Your camper table is a place to eat, drink, or perch a cuppa. In addition, it can be a space to play games, do a puzzle or even decorate biscuits!
Also, it can be a handy extension to your kitchen or double as a desk if you’re working on the road.
But there are so many table designs out there, how will you know which is the best one for you?
We’ve drawn on our own experiences and sought reviews from other vanlifers to bring you a thorough list with reliable opinions about the best camper tables.
In addition, this post looks at the benefits and drawbacks of either building your table or buying entire kits (or individual parts) ready-made. So whatever you need, we’ve got you covered!
There is also a list of alternative tables if you don’t fancy including a fixed table in your camper van build.
No time to read the full article? We feel ya! Here’s an overview of each type of table:
|Table||Build or Buy||Main Pro||Main Con|
|1||Pull Out||Build||Easy to set up and store away.||Needs a large space to be stored.|
|2||Extendable||Build||Versatile table size.||Time consuming design & build.|
|3||Small Hanging||Build||Inexpensive to make.||Rope/chain placement can restrict use.|
|4||Large Hanging||Build||Allows a lot of flexibility in your layout.||Time consuming to design, build and make safe.|
|5||Small Permanent||Build||Always there when you need it.||Not a suitable alternative to a full sized table.|
|6||Swivel Table||Buy||Quick and easy to install.||Standard swivel tables are quite small.|
|7||Island||Either||Simple to assemble the table.||Requires storage space for the table top and leg.|
|8||Large Permanent||Either||Doesn't need setting up or putting away.||The layout of your camper won't be versatile.|
|9||Fold Down||Either||Table top doesn't need additional storage.||Can potentially block wall or storage space.|
|10||Bench Seat||Either||Could potentially have a large table.||If converting to a bed, the table top would need totally clearing each night.|
|11||Swivel Arm||Buy||Table top can be completely bespoke and unique.||More expensive than a standard swivel table kit.|
|12||Portable||Buy||Widely available at a low cost.||Needs storing in your camper when not in use.|
|13||Lap Tray||Buy||Available in different styles, colours and finishes at a reasonable cost.||Long term use may lead to poor posture and digestion.|
|14||Cushioned Lap Tray||Buy||Available in different colours, patterns and pictures at a low cost.||Long term use may lead to poor posture and digestion.|
|15||Camping Bowls||Buy||No design or installation time.||Long term use may lead to poor digestion.|
This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you make a purchase after clicking one, we may earn some commission. This pocket money will help Vandercamp Adventures continue to grow at no extra cost to you. It’s a win win situation!! Learn More…
Table of Contents:
To Build Or To Buy?
Would you rather build your camper table or buy one pre-built? Do you want to have a bespoke design or get your conversion done and dusted as quickly as possible?
If you want the best of both worlds, there’s also the option to buy specific components for a table and then build the rest yourself. For instance, you could buy a table leg but then build and create a unique tabletop yourself.
We can’t tell you the best camper table to install because choosing one that’s right for you depends on what you need from your camper conversion and need from a table.
Think about how big it needs to be, what shape you’d like, and where you’ll store it when it’s not in use. Or maybe you’ve got a ginormous rig and have space for a permanent setup.
Additionally, consider how much of your budget (both your money and your time!) you’re willing to spend.
DIY Camper Table
Designing and building a table yourself means having the freedom to have something completely bespoke. Everything can be made to fit your conversion; the style, size, fittings and aesthetics can be totally unique.
Pre-Built Camper Table
On the other hand, you may decide that building your ideal campervan table would take up too much of your time. Buying a complete kit would save you a lot of time and energy and mean that you can jump on the road much quicker!
Camper Table Components
Buying individual components means you can enjoy the benefits of both a DIY and pre-built table. For instance, you could buy just a table leg but then make the tabletop yourself in whatever beautiful design you fancy.
Build A Camper Table
DIY tables are totally bespoke and customized. They can be built in any shape or size to fit in your campervan conversion. Additionally, if you’re on a tight budget, most DIY tables can be made very cheaply.
1. Pullout Table
A pullout table is generally quick and easy to design and install. Once you’ve decided on a comfortable table height, it can be integrated to slide in and out of other furniture components in your campervan.
Suitable for most sized campervans, although it will take up quite a lot of the available storage space in a short wheelbase. In Vandercamp, our table pulls out of the cupboard but can then be folded out to extend the table further.
