The Derek Camp Table by Stratus Outdoors – Reviewed & Tested
'Tough, dependable, and built to last, Derek the Camp Table boasts some serious eco cred and represents great value.'
Size and weight
100
Performance
95
Durability
100
Eco-credentials
100
Price
90
Pros
Super easy to set up and pack down
Built to last
Perfect for an eco-conscious buyer
Cons
Hefty price tag
Could benefit from a leg locking system
97

Introducing Derek – your best-new-car-camping mate from Stratus Outdoors! Tough, dependable, and built to last, Derek the Camp Table boasts some serious eco cred and represents great value, but his price tag may be a little lofty for some.

 

I’m pretty stoked to share with you guys that I have a new camping buddy called Derek. We recently had our first overnight adventure together – car camping in Bungonia National Park

I’m no stranger to camping. From hiking and bikepacking with mates out in the wilderness, to pitching a tent, or heading out solo on road trips in my van, I do it all. I’m fairly gear-focused, could be that engineering degree I picked up way back, and I like my gear to work well, last a long time, and preferably be kind to our planet.

All this is to say that I know what an outdoors trip requires of a table, so I’m pretty qualified to dive into the nitty gritty details of just what it’s like to camp with Derek. 

 

Reviewed and Tested: The Derek Camp Table by Stratus Outdoors, Photo by Jon Harris (https://jonharris.photography/), Bungonia Camping, camping table

Oh Derek, you sleek beast

 

Derek is part of the Stratus Outdoors family, headed up by Aussie husband and wife team, Joel and Alicia. These guys are fully focused on creating smart, durable, and sustainable camping gear. Other members of the Stratus family include camp chairs, dinnerware, cutlery, and their signature ‘Climate Changer’ cooling shelters.

But back to Derek, and our first outing together. When I first picked him up, the first thing I noticed was, ‘Wait, what?! There’s no disposable plastic in the packaging?’

Derek arrived clad in nothing but his own ‘Stratus Outdoor Fabric’ carry bag (more on that later), some Kraft paper, and a cardboard box (FSC Certified and 100% recycled). 

I could see immediately that Derek was a keen environmentalist, but I was also struck by his rugged good looks. Inspired by the mighty Land Rover Defender (which may be seen as a bit too utilitarian by some), I think his design is a perfect match for his character and other traits like his size, weight, performance, and price.

Size and Weight

Unlike my other camping buddies, Derek had no complaints whatsoever about traveling in the storage drawer of my van. In fact, it’s almost like I built that drawer specifically for him. He’s pretty slim when folded up, and sits beautifully on top of all my other crap, in a space where nothing else will fit.

 

Derek in his exclusive travel suite

 

With a working surface of just over 1m by 0.5m, Derek provides plenty of room to work on. We set up a dual-burner camping stove with ample room for food prep to cook two separate meals. Fancy some games after dinner? No problem, there’s plenty of room! In fact, Derek is large enough to handle laying out your gear to prepare and pack for a day – or even multi-day – hike,  keeping everything up off the ground.

At 8kgs, Derek isn’t the lightest camp table on the market, but that’s not the segment he’s striving for. His weight equals sturdiness and durability, and is manageable thanks to the supplied carry bag.

Performance

When it comes to performing as intended (i.e. a camp table) Derek is pretty much ready to go straight out of the bag. With a straightforward folding-leg design, Derek is literally up and on duty in mere seconds.

 

Reviewed and Tested: The Derek Camp Table by Stratus Outdoors, Photo by Jon Harris (https://jonharris.photography/), Bungonia Camping, camping table,

Assembling Derek is a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it kind of a game

 

Yes, there are more compact and lightweight tables out there than Derek, but in my experience these benefits are usually offset by a fiddly set-up and pack down. Plus the fear that ripping off a decent fart will almost certainly collapse the whole structure.

The only reason Derek didn’t score a solid 100 for his performance was that a locking mechanism for his legs would ensure a fully bombproof setup. Don’t get me wrong, with his legs planted, Derek is solid. The perfectionist in me feels a locking mechanism for the legs would provide absolute security.

But, as mentioned, Derek is a solid unit of a lad, rated to hold a distributed load of 150kg! Now, I weigh nowhere near that much, but I thought I’d test him out. As you can see, I asked Derek to join me in my morning meditation and he held up his end with no dramas at all.

 

Reviewed and Tested: The Derek Camp Table by Stratus Outdoors, Photo by Jon Harris (https://jonharris.photography/), Bungonia Camping, yoga, meditation, camping table

Meditation level: Derek

 

He’s also got a few nifty party tricks up his sleeve, does old Derek. Forget your bottle opener? No worries, Derek has two! He can also hold onto your tea towels, and with his laser cutout detailing you can hang garbage bags, utensils, or whatever you please from him. And finally, his brushed aluminium surface was super easy to wipe down.

