Camping is one of the most peaceful ways to enjoy the great outdoors. It gives you some time away from the trappings of modern society to commune with nature, but it can also be stressful if you don’t have the right equipment. To keep everyone happy and well-fed, a portable grill should definitely be added to your packing list.
Rather than hoping wherever you bed down for the night has a fire pit, grate, wood and other essentials needed to cook, bring along one of these portable grills to ensure yourself a hot meal. This guide breaks down everything you need to consider when choosing the best option.
Things to consider when choosing a camping grill
Choosing the right size grill is important for several reasons. The size dictates how easy it will be to transport, as well as how much food you can cook on it at one time. If you can drive right up to your campsite, you can choose a large grill and it won’t be an issue. However, if you will be hiking any distance to your site, you’ll need the right balance of portability and cooking space.
As with the size, you won’t have to be as concerned with weight if driving up to your campsite as you will be if hiking to it. Don’t just assume a small model is also going to be lightweight. You need to consider the build materials too. For example, the Raptor VR20000 Charcoal Grill, which is made with steel, offers 230 square inches of cooking space but weighs only 12 pounds. Conversely, the Kay Home Cast Iron Hibachi Grill provides just 180 square inches of cooking space but weighs hefty 20 pounds.
Camping grills are usually subjected to a lot of heavy-duty use, so you want to buy one that is rugged enough to handle your demands. Look at the materials, build quality and user reviews of any model you are considering purchasing.
Perhaps one of the biggest sources of debate when it comes to grilling is the fuel source. Some swear by propane while others will only settle for the smokey flavor charcoal provides.
Along with your personal taste preference, you should think about the convenience of each of these fuel sources. Small propane tanks are lightweight and compact. However, it can be difficult to tell how much fuel is left in a propane tank. With charcoal, it is easy to see at a glance exactly how much you have. Also, you can put wood inside a charcoal grill if you run out of fuel. This is not recommended with propane grills.
Best portable propane grill
This Coleman model delivers 8,000 Btus of steady heat and 122 inches of cooking space. It can last up to 2.5 hours on a single 16.4-ounce propane tank, and its legs conveniently store inside the main chamber during transport. Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Home Depot
Thanks to a dual-burner design, you get independent control over two heat sources with this grill. The small burner is perfect for boiling water in pots, while the large one is ready for your meats and veggies. Fold-up sides make it a smart choice for windy locations. Sold by Amazon
If you want the comfort of cooking without sitting on the ground, you’ll appreciate this one. It features a telescoping stand that folds flat for travel, or when using it on a tabletop, and the porcelain-enameled grate has good non-stick properties. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
You can’t fit a ton of food on the Fold N Go, but it is one of the lightest and most compact propane models available. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone hiking a far distance to their campsite. Also, its grate and grease tray are dishwasher safe for hassle-free cleaning. Sold by Amazon
A great option for those who need to cook for large groups, the RoadTrip offers three independently-adjustable burners and 285 square inches of cooking space. It has pull-out trays on both sides to provide you with some space to work, and it rolls on two wheels for easy portability. Sold by Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Home Depot
Best portable charcoal grill
With a tuck-n-carry lid lock, the Go-Anywhere is easy to carry with one hand, and you won’t have to worry about the grate falling out while doing so. It is large enough to accommodate up to six burgers and has dampers on the inside to help you control the heat. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
This is essentially a miniature version of the classic Weber kettle grill. A tray underneath the main chamber catches drippings and ash so you won’t damage whatever surface it is placed on, and a hinged design allows you to open the lid without having to completely remove it. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, you’ll appreciate this model from Raptor. It boasts smart design features that allow you to light, cook on and empty your grill without ever having to touch the charcoal or ashes. The 230-square inch cooking surface is big enough to pump out a lot of food, too. Sold by Amazon
At just 2 pounds, you can easily carry this grill to your favorite camping spot, even if you have to hike a far distance to get there. Venting on the top and bottom allow you to control the heat, and its lid locks for transport. Sold by Amazon, Wayfair and Home Depot
Thanks to its high-quality stainless steel build, you won’t have to worry about this hibachi rusting if you get caught in a rainstorm or two. It includes four legs to raise it up to a comfortable working height, and they can be detached when it is time to take it on the go. The tight mesh on its grate works well for skewers and similar items. Sold by Amazon
Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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