some campers, but not all. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons that we found with the Timber Ridge Camping Table:
- Surface is larger than most camping tables.
- Carry handle makes it easy to move around campsite.
- Smooth, solid surface makes it easy to work, cook, etc.
- If evenly distributed, can support an impressive amount of weight, even though it does get a bit of the shakes.
- Easy to set up.
- Easy to clean up any spills, etc.
- Not compact and may take up too much room in some vehicles.
- Can only support a lot of weight easily if evenly distributed.
- Basically useless at extended height due to stability issues.
- Table surface will dip and bow if you don’t place heavy items in supported spots.
- Not the most lightweight option on the market.
When you consider the cost of this table and it’s size, you do realize that it is a good value. At it’s current retail price, it seems to be one of the cheaper options at this size. So, if you’re in the market for a larger option next time you go car camping, then give this one a consideration.
You can get more info on it at Amazon.
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