At 8:30 pm, the night before leaving for a three day weekend in Crested Butte, we decided we needed a table for our campsite. This decision was made while carrying takeout from Uncle and about 8 blocks from home. So, with only thirty minutes before REI closed, we sprinted home to get in the car and rush to the store. The table we had in mind was the Big Agnes Soul Kitchen Camp Table and after quickly looking online to make sure they had it, we saw it was on sale.
Bursting in the door we found an associate to help us find this table. She looked up the remaining stock on her phone and supposedly there was only one left. We scoured the camp table section and dug through the sale items to no avail. Our helper then headed off to the backroom to hopefully find that one last table. After 15 minutes of waiting and walking in circles by the climbing wall in the store, she came back with our Big Agnes Soul Kitchen Table raised valiantly above her head.
At 8:53 pm, we were the proud owners of a new table.
Why were in such a rush to get this thing? Our normal camp routine is a constant shuffle of stacking things on the cooler, piling them on the ground, then moving them back to the top of the cooler. A table will allow us to put our dinner fixins’ in one spot and give us a place to enjoy a meal that isn’t our lap. Knowing we had a few nights in the wilderness ahead of us, we wanted the convenience having a table provides.
When we started our research on camp tables there were a few other options, but the Big Agnes Soul Kitchen table seemed like the best fit for what we were looking for. While a big table with built in shelving would turn the outdoors into a kitchen fit for Gordon Ramsey (well, maybe not – he’s always unhappy with something), we wanted a table that was packable and lightweight. We already have a bunch of bike stuff to haul around and we didn’t need the table taking up half the trunk.
Other options were a little too small, or a little too clunky, or just plain expensive. The Soul Kitchen seemed to be just right.
About the Soul Kitchen Table
Big Agnes has two camp tables: The Woodchuck and the Soul Kitchen. The Woodchuck is the little brother to the Soul Kitchen and both utilize the same materials and construction, having an aluminum pole structure and fabric top. The fabric top is made from nylon 100d Robic with a 300d polyester for a little extra strength.
Wait. 100d Robic what?
Those random numbers refer to the denier (hence the d) which is a measure of the thickness of the fibers being used. The higher the number, the thicker the yarn. Robic nylon then kicks it up a notch Emeril style and makes the nylon not only lighter, but also stronger. This results in a table that is going to hold up all the random crap you end up bringing to camp.
When it’s done holding your knick knacks, the table folds up quite nicely and fits into a bag that is only 28” long by 5” wide. At a scant 4 pounds, it’s pretty easy to tuck away in the trunk and carry from the truck to the campsite.
Using the Big Agnes Table
I’m not one for instruction manuals. Luckily with the Big Agnes Soul Kitchen Table, you don’t need one.
Putting the table together is a straightforward affair because the legs are all strung together with shock-cords. In fact it pretty much pulls itself together as long as you get the poles lined up. Then, roll the table top out, slip in the support pole, and snap it into place.
This speedy process came in handy on our camping trip because our first site ended up being private property. After getting everything set-up, including our Big Agnes mtnGLO tent, we were told our spot was on private property by a friendly (heavy sarcasm) landowner. Whoops. We tore it all down and packed it back up.
After finding another spot, we could actually set up camp and start to get settled in. Instead of the usual dance of putting supplies on and off the top of the cooler, or god forbid the ground, we used the table to hold our drinks, plates, and dinner accessories. After the old way of doing things having a table felt luxurious. We could eat dinner around candlelight on it, set our beers down as we watched the sunset, and generally just put extra gear on top of it instead of having to stuff it in bags or throw it in the tent all the time.
The table did all this without fuss and we never felt like it had any limiting drawbacks. For the most part we tried to keep heavy things near the corners where there was the most support and put lighter things in the middle. This is because the table top is not a solid surface and is prone to some slight sagging. It wasn’t a major sag, but something to be aware of if you are the type of person to pile stuff up on your tables. You know who you are.
What We Liked
- Lightweight and Portable – While we won’t be taking this table backpacking anytime soon, it’s small size and low weight makes it easy to toss in the trunk without taking up a lot of room
- Reasonably Tall – The Soul Kitchen Table is tall enough for food prep and is a good height for both dining or using while sitting down
- Styling – Yeah, this might seem silly to comment on a camp tables styling, but have you seen some of the monstrosities that are on the market? Yeesh.
What Could be Better
- Some Sagging – It wasn’t a lot, but the table would sag. It wasn’t enough to make drinks or anything tip over, but if you have anything that can roll away, keep an eye on it
- Table Top Attachment – The top of the table sort of snaps into place to connect with the legs. Occasionally one of the corners would unseat. This wouldn’t cause it to fall apart, but it would need to be snapped back into place. Potentially over time this may be less of a problem as things ‘stretch’ and fit a little better
There may be tables out there that are cheaper and have a hard table top, but when it comes down to portability and ease of use, the Soul Kitchen Table can’t be beat. We’ll be taking it on every camping trip from here on out and I’m sure we’ll find even more uses for it besides that.
Now that you know you should go out and get one, you can plan ahead and skip the panic at 8:30 to buy one at the last minute.
Price: $130, from most retailers
Purchase: Big Agnes Soul Kitchen Table