Durability

Derek and I have only had the pleasure of one camping trip together so far (the first of many!). So while I’m limited in my ability to comment on just how durable our friendship will be in the longer term, my engineering background gives me loads of confidence that Derek will be super keen for camping trips for years to come.

The 3mm brushed aluminium surface with laser cut detailing is very solid. Stainless steel hardware is used throughout, meaning Derek is up for all kinds of salty coastal adventures without fear of corrosion. The 150kg load rating gives me great confidence that Derek is built to last.

And as if this isn’t enough, Derek also comes with the Stratus Outdoors Signature Guarantee which states that Stratus will repair or replace him for his entire life, should something untoward happen to my new mate.

Eco-Credentials

Derek’s scorecard is looking pretty good so far, but his eco credentials are where he really shines. There are almost too many things to list in this section, but let’s see how we go…

Firstly, Stratus Outdoors is a 1% for the Planet company (meaning they donate 1% of all sales towards preservation of the natural environment). Excellent start.

That Stratus Outdoor fabric carry bag I mentioned earlier? Well, this fabric is made from RPET, or post-consumer recycled plastic items such as bottles and fishing nets, which are shredded and melted to form a recycled polyester material. Every square metre of Stratus Outdoor fabric contains a minimum of 14 plastic bottles. Derek’s handy tote bag uses 43 bottles. Beyond taking plastic out of the waste stream, this method of manufacturing also uses far less resources than producing an equivalent product with virgin materials.

 

Reviewed and Tested: The Derek Camp Table by Stratus Outdoors, Photo by Jon Harris (https://jonharris.photography/), Bungonia Camping, camping table, van storage, carry bag

Sustainability looks good on Derek (and he only wears the best)

 

Stratus Outdoors also created an Afterlife program which is a fantastic initiative for keeping waste out of landfill at the end of its life. If a warranty repair claim is submitted but the product is not repairable, then the product will be recycled, reused, or repurposed by Stratus in return for a discount (up to 20%) on the purchase of a replacement product.

Price

‘Performance, durability, and low cost – choose any two’. Sound familiar? Well, Stratus has opted for the first two when designing Derek, which means he does come with a solid price tag.

At the time of this review, Derek is available online for $395, which may turn some folk away at first glance. But, let’s think about this for a moment. Derek may have a relatively high price tag, but he represents exceptional value. This is a table that will arguably last you a lifetime, if not longer.

 

Reviewed and Tested: The Derek Camp Table by Stratus Outdoors, Photo by Jon Harris (https://jonharris.photography/), Bungonia Camping, camping table, dinner, gas, campsite, camper

Derek’s a generational investment. Treat him right and he might just be supporting the coffee mugs and spatulas of your kids someday too

 

This is a great time to address that elephant in the room – which is understanding the REAL cost of products in our consumer-driven society. We’ve been conditioned to accept that we should be able to jump online and buy an item for a fraction of what it should actually cost.

For example, Google the words ‘camp table’ and prices start at $34.95 in the shopping tab. That’s less than a tenth of Derek’s cost. Now, stop and think for a second about the fact that you can buy a compact, lightweight, metal table for roughly the same amount of dosh you’d spend on a pub meal and a schooner. That includes everything from the extraction and processing of the raw materials, research and design, to manufacturing, assembly, packing and shipping. Is it just me or is that a little bit insane?!

If $395 still doesn’t represent excellent value to you like it does for me, but you still want Derek along on your next camping trip, then it’s worth checking out the Stratus Outdoors website during the usual sale periods.

My Derek came with a promotional bonus which made his value even better – the Roll Top Utility bag. It’s a waterproof, 49L drybag sling, which has taken another 30 plastic bottles out of landfill.

What’s next for Derek?

Derek and I got along just famously on our first trip, and it’s no surprise as we have a lot in common. A lot of careful consideration goes into the choices I make for my adventure gear – performance, ruggedness, and environmental impact are highest on the list of priorities. Derek has nailed all of these without falling into the undesirable ‘functional but ugly as sin’ category.

Derek does everything you need a camp table to do, and does it well. If I had any input into Derek 2.0, the only thing I’d suggest would be to consider an elegant leg-locking mechanism, but even then I wouldn’t bother upgrading from the trusty original. I can safely state that Derek and I will be going on plenty more car camping adventures together.

 

Reviewed and Tested: The Derek Camp Table by Stratus Outdoors, Photo by Jon Harris (https://jonharris.photography/), Bungonia Camping, camping table, campsite, dinner, cooking, grill, camp kitchen, stove,

Derek’s more than just a piece of furniture

Our reviewer was given this product for testing and was allowed to keep it afterwards – they could say whatever the heck they wanted in the review. Check out our Editorial Standards for more info on our approach to gear reviews.