What better way to enjoy camping than feasting on delicious food while being surrounded by nature? Sure, there are ready-to-eat food packets for campers, but they’re basically designed for convenience only–not a gastronomic experience.
However, you can’t have a kitchen in the wilderness (unless you’re traveling there with an RV). It’s a good thing that pots and pans are portable enough. But, they can mostly just boil, steam, and fry meats and vegetables. If you prefer roasting, barbecuing, or grilling food, you need another type of cooking equipment.
Standard grills are quite bulky and heavy, which is not ideal for camping. Fortunately, there are more compact and lightweight grills out there that are specifically made for campers.
Best Camping Grills Review
Check out the best camping grills that will forever change the quality of your outdoor escapades.
Coleman Classic Propane Stove
Even the toughest meats or the grandest camping feasts can be handled by the unbelievable cooking power of the Coleman Classic Propane Stove. With a maximum of 20,000 total British Thermal Units (BTUs), it can generate extremely high temperatures. BTU simply refers to the measurement of thermal or heat energy.
Of course, cooking food isn’t just about heating the ingredients efficiently with the highest temperatures possible. Some meats and vegetables are at their best when exposed to low or medium heat. That’s why temperature control is crucial. Fortunately, this camping grill comes with two burners you can easily adjust. It guarantees precision to ensure that each dish you make will be super-delicious.
More about the exciting features of this product, it offers a solution to one common problem when cooking outdoors. Since wind can ultimately affect the taste and texture of the food due to varying temperatures, this stove has panels that can completely block it.
- Thorough fuel combustion to save fuel
- User-friendly temperature control dial
- Can operate nonstop for an hour at its highest setting with each 16.4-ounce propane cylinder
- Adjustable, multipurpose wind blockers/side tables
- Ideal for extreme situations like strong winds, rain, snow, and high altitudes because of its pressure regulator
- Limited warranty of three years
- Flimsy, thin metal wind blockers
- Not enough settings for tiny adjustments
- May stop working when exposed to small splashes of water
BioLite Basecamp Wood Burning Stove System
Thanks to its cooking area with a 13.25-inch diameter, you can cook a decent amount of food on the BioLite Basecamp Wood Burning Stove System to feed a group of people. And, the best part? It’s battery-operated to eliminate the need for gas which can be a hassle to transport, use, and store. The battery it uses is lithium-ion with 2,200 milliampere hours (mAh).
The exciting aspect of the product doesn’t end there; it also has a charging station for mobile phones and other gadgets that are compatible with USB ports. It’s the perfect survival kit if you like extreme adventures.
In fact, because of the power and smart system of this device, each charging session will only take approximately 30 minutes. That’s enough to ensure five hours of calls, five hours of video viewing, or 20 hours of listening to a playlist.
- Doesn’t need charcoal, propane tanks, and lighter fluids
- Gives the chance for you to cook more aromatic food because of the absence of charcoal
- Includes a USB charging station for phones and other electronic essentials
- Guarantees constant fire even with damp wood thanks to the interior fan circulating air
- Significantly reduces the amount of smoke from grilling
- Heavier than most camping grills
- Limited cooking time
- Requires frequent cleaning of its chamber due to ashes
- Problems in controlling the heat
- May burn the devices on the charging station if it gets too hot
Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro 180 Portable Gas Grill
The compact cooking area of the Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro 180 Portable Gas Grill makes this product easier to transport, which is obviously ideal for camping. It only covers 245 square inches.
When it comes to the material, we should highlight the grilling grate made of stainless steel. It can last for a long time because of the high-grade metal used which has always been known for its durability. Stainless steel is also easy to clean and maintain since it’s resistant to corrosion or rust.
In addition to convenience, this product has its own warming rack. It aims to give you a hassle-free experience not just while camping but also when grilling in your balcony or patio.
Now, let’s proceed to functionality. This camping grill uses a unique heating technology called the Tru-Infrared. By converting convective heat, radiant heat is produced to limit the flow of air, unlike the system of the conventional gas grill. Less air means juicier meats, better heat distribution, and a more direct approach in cooking food.
