9 Smart Van Table Ideas for Vanlife: Folding, Slide Out & Portable!

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No van conversion is complete without a table.

A table offers a convenient place for preparing food and eating, playing games, and getting work done.

The downside? Tables are often bulky, expensive, and annoying to setup.

That’s why it’s important to find the right table for your build.

In this article, we’ll go over the best campervan table ideas, from simple DIY options, to full outdoor prep stations.

Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

Slide-Out Van Table Ideas

If you’re looking for a vanlife table that saves space, the slide-out table may be for you. This model is connected to another furniture item (typically a fixed bed) and can slide out of sight when not in use. In addition to being compact, it’s multi-functional and fairly easy to build. Here are a few of our favorite slide-out van table ideas (keep in mind that these options are DIY, as each one requires custom fitting).

Four-Person Slide-Out Dining Table

Four-Person Slide-Out Dining Table
@ittakesajourney on IG | Photo

As the name suggests, a four-person slide-out van table can accommodate up to four people (which is helpful if you’re traveling with family or intend to invite friends over). This campervan table is folded into a drawer located underneath the bed. To use it, simply slide out the table and extract the single metallic foot (which provides support). This van also features drawers that function as seats.

Slide-Out Workspace Table w/ Leg

Slide-Out Workspace Table
@vanessaandadam on IG | Photo

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are working from home. With a slide-out workspace table, you can carry on with your workplace duties from the comfort of your vehicle. This van conversion table is supported by a single metallic foot. It easily slides out from the rear end of the bed, transforming the space between the sleeping area and kitchen into a cozy workspace for two.

Outdoor Slide-Out Table for Food Prep and Dining

Outdoor Slide-Out Table for Food Prep and Dining
@tri.p_ on IG | Photo

After a long day on the road, it’s nice to relax with a homemade meal. An outdoor slide-out table gives vanlifers a spacious (and al fresco) food prep and dining area to enjoy. In this set-up, the table is located underneath the bed, which is in the trunk. All you have to do is open the trunk, then slide the table out. A huge perk of this concept is that it doesn’t consume any interior space. Not to mention, it’s fun to eat outside during warm months. On the flip side, the table is virtually useless when it’s too cold or rainy out.

Tiny Bedside Slide-Out Table

Tiny Bedside Slide-Out Table
@un_chat_en_van on IG | Photo

Nearly every residential bedroom comes with a bedside table where users can place their phones, alarm clocks, water bottles and other small items. However, since space is limited in a van, installing a full bedside table may be challenging. That’s where this compact, bedside slide-out table comes in. Made of sturdy wood and supported by a metallic frame, it slides out of the bed and can be pushed in when not in use.

Van Pull-Down Tables

The next camper van table idea on our list is pull-down tables. Also known as camper van folding tables, they consist of hinged, foldable tables that are “pulled down” from a wall, then folded in when not in use. The end result is a convenient table that maximizes interior space (especially floor space). Similar to slide-out tables, these are usually custom-fit for each van build. Below are some popular ideas.

Pull-Down Two-Person Work Table

Pull-Down Two-Person Work Table
@traveling_transit on IG | Photo

Are you looking for a simple work table that doesn’t take up much space? This table, which is built into a cabinet door, has a small handle cut out to promote easy opening. It’s held up by a board attached to the cabinet system (although you can attach a removable leg for extra support). And, thanks to continuous hinges and a slide bolt or lock, it doesn’t swing as you drive.

Cable-Supported Pull-Down Table with Storage

Cable-Supported Pull-Down Table with Storage
@ad_van_turelife on IG | Photo

You won’t find many van tables as functional as this one. Situated against the wall, it folds out to reveal a wooden storage area used to hold van supplies. It’s hinged on one end and supported by two cables connected to the storage cabinet. While it may not look strong, this small van folding table gets plenty of support from the cables and can be used for everything from reading and writing to meal prepping and dining.

Outdoor Mini Fold-Down Table for Food Prep and Serving

Outdoor Mini Fold-Down Table for Food Prep and Serving
@reissumuija87 on IG | Photo

This ingenious campervan folding table takes advantage of your unused door space. Positioned against the rear door, it folds out and is supported by two cables. The resulting table serves as the perfect platform for preparing meals, serving food or carrying drinks. It goes especially well with an outdoor slide-out table — you can conduct meal prep here, then move the food to the main table to eat. However, it can only be used when the weather is nice.

Fixed Table Ideas for Vans

Fixed tables are the most well-known table type out there. While they’re commonly found in residential homes, there are small versions available for vanlife. In this set-up, the table is bolted to the floor (meaning it can’t be folded or slid away when not in use). It may not help save space, but it does provide a stable surface for working, eating and meal prepping. Here are two of the best fixed table ideas for vans.

Table for U-Shaped Dinette Booth

Table for U-Shaped Dinette Booth
@urura.home on IG | Photo

If you like the idea of a fixed conversion van table, but still want to save space, then this concept is for you. It features a U-shaped dinette booth with a small table positioned between two benches. The table rests on a metal foot that raises or collapses the board. During the day, you can use the booth for anything from working to dining. Then, when nighttime hits, simply lower the table until it aligns with the benches. This provides a flat surface that can function as a bed.

