Several years ago I started a project to suss out which camp tables are the best of the rest. In my head the working title for that article was “Camp Tables that Don’t Suck.”I didn’t end up writing anything because the majority of the units I tested—sucked. One of the few to live up to its lofty reputation, and one I truly liked then as much as I do now, is the Snow Peak Single Action Table.
Available in three rectangular sizes and two round versions, the Single Action series comes in tall and low models. For my most recent test I selected the large rectangular table as it has all the real estate I need to prep and serve food to a hungry foursome of campers. In a pinch it can easily accommodate a group of six, all seated at normal sized chairs.
One of my biggest grievances with most camp tables is relative to setup. Some come packaged in a bag full of loose components which have to be assembled one by one, often in a precise order. Others unfold with minimal steps or effort, but are so unstable that every minor bump has the table wobbling like a drunk sailor. By contrast, Snow Peak’s table can be fully deployed in a matter of seconds and once the supports are locked in place, displays an impressive degree of stability.
The key to the Single Action’s ease of setup is the unique design of the leg and hinge assembly. Made of stainless steel and aluminum components, the system deploys the legs simultaneously as the table top is unfolded. Setup is achieved in one fluid motion. To ensure the table doesn’t collapse, and to add another layer of support, a stainless steel rod connects to the lower leg pivot with a rotating lock. From start to finish, the process takes but 5 seconds to complete.
Once the table is unfolded, the final step is to remove the heavy nylon cover, beneath which sits the beautiful bamboo table top. Whereas some tables are made to be lightweight, Snow Peak appears to have saved weight where necessary, but left some considerable heft in the top deck. The laminated bamboo tabletop is dense, nearly an inch thick, and sanded to a nice sheen with a durable finish. It’s not just elegant, it’s durable and up to the task of surviving all of the abuses of camp living.
As big as it is, I expected the largest of the three rectangular tables would be a little on the heavy side, and at 28 pounds is isn’t particularly light, but it is extremely solid. I was even pleased with the 48- by 14.5- by 3.5- inch stowed dimensions as they make portaging the table inside my vehicle convenient. All things considered, it truly is the best camp table I have used to date; the packed size and weight are a reasonable trade-off for the ease of use and the quality of the product.
This brings us to the elephant in the room. The Snow Peak logo denotes a certain premium expectation for pricing and at $385 this is not a price point product. I think it’s a reasonable ask though as I’ve burned through half a dozen $80 tables in the last 10 years. The Single Action Table will likely be the last table I will ever have to purchase. It not only doesn’t suck, it’s the table standard other manufacturers should try to achieve.
Snow Peak Red Chair
My wife is the ultimate chair critic and over the last few years has not found a sitter she likes better than the Snow Peak Red Chair. Like the Single Action Table, the setup of the Red Chair is a major bonus. The two-step process has the chair ready for a comfy repose in as little as three seconds. The aluminum frame is lightweight and sturdy and the padded armrests eliminate contact with any hard components. We’ve tested dozens of chairs over the years, and while the Red Chair doesn’t pack small, it is light and there’s no denying the comfort. – CN