Regarding the overall system, this grill is similar to an oven. Igniting it involves electronic means but the control relies on the knob connected to the source of gas.
- Only weighs approximately 20 pounds
- Easy-to-clean, rust-resistant stainless steel grate
- Can sustain so much heat
- Fast heating process
- Zero flare-ups
- Makes juicier steaks, chicken breasts, scallops, and other meats that are tricky to cook
- Complicated assembly
- Vague instructions
- Requires an AAA battery
Cuisinart CGG-200 All Foods Tabletop Gas Grill Stainless Steel
The panels will never detach unexpectedly from the Cuisinart CGG-200 All Foods Tabletop Gas Grill Stainless Steel, but they can still be removed effortlessly for cleaning or storage. They’re important for even heat distribution. The drip tray is also removable.
Additionally, the side shelves can be folded. They can securely hold cooking tools, plates, and jars of spices. Despite the compact shape of the grill to fit picnic tables, balconies, and decks, it can still serve up to eight people because of its grate measuring 240 square inches.
In terms of heating energy, this grill has 12,000 BTUs, quite high for something designed for camping. To perfectly match the power of the device, the burner is made of stainless steel while the grate is cast iron coated with porcelain enamel. Even the stable base is composed of steel.
With that combination of features, the temperature increases in just a few minutes and stays that way even when you always open the double-wall metal cover to monitor the food. Even though the cover is stainless steel, your fingers won’t get burned because of the handle.
- Instant setup
- Folding metal shelves
- Promotes proper heat distribution for thorough cooking
- Has an accurate temperature gauge or built-in thermometer
- Convenient twist ignition
- Doesn’t require matches for ignition
- Difficulty in cleaning the bottom part inside the grill because of too many nuts and bolts
- Grease spilling onto other areas besides the drip tray
- Lacks heat settings
Napoleon TQ285-BL Portable Propane Grill
Another model with 12,000 BTUs, the Napoleon TQ285-BL Portable Propane Grill also has two burners to allow direct or indirect grilling. It’s one of the biggest options in terms of the cooking area because of its 285-square-inch coverage. That’s enough to grill 18 big patties at the same time.
Still, the overall form is compact enough for easier setup, transport, and storage. The legs can be folded as well, which obviously contributes to portability.
Meanwhile, to avoid cold spots, the cast iron grate also includes some porcelain material in its composition. Cast iron and porcelain are known for their heat distribution properties. For the body, it’s cast aluminum for lighter weight without compromising durability.
Also, to prevent the heat from coming out of the cooking area, the lid has a foolproof locking mechanism. The feature is also helpful in keeping the lid intact when you transport or carry it around.
If you’re also particular about the appearance, you’ll surely love to show off the bright color of the lid. It’s a fresh take on the typical dark or neutral colors of standard grills. The handle flawlessly matches the cover’s design.
- Integrated temperature monitor
- Stainless steel burners
- For direct or indirect cooking
- Nonstick grate
- Removable grease pan with its own locking system
- Grease inside the lid
- Dripping grease everywhere
- Fading paint
- Thin metal sections
Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill with VersaStand
Even smaller than the previous product, the Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill with VersaStand only has a cooking area of 160 square inches. However, it can still serve food for up to six people, perfect for families or friends camping in the wilderness.
The overall dimensions of this product also contribute to portability. Its compact shape plus stand only measure 19 inches long, 11.5 inches wide, and 10 inches tall. It’s even one of the lightest grills we’ve ever discovered with its mere 17-pound weight. Aside from stress-free transport, the lightness of this equipment is helpful if you prefer storing your grill after cooking in your balcony, patio, or deck. You can carry it like a briefcase.
Interestingly, its grate is coated with porcelain enamel. The material, even without extra features like heating technologies and wind blockers, can already ensure fuel efficiency and proper heat distribution.
