Best Camping Grills Buying Guide in 2022
If you live for fresh air, sunshine and quiet outdoors, then you know that camping is a great way to de-stress and lift your spirits and moods. Whether you’re driving to a campground, hitching a ride at an RV park, or hiking to a backcountry, living unplugged can take you away from your usual hustle and bustle. But the best parts of home life — like barbecues — are well worth taking out of the backyard. It’s possible with the help of a camping grill, your ticket to elevating outdoor food to campsite cuisine. To qualify as a portable camping grill, the model must be less than 30 inches in width or height and must not weigh more than 60 pounds.
Personal preference plays a big role in determining which camping grill is right for you. For example, what type of camping do you like best? What kind of fire do you want to cook with in your camp kitchen, and does a fuel make more sense to you? After packing, how much space do you have for the grill and its fuel? How much weight can you carry to and from camp? To help you with all your questions, our outdoor living experts have put together this guide to walk you through each relevant point, with helpful tips along the way. Think of it as a friendly hike along a charming trail, with a delicious BBQ waiting for you at the end!
Choosing a Fuel Type for Your Camping Grill
When looking for a backyard grill, the decision on the type of fuel often depends on how much effort you want to put in to start and maintain the fire. This is doubled when grilling in an outdoor camping kitchen, where fire protection is paramount and you’ve given up many of life’s luxuries. Let’s take a look at the 4 available fuel types and discuss how they differ in convenience, portability, and other pressing factors.
Gas Camping Grill
Most grills we use for camping burn liquid propane, which is popular because it’s easy to start, control, and extinguish – all of which make camping cooking easier and safer. Because of portability, most backpackers use 1-pound propane tanks to fuel gas camping grills, but Tetris-savvy RV and car campers can attach these models to 20-pound cylinders (sometimes using adapter kits) depending on their packing skills ). Also consider that a 20-pound propane tank can be refilled or replaced at most hardware or grocery stores, while a 1-pound tank usually cannot be refilled. If maximum versatility is your game, we recommend the HJMK 13-inch Mini Kamado Grill Series, an innovative take on ceramic grills that weighs 39 pounds and is used with a stand to attach a propane gas tank! Under the premise of maintaining multiple cooking methods, it is free from the cleaning work of carbon ash, and the good insulation sealability can lock the moisture of the food to the greatest extent.
Charcoal Camping Grill
Aside from a more immersive cooking experience – marshmallows on coals, anyone? — These camping grills tend to be lighter than their counterparts because they lack internal components like burners and flame tamers. Adding a smoky flavor from hardwood blocks or wood chips is another important point in favor of charcoal. A considerable disadvantage, however, is the greater challenge of fire maintenance and cleanup. Unlike other fuel types, you can’t simply turn a knob to light, control, and put out fires, not to mention the need to properly dispose of the ashes to ensure they don’t attract wildlife. Charcoal bags are also heavier than a 1-pound propane tank, which can offset the difference in grill weight.
Pellet Camping Grill
It’s hard to beat the convenience of a pellet grill, but its many advantages become more apparent in the outdoors. Ignition is at the touch of a button, fire maintenance is performed entirely through digital controls with incremental temperature settings, and you can use any cooking style from low-speed smoking to searing heat. If you’re waiting for a catch, here it is: pellet camp grills require a standard 110 or 120-volt electrical outlet to operate, which is not always available at camp. They also fall on the heavier end of the category due to pellet augers and other electrical components, plus fuel sources are often only available in 20- or 40-pound bags.
Electric Camping Grill
These camping grills are efficient, and are so lightweight that they don’t require hauling bags or fuel tanks other than the cooker itself, which is a big deal. The trade-off, of course, is that electric camping grills can’t operate without a 110/120 volt power source, so aren’t as widely available or manufactured as their charcoal and gas brethren. Whether or not an electric camping grill makes sense for you depends a lot on how you like to camp (more on that later), but when you need a grilling meal after a long day of adventure, this fuel type can still be used Get the job done. If anything, you can rest easy knowing that an electric heating element is safer than an open flame, especially in a camp setting.
Which Grill is Right for Your Camping Style?
