This article is the result of our search for the best camping grill.
We take a detailed look at the top models available today, before discussing what you should look for when buying – and what to avoid – so you know how to look for a quality product fit for purpose.
One of the greatest joys of camping has got to be the cooking. You get a break from the same old flavors of home, and your taste buds have a chance to savor something different. To get the best out of such meals, you will want a grill capable of performing well and producing great food, because not all small grills can.
While many people use the terms camping grill and camping stove interchangeably, these outdoor kitchen appliances are entirely different.
A camping stove requires the use of some form of cookware such a pan or pot to cook your food in. Stoves come in handy when you want to prepare food that can’t be placed directly onto a flame. Think bacon, scrambled eggs, pancakes, or beans.
With a camping grill, food is placed on a griddle or grate, and it’s cooked by the flames. You can grill veggies, steak and hot dogs over the fire.
Just so we’re clear, this article reviews camping grill, not stoves.
At a Glance: Our Recommendations for Best Camping Grill in 2021
Propane Gas Grills:
- Coleman Propane Grill, RoadTrip LXE Portable
- Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill
- Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill
- Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel TableTop Propane Gas Grill
- Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
- Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter Portable Charcoal Grill
- Lodge Cast Iron, Hibachi Style Sportsman’s Grill
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon or Home Depot.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- 1 Camping Grill Reviews
- 2 Best Gas Camping Grills
- 3 Best Charcoal Grills for Camping
- 4 Best Wood Burning Camping Grill
- 5 What to Look for When Shortlisting Options
- 6 Conclusion
Camping Grill Reviews
Picking the first grill you come across means it is highly unlikely it’s the best one for your or your camping group’s specific needs.
You will need to ascertain what type of fuel source you’re most comfortable with. Are you looking for the authentic flavor that comes with charcoal or wood-burning grills? Or are you looking for the clean cooking that is more associated with gas?
We’ve separated this section into three parts, and will be sampling some of the best camping grills under gas, charcoal, and wood-burning fuel sources for you.
For each fuel source, we’ll recommend several grills that we believe are the best models suitable for camping.
Best Gas Camping Grills
As most gas camping grills rely on propane as their fuel source, we’ve concentrated on this type in our review.
Propane is clean, efficient, and takes less time to start up compared to charcoal or wood-burning grills. So you’ll spend less time cooking and more time enjoying the great outdoors.
Let’s dive into what we consider to be some of the very best gas camping grills on the market.
Coleman Road Trip Lxe Portable Propane Grill
This versatile grill, that also features in our roundup of the best portable gas grills on the market, is perfect for camping trips.
It offers you plenty of cooking space with two independent and adjustable burners for different heat zones. Running from a standard 16.4-ounce propane gas cylinder, it offers you 20,000 BTUs of heat and is suitable for feeding three to four people well.
Measuring 47 inches by 34 inches by 19 inches for a 285 square inch cooking surface, and weighing 47 pounds, it’s large enough to cook for a crowd, while its It’s handy wheels and folding legs keep it off the ground and make it small and light enough to be portable.
It also comes with dual sliding side tables, with plenty of room to work on. It also conveniently comes with a removable tray to catch any grease drippings for easy clean up.
The manufacturers have made it more versatile by building sturdy cast iron grates that can be interchanged with other cook tops such as a full griddle, half griddle, and half stove grate, to enhance your overall cooking experience..
All in all, Coleman did not compromise on building materials, so you can definitely expect durability from this model, and it’s backed up by a limited 3-year warranty.
Another amazing feature of this model is that it folds down into a compact design which will fit into your car with no trouble at all.
It comes in a range of colors, from black to green, blue, purple, maroon, red, orange, and silver, and the comprehensive assembly instructions mean you’ll be cooking in no time.
- Instant start button.
- Compact size when folded.
- Folding legs.
- Large cooking area with extra space on the side trays.
