Instructables
Picture of Camp Table for Backpacking
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This lightweight camp table made from tent poles, weighs just 2 lbs, breaks down in seconds to fit in a pack, and is an essential food prep and cooking stand for camping in areas without picnic tables.

This versatile work surface is perfect for cooking because it is close to kitchen counter height (home counters are typically 36 inches). At 30" tall this table sure beats having to tend to a stove on the ground.

Some ultra light backpackers may consider a table an unnecessary luxury who's weight they can forgo. For me, the utility and convenience this little table provides is worth it.

When I camp I am willing to do with out the Lazy Boy, the Zenith, and the microwave..... but at least let me keep the TV Tray Table.

The 14" diameter work surface is more than adequate for cooking with a stove, mess kit and water bottle. Note: Be sure to check the Instructables link in step 10 for two light weight stove designs that have been used with this table.

Photo four on this step shows the table easily supporting the weight of 9 liters of pop.
 
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Step 1: Description

Picture of Description
The table structure is primarily old tent poles (Our Boy Scout troop found itself with an excess of tent poles because the fabric portion of several tents had to be retired over the years). Being strong and lightweight they were too good to throw away.

A fabricated wood block couples the tent pole arms and legs to complete the table's support structure. The complete structure weighs 1 lb. including the wood block and all the hardware and stakes.

The actual table top is a pizza cooking tray. The one I found had pre-punched holes for crisping the pizza (which has the benefit of making it lighter) and although it is steel, it only weighs 1 lb. I am on the lookout for an equivalent 14" diameter aluminium tray which would reduce the weight by about 1/3.

I found that the 14" diameter is a good workable size. Anything larger would require a wider leg stance to maintain stability and besides, 14" is the largest size that will fit within the width of my pack.
vegascrist3 years ago
I love this! Might just make one myself, but I'll have to come up with the legs. All I have are fiberglass poles.
DixieGeek4 years ago
You can find aluminum pans like this on eBay: http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=m38&_nkw=aluminum+pizza+pan
Great Idea, Try this project with very little work. Take a 4-leg or a 3- leg Tri-pod seat, remove the fabric or not. Fill the top of the leg holes with epoxy, and place a molly bolt in the wet epoxy. Bolt the pizza tray to the four legs. (I use a GSI table and it lays perfect on top of a 4-leg seat. You have a table or an extra seat when not using the table. This works great for kayaking trips for a cooking table. Not worried about weight but size.Cost $20.00. Tom C
nerdoug3 years ago
great design, and couldn't agree more with the value of a stable table at camp. However I'd be willing to lower and simplify table to save bulk for canoe trips. My contemplated variation: short version with 3, foot long legs permanently hinged to pizza tray, keeping the corks, pegs and retaining chain. Goal would be to have it all fold down to size of tray, and half an inch thick. I'll start parts scrounging, and pass on details if I'm successful.
davabi nerdoug3 years ago
Hi Nerdoug, eager to know if you suceeded in getting an even simpler and lighter table.
I'll try on my side to get something proper. I don't where to find the pizza round plate so will be looking for thin aluminium sheet
many outdoor dining furniture come with this set too, thus, you no need to DIY yourself:)
" no need to do it yourself yourself"?
That's sort of along the lines of a double negative... ;-)
But then, ''DIY yourself'' ( as it was put) is why we're here.
It's more fun that way.
there no such coprehendable sentence or intelegable sentence that include the words "no need to do it yourself" you can always diy!
I would think that if you saw the tray in half then put a hinge on it you could fold it up and wouldn't have to carry around a large metal circle on your back
sodasound4 years ago
I suspect this design can be adapted to an "available materials design." Perhaps a sort of rope ring for the splay block, a stretched cloth table surface, and available wood or other straight-stock. I like the staking-features you included.
MrMakeveli5 years ago
Like many others, I was a little hesitant at first regarding this instructable. Packing in a table seemed like much more hassle than it'd be worth. Something about packing in a big circular top seemed a little misplaced. However, after reading it and realizing that a) the top is only 14" and could be smaller and b) it packs down very light, has really made me reconsider it. Although I am contemplating about it on a solo trip I will almost definitely be making one to take when I go with a few friends. Having even a small table like this gets even more useful if you have a few people going. Also, very clear instructions and well thought out. Good job.
Mig Welder5 years ago
cool
schwieb5 years ago
You should be proud of your design. It is great, and looks far more useful than a similar product by Coleman, which I was thinking about emulating. Think I'll just build yours!

I don't care what you 'ultralighters' say, cooking on the ground sucks just as much as sitting on the ground. I do consider myself a 'lightweight' hiker, but a few comforts do make a difference for me.
I have to say that I thought this was a bad idea at first, but the fact that it is sturdy and only one pound makes it fairly reasonable, and when you find an aluminum pan this will be definitely worth bringing on backpacking trips. I hate cooking on the ground (idk why), so I'll probably be making one of these soon. Thanks.
kissiltur5 years ago
this is a terrific idea - very well done, and clear instructions! What's a molly lag, though? I've never encountered the term before, and Googling for it points to this ible!
hpstoutharrow (author)  kissiltur5 years ago
I may have invented a new fastener!.... Unfortunately, it was a naming combination of the few fastener types below. To be clear, the type of fastener used is classified as a plastic wall anchor (the one on the right in the picture below. Sorry for the confusion.
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Only one of those is a Molly anchor. The one on the extreme left is an older design called a toggle bolt.
Thank you for the clarification - I suspected as much from the yellow end sticking out of the pole, but wanted to be sure. Molly lag is certainly a pretty name though. FWIW, I still call those things rawl plugs from the original fibrous wall anchors that used to be sold in the UK.
your dog5 years ago
I made something similar to this with some rope and a piece of metal I found while hiking. mine was more of a seat though
mg0930mg5 years ago
Really Cool!
Definitely 2 thumbs up! Great job. Thanks.
I like it. Simple, easy to build, and useful even at home - I hate the folding TV dinner tables, and this would be much easier to set up.
This is a really, really great idea. When I went camping with my parents when I was little, we'd often drag one of those metal card tables along, but this is so much easier! (And about 30 pounds lighter!)