GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station
This storage-heavy table is a mini-kitchen for car camping meals.
Brand: Gear 360 Reviews
Model: Product feedback from every angle
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BACKPACKER Gear 360 Review
There’s a particular, indulgent joy to car camping. You get a taste of backcountry bliss and simplicity—without abandoning some creature comforts. Case in point: Our Editor-in-Chief toted the Slim-Fold Cook Station on trips outside of Rocky Mountain National Park and a dispersed camping zone near the base of Colorado’s Mt. Shavano and found it an ideal solution for organizing a camp kitchen for small groups. Compared to a full-size folding table (which he often packs for car camping or overnight river trips), this unit folds smaller, packs easier, and provides clutch storage solutions, which enabled him to cook for a group of four and keep a clean and organized campsite.
The aluminum-slatted main surface holds up to about 50 pounds and is perfectly sized for a standard double-burner car camping grill. Four plastic side tables (two high, two low) each hold up to 30 pounds. All four have recessed areas to stash beverages or condiments, and have tapered notches that can nest a stemmed wine glass or the knotted top of a garbage bag. The upper right-side table also has a bungie to hold a roll of paper towels. A lower center table is great for housing food, cooking and cleaning supplies, or your cook-kit storage container (though the table’s criss-crossing frame prevents it from holding large containers or a hard-sided cooler). Bottom line: If you’re playing camp chef for a large group in the frontcountry, this table is a fitting command center.
Libby Di Sesa
Once completely unfolded, this station is a sleek addition to any cookout. I could sense the sturdiness right away as I unhinged the tabletop features. This table is very durable. The center rack easily supports a small electric or small portable grill without a problem. Because the frame is constructed of sturdy, powder-coated steel and the countertop is made from heat-resistant aluminum, you can leave the table outside, rain or shine. I recommend it for car camping and tailgating, and the station would also make a great mate for your grill on the back porch. Though purposed for cooking, once done with dinner you can store all of your camping gear throughout the system. The bottom shelf makes a perfect drying rack for wet boots. At 19 pounds the table is heavy, and it would be hard to lift for someone who doesn’t have a strong back. Even though the table folds slim, it is still cumbersome, making it difficult to carry up and down stairs.
The table was sturdy once it was set up, and had a lot of space to organize and store cooking items. It is pretty heavy, and the crossbar at the bottom made it hard to fit a cooler under the main table. I used it both camping and tailgating and it provided good extra space. Since most car camping ventures have picnic tables, I tend to use the end of it for cooking, but see the benefit of having a separate cook area away from the table when small children are around.