- PerfectFlow pressure system that provides consistent heat even in extreme conditions.
- The hood is shallow so you won’t be able to roast fowl or large cuts of meat.
- The carry handle does not extend.
- No thermometer.
If you’re looking for a gas grill that offers tons of space while remaining compact when not in use, then this might be the model for you. The Coleman RoadTrip LXE is designed with convenience in mind, giving you more time to enjoy the outdoors.
Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill
Coming from a family of well-performing grills, the award-winning, porcelain-enameled Weber Q1200 definitely holds its own.
It measures 16.5 inches by 40.9 inches by 24.6 inches high, weighs only 30 pounds, and provides 189 sq. in. of cooking space with its porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates and cast aluminum lid and body.
Fueled by 14.1 or 16.4-ounce propane cylinders, it heats up effortlessly with the simple push of a button and, more importantly, grills your food evenly.
It comes with a single 8,500 BTU burner with a control valve that allows you to adjust the flame with ease.
The temperature gauge is built in giving you greater temperature control.
With the Q1200, you also get two folding side work tables, perfect for holding your spices and sauces, or for a little extra space to work from.
Its heavy-duty construction means it will be a while before you have to go shopping for a replacement. The flip-side though, is that this very sturdy construction makes it quite heavy. You may find it hard to cover long distances on foot with this bad boy in tow as it doesn’t have any wheels.
- Durable and easy to clean.
- Built-in thermometer
- Can grill huge chunks of meat or poulty.
- Side tables are sturdy.
- Comes in a range of colors.
- Can comfortably cook food for two or three people.
- 2 year warranty, with 5-year on some on the parts.
- It is quite heavy for such a small product.
- Single burner only, so cannot create different temperature zones.
- No legs to raise it off the ground.
It has a sleek, sexy look, with great temperature control and an excellent build. It cleans up real nice and would be a perfect addition to your camping experience.
Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill
When it comes to a compact and easy-to-carry grill, the Cuisinart CGG 180 is definitely a strong contender in this list.
It’s easy to set up, move, clean, and store. You can literally take it anywhere—right from the beach to your favorite campsite, then to tailgating parties and picnics.
Measuring 16.5 inches by 16 inches by 13 inches, it offers 145 square inches of cooking space. Enough to cook a meal for 2, or burgers and sausages for 6.
This grill is designed to heat up very fast. Its 5,500 BTU stainless steel burner doesn’t waste heat or gas, and is a durable material built to last.
It has a drip tray to catch run-offs and grease to avoid flare ups and for easy clean up, as well as a lid latch and carry handle, to keep it closed and easy to carry during transport.
The folding tables base is a nice touch, raising it for use to prevent it burning any surface it’s placed on, while keeping it portable for it’s intended use as a grill on the road.
Available in three colors—red, black, and stainless steel – You can also choose a model to suit your particular tastes.
- Easy to clean.
- Compact and lightweight—making it a breeze to carry.
- Can be easily set up anywhere.
- Can be set up as a tabletop as well as a free-standing grill.
- Some users have complained about the plastic handle melting.
This table top gas grill product is perfect for a camper looking for a grill that’s easy to carry and set up. The folding legs make it even smaller for storing and traveling.
Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Tabletop Propane Gas Grill
The Smoke Hollow 205 is a great choice for BBQ enthusiasts and campers who need an on-the-go type of grill. The stainless steel construction makes it not only easy to clean but durable as well. You don’t have to worry about rust if stored for some time.
A great selling point with this product is its portability. It’s locking latch keeps the lid shut, while the legs fold in. This allows you to carry it like a suitcase.
The U-shaped 10,000 BTU burner provides even distribution of heat to the 205 square inch cooking surface to ensure your hot dogs and burgers are well cooked.
As far as capacity is concerned, you can easily fit six to eight burgers on it in one go, or if cooking steaks can comfortably allow you to serve up to four people.
