When you think of camping food, the first things that pop into your head are probably s’mores and hot dogs on skewers. As tasty as these campfire treats can be, you’ll quickly get tired of hot dogs and pre-packaged chow on extended camping trips, and although handy portable stoves have been a staple of many a camping kit for decades, there’s just nothing like the taste of properly grilled meat. Enter the camping grill, which ensures you never have to be without a good burger, bratwurst, or steak, even when you’re miles away from civilization.
These travel-friendly cookers come in a wide variety of designs and sizes, so whether you’re getting ready for your next family camping adventure or backpacking trip, read on: These are our picks for the best camping grills out there, from lightweight models to larger (but still portable) ones that can cook up a dinner for the whole crew.
Best Overall: Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill
You’re almost certain to see Coleman on any roundup of the best camping gear and the RoadTrip LXE portable gas grill is more than worthy of its brand name. Like a lot of Coleman products, the RoadTrip camping grill gives you everything you need without unnecessary bells and whistles: It’s compact and breaks down easily for transport, but stands up like a regular grill to deliver 20,000 BTU of heat on its surprisingly generous cooking surface.
The Coleman RoadTrip LXE is far from the cheapest on our roundup at around $245, but it’s the best-selling propane camping grill on Amazon for good reason. If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative, however, then read on for more picks.
Also Great: Camp Chef Big Gas Grill
Another great camping grill, but a slightly less compact unit than the RoadTrip, is this one from Camp Chef. The Camp Chef gas grill is a great option for tailgating and for larger camping parties, offering more than twice the cooking surface area as the Coleman grill as well as 90,000 BTU of heat across its three burners. The legs are removable for travel, and the Camp Chef also comes with a grill box which can be removed if you want to use other cooking equipment (like a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven) instead.
Given that the Camp Chef is about the same price as the Coleman RoadTrip while offering considerably more cooking area and power, this camping grill is a great value if you want something a little larger and are willing to sacrifice some portability.
Best Tabletop Grill: Weber Liquid Propane Grill
If you grill at home, then you might be one of the many people who does so on a Weber. A tabletop camping grill like the Weber Q-series is the most portable design you’re likely to find in a gas grill that’s still large enough to cook for multiple people. There are a few grills in the Q series, but the best pick for most people is the super-sturdy Q1200 camping grill which offers a reasonably sized 189 square inches of cooking surface area and 8,500 BTU of heat per hour.
The Weber Q1200 rings in at $209, but if you want something a bit bigger, then consider upgrading to the Weber Q2200 camping grill which delivers a boosted 12,000 BTU of cooking power and 280 square inches of cooking space (about the same as the Coleman RoadTrip) for $269. You can also grab the Weber Q portable cart to use these camping grills like standing units.
Best Ultra-Portable: Coleman Fold N Go Grill
All of our picks are pretty portable, but they’re still fairly bulky as far as camping gear goes. Our final propane-powered camping grill is another one from Coleman: The Fold N Go weighs in at just ten pounds and is perfect for a lone camper looking to cook dinner for one. Naturally, with a grill as small as the Fold N Go, you’re sacrificing cooking surface area for portability – don’t expect to cook anything other than light breakfasts for more than a single person.
Nonetheless, if you’re not cooking for a family, the Coleman Fold N Go’s easy-to-use design, unmatched portability (for a propane unit), and excellent value at just $65 make it the best super-portable propane camping grill out there right now. The aluminum griddle attachment is a cheap must-have add-on for cooking things like bread, eggs, and pancakes, as well.
Best Charcoal Grill: Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
Anyone familiar with grilling knows there’s a subset of die-hard meat-lovers who insist that nothing makes beef, pork, and chicken taste as good as an old-fashioned charcoal grill. Thankfully, the Weber Go-Anywhere camping grill means you don’t have to give up the flavor of charcoal-grilled meat when you’re on the go. Its cooking surface has 160 square inches of space (enough for about six burgers), and since it uses charcoal, you don’t have to mess around with costly propane canisters.
When not in use, the legs fold up around the lid to hold everything together in a package about the size of a fishing tackle box. The Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal camping grill is an excellent value, too, at around $60.
Best Over-Fire Grill: Stromberg Carlson Stake and Grill
Another non-propane option, and one that’s even simpler than a charcoal camping grill, is an over-fire design like the Stromberg Carlson. This simple two-piece grill utilizes a handled grilling platform that rides on a stake you place in the ground, giving you a generous cooking surface that sits right over your campfire (and you can adjust the height to achieve the ideal cooking temperature). When your food is ready, you can swing the grill plate away from the fire to get your food, unlike most other over-fire camping grills that fold out over the fire and can be hazardous to retrieve.
The Stromberg Carlson is a sturdy, no-nonsense, and affordable over-fire grill and rings in at just 50 bucks. It’s a little heavy for an over-fire grill, however; for a lighter, more backpacker-friendly campfire grill, read on for our final pick.
Best for Backpacking: Coghlan’s Pack Grill
Even if you’re into lightweight backpacking, you don’t have to suffer with boring packaged food or goop you have to cook in a canteen cup. The Pack Grill from Coghlan’s is a simple and elegant on-the-go grilling solution; at just over six inches wide and 12 inches long, it can fold down to fit into just about any pack, and its over-the-fire design means it’s just about foolproof. Cook meat directly on the rack or place your cup or pot on it for a stable cooking platform.
At a mere $7, the Coghlan’s Pack Grill is a cheap piece of kit to add to your backpacking loadout. There’s also a larger version that measures roughly 12 by 24 inches, but it’s obviously not as portable given its size.
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