Which grill is right for your camping style? Much of your decision to buy a grill depends on the type of outdoor adventure you enjoy. Backcountry hikers may not carry 60-pound pellet grills and 20-pound fuel bags with them, just as weight is no longer a factor for car campers who simply have to move equipment from their vehicles Go to a nearby camp kitchen. It’s also possible that your usual campground also prohibits certain types of fires, further complicating the issue. Either way, knowing your camping style can go a long way in helping you find the right camping grill.
Drive-through Tent Camping
The biggest issue for car campers is the size of their vehicle. Midsize cars and crossovers reduce the available space on the grill, while full-size SUVs and pickups allow you to carry a larger grill and more fuel. Propane camp grills generally make more sense for smaller vehicles; you can fit a handful of 1-pound propane cylinders or a full 20-pound tank with little problem. Don’t completely ignore the weight of the grill, though—if your car is a long way from the campground, that might tip the needle toward a lighter charcoal grill.
A camping grill is by definition compact, so the spaciousness of an RV means you can take even the largest model without worry (assuming you have enough room for other gear). For the same reason, carrying a gas tank and fuel bag in a camper has become less important. In fact, a propane grill connected to a 20-pound cylinder may be your best and most efficient option in this situation. You can refill or replace the gas tank almost anywhere on the road, but it doesn’t hurt to pack a 1-pound propane bottle just in case you dry up between scheduled stops.
How big is your backpack? More importantly, how often do you go to the gym? It’s all a joke now, but once you’re on the road, the grill you can’t carry is the one you shouldn’t buy. Campers in remote areas should avoid pellet camping grills because they are heavy, not to mention the issue of using electricity in the field (same as above for electric models). All that’s left is the propane and charcoal camp grills, each using a 1-pound tank or sachet of fuel. If you choose the latter, a charcoal starter is pretty much a weightless solution to getting the flames going.
You may be ready for a peaceful walk in the woods to the camp kitchen, but we’re not ready to let you go. It’s not like we sell you a grill and then tell You hit the road, especially when camping presents so many challenges with grilling. From construction and cleaning to add-ons that can enhance your camping grill experience, here are our different ideas on what to look for in a camping grill.
A camping grill has to check out a lot of boxes: light enough to transport, but sturdy enough to treat and live in the campground. It sounds like a lot to ask for a single product, but that’s what makes camping grills so great! However, the best brands come from brands like Blaze, TEC and Solaire, which use high-quality stainless steel in their construction. Some Napoleon TravelQ grills feature other desirable materials: rust-resistant cast aluminum casings and cast iron cooking grates, which are prized for their heat retention, and may even be porcelain-coated, requiring no seasoning. Before buying a grill for camping, take some time to consider the materials used in the construction and the warranty that comes with it.
Easy to Clean
We always tout the virtues of frequent cleaning to preserve the longevity of the grill, but in the outdoors, a clean grill is more than just longevity. Dirty grills attract grub-seeking bugs as well as larger wildlife attracted to the smell of cooked meat, so never skip cleanup when camping. With gas and electric camping grills, the job is easier: just burn off food scraps, scrub the grill, and wipe the inside and outside clean. On the other hand, ash from charcoal and pellet models must be disposed of after each cooking. In addition to devouring metal, ash absorbs food drips and odors – making it a beacon for hungry wildlife.
At some point you’ll get tired of the same old camp food and pines for a full meal. That’s where camping cookware comes in, adding versatility to cooking and opening up possibilities for a range of camping meals and recipes. Cast iron cookware is popular for its thermal performance and ease of cleaning when seasoned; sturdy Camp Chef cookware includes Dutch ovens, griddles, and more; marine-grade Magma cookware sets are fully nested so you can take them wherever you go Save valuable cargo space. Take a moment to think about what you want to do in your camp kitchen, and prepare a set of outdoor cookers to make it happen.
BBQ Tools and Accessories
If you can’t go camping without the right gear, then you shouldn’t be grilling without the right tools. Make sure you have a standard set of camp cooking tools – your basic tongs, spatula, etc. – before moving into more niche accessories that will set your camp dishes apart. For example, BBQ Dragon accessories include marshmallow sticks, high-temperature grilling gloves, and an egg lighter that fires a charcoal grill in minutes. Don’t forget to check out our camping table, which doubles as an all-in-one prep area, dining table, storage unit, and game table for poker. No, we’re not bluffing!