The warming rack offers the perfect finish for nearly done burgers or if you want to slow cook your peppers. It’s designed to keep your food warm for extended periods of time.
There is also a built in temperature gauge, so you know the temperature you;re cooking at, important for getting things right, especially following a recipe.
So grab this grill anytime you want to go camping, picnicking, tailgating, boating, or hanging out in your backyard.
- Easy to clean.
- Rust-free body.
- Foldable legs that can be set up anywhere.
- Chrome-plated warming rack.
- Even at low cooking heat, the body tends to get very hot.
- The igniter sometimes requires a couple of tries before it lights a flame.
Looking for an on-the-go grill that’s ideal for camping, picnics, and impromptu cookouts? This is one product you should definitely consider.
Best Charcoal Grills for Camping
There is a reason why charcoal lovers adore these grills. It’s in the challenge that comes with lighting up these babies, controlling the heat through fire management, and of course the authentic flavor.
Charcoal brings out a distinct and incredible flavor in food that simply can’t be achieved with gas grills.
Let’s look at some of the best charcoal camping grills in 2021.
Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
This Weber product also topped our roundup of the best portable charcoal grills. It is a super cool rectangular shaped charcoal grill that can go anywhere, literally.
It’s packable shape and compact size means you can store it with ease when you’re not using it. Additionally, the plated steel foldable legs pivot to lock the lid in place during travel, with a handy carrying handle on top. This ensures that you can carry it around securely.
Measuring just 12.2 inches by 21 inches by 14.5 inches and weighing only 14.5 pounds, it may seem small, but it offers a respectable 160 sq. in. cooking surface, enough to cook a good 6 burgers or up to 4 decent sized steaks.
The grill’s ventilation system is comprised of two vents on the top and two vents on the sides. These allow you a very workable and decent way to adjust the temperature while you’re grilling. And when you’re done and need to extinguish the coals, simply close these vents and the lid.
The size of the girll and the number of vents also allow you to cook food indirectly, or to do some low n slow smoking quite successfully. I personally own one, and love this fact more than anything.
This product is relatively heavy for its compact size which speaks of it’s quality and good materials used, backed up a Weber 10-year warranty.
With grates made from nickel-coated steel and a porcelain-enameled steel body and lid, it is easy to clean and durable too.
- Highly portable and a great shape for packing.
- Has a good cooking surface despite it’s size.
- Allows indirect cooking (roasting instead of grilling.)
- Great for small gatherings.
- Delivers great results.
- The legs are a bit thin and weedy, though functional.
Weber quality ensures this grill delivers excellent results for anyone looking for the traditional charcoal flavor in their food. For a more in depth take on this wonderful grill, please see my Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill review.
Cuisinart CCG-100 Gratelifter Portable Charcoal Grill
Coming from a family of world-famous kitchen products, the Cuisinart CCG-100 is simply a work of art. It feels like the manufacturers analyzed BBQ-enthusiast problems and came up with this fantastic product as a solution.
One of the most outstanding features of the Cuisinart CCG-100 is the GrateLifter. Whether you are rearranging coals or adding more charcoal to the charcoal bed, you simply engage the lift. Once engaged, the grate raises effortlessly allowing you access to the charcoal bed without getting your hands covered in grease.
The lift feature also makes it easy to clean out the ash from the charcoal bed. This grill comes with an ash collection bin that makes the cleaning up process so much easier and safer.
A 240 square inch cooking surface is provided with this 27 inches by 16 inches by 15.5 inches grill, offering plenty of space to cook a good amount of food all at once for the whole family. An optional extra purchase is two side tables, giving you extra working space.
You don’t have to worry about temperature regulation. The integrated precision temperature gauge displays internal temperatures which allows you to manage your cooking without much hassle.
With a table stand for tabletop use, this grill is portable, compact, and provides a superior campsite cooking experience. It is absolutely ideal for a medium-sized family or group of friends.
- The grill lift system.
