The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table is one of the best and most versatile tables for camping. Its aluminum-slat tabletop structure folds down small while retaining excellent rigidity and durability.

To get us a closer look, REI sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. This is what we learned:

REI Co-op Camp Roll Table Review

The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table is basically a well-built aluminum roll-top camping table. This is a basic, go-to camping gear segment, but not all camping tables are everything they should be — or the type of table you actually need.

The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table, however, is one table that most every camping enthusiast needs, which is why it’s in our guide to the best camping gifts. So why is the REI Co-op Camp Roll Table necessary camping gear? It’s made from aluminum.

Seriously, aluminum is the key. At some point, at some camping spot, you’re probably going to want to cook on top of your camping table. When you do, you want your camp table to be aluminum. Why? You don’t want your camp stove or grill to possibly get hot enough to melt or disfigure a vinyl, nylon or plastic-type camp table. Even if you have a high-quality camp stove or grill — check out our guide to the best camp stoves and grills — you may still want to set a hot pot or pan down on your camp table. In which case, an aluminum table won’t melt and ignite a stream of swear words in front of your friends, family and any neighboring campers.

Because pretty much nobody packs a trivet when when they go camping, being able to set a hot pan on your table makes it worth having at least one aluminum table in your camp gear arsenal.

REI Co-op Camp Roll Table Review: Overall Design

This photo shows the REI Co-op Camp Roll Table folded up.

The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table packs up small and fits into a slotted carrying bag.

The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table is super simple to set up and take down. To assemble the base, all you do is pull apart the legs. By pulling apart the legs, you’ll naturally slide the support bars up the legs. Once it’s all squared up, the aluminum tabletop slats unfold into a square. They’re attached by a stretch cord running through the interior of the slats. Support bars slip into support brackets on the underside of the squared up slats, which provide support and rigidity to the slats. The support bars snap into the top of the legs. It’s easy and intuitive and takes about a minute to assemble.

The result is a sturdy camp table that can hold up to 100 pounds. Dimensions are 27.5″ x 27.5″ x 27.5″ and it weighs in at 8.5 pounds.

Take down is just a reverse process. REI includes a slotted carry bag so the whole package is nice and tidy for packing.

There is no need to belabor the point: The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table is a fantastic camp table. It’s sturdy, lightweight and packable for car camping. Its 27.5″ square top is large enough to be useful but small enough to take anywhere. If you want more camp tabletop space, you could buy a larger, dining sort of camp table — or just get two REI Co-op Camp Roll Tables that would provide as much or more tabletop space as most larger camp tables. You could set them up side-by-side, put one in a tent for games, or leave one at home. In fact, that might be the toughest choice you face: How many should you get? Highly recommended.

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Just get outside and do something. Start there. If you're already passionate about one thing, great -- start doing more things you haven't done before. Use the seasons as a guide -- winter sports in winter, bikes and motorcycles in spring, fish, camp, backpack, hike, climb, paddle in summer, hunt in the fall -- you get the idea. More kinds of experiences, not just one again and again. You'll be surprised at what you can do, what you never thought you would like, and you'll appreciate your world more than ever before. Heck, you'll be a better person -- part of Earth instead of just on it. To get a hold of me, take a "firstnamelastname" guess at

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