- Smooth twisting mechanism for the ignition
- Precision-based gauge for temperature control
- Includes a drip tray to handle spilling grease or juices
- Dishwasher-friendly porcelain enamel grate
- Lockable lid
- Adjustable folding stand
- Can be placed on tabletops
- Only requires propane as fuel
- Convenient for boats and RVs as well
- Classic color options
- Only has 5,500 BTUs compared to other options
- Tends to melt if used frequently at its highest setting
- Malfunctioning burner knobs
- Thin stainless steel sections
- Leaking gas
- Drip tray not catching every drop of grease or juice
Traeger TFB29PLB Grills Bronson 20 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Getting tired of relying on charcoal and gas while grilling? Nothing’s better than smoking food with aromatic wood chips. Grilled meats have a more satisfying taste when you use that cooking method. The smoky flavors will perfectly match the rustic setting of most campsites. That’s why the Traeger TFB29PLB Grills Bronson 20 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is a must-have for avid campers.
One of the greatest strengths of this camping grill is its versatility. Whether you prefer fast or slow cooking, this product will give you the chance to work with six specific cooking methods we all know and love. It will let you smoke, grill, barbecue, roast, braise, or even bake dishes you want to enjoy while camping.
- Comes with a setting for slow cooking or smoking meats
- Can generate heat to a maximum of 450 degrees Fahrenheit for faster cooking
- Precision: +/- 20 degrees Fahrenheit
- Includes a LED display for easier monitoring of temperature
- No need for matches and other fire starters thanks to the automatic power switch
- Spacious cooking area of 300 square inches
- Can serve four whole chickens, 12 burger patties, or 18 hot dogs at the same time
- All-terrain wheels
- Stable sawhorse chassis structure
- Has a free tool kit for assembly and a cookbook
- Unstable temperature sensor
- Catches fire
- Painted surfaces chipping when exposed to excessive heat
- Deformed components because of melting materials
- Detached lid
- Overly hot metal surfaces
- Suddenly turns off from time to time
Anywhere CUISINART Grill Modified
With its folding bracket and detachable design, the Anywhere CUISINART Grill Modified isn’t only convenient for camping; it can also be used on pontoon boats and your own home, of course.
One of the best things you can do while using this grill at home is by installing it on a window so you don’t have to come out of the door every time you check the food or flip it. This is perfect for winter grilling. Just make sure your window has an extended edge to accommodate the device.
The idea of installing a grill on a window may sound complicated, but it’s actually very easy. In fact, you don’t need tools to work with the bracket and hook. This product has a complete instruction manual so there’s no need to worry.
If not the window, you may use the railing on your balcony or deck, too. The grill can be rotated 180 degrees to help you save time deciding how to place it.
- Intense yet consistent heat
- Sturdy bracket
- Has folding legs for easier storage
- Stable legs for standing
- Not too big for storage, not too small for large servings
- Comes with a drip tray for juicy or greasy dishes
- Removable drip tray for easier cleaning
- Easy to clean
- Designed for camping, boating, and winter grilling
- Doesn’t automatically ignite
Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU-Infrared Liquid Propane Gas Grill
If you have a long way to go to your campsite, the Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU-Infrared Liquid Propane Gas Grill is a great option for a cookout while you’re still on the road. It has all the necessary features of a good traveling grill.
For starters, both the firebox and the lid are made of cast aluminum. Meanwhile, the two latches are stainless steel. Right on top of the lid, you can instantly see the temperature gauge. Despite the heavy-duty components, the grill’s weight doesn’t exceed 20 pounds.
The frame of this product is simply commendable. It can endure strong impact, which is necessary for transportation or travel. The handles and the legs are highly durable, too. Speaking of the handles, they’re resistant to heat.
Just like the first model we’ve featured from the same brand, this one also uses Tru-Infrared technology. It aims to prevent flare-ups to preserve the quality of meats and vegetables you’ll cook. Simply ignite it by pushing its button, not twisting a dial. And, no, you won’t need batteries to make use of 9,500 BTUs.
- Even heat distribution
- Uses natural heat for safer and more effective direct cooking
- Slightly hidden ignition for protection against impact
- Perfectly visible temperature gauge
- 200-square-inch stainless steel grate for group servings
- Deteriorating stainless steel parts
- Leaking gas
- No lower heat settings
Coleman NXT Lite Standup Propane Grill
Even though the Coleman NXT Lite Standup Propane Grill doesn’t have the highest thermal energy, its 8,500 BTUs are enough to grill almost any kind of meat or dish. A cooking area of only 168 square inches isn’t exactly one of the biggest as well, but it can also serve four to five people.