- Large cooking surface with extra working space from the side tables.
- Easy to clean.
- Ash collection bin.
- The pins on the grate lift may need some tightening.
- Side tables must be purchased
The Cuisinart CCG-100 is well thought out, durable, and nothing short of ideal if you have a lot of hungry mouths to feed.
Lodge Cast Iron Hibachi Style Sportman’s Grill
Are you into rugged-looking wonders? Then the Lodge L410 Hibachi Style grill may be the perfect addition to your outdoor equipment. Made purely from cast iron, it is incredibly durable and can last for decades if you take good care of it.
The cast-iron construction also means it possesses superior heat retention capabilities that will see you save on fuel. While the grill can’t handle too much at a time, it will leave the perfect sear on all your meats.
This product is all about direct heat, so small quantities of quick-cooking foods will work best. It’s ideal for grilling burgers, steak, and pieces of chicken, and can serve up to four people.
It has a front door that allows you to rearrange or add coals without interfering with the cooking grate. Right below the door is an adjustable air intake opening that makes it easy to control the heat while you’re cooking.
At 32 pounds, it is quite heavy, but takes up only a small amount of storage space. You should be able to fit it in your car or camper without any trouble.
The 20 inches by 8.1 inches by 10.4 inches size offers up a 150 square inch cooking area, while the grates have two adjustable heights and there’s a sliding bottom vent for temperature control.
Cleanliness and care are of utmost importance, though. Cast iron doesn’t handle moisture or weather elements well, and it’s also prone to rust. Be sure to clean it up thoroughly after using it, then add some seasoning, and store it in a dry place.
- Adjustable heights.
- Easy to assemble.
- Good heat regulation.
- Requires extra care to prevent rusting.
- No lid.
The Lodge L410 is an efficient charcoal burning grill that has been designed to last for many years. It is perfect for outdoor lovers looking for that authentic taste in their food, and has also taken first place in our search for the best hibachi grills.
A guide to the best small charcoal grills.
Best Wood Burning Camping Grill
Just like their charcoal burning counterparts, wood burning camping grills bring out a rich, smoky flavor in every meal. They are also hotter than gas, and you can regulate the heat to suit your cooking needs.
Let’s look at some of the best wood burning camping grills available.
Biolite Basecamp Wood Burning Stove System
This grill seamlessly combines bygone years with tomorrow. The wood burning aspect connects you to the days when campers relied solely on firewood.
A USB light provides additional illumination when you’re cooking your meals in the dark. Furthermore, the grill’s device charging capabilities allow you to keep your mobile devices charged and connected with the world.
The grill is fuel efficient and uses natural fuels such as branches, twigs, and wood. Once the fire is lit, it starts to heat the thermoelectric generator, which then converts this heat to electric power, which is stored in the attached power bank.
As electricity is generated, it powers a small fan which in turn feeds into the furnace producing near-smokeless fire. It also generates more heat—and the hotter the grill, the faster your food will cook.
The Biolite BaseCamp Stove comes with 138 square inches of cooking area which allows you to cook plenty of food at a time. You can have up to eight burgers cooking on this grill at the same time. You can also use it for boiling a pot, by simply flipping a switch.
With an exterior made of stainless steel and an interior lined with cast iron, this grill has durability written all over it.
- Stainless steel and cast-iron construction make it durable.
- Can charge electrical devices.
- USB lighting offers better illumination.
- The smart dashboard allows you to control the power.
- It is a little too large for a solo traveler.
- Some users complain about the need to change the battery every year.
This product boasts a sturdy structure, a heat-monitoring dashboard, smart design, and a fancy USB lighting system among other fun features. It is an excellent option for a camper looking for a combination of new and old.
Cook-Air Wood Fired Portable Grill, Black
A portable powerhouse, it can reach temperatures of 1100 degrees within just five minutes of being lit. Its advanced technology allows you to grill your food on high heat within a short time.
