The SLIM-FOLD Cook Station is designed to become a convenient yet durable multi-tiered camp kitchen, while still folding flat for easy storage when not in use. It features an aluminum counter top, steel frame and storage compartment, 4 shelves, and more.
Starting with the design and construction, the SLIM-Fold Cook Station is built around a powder-coated steel frame with a sturdy folding aluminum counter top, four plastic shelves, and built in accessories like a paper-towel mount, bottle holders, and utensil slots. There is a convenient carry handle, and the entire unit, including the shelves, all fold down easily by pressing small tabs located on each arm. It sets up at roughly 21″ x 52″ x 32 “, and folds down to about 21″ x 4″ x 35”. The countertop holds 48 lbs, while the unit itself weighs 18.9 lbs. It retails for $80, and is available now.
Using the Cook Station has been a pleasure. It easily supports my rather robust cook system consisting of a two burner steel stove, fuel, cast iron skillets, all of my cooking supplies, food, and still has room for my utensils and a small prep space for whatever I decide to cook that day. The height is just about perfect, putting everything at a comfortable height (I’m 5’8″), making it easy to reach all needed equipment without hunching over or circling around. Having the storage bin just underneath keeps all of my supplies close at hand, eliminating the need to run to and from a separate cooler or table. I also liked smaller details, like embedded bottle holders which I used for sauces, the paper towel mount for cleanup during sloppy meals, and the various attachment points for utensils like spatulas and brushes. It makes prepping meals far easier and more enjoyable than using a picnic table or, ugh, cooking on the dirt.
I was quite impressed with the stability of the table. Despite being fairly tall and relatively lightweight at 18 lbs, it’s still low enough to the ground and wide enough to stay stable when being bumped or moved around. Everything locks in place when set up, so there isn’t much chance of anything coming apart either. The tabletop and storage compartment are also both quite durable and robust, easily capable of handling the weight of a cook system, food, or even small coolers if stashed below on the weight bearing storage rack. The side tables are fairly tough and go a good job of resisting melting (thankfully). While these do lock in place, I probably wouldn’t throw anything too heavy on them (maybe 10 lbs or so) as they are still basically plastic with metal supports.
Setup is quite simple and fast. It takes maybe two minutes to slap together, with most of the time simply going to locking all of the smaller arms in place. It basically just unfolds with arms that swing one way, with the exception of the aluminum countertop, which is two pieces that join together in the center over a central support. Break down is even faster, requiring only a few simple presses of the surprisingly easy to use release tabs. Popping these down with a single finger or thumb allows it to collapse down into storage position, and a convenient carry handle allows it to be easy hefted away. Cleanup is also easy, as none of the materials really gather mud, dirt or food.
Probably my favorite thing about the system is simply how flat it folds down. It collapses to an appreciable 4″ thick, making it easy to slide under a bed, against a wall, and importantly, into the back of a small car. It takes up minimal storage space, so it’s worth keeping around for the occasional (or chronic) car camping experience.
The only real downsides I can see with this cook system is it is a little bit larger than most, meaning it’s also a bit heavier (18 lbs which still isn’t bad), and will inevitably take up more space than some of the tiny fold up tables on the market. However, the tradeoffs are instantly apparent. Tiny tables are cute, but they’re really not that useful. This, despite being bulkier and heavier, actually comes in handy. So, it’s a trade-off worth making.
All in all, I really enjoyed the SLIM-FOLD cooking system every time I’ve used it. It’s strong, stable, folds down to a surprisingly manageable size, and it’s pretty easy to carry thanks to the integrated carry handle. It’s far more useful and ergonomic than a simple single flat surface, and it frees up a lot of picnic table space too, assuming you have one. If you’re in the market for something a little more luxurious, and like preparing something a bit more sophisticated than a dehydrated meal while camping, this is a very good option.
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