A factor on the cooking power of this grill despite its moderate level of heat energy is its steel grate coated with porcelain. The combination of steel and porcelain is effective for durability, even heat distribution, and long retention of high temperatures. It can reduce the chances of flare-ups.
This product isn’t just for grilling. It can hold stove and griddle grates, too. They’re sold separately, but at least you’ll have the option to use different cooking methods with just one grill. You can literally have a feast while camping.
To prevent spills while you’re cooking, transporting, or storing this grill, it has a swivel grease cup. More about transporting, the legs are secured with a well-designed latch mechanism and attached to heavy-duty wheels that can handle rocky terrain.
- Ignites with one single push of the button
- Fuel-efficient thanks to the PerfectFlow System
- Very lightweight
- Has a small built-in side table
- Extended legs to avoid hitting your toes
- Tends to collapse when lifted
- Unclear instructions
- Can be extremely hot that it easily burns food
Coleman Roadtrip LX Propane Grill
A great choice not just for camping but for picnics and tailgating as well, the Coleman Roadtrip LX Propane Grill is completely portable despite its big cooktop measuring 285 square inches. As expected from a topnotch brand, this product can provide 20,000 BTUs with its reliable pair of adjustable burners. Simply ignite the burners by pushing the button.
The power of this device is unstoppable. Even when the weather or terrain is too harsh for a fun cookout, PerfectFlow technology can maintain the temperature you set.
Just like the previous option, this one has cooktops that can be swapped or changed into another type of grate. It can hold stove and griddle grates so you can cook anything you want.
When it comes to convenience, the stand can be folded. It can also be removed if you prefer to use this grill on a table. And, the delightfully surprising part, you can extend the built-in side tables with hooks to hold the utensils and ingredients while you’re cooking. No more going back and forth just to add ingredients or flip the food.
- Powerful burners
- Long propane life because of the grill’s fuel-efficient properties
- Doesn’t produce too much smoke
- Doesn’t require frequent cleaning
- Has a drip pan
- Stand can resist wind pressure and impact
- Side table can support a lot of items
- Folding stand
- Height suitable for both tall and short people
- Melting grate
- Broken ignition
- Not very resistant to rust
Extreme Marine Products Cuisinart Grill Modified
Another option that can also be used on pontoon boats and railings is the Extreme Marine Products Cuisinart Grill Modified. It’s a great choice for boats and campsites since its brackets are extremely durable with their 304 stainless steel material. Despite the metal’s hardness, it won’t scratch or damage the painted surface of railings.
As a plus, the brackets are already pre-installed. You can use the grill as soon as you take it out of the box for the first time. This is perfect if you’re not really handy with tools or DIY work.
Don’t be discouraged with the 145-square-inch cooking area. Yes, it’s smaller than what most camping grills have, but this product is one of the most portable models out there. Its weight is only 18 pounds.
The remaining features we need to highlight are the burner, handle, lid, and propane tank mount. The burner is stainless steel, just like the standard design. As for the handle, it’s very thick to last longer. Lastly, the lid has a special lock while the propane tank you’re going to use will be supported by a secure mount.
- Can maintain stability even when you install it on railings
- Quick installation and removal
- Includes folding legs for storage
- Even distribution of heat
- Can catch grease with its drip tray
- Legs can’t be locked into place if not fully extended
Weber Q2200 Gas Grill
Being one of the options with the biggest cooking area, the Weber Q2200 Gas Grill and its 280-square-inch grilling surface is a highly recommended product for campers. It’s also known for its thermal energy of 12,000 BTUs, which is more than enough for any dish. Its burner is made of stainless steel with an integrated thermometer on the lid to handle that level of heating power.
The grate isn’t stainless steel, though. It uses the more unique version which is cast iron combined with porcelain. It also uses the modern type of ignition which is electronic, not the traditional one with matches.
More about the grill’s materials, the body and lid are both composed of cast aluminum. Also, the nylon frame is glass-reinforced for durability.