Charlie and Dale‘s table pulls out of their platform bed. The bed frame is a perfect place to fit a good-sized table, and when they don’t need it, it just pushes back into the bed frame. It is push-to-open, so it doesn’t need any handles.
2. Extendable Table
An extendable table gives you versatility in your layout. In addition, it gives you control over how much you want the table to extend. Be mindful, though; if the table extends quite far, it will need additional support so it doesn’t sag.
It is suitable for any camper, although it would be useful in a smaller camper with limited space. Our table has three stops for different extensions. So we can either have a full table or just somewhere to perch a cuppa.
3. Small Hanging Table
A small hanging table is straight forward to design and make (perfect for DIY novices!). The table needs to only consist of a piece of wood and four lengths of rope or chain.
Suitable for any size van. In a larger van, a hanging table may be an additional surface to work from or to rest the laptop to while you lounge about watching Netflix in bed!
Casp and Flo have made a really lovely little workspace that they can use while sitting on the bed. We love the upcycled skateboards as a tabletop!
4. Large Hanging Table
Alternatively, you may want something bigger. For example, a large hanging table gives ample table space, which hoists out the way when you need more room.
This design would only work in a high-top van, where you can spare some ceiling height. Also, a short wheelbase would be far too small as your hanging table would be resting on your head when it’s “away”.
Andrea and Bianca have built this insanely awesome suspended table in their (beautiful!) camper conversion. Not only does this design mean they can have a large table, but they can lower it further to create a bed. So CLEVER!
5. Small Permanent Table
A permanent table is always ready and waiting to be used. But that doesn’t mean you have to have something huge which dominates the space in your conversion.
It could be the main table in a medium wheelbase van, as long as you don’t need a large tabletop. In a long wheelbase, it could be in addition to your bigger table and be a little perch to rest your cuppa.
Siân & Jason use a tray to increase the area of their small table. Their main downside is the fact that it’s at a similar level to the sofa, which means their dogs often knock things off!
Buy A Camper Table
There is just one table that you can only buy as a kit as far as we can find. It’s possible to buy other tables as a whole kit, but these can also be sold as separate parts to customize. The swivel kit is the only one that can’t be customized.
6. Swivel Table
Swivel tables allow you to adjust the position of the table. The tabletops come in a range of sizes, shapes and colours, so you should find something that fits into your layout design.
Most commonly found in SWB, which are more restricted on space. However, one could be a practical option in any sized vehicle. If positioned near the door, the table can also be accessed from outside the van.
Katy squeezes her family of five into their VW T5, so she doesn’t have much space for a huge table. Her swivel table is just a small, round tabletop that can be used to pop things on. And this way, the kids can enjoy a picnic on the floor.
Further Reading | A Mammoth Guide To Creating An Increadible Campervan Layout.
Build And Buy A Camper Table
These tables can either be bought as a whole kit, or they just have components to buy. It’s the sweet spot between the reliability and convenience of buying something pre-made and having something bespoke you made yourself.
7. Island Table
Somewhere to work or eat. The top and leg are stored away the rest of the time, creating space in your camper. A helpful option if space in your camper is limited!
You can buy it as a kit (with the leg and a tabletop) or just as the island leg. Buying the leg gives you the convenience of an island table, as well as having a bespoke tabletop.
Jake and Emily can easily put their table up when they want to enjoy meals in the van. When the table isn’t in use, they simply store it down the side of the seating area. (Notice their fold-down table to extend the kitchen area too!)
8. Large Permanent Table
A large permanent table means always having somewhere to eat, work or play games. It is only practical in an extra LWB camper or a larger vehicle, such as a Luton truck or a horsebox
The table leg for a permanent table can be bought, much like an island table leg, while the tabletop can be a unique design. Make sure the leg can support the weight of a large tabletop, or you’ll end up with a wobbly table.
Abby and Amanda have plenty of room in their super gorgeous Airstream spaceship, so they can have a permanent seating/dining area. The table also lowers so they can create a spare bed.
9. Fold Down Table
A fold-down table is simple to design and install, although it can block storage space when it is “away” if mounted on the wall. Alternatively, fix the table to the end of a unit or cupboard to not occupy valuable space.
