Camping out in the wild is always a great experience. Although there are so many things to look out for, the idea of cooking out has to be one of the highlights. There are of course many ways to cook during a camp out including an open fire. But grilling tends to offer the best option and as such, it helps to invest in some of the best portable grills for camping.
There is so much you can do with a grill. From making tasty burgers, grilling some meat, or even roasting some hot dogs. Besides, sitting around a grill in a clear night just outside your tent is such a relaxing and beautiful thing.
Well, in case you are thinking of hitting the open road for your next camping trip, then you will need to have one of these best portable grills for camping. This article will give you details on how to buy some of the best out there.
Best Portable Grills for Camping
As you can probably guess, there are so many different brands when it comes to portable grills for camping. Each of these brands has something to offer but even then, there are a few that stand out because of their superior features. We went out and tested some of these grills and come up with a full list of the best portable grills for camping. Here it is:
- Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
The Weber 121020 is a well built and durable outdoor grill designed for people who love pit cooking. The grill features a sturdy cast iron enamel construction and features a nice rectangular base that should easily hold your coal.
The unit also offers a nice compact design, making it a great choice for the road. Besides, the grill uses charcoal for grilling and even though you don’t get the same temperature control as you do with gas powered grills, cooking with charcoal has a certain classic ring to it that makes it so heart-warming.
You will also get a plated steel top grate that is neatly secured into place and a stable design that makes the Weber 121020 perfect for all terrains. However, even for all its good things, the Weber 121020 comes with tightly fitted air vents.
You will need a lot of elbow grease to adjust them in order to control air flow. Besides, the vents get hot when grilling so unless you have some gloves, it will be impossible to adjust. This is a huge downside.
- Features a large coal bed
- One of the most affordable grills in the market
- Features a well-built cast iron design for longevity
- Uses charcoal which offers better results compared to gas
- The grill feels relatively bulky
- You will not be able to adjust the vents while cooking unless you have heat resistant gloves
- Solaire SOL-EV17A Everywhere Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill
The Solaire SOL-EV17A is an infrared based grill that delivers a series of very unique features. It also offers excellent performance and its nice compact design makes it a great choice for carrying around during those long camping trips.
The unit is also fitted with a powerful ceramic flameless burner that delivers excellent heat. The burner also sits below a beautifully designed V-shaped grate that offers enough room to cook a lot of food at any given time. You also get automatic heat adjustment albeit there are only three modes, High, Medium, and Low.
Despite these features, the Solaire SOL-EV17A also has a few drawbacks. First, even though the grill comes with a lid, you cannot close it while cooking. It’s simply designed to protect the grate on transit. This limits the control you have while cooking your meat.
In addition to this, the Solaire SOL-EV17A has a relatively small grill size. Even tough you can still cook up to two steaks at a time, its still relatively smaller compared to other grills in its category. You will also need to folk out some money for the grill.
- Features high output power that allows you to cook anything
- Offers very fast cooking times
- Compact design for easy portability
- Well-built metal design that should last for years.
- The cooking lid is useless
- Relatively expensive even for its advanced features.
- Weber 54060001 Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
The Weber 54060001 is a relatively higher end grill but don’t be put off by the price. This grill is truly worth the money. The unit is powered by propane and features a large 280 square inch porcelain enamelled cast iron cooking plate with superb heat dissipation. As a matter of fact, the grill delivers up to 12, 000 BTUs of heat, making it one of the most powerful grills out there.
The Weber 54060001 also offers outstanding versatility. The unit is fitted with two spacious tables that should provide ample room for food preparation and serving. There are also sturdy side handles on either side of the grill to make it easy to carry.
However, the durability that the Weber 54060001 offers also comes with its cons. For instance, since it is largely constructed from cast iron, it can feel very heavy for some people. The grill also feels way too bulky to be a portable grill. But if you are simply looking for power and high-end performance, then you will not go wrong with this one.
- Easy set up and operation
- Features a well-built heavy-duty cast-iron grate that should last for years
- Large folding tables are also included for extra space
- Extremely large cooking area for all your meats
- It feels heavy and bulky to be a portable grill
Cuisinart CGG180 CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Gas Grill
Cuisinart is a very big name when it comes to grills and the company does not disappoint with its Cuisinart CGG180. First, this grill is so versatile. It has a compact well-built design that converts from a free-standing model into a tabletop model in just a few seconds. This gives you enough versatility to cook in smaller spaces.
The grill is powered by a gas burner that delivers up to 55000 BTU of energy. You also get a nice twist-start electric ignition and an easy-to-read temperature gauge that should help you track your cooking.
We also loved that the Cuisinart CGG180 comes with a nice cooking height which can actually be collapsed down when it comes to storage time. There is also a large 145 square inch cooking space that should provide enough room to cook for a crowd. Nonetheless, the grill does not feel that stable in fact, when you load too much food on it feels a bit wobbly.
- Feature a unique and versatile compact design
- The cooking space is quite large
- Can easily transition from freestanding to tabletop in an instant
- The grill is super sturdy and well built
- Feels a little wobbly when fully loaded
- The temperature gauge provided does not work that well
- Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill
The Coleman RoadTrip 285 is a propane powered grill that comes with sturdy foldable legs and nice rigged wheels that make it perfect for tail gating. The grill also features swappable cooktops and with its 285 square inch grilling area, you can be sure that the grill will be enough to for all your gatherings.