Convenience-wise, this camping grill is a delight to work with. It has two large built-in tables so you can keep the most important cooking tools and ingredients near you while grilling. The tables are very sturdy, but they can be folded for storage.
In addition, the device has a removable drip pan. Its handle is bigger than the standard as well to strengthen grip.
- No cold spots
- Sturdy construction
- Efficient heating system
- Can maintain the highest possible temperatures for a camping grill despite its compact size
- Comes with a large drip pan
- Easy to clean
- Slightly difficult assembly process for DIY novices
- Gives strange grill marks
Smoke Hollow Grill Modified for 1.25″ Railing
If you don’t mind bringing a huge grill to your campsite in order to bond with a big group of people over delicious food, the Smoke Hollow Grill Modified is one of the largest models you can buy that also promotes portability.
Also designed for pontoon boat railings, this product has a cooking area measuring 305 square inches. It also comes with a 205-square-inch cooking grid and a 100-square-inch chrome warming rack. Even the removable drip tray is quite big to catch even the tiniest drop of grease.
To support the large grilling surface, this camping grill has a marine-grade bracket. The laser-cut stainless steel bracket set can last long even when it’s constantly exposed to moisture.
However, a big cooking area can still be useless if the burner’s energy is weaker than necessary. Fortunately, this grill works with 12,000 BTUs. You can completely control the heat by monitoring the temperature gauge. For ignition, just push the button.
Let’s not forget about how convenient this grill is. Its legs can be folded, and the lid has a locking system. Both features contribute to a grill that can be transported anywhere.
- Extra-large grilling surface
- High thermal energy
- Wind-resistant lid
- Can be used in campsites and on boats
- Gaps around the lid due to uneven structure
- Air constantly entering the cooking area
- Not big enough for some users
Blackstone Grills Tailgater – Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo
Assembling grills can be a daunting task for people who just want to cook and have a good meal with family and friends. That’s why the Blackstone Grills Tailgater is an excellent option for everyone who strongly prefers minimal assembly. You can literally set up everything in just a few seconds.
You can even place this grill anywhere you want. Its legs are adjustable to stay level no matter how bumpy the ground is.
Regarding versatility, there are multiple ways to use this device. You may use the griddle and grill box simultaneously. Or, you may remove them to make use of the two burners if you prefer cooking with pots and pans. You can even use only one burner so you’ll be able to install the griddle or grill on the other.
Speaking of the burners, they have slightly different features to allow different cooking methods. One of them is stainless steel while the other is cast iron. The steel one provides 15,000 BTUs while the cast iron side works with 20,000 BTUs.
- Cast iron grates, steel griddle plate, and tough powder coating finish for a heavy-duty design
- Massive cooking area of 477 square inches
- Can generate a total of 35,000 BTUs
- Can reach 500 degrees Fahrenheit with the grill box
- Lets you do various cooking techniques
- Stability on any terrain
- Fuel-efficient despite the huge size
- Difficulty in handling the legs during setup and removal
- Too big for some users
- Exposed drip tray
How to Choose Good Camping Grills
When you think about camping grills, the first thing that probably comes into your mind is portability. However, some people aren’t very particular about that since they usually park their vehicles near their camp. What they need instead is a more powerful, more durable outdoor grill.
Since choosing between portability and quality can be confusing, we’ll help you select grills with a balanced set of features.
It goes without saying that bigger grills are less portable. However, that won’t matter too much if your camp isn’t too far from your parked vehicle. As long as the grill has all-terrain wheels or carry handles, transporting and moving it won’t be a Herculean task. Handling heavier weight is just a small price to pay for serving a big group of campers without wasting too much time cooking in several batches.
The size of a grill is usually based on its cooking area. The unit of measurement used is square inch. A big grill has a cooking surface than can extend to more than 300 square inches. Meanwhile, smaller ones stick to the 150- to 200-square-inch range to ensure a more compact structure.
British Thermal Units (BTUs)
British Thermal Unit is a crucial unit of measurement so you can determine whether the grill has enough thermal energy for your cooking needs. More BTUs basically mean hotter temperatures and longer heat retention.