Start the grill by using the firestarter sticks or a wad of paper and a piece of wood. Once the fire is lit, turn the fan to one, and after a minute or so, crank it up to three.
By this time the wood is fully ignited, you can turn the fan to five, attaining temperatures of well above 700 degrees Fahrenheit. The more wood you place into it, the hotter it gets.
This model has a round stainless steel cooking grate that can hold six to eight burgers, four steaks, or eight to ten chicken drumsticks. It is ideal for a small group of friends or family.
Environmentally conscious BBQ enthusiasts will be happy to know that this grill burns 99.6 percent of its gases. It is quite the ecologically friendly product!
- Lights up very fast.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Environmentally friendly.
- Susceptible to rust.
- Some users have mentioned that the fan stops working after some time.
This product is perfect for campers and grill lovers keen on enjoying the outdoors more than spending their time cooking.
What to Look for When Shortlisting Options
Camping grills come in many shapes and sizes, and their fuel sources are just as varied. Some use charcoal, while others use gas. You will also find some that use wood or electricity. It really boils down to safety and your personal preference.
That said, there other qualities you should look for when shopping for the best camping grill on the market. We have listed a few of these to keep in mind before making a purchase.
Compactness, Ease of Packing Away, and Transportation Features
Any camper will know how valuable space is. The smaller grills that are well-loved by backpackers are fairly compact and will fit into a small space. However, these may not be practical for a family or a large group of friends who are camping together.
That said, the best camping grill should still fold up easily and fit into a relatively small space. The square-ish types may work better if you need to secure them to roof racks or slide them into your trunk.
Additionally, look for a product that is easy to use and safe to maneuver. You don’t want to waste your time spending hours trying to figure out how it works—setting it up or folding it down. By then, your guests will probably have gone to find the nearest fast food drive-thru!
The size you choose should be dictated by the number of campers typically on your team.
A family of four will not have the same needs as a group of ten friends hanging out. Think about keeping a pack of happy, full campers and how much food you’ll need to fit on your grill at any one time.
While you may not want a supersized camping grill, a small model will greatly inconvenience a large group of hungry people.
Your campers may not mind lightly charred food, but burned or raw food is not something they’ll thank you for. If you’re considering a gas grill, make sure there are dials to control the temperature with ease. Otherwise, it might be an idea to purchase a thermometer separately.
Charcoal lovers should look for a product that has vents both on top and at the bottom to facilitate the free flow of air, but that you can control.
The more the air flows easily through the grill, the higher the temperature gets, and the more you restrict the airflow, the lower the temperature gets.
In other words, top and bottom vents are your temperature controls on a charcoal grill so you want to make sure your choice of product has them!
Design and Features
The overall design will also play a key role in how well you’ll cook. Think about the features you would like to have in a grill.
For example, some designs have a snug-fitting lid which allows you to roast, or smoke low n slow, as well as grill.
You can find grills that fold down into a neatly rolled luggage-style apparatus, which can be convenient, and space saving too. Perhaps you’re looking for an easy-to-clean model or one made from specific materials like stainless steel, brass, cast aluminum, or cast iron.
There are camping grills that have side tables to facilitate easy food preparation. Others have legs that help keep the fire and heat above the ground. You can also find camping grills that allow you the option of baking or frying your foods.
It boils down to what extras you are looking for, while also being realistic of what can be achieved in a small portable unit.
Quality of Construction and Durability
Don’t cut corners when it comes to the quality of construction, regardless of size. Your camping grill may very well be exposed to harsh conditions—be it weather or fire. Therefore, just because you’re looking for a small, portable grill doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality and opt for something that will only last 3 camping trips.
Check the surfaces and working areas for sharp or ‘unfinished’ edges. These can easily cut you or snag on clothing.
To know how stable the grill is, gently push against it from all angles to see how it withstands slight knocks.