The performance of the Coleman RoadTrip 285 is however one of its most notable features. The grill delivers up to 20, 000 BTUs of energy on a 16.4-ounce propane cylinder, making it one of the most energy efficient grills out there.
You also get three precise temperature controls and sliding side tables for preparing meals and serving. A push button ignition is also included here and up to three different burners for superb versatility.
- The grill features a superb cast iron design for extra longevity
- You also get a foldable design as well for easy portability
- Three burners that deliver up to 20, 000 BTU per hour
- The lid on this grill is way too flimsy
- The water tray here looks poorly designed
- Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
There is no doubt that anyone who knows a thing or two about grilling will tell you just how good charcoal grills are. There is just that amazing smoky taste that comes with charcoal grilling. Well, if you are looking for one of the best charcoal grills out there, then you have to go for the Weber 10020.
The grill features a superb compact design and comes with a large 240 square inch cooking surface that should offer enough room for all your cooking needs. The unit also feels very light to carry and offers a ten-year warranty from the manufacturer. Fitted with a sturdy aluminium ash catcher and up to 4 air vents to help regulate air flow, the unit is one of the best portable grills for camping.
- Highly portable grill with a light and compact design
- Relatively affordable compared to other charcoal-based grills
- Easy assembly with just minutes of work needed
- Sturdy and durable construction that offers value for money
- There are no side handles included here
- You will have trouble getting air flow once the cover is put on
- Weber 55020001 Q 2400 Electric Grill
The Weber 55020001 is also a great camping grill but would only be ideal for folks who have an electrical outlet. This is because the grill is purely electric and while this creates a problem for the average camper who can’t access electric plugs, there are folks who just love to grill electrically.
Nonetheless, the Weber 55020001 is also loaded with some outstanding features as well. For starters, you get a super large 280 square inch surface and sturdy porcelain enamelled cast iron cooking grates for superb performance.
Heat control settings are also included in this grill for accurate temperature adjustment. The Weber 55020001 is also fitted with a nice cast aluminium lid and its sturdy ergonomic handles should make it easier for you to move the grill around anytime.
- Offers a large cooking area that should fit any crowd
- Electric grill that delivers good performance
- Porcelain enamelled cast iron grates are also included
- Does not have a lid thermometer
Coleman Gas Camping Stove
The Coleman Gas Camping Stove has quite some outstanding history in the market. It is one of those classic grills that has been around for so long chances are your grandfather used it. This is in fact a testament of just how timeless the grill is.
The unit comes with a well build cast aluminium shell and is fully powered by a propane gas tank. The grill can deliver up to 20, 000 BTU thanks to its powerful British made thermal burners.
All the burners are housed inside a strong steel body to ensure they remain protected even in harsh weather. The Coleman Gas Camping Stove is simply designed for the person looking for value in the long term.
- Features 2 adjustable burners with precise temperature control included
- You also get wind blocking panels to maintain efficiency
- Excellent energy efficient with a one-hour runtime on a 16-ounce propane cylinder
- Comes with a nice pressure regulator that feels very easy to use
- The product feels a bit cheap
Looking for more? Read our article on the best RV grills next…
What to Look for in a Portable Grill
While most of the grills listed above offer some amazing features, there are still certain important factors you would need to look out for before buying one. Here they are:
Most of these grills are designed to be as portable as possible and as such, they tend to be very light. But there are some products that feel a bit bulky to carry even if they are light. That’s why considering size is such an important thing. The last thing you want is something so big it won’t first in the truck.
Grills can use a wide variety of fuel sources. Each of these fuel source has pros and cons. For instance, charcoal is considered one of the cheapest and most versatile fuel sources albeit it’s not good for the environment. However, different people have different preferences when it comes to the fuel choice they’d prefer so it’s all up to you.
Maintenance is also very vital when you are buying a grill. In that case, it is a great idea to pick grills that are super easy to clean. This will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. Besides, no one has the time to clean up all the time while camping.
How many people do you intend to bring in your camping? If you camp alone, then perhaps a small grill with a small cooking surface will be just perfect. But for folks who camp in groups, always make sure you pick a grill that can cook a lot of food in one go.
The amount of heat the grill can generate will determine how fast the food cooks and how well it cooks. As a general rule, it is always advisable to pick grills that deliver higher BTUs or heat capacity. They will be so easy to use.
Ease of use
Try and also pick a minimalist grill that features a nice ergonomic design. The grill should also be so easy to set up once you are put in the woods. Avoid grills that have too many complicated settings or controls.
Finally, you may also want to ensure that the grill you are about to buy is super easy to carry. As a rule, buy grills that weigh somewhere between 20 and 50 pounds.
Finding a top grill that you can rely on should not be hard. Although the brands above are all quite good, there is no doubt the Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill stands out and for many reasons.
First, the grill comes with a large charcoal bed to ensure your food gets all the heats it needs. You also get a good price and an insulated cast iron construction that will last for years. It is by far one of the best portable grills for camping.