Camping without grills is like swimming without water. To enjoy hot meals when tent camping or RVing, you’ll want a quality portable grill that makes cooking fun, so we reviewed the top five to help match you with the perfect model.
Outdoor cooking should be efficient and stress-free, which these top camping grills deliver, so come along to find out more.
Best Camping Grill Features and Benefits
Before purchasing a camping grill, let’s look at available features and the benefits they bring to your campsite grilling, such as:
Type of Fuel for Cooking
Everyone has their preference for cooking food on the grill. Some like the convenience of propane, while others prefer charcoal, and many love the taste of food cooked over wood.
Think about how you like your grilled food to taste and how you plan to use and store your camping grill.
Hauling around charcoal or wood pellets or searching for dry wood at a campsite may become tiresome. Having enough propane for your grill may also be a burden, depending on where and how long you camp.
On the other hand, gathering fallen wood to cook campsite meals is free, and pushing a button to start a propane grill is quick and straightforward, even if it’s raining.
Always pick a grill that uses the fuel you find easiest to work with.
Heat Level of the Grill
For propane (LP) or wood-pellet grills, you’ll want to pay attention to the BTU output if you want all your food to cook evenly and fast.
The best portable gas grills offer 50-100 BTUs per square inch of cooking surface, which means a 200-inch grill should deliver 10,000-20,000 BTUs.
Another important feature is burner location. The more lines of burners, the more evenly the food will cook above them.
Adjustable Temperature Controls
You want a grill with temperature controls to adjust the heat level reaching the food.
Some grills have a built-in thermometer to help manage the heat level, which you’ll want if you cook a lot with the lid down.
The best camping grills will have two or three separate heat zones under the grill grate so that you can cook a variety of foods at the same time.
The best gas grills have a push-button ignition to light the burners. This feature eliminates using a lighter to start the fire, which can be dangerous if the gas builds up.
Please pay attention to reviews on this gas grill feature, as many inexpensive camping grills boast this component, but it breaks not long after purchase.
Camping Grill Size, Weight, and Portability
A camping grill size must meet your needs for cooking meals, along with overall dimensions and weight for storage and ease of portability.
We suggest getting a grill cooking surface as large as possible since you never know when you’ll need to whip up a meal for extra guests or room for a pot or two to warm up baked beans or other side dishes.
In terms of weight, you’ll want a lightweight yet durable grill. Going for the lightest model may save your back, but it could be so flimsy that it quickly warps or breaks or is top-heavy when you load the grate with food.
We suggest you test out the weight of any grill that interests you, especially if you plan to carry it long distances between your vehicle and cooking location, such as taking it along on a hike.
The grill’s size, weight, and design will affect its portability and ability to store it without taking up too much room.
Look for handy features like legs that fold up, integrated handles, wheels, a carry bag, and a locking lid to secure the internal components during transport.
Overall Grill Construction and Materials
We’ve had too many camping grills become unusable after a season or two due to poor construction and materials.
The first issue is rusting or corrosion of the lid and base. Other cheap metal or hardware problems are warped grates, broken knobs, bends or dents, slipping legs, falling lids, or clogged burners. All these problems make using your grill stressful or outright impossible.
Look for heavy-duty grill grates with a rust-resistant, non-stick coating. Cast iron holds up long-term and evenly distributes heat but needs more care when cleaning and storing to reduce surface rust.
Porcelain-coated grates may chip off after a few uses if it isn’t thick enough. On the other hand, a thick-gauge stainless steel grate is easy to clean, durable, and long-lasting.
The higher the quality of grill materials, the more longevity you can expect, so invest in the best one you can afford.
