As before, I still believe that this falls into the clear cut luxury category, and for an on-foot hiking/backpacking trip, it will not be packed.
But for car camping, or maybe a short day hike with plans to have lunch and then come back, or even to compliment a picnic, this table is a real godsend. It’s so cutely useful that during the warmer months, I even have it out in the back yard to use as a side table next to low chairs. Indoors, we have a low table (kotatsu) that is sometimes used, and this is very useful as just a little extra desk space to put things.
Highly useful, and unlike some camping gear that can’t really be re-purposed for anything, this micro-table has paid for itself by being useful in a variety of scenarios.
In the world of backpacking, every item, every ounce, is a value to weight trade-off and balancing needs can be tricky.
Mostly in backpacking, there are items you need to survive, and items that are a bit of luxury, and then there are items that are a real luxury. And what goes in each of these categories changes depending on your experience. Some people might die without a tent and sleeping bag, others have trained their bodies to survive and sleep in the woods with nothing but the clothes they have on.
Among these three categories, survival, tiny luxury, and clear-cut luxury, the GSI micro table can only be in one category no matter your level of experience. This contraption falls under the umbrella of clear-cut luxury. But oh what a luxury it is. This tiny little table, not even a foot tall, and barely enough to hold a plate and cup is among the most luxurious items I can imagine having while backpacking, and at over a lb, causes some real anxiety as to whether it’s worth bringing or not.
But it’s a touch, just a small touch, of civilization, and if you’re out backpacking and sleeping in an ultra-light tent after a day of hiking, it’s almost as magical as fresh ground coffee. Just being able to keep some things off the ground, a lamp, a battery, food and drink, whatever strikes your fancy, And since it’s aluminum, it’s not as prone to rot or tears like wood and fabric can be. It bends easily, but then it bends back into shape.
– When GSI says micro table, they ain’t kidding. This thing is barely big enough for a plate and a cup. Certainly too small for a game of solitaire.
– folding mechanism. two elastic cords running through the aluminum slates keep the slates together and also allow folding. two rods that need to be run through holes in the slates to create rigidity. when folded, there are two plastic snaps for the rods to be held securely in place. The precision is both a blessing and a curse, since such precision allows for greater rigidity, but also means the slightest bend in the slates and the rods won’t run through the holes anymore. It also takes a minute or two to setup. better than nothing, for sure, but wish there was a better rigidity system. Taking it apart takes just as long. the rods really are very precise.
– when folded up, it’s incredible small, but even then, it takes a good chunk of space. I’d recommend attaching this to the outside of a backpack, rather than in the main pocket.
I am sorry to say, however, that it’s unlikely that this would come with me on a prolonged hike. When considering the other necessities that could have a real effect on survival, like multiple methods for fire and cooking, generating warmth, staying dry, basic electronics and a solar battery, and having rudimentary hygiene and first aid, not to mention a tool or two, a table is just too much luxury. In a battle between a micro table and a grill with legs for a camp fire, the grill would definitely win.
But if you’re car camping, or going on a short hike to a camp site, this little luxury item is almost a must have. I’ll be taking it car camping with me this weekend and along with some low chairs, the GSI micro table is one of the items I am truly looking forward to trying out.