If you love camping and cooking, you know how hard it can be hard to enjoy your favorite foods while spending time in nature, but the best camping grills can help you do just that. Whether you’re cooking with propane, charcoal, or an open flame, these grills are sized to feed a crowd — or just one or two — and they’re easy to load in and out of your campsite, thanks to portability features like handles and wheels.
When it comes to buying the best portable grill for camping, deciding on your heat source is a good place to start. Propane is a convenient and clean-burning fuel source that requires minimal cleanup after mealtime, and many propane grills have dials that let you precisely control the amount of heat. Charcoal, on the other hand, imparts an authentic, smoky flavor to grilled foods, but you'll have less control over the heat and will have to rely on opening and closing the vents on the lid to the adjust cooking temperature. (You'll also want to keep in mind that it’s important to safely dispose of used charcoal after cooking, which can be a little messy and time-consuming.) Finally, if you're a rugged minimalist, you may prefer a mesh grate that lets you cook over an open fire — you won't get much temperature control with this option, but it is the most portable, versatile, and lightweight.
You'll also want to think about size. If you’re camping with other people or making a big meal, look for a grill with a cooking area of at least 200 square inches, but if you want to save space, look for a compact model that has space for cooking at least several burgers at once — just remember that you may have to cook more batches if you’re feeding a crowd. Whatever the size of your grill, it should be easy to carry and transport.
No matter where your travels take you, if you bring one of the best camping grills, you’ll never have to choose between being outdoors and cooking your favorite recipes. Scroll on for a few customer-approved options.
1. The Best Camping Grill, All Things Considered
My pick for the overall best portable grill for camping is the Coleman RoadTrip. It has a lot of the functionality you’d expect from a full-size propane grill, with a smaller, more portable design, which mean you can make gourmet meals in the middle of nowhere. The roomy, 285-square-inch cooking surface can cook enough food for several campers, and since the 12,000-BTU propane burners are controlled by three independent dials, you can create separate cooking zones for foods that benefit from different temperatures, giving you tons of versatility.
The grill's stand elevates the cooking surface to a comfortable height, and converts into a rolling cart to make it easy to move the 52-pound grill between your vehicle and campsite. Two fold-out prep tables provide bonus workspace, and tuck neatly underneath the grill for transport.
According to a reviewer: "This grill is the envy of all our camping friends. Portable, light, large grilling area, and we don't have to bend down to cook. It's faaaaancy."
2. The Best Compact Propane Camping Grill — & The One With A Stove
If you want the convenience of propane, but don’t need quite as much cooking area as the Coleman, this propane camping grill is an affordable and lightweight option. In addition to a 170-square-inch cooking surface, the grill has a gas stovetop burner for boiling or frying items in a pan or a pot, so you can use it for things like coffee, oatmeal, and pancakes. And if you’re prepping dinner on a windy day, the grill’s hinging lid and two side shields offer protection, so your fire stays lit.
The four angled legs provide a stable, elevated base for the grill and detach easily for portability, and since the 20-pound grill collapses into a flat, portable case, it's easy to carry with the built-in handle.
According to a reviewer: "Its lightweight and easy to bring with you on camping trips. [...] I could fit 7 steaks on the grill, and a pot for mashed potatoes on the burner."
3. The Best Portable Charcoal Grill
If you're looking to inject some smoky flavor into your meal, check out this Weber camping grill, which is my pick for the best portable charcoal grill. Compatible with both standard charcoal briquettes and hardwood lump charcoal, this option takes up minimal space in your vehicle and weighs in at just under 9 pounds, so it's great if you're looking for something that's easy to tote around. Still — the 160-square-inch stainless steel cooking surface is large enough to cook up to six burger patties at once. Keep in mind, though, that there's no adjustable temperature dial, so you'll have to adjust the vents on the lid to regulate heat.
The Weber camping grill's multi-functional locking system doubles as a small stand that elevates the cooking surface a few inches off the ground, and the two hangers on the back let you utilize the lid as a wind shield to keep the fire burning.
According to a reviewer: "Perfect little grill! I wanted something I could store in the front storage compartment of my travel trailer, and this grill is perfect. [...] Excellent control over heat and smoke, and produces some really great flavors."
4. The Best Folding Camping Grill For Cooking Over An Open Fire
This folding camping grill can be used to make meals directly over your campfire. Made from durable, cold-rolled steel, the grill has an impressively large 370.5-square-inch cooking surface when fully extended, so you can make breakfast for the whole crew. Cooking over an open flame also provides the option of grilling directly on the grates, or using cookware like a small pot or pan for other preparations. Of course, this option offers the least amount of control over temperature, but the portability and versatility factors just may win out for some people: Not only does it weigh a mere 6pounds, but the grill folds in half and the locking legs tuck under the mesh grill grates, making this easy to take anywhere. Plus, you won't have to deal with hauling a propane tank or charcoal along. Minimalists and those confident in their fire-building skills will love this durable, hardy, and travel-friendly design.
According to a reviewer: "This campfire grill was exactly what we were looking for. Folds up easy, cleans up easy and withstood the heat from our camp fire. Great buy!"