Grill Special Features
Lastly, look for these special features that make using your grill from setup through cleanup a breeze:
- Adjustable legs – so the grill stands at a comfortable height off the ground or sits above a tabletop to prevent scorching
- Warming rack – a second-tier warming rack to move cooked food off the grilling surface
- Side shelves – room to set down spices, utensils, pots, or food while cooking
- Removable drip pan – for easier cleanup and to avoid grease-fire flareups
- Optional griddle – a flat surface to cook pancakes, bacon, fish, or scrambled eggs
- Built-in thermometer – to check heat level without opening lid
- Locking cover – to prevent losing components during storage or transport
5 Best Camping Grills
1. Coleman Portable Gas Grill
- GRILLING POWER: Up to 20,000 total BTUs
- 9 ADJUSTABLE BURNERS: With improved burner technology for more precise temperature control
- LARGE GRILLING AREA: 285 sq. in.
- EASY SETUP: Sturdy quick-fold legs and 2 wheels
- THERMOMETER: Integrated design for accurate temperature monitoring
Fuel type: Propane
Dimensions: 28.81 x 18.3 x 10.6 inches
Weight: 25.59 pounds
The Coleman Tabletop Portable Gas Grill provides immediate enjoyment, as this model requires zero assembly.
With 225 square inches of cooking surface, two adjustable cook zones, and 11,000 BTU heat output, you’ll be ready for most campground or tailgate cooking needs. In addition, this model has wraparound feet to prevent movement during use, with enough clearance to keep the heat from scorching wood or melting plastic tables.
We love the optional stove grate or griddle cooking surfaces for more cooking flexibility. We also appreciate that the size is large enough for group meals, and the integrated water tray makes cleanup quick.
- Cast iron grates with an innovative solid center to keep burners clean
- Push-button ignition
- Easy to clean, with a removable inner pan
- Distributes heat evenly
- Durable materials hold up for years
- No lid lock
- Temperature control is not very precise
- No handles or carry case
This camping grill is best for cooking for up to four people and is excellent for RVers or tent campers who need to keep gear compact and lightweight. Most customers bungee the lid shut between uses.
2. Napoleon TQ285XBL1 Gas Grill
- The TravelQ 285 with Scissor Cart allows you to bring professional…
Fuel type: Propane
Dimensions: 20.5 x 44.25 x 38.75 inches
Weight: 43.2 pounds
The Napoleon TQ285XBL1 Gas Grill provides an impressive 285 inches of cooking surface and 12,000 BTU heat output, along with convenient foldable legs with wheels so that you can cook anywhere.
The grill is sturdy even when loaded with food, and we love how fast it heats up and maintains temperatures in the dual cooking zones. The grill requires minor assembly and pops open to lock into place for grilling securely.
Long-term customers note how the enamel coating keeps a lovely finish season after season, and the igniter works like a charm.
- Can grill up to 19 burgers at once
- Reliable auto-igniter
- Two side tables
- Lid height can accommodate whole roasts or chickens
- Porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grate with two cook zones
- It doesn’t require a table or scissor legs collapse for compact storage
- The aluminum drip pan corrodes away if you don’t clean it often
- Temperature control knobs are hard to read
This camping grill is best for families or larger groups, camp chefs who want more cooking surfaces, or off-grid campers who need a stand-alone grill.
3. Bitty Big Q Compact Retractable Grill
- It is compact, retractable and lightweight, 1.7 lbs. perfect for…
- Unique design – Fully open to a grill rack, grilling surface 16 x 10…
- 3 adjustable levels – choose perfect grill rack height above your…
- True one-piece design – No assembly required. Easy and fast setup
- Top quality – Made by superior 316 food/medical grade stainless steel…
Fuel type: Wood or Charcoal
Dimensions: 6 x 10 inches when open with adjustable leg length
Weight: 1.7 pounds
The Bitty Big Q Compact Retractable Grill is a no-nonsense camping grill that lets you create a safe cooking surface above any wood campfire or charcoal pile.
If you want a truly portable grill, this little grate delivers super-strong marine-grade stainless steel construction that folds down to under 7 x 4 x 4 inches into its carry bag and slips easily into a backpack, trunk, or RV storage compartment.