Although usually a DIY table, they are available to buy. However, the bought ones are often quite thin or small. Fold-down tables can either fold down to make a tabletop or fold down to be put “away”.
Raquel has not one but two fold-down tables in her super cute Renault Kangaroo micro camper. She has one on the sidewall next to the sliding door and another on the back door.
10. Bench Seat Table
This table is best suited to long wheelbase (or larger) camper vans. However, it is possible to fit them in a S/MWB, but there won’t be much room for anything else. The restricted head height would also be an issue in a smaller van.
Most tables we’ve seen like this either have strong island table legs that can be removed to make the bed or adjustable table legs that can move up and down. The tabletop itself can either be bought or built.
James and Steph, the Wayward Gingos, have a huge table; they once hosted a dinner party for 8! A portion of the table is removable, so they can have something smaller if they need to.
11. Swivel Arm
Swivel table arms allow you to adjust the position of the table. They come in many different varieties; some have adjustable heights, some rotate, some just swing around to reposition the table.
Just buying a swivel arm gives you the freedom to design the tabletop however you need it. It could be big, small, square or round. In addition, the arm can be fixed anywhere to have the table anywhere you want in your layout.
Jaz has a Langun table leg, which rotates 360, swivels 360, is height-adjustable, and is easy to pack away. Although an expensive investment, she used spare plywood for the tabletop for an adjustable bench seat table.
Find out more about the Langun swivelling table leg system here.
Further Reading | Discover 4 Other Ways Of Charging Your Leisure Battery Efficiently
Do I Need a Fixed Camper Table?
Having a fixed table is different to a permanent table. Fixed tables simply require at least one part of the table to be a permanent feature in your camper.
For example, suppose you’ve got a swivel arm attached to your van somewhere. In that case, it doesn’t matter if the tabletop is removed because the arm is a fixed feature in your conversion.
This distinction is only necessary if you want to re-register your van with the DVLA as a motor vehicle. Having a fixed table is one of the criteria your camper must meet.
To read more about the DVLA’s new guidelines (which were updated in October 2019), click here.
If you don’t want to have a fixed table in your camper then there are some portable alternatives.
12. Portable Camping Table
Portable tables are widely available and come in a range of different sizes and designs. There a small coffee table-sized ones available, or larger ones to set up as a picnic bench outside.
Usually used as an alternative option in smaller conversions, where space is at a premium. No matter the size of the table, it needs to be stored somewhere when it’s not in use.
13. Lap Tray With Legs
Similarly to a portable table, a tray table with legs is a convenient small table if you’re limited on space (or if you just love breakfast in bed!). They’re small and light, making them easy to move around the van and put wherever needed.
A tray table might be a handy addition in a larger van or an alternative to a fixed table in smaller vans. Suitable for very tiny vans (car-derived ie VW Caddy) when there’s limited space.
14. Cushioned Lap Tray
If you decide that you don’t want a table in your van and just want something simple to rest your dinner on, then a cushioned lap tray might be a good option for you.
Similarly to the lap tray, a cushioned lap tray might be an alternative table in a car-derived van. Although even in a small space, they could be awkward to use, as they’d need resting somewhere if you needed to move.
15. Camping Bowls
If you suffer from epiplaphobia (a fear of furniture) or aversion to flat surfaces, then well done you for making it this far in a post about tables.
If you don’t want anything that even resembles a table in your campervan, then you’ll be eating off your lap. But, invest in some decent, eco-friendly bowls to eat from.
What inspired you the most?!
Do you want to build your own table entirely from scratch? This would allow you to design the table to fit your campervan perfectly, from its size, to how it works, to how it looks.
Or do you want to save yourself time and effort and simply buy a camper table instead? With so many sizes and colours available, you’ll be able to find something that works with your van conversion.
Alternatively, are you a “want your cake and eat it” kind of person? Do you want the convenience of a pre-built table but also want to create a bespoke design? Then buying components and building the rest is ideal for you.
Or maybe, you don’t want a table at all and would prefer to have something smaller and portable.
Whatever suits you, we hope the honest reviews from ourselves and other vanlifers has given you a clear idea of what kind of camper table you want in your conversion.
Now your mind is abuzz with ideas and creativity, it’s time to go and design or buy your perfect camper table. Then, read about when would be the perfect time to fit one in your camper conversion here.