Cast iron is durable but it’s also bulky and heavy, and it can easily rust. Aluminum, on the other hand, is lightweight, easy to ferry around, but may burn out.
Look for a grill whose build can withstand excessive heat and last longer than just one season.
Accessories or Bonuses
We all like extras. Sometimes manufacturers will throw in some fun, useful accessories or bonuses. While they may not come with accessories such as BBQ utensils or tools, you never know what you might find out there, so it’s worth shopping around.
Something we like—we’ve seen some grills on the market that come with their own carrying bags. This makes it easy to transport. A bonus could be an extended warranty, or a free recipe book, for example.
For Gas Grills Specifically
Essentially, gas comes in two forms—natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Natural gas comes from an underground source and is piped into your home’s main gas supply. Because of this, they cannot be portable and aren’t made for camping. (Though if you’re interested, you can check out our guide to the best natural gas grills here.)
LPG is filtered, treated, and packed into portable cylinders.
Camping grills, being portable, will use one of two types of LPG: butane or propane. The cylinders for these are, generally, not interchangeable, with most using propane gas.
If you’re in the market for a gas grill in particular, look out for the following:
BTUs stands for British thermal units, and these are used to ascertain the amount of heat a grill can produce.
Naturally, most people want to reach for models that have a higher number of BTU. Why? Well, you’d think that the higher the number, the hotter the grill will get, cooking your food more quickly or thoroughly.
But this is not necessarily true.
Unfortunately, manufacturers are known to oversell on BTUs. They will usually do this by bundling all of the burner output ratings to make it look like a more impressive number.
It’s recommended that you look for 80 to 100 BTUs per square inch of cooking area. By comparing usable cooking space to BTUs, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how much heat your grill is capable of producing.
Remember—cooking surface here does not include side burners, rotisserie burners, warming trays, and the like.
Grills with high BTUs should be made of high-quality materials. Otherwise you will lose a lot of that heat. Besides, models with more BTUs burn fuel faster, meaning you will be spending more.
Number of Burners
A grill with more burners allows you to cook different food items at different heat levels at the same time. You could be searing a juicy steak over high heat on one burner, while roasting peppers over low heat on another part of the grill.
Many full sized grills come with two or three burners, but you can also find some with four, or even six. Some also have side burners, which are great for warming up food, while others may come with a rotisserie.
So, how many burners do you want? Well, we’re talking about a camping grill here, so overall size would be my main concern, rather than number of burners.
Most portable gas grills have only the one burner. This is because of size constraints. You will see some people state you need 2 burners at an absolute minimum, and three would be even better for temperature control and to be able to do ‘indirect heat cooking and roasting!’ But then the grill would be so large, it could hardly be considered suitable for camping. So in my opinion, you’re going to have to accept a single burner, or 2 at most. Either is fine.
Today’s grills usually come with spark ignitions. Some run on a battery, while others use a push button or a dial to start up. It’s important for you to look for one with a lighting system that’s easy to start up.
While you’re at it, look at the manual ignition operation and how it works too. You may need to use it if and when the starter fails or becomes worn out.
Finding the best camping grill for you will undoubtedly take a bit of work, especially with so many brands and variations available, with many of them quality meaning there’s just so many to choose from.
You will first need to decide what your needs and preferences are before picking the right grill for you, and we hope our look at top models above has helped you in some way.
Out of all the above, we do have 2 favorites—the ones that we feel that top the list. Drum roll, please…
The winner for best camping gas grill for us is the Coleman Road Trip LXE portable propane grill. It outperforms other grills, with its durable construction, and easy-to-clean and light-up features. Let’s also not forget its ability to accommodate large chunks of meat.
And the winner for best camping charcoal grill is the weber go anywhere. It’s the one that I, Mark, personally own and use…and I really cannot fault it.
If you have anything to add, any questions or feedback, please do drop us a message below. We’d love to hear from you and we’ll answer every comment.