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We love how the 160-square-inch grates partially self-clean as you slide the unit shut. In addition, the legs provide excellent support during cooking, and you never have to worry about anything breaking.
- Ultra-compact, lightweight, and includes a carry case
- Easy to clean
- It doesn’t rust or bend after extended use
- Small cooking surface
- Needs adjustment to level the legs over uneven ground
- You must create a fire to cook over
This camping grill is best for tent campers or hikers who need something compact and lightweight for grilling on the go, but it is also ideal for RVers or car campers who cook outdoors occasionally and don’t want a standard portable grill.
Bitty Big Q Compact Retractable Grill (Video)
4. Traeger Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
- Digital Arc Controller
- Advanced Grilling Logic for precise temperature performance
- Easy-to-clean porcelain-coated grill grates & Separate Cast Iron…
- Meat Probe
- Keep Warm Mode helps your food to stay warm until you’re ready to eat
Fuel type: Wood Pellets
Dimensions: 20 x 21 x 13 inches
Weight: 60 pounds
The Traeger Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is a portable grill for serious campsite chefs. The use of wood pellets keeps mess to a minimum while the super-accurate temperature control cooks food to perfection.
Traeger is famous for high-quality grills built with the finest materials and designs. If you like the idea of smoking brisket or other slow-cook meats, you can fill up the pellet reservoir and maintain the temperature for up to eight hours before you need to add more.
We like that this grill will perform reliably for years, but be aware that the cast iron griddle and porcelain-coated grill grate are only 184 square inches because the pellet reservoir takes up a fair amount of space.
- Locking lid
- Carry handle
- Works as a grill or smoker
- Includes meat probe thermometer
- Precise, adjustable temperature controls with a timer
- Requires 110-volt electricity (unit plugs in)
- Heavy and expensive
- Must purchase and store/carry pellets
- Small cooking surface
This camping grill is best for couples who enjoy slow-cooked campsite meals and have an RV or stay at campgrounds that offer 110-volt electrical service.
5. Cuisinart CCG190RB Portable BBQ Grill
- 196-SQUARE-INCH CHROME PLATED GRATE: The 196-square-inch chrome plated…
- DUAL VENTING SYSTEM: Features a Dual venting system, giving you the…
- THREE SECURE LID LOCKS: The grill features three secure lid locks for…
- COMPACT ENOUGH TO TAKE ANYWHERE: Measures 14 x 14 x 15 inches and…
- ENAMEL COATED FIREBOX AND ASH CATCHER: Features a durable enamel…
Fuel type: Charcoal
Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 15 inches
Weight: 4.2 pounds
The Cuisinart CCG190RB Portable BBQ Grill is the perfect option for budget-minded campers who prefer to cook with charcoal.
The round chrome-plated cooking grate provides 150-square-inches of surface, giving you plenty of room to cook up food for two or three people.
We love the three locks on the lid that allows you to store some utensils, dishes, and spices inside when not in use and keep it all in place until you’re ready to set up and start grilling.
- Dual venting system for better temperature control
- Locking lid
- Enamel-coated firebox to reduce corrosion
- Easy to clean tray for ashes and grease
- Sturdy legs with plenty of tabletop clearance
- Lightweight and affordable
- Not durable enough for years of constant use
- Legs don’t collapse, so a bit bulky to store
- Must purchase/carry/dispose of charcoal to use
- Requires some assembly
This camping grill is best for basic campsite cooking for two, especially for burgers, hot dogs, and chicken breasts.
Best Camping Grill Wrap-Up
Camping grills come in many designs, so it’s easy to find the right size and one that allows you to cook with the gas, charcoal, or wood fuel you like best.
We hope you use the list above to save hours of camping grill comparison shopping and select from the top choices with the highest ratings from customers.
A grill is a must-have camping accessory perfect for tailgate parties, backyard gatherings, trips to the park, and beach outings, so snag one today and get cooking!
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-- Andre Gide