However, there are other factors affecting heat energy. Some grills have fewer BTUs but can be more powerful than other products because of features like side panels, wind blockers, lockable lids, and infrared heating technology.
So, don’t buy a grill just because it has an extremely high level of thermal energy. It’s best to evaluate the device’s overall quality from different angles.
Type of Fuel Used
You can’t just say one type of fuel is better than the other without considering all possible factors. Learn the pros and cons of gas compared to charcoal.
This is the more popular fuel option for camping grills. That’s because it’s more accessible in stores. Transporting gas contained in durable canisters is also easier.
Gas may even come in portable tanks, which is usually preferred by campers who always travel in big groups. A propane tank, for example, typically needs only one adaptor hose.
More importantly, gas grills generally heat up faster. Your entire group will have a chance to enjoy more activities while camping instead of some members missing out on all the fun because they’re busy cooking.
Of course, there’s a downside. Gas grills tend to be heavier than the charcoal type. They can be a hassle for campers who like to stay on higher altitudes. Going to those places require a lot of hiking. You don’t want to do that while carrying a heavy grill. Grilling food over gas may also lead to weird flavors, especially for people who are used to the natural taste of grilled dishes.
On the other hand, charcoal grills serve authentic grilled food most of the time because of the classic smoky taste they leave on meats. They’re also ideal for campers since they have a lighter, more portable design. They’re even cheaper in general, which is perfect for adventurers on a budget.
Unfortunately, they take a much longer time to preheat. You may have to bring a lot of ready-to-eat snacks to camp if you resort to a charcoal grill.
The purpose of the grate is more than just being the grilling surface. It’s also a significant factor in heat retention and cleaning convenience. Since the quality of the grate mostly depends on its material, find out the pros and cons of stainless steel vs cast iron with porcelain enamel.
Grills with stainless steel grates are generally cheaper since they’re more common. They’re more lightweight as well. However, the important part is their durability. Stainless steel, as long as it’s the high-grade type, won’t rust easily. Its smooth surface is also easy to clean.
Cast Iron + Porcelain Enamel
The combination of these materials is more special than mere stainless steel. They have better heat retention and a more durable structure. That’s why they’re mostly found on expensive grills. Unfortunately, the solid construction of cast iron makes the grill heavier.
Here are the features that guarantee convenience in terms of cooking, cleaning, transport, setup, and storage.
Electronic ignition is in-demand nowadays. It is usually paired with a push button or a twist dial for instant fire. It’s significantly more convenient than using matches or lighters.
Sadly, automatic ignition may not be consistent in some grills due to factory defects, mild damages, or environmental factors. So, you still have to bring matches or lighters with you just in case.
If you can assess the temperature of meat just by using your eyes and hands, you’re one smart cook. However, if the grill has a lid, cover, or hood, constantly opening and closing it while cooking may affect the quality of your dish. That’s why it’s best for a grill to have a built-in thermometer you can easily see on the lid.
A good camping grill should allow you to set at least three heat adjustments. Slow cooking usually requires low to medium heat. Meanwhile, some meats are too tough to eat that they need high heat to become much softer.
As a plus, some grills will let you set small adjustments in-between for precision. Keep that in mind before buying one.
The legs and side tables of the grill, if any, should allow you to fold or remove them for transport and storage. Also, if the grill doesn’t have its own carrying case, at least make sure it has a big handle or two side handles so you can move it with ease.
Juices and fats dripping from the grill should end up in the same area, not scattered everywhere. The grease pan or tray will help you clean the grill fast. All you need to do is remove it from its slot, pour out the dirty liquid, and wash it clean.
Choosing a camping grill can be quite a dilemma. You need to balance portability and performance or you’ll end up with the lightest yet most useless grill. Aside from prioritizing size and weight, don’t forget to consider other factors like thermal energy, fuel type, grate material, ignition, and cleaning convenience.
Despite the inconveniences it may cause during setup, the Weber Q2200 Gas Grill is still our top favorite. It has a big 280-square-inch cooking area, high thermal energy (12,000 BTUs), built-in thermometer, cast iron grate with porcelain enamel coating, electronic ignition, and folding tables. Its components are highly durable.