Grilling and camping make a perfect combination provided that you have the right grill.
A good camping grill is above all very easy to use and mobile. Among other important characteristics are also durability, functionality, evenly spread heat and easy temperature control.
The type of grill will impact what kind of food you’ll be able to cook, how much and whether it will be easy and enjoyable.
You should start by choosing the type of fuel and specifying your budget, and then you can start looking for the right grill for camping.
Just for you, I researched the best camping grills for every budget and situation.
I picked five different options from the charcoal or gas category. I have also prepared several tips that are bound to be useful for those less experienced.
The 5 Best Camping Grills Reviewed
There are plenty of compact grills on the market that are perfect to go camping with. Some of the models are versatile enough to also serve as a small, stationary grill. Take into account the most important characteristics for cooking when camping and pick the camping grill that best suits your situation.
1. Weber Q2200
My favorite grill when it comes to cooking away from home, especially when camping. Weber Q2200 is a mix of functionality, great performance and high quality of workmanship.
It comes with all the essential features that make it great at cooking away from home.
Of course it is a slightly more expensive option but if you spend a lot of time away from home then it’s really worth it. I really recommend buying the separately sold Q portable cart, which provides the same kind of cooking comfort as in a full-sized grill (it folds which makes it easy to bring along).
Weber has already made us used to their high quality of workmanship, and Q2200 is one of the best products in their offer.
Contrary to a popular belief, one burner is great at handling this kind of area. It can reach very high temperatures without a problem, which allows me to grill great hamburgers, wieners or even steaks when camping out.
It is my number one camping grill also thanks to its simplicity and speed. I don’t always feel like taking time to get the charcoal burning, here all I have to do is start the burner and after 10-15 minutes I can start cooking.
Q2200 is great enough to also serve as a small stationary grill when combined with a stand.
If you want to have a more diverse meal then I recommend buying another separately sold accessory (Weber Q Griddle). You will be able to use half of the space to fry delicate things like eggs, pancakes, vegetables and much more. When spending a little more time away from home, such option is great at making the menu more diverse.
You don’t have to worry about cleaning either, all of the grease goes to a large aluminum tray located directly below the grill (a simple yet effective system).
It is one of the most expensive camping options, but it’s certainly worth the price. The quality of workmanship, durability and functionality are things that matter when camping.
Griddle grilling is a whole different cooking style from a regular grill with grates. Thanks to the flat plate you’ll be able to easily cook fine and delicate things without worrying that they will fall through the grates to the bottom of the grill.
The Outdoor Griddle is a great alternative to a regular grill because you can prepare much more diverse food.
On top of meat, you can fry pancakes, eggs and small vegetables, which combined with everything else makes a delicious, wholesome meal. I recommend going through a recipe database for inspiration or watching a video to see a griddle in action.
The very simple construction is malfunction-free, durable and convenient to transport.
A griddle can be taken out and flipped over in order not to damage the cooking area during transportation. Another advantage of this solution is much easier cleaning of the plate itself.
The built-in ash catcher is also another advantage that makes cleaning much easier after cooking.
Although it’s not something scary, it is worth mentioning that the surface doesn’t heat up evenly due to the burner’s shape (it looks like the letter H).
I believe that it is the type of camping equipment that everyone should have. Due to the cooking style, I recommend it as a supplement for a grill with grates, if you have a budget and space for that, it is really worth it.
It is one of the most portable grills on the market, and at the same time one of the simplest and cheapest ones.
Weber Go-Anywhere is an incredibly compact charcoal fueled camping grill available at a low price. It’s a suggestion not only for those who prefer charcoal, but also for those with a very limited budget.
The small-sized and very lightweight construction is very durable and incredibly convenient to transport.
It comes with as many as three handles that allow to conveniently carry it around and move from one spot to another even when cooking.
The unassuming steel legs guarantee stability, and when folded, they serve as a lid lock, effectively holding the lid in place.
The light weight and mobility are mostly owed to the small-sized construction but Go-Anywhere actually offers 160 square inches of the main cooking area. That’s big enough to fit up to 6 burgers and cook a simple meal for several people fast enough.
That’s a lot of upsides, now it’s time for several minor downsides.
The first cooking may not be exactly what you’d like it to be. It’s mostly because of the distance between the furnace and the grates being too small, which makes it easy to burn your food. A solution is to use less charcoal, start slowly and monitor the temperature.
Another downside is lack of any system/solutions for easier cleaning. The grill is simply too small for this type of solutions, which means you’ll have to manually clean all the elements. Luckily it doesn’t take long to clean a grill this small so I think that it’s not a very serious flaw.
Other than that, it’s a great option for those who care a lot about price and mobility.
The next propane camping grill on my list is a great choice if you’re planning to cook a whole lot of food (the grill has whole 285 square inches of cooking area).
Personally, I like Coleman RoadTrip 285 for its three burners, which make it possible to create different heat zones, and for its great mobility.
One advantage here are integrated folding legs that, when folded, take a little space just like the rest of the grill.
I like the ability to buy a griddle separately, which makes Coleman RoadTrip 285 very versatile. When camping for longer, grilled meat alone becomes monotone, which makes a griddle a great solution to make the menu more diverse.
No worries about cleaning, there’s a removable grease tray on the back of the grill that just has to be emptied when cooking is over.
It also comes with handles and work area thanks to unfolding side shelves.
Its advantage is the ability to also use it at home, especially if you have a very limited space. Plenty of people who live in apartments choose this type of solution due to limited space.
Despite the “mobile” construction, it is still a pretty heavy grill, especially compared to my other suggestions.
If you need a whole lot of cooking space, convenience and are interested in the ability to cook with grill grates or griddle (sold separately) then it’s really a good idea to consider buying this grill.
A great option from Weber for the fans of the full-sized kettle, this time in a minimalistic version that is perfect to go camping with.
Weber Jumbo Joe is the most effective portable charcoal grill that offers efficiency like in a full-sized grill and the same standard when it comes to the quality of workmanship.
Its greatest advantage besides the very good temperature control and high quality of workmanship is its large capacity. The grill has 240 square inches of cooking area and a huge distance between the grates and the lid.
It is great not only for grilling but even for smoking for more ambitious campers.
For a low cost, you can be confident about quality and durability. Full-sized kettles are famous for their great durability, considering the equally good quality of workmanship in Jumbo Joe I can easily say that it can withstand just as much.
It gets very big thumbs up from me for the ash catcher mounted under the bowl. With such solution, the post-cooking cleaning won’t be quite so bothersome.
The Tuck-N-Carry lid lock is another advantage, it makes it convenient to move the grill around without worrying about a problematic lid. Unfortunately, I believe it could have been made more solid.
The secret to precise temperature control in a charcoal grill are adequate air vents and shape of the construction.
Reality shows that phenomenal effectiveness these days can be provided by kettle style grills, such as Jumbo Joe for example (in this regard it has a huge advantage over Weber Go-Anywhere).
Very good news is that Weber Jumbo Joe was able to maintain great properties of a big kettle while also becoming a portable charcoal grill.
How to Choose a Camping Grill
Choosing a new camping grill is easy if you know what to pay attention to and what is important when cooking around camping grounds.
First and foremost, learn the upsides and downsides of the most popular types of fuel, then check out my list of the most important things to pay attention to before the purchase.
On top of the basic criteria such as the type of fuel, price, features, type of construction etc. you also need to take other aspects into account.
First and foremost, find out if the place you’re going to allows the use of charcoal grills for example. In many places it is forbidