Roughing it can be fun, but having some conveniences – even luxuries – among your touring gear is always going to win for most of us. Do you want to cook and eat all your meals sitting round a fire? That has some appeal for a group of younger blokes, but if you’re on a trip with your family you probably want a bit more comfort. The same goes double on a longer expedition – it stays fun a lot longer if you can sit down to a proper meal, instead of digging in with a billy in your lap.
Taking a table with you will make your camps a lot more pleasant. You can do a lot more food preparation with a table, then enjoy a nice meal with your arse on a chair instead of in the dirt. The only problem is that proper tables are a bit of a pain to haul around. You can get a collapsible camp table with a nylon top that matches those awesome camp chairs with the stubby holder in one arm, but the tables are a lot less awesome than the chairs are. They’re pretty small and far too flimsy. Try doing any serious food prep on one and it’ll probably fall over – and the top isn’t stable enough to enjoyably eat off, either.
So you want a real table with a wood or metal top, but they’re really awkward. Try fitting one in your load area and you’ll find it’s awkward and takes up a lot of space. They never seem to slide neatly down one side of the compartment, if you stow it on top of everything else it’s going to slide around (and block access to all the gear under it) and if you put it flat on the floor you’ll need to shift all your other stuff to get the table out.
Stowing the table on your roof rack seems to have more potential, but this isn’t always a great solution either. The best place for it from a loading point of view is flat on the rack, but again it’s going to be buried under the rest of your gear. Put it on top and it’s prone to shifting around, and you don’t want a relatively heavy item doing that high on your vehicle.
We like tables, though, and we don’t give up easily. Yes, they’re a pain to carry, but we knew there had to be a solution, and we kept going until we found it. Front Runner’s camp tables come with a stowage system that doesn’t use any of your existing load space, but lets you get the table out quickly and easily whenever you need it. They come with a stowage slide that fits under most Front Runner roof racks, so the table is stored securely between the floor of the rack and the roof of your vehicle. To get it out just flip up the latch – which can take a padlock, just to make sure nobody gets light-fingered – and slide the table out. Then unfold and lock the legs, and you’re ready to go.
These are good, sturdy tables, too. With powder-coated aluminium frames, stainless steel tops and protective corner mouldings they’ll take whatever you can throw at them – this is no flimsy camp gear. You can choose between a full-size camp table that’s ideal for meals, or a narrower prep table that’s available with or without a cutout for a basin. Tough, practical and innovative, Front Runner tables are one of our new gear favourites.