Narrow Ikea Table with Storage

Narrow Ikea Table with Storage
@sweetsavorygrace on IG | Photo

Unlike slide-out and pull-down van tables, fixed tables don’t have to be DIY. If you’re not a great woodworker or if you’re short on time, you can always opt for an Ikea table. All you have to do is find space in your van, then either bolt the table in or hire a professional for the job. Although this table may consume some space, it makes up for it with the expansive storage compartments fashioned into the underside. Not to mention, since it stays permanently in place, you don’t have to worry about daily assembly.

Best Portable Outdoor Tables

Believe it or not, you don’t have to install a table to enjoy all the benefits this piece of furniture offers. If you don’t want to build slide-out and pull-down tables or sacrifice interior space with a fixed table, then a portable, outdoor table may be right for you. All you have to do is buy the table, store it in your van, then fold it out when necessary. You can use it indoors (if you have enough space) or set it up outdoors for a quick picnic, work set-up or food prep station. Let’s check out some popular portable tables.

KingCamp Bamboo Folding Table

KingCamp Bamboo Folding Table
@kingcampoutdoor on IG | Photo

The KingCamp Bamboo folding table is a rectangular table made from horizontal boards of bamboo. Due to the nature of the bamboo, as well as the table’s aluminum frame, it’s fairly lightweight. Don’t let this trick you into thinking the table isn’t strong — on the contrary, it’s very sturdy and can hold several items. It’s supported by four adjustable metal legs which can provide three different heights. And, when it’s not being used, the table can fold down into a flat board (which is then slipped into an easy-to-carry bag).

NEMO Moonlander Table with Dual Height

NEMO Moonlander Table with Dual Height
@nemoequipmentjp on IG | Photo

A sleek design, customizable build and easy-to-use features are the hallmarks of this vanlife table. The NEMO Moonlander consists of a smooth, heat-stabilized nylon tabletop, which means it’s easy to clean and can withstand exposure to the elements. As a dual-height table, it can open to two different levels: a low, picnic set-up, and an elevated, side table option. The picnic version, which stands at four inches, gives you a low platform to use during outdoor meals. The full table mode, on the other hand, stands at 16 inches.

ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table

ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table
@kzigphoto on IG | Photo

The ALPS Mountaineering dining table is small, yet packed to the brim with functional features. It measures at 28×34 inches and stands at 28 inches — however, when it’s folded, you can rest assured it’s very compact. The table is fitted with an adjustable, aluminum x-frame that collapses easily. And, with a weight of just 12lbs, it’s fairly easy to carry. The whole thing can fit into a 42x8x28 inch carry bag.

What is the Best Material to Use for a Van Table?

Whether you’re interested in a space-saving slide-out table or leaning towards a full, fixed table, it’s important to think about the material you’re going to use. Generally speaking, the best material for van tables is wood. Not only is wood fairly inexpensive, but it’s also easy to work with (which is especially helpful if you’re not used to building things yourself). As a malleable material, it can be quickly cut into the desired shapes for your custom van interior.

If you’re wondering which type of wood to use, the answer lies in your budget and preferences. Depending on what you’re willing to spend, you can utilize anything from simple plywood to more expensive, solid hardwood. As long as you put effort into the construction (or hire a professional to do it), you’ll end up with a classy, natural wood dining van table.

How Do I Secure a Van Table?

A common issue with van tables is stability. When you’re constantly on the road, you might worry about your table slipping and sliding during the journey. The good news is, slide-out and pull-down tables typically come with built-in security mechanisms. Slide-out tables are secured by whatever drawer or compartment they’re in, while pull-down tables are held in place with latches or rope. However, if you have a fixed table, you might need to install some extra security yourself. Here are two top options.

Option #1: Use a Lagun Mount

Option #1 Use a Lagun Mount
@lagun_table on IG | Photo

The Lagun table mount is as synonymous with vanlife as the Sprinter van – and for good reason. With a simple to use mounting system, a fully adjustable arm, and the ability to move the table to multiple locations, the Lagun is quite simply the best table option for vanlife. To install, all you have to do is mount the base plate, attach a bracket to the underside of your table top, and put the two together using the 360 degree height adjustable arm.

Option #2: Use a Height Adjustable Pedestal

Option #2 Use a Table Base
@roostvans on IG | Photo

Option #2 is a fixed position height adjustable table pedestal from Springfield. This table mount provides a sturdier way to mount a table in your van than the Lagun, with some of the flexibiltiy. Although you cannot move the table pedestal to different locations, you can adjust its height up and down making it great for convertible dinette beds as it provides a really sturdy way to convert your table into a bed.

Option #3: Use a Fixed Table Leg

Option #3 Use a Table Leg
@vanjamsaga on IG | Photo

The fixed table leg option is the least sexy of the 3, but its great for 2 reasons: It’s very sturdy, and it’s cheap. If your layout provides enough room to mount a table that doesn’t need to be moved, a fixed table leg is a great option because it provides a full-time place to hangout, and a place to put items without needing to set anything up.

What Type of Van Table Works Best for You?

Now that you’re familiar with your van table options, it’s time to pick one for your own vehicle. Since each table has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, this may not be an easy decision. However, you can narrow it down by considering the following factors:

  • Van size
  • Budget
  • Desired layout
  • Number of people in the van
  • Purpose of the table

If you have a small set-up and minimal users, you’ll definitely want a space-saving option (such as a slide-out table). However, if you have more room to work with, you might be able to spring for a fixed table. You could even mix and match by getting both an indoor and outdoor table. Still can’t settle on a choice? Feel free to contact our team. Our experts are on hand and ready to help you make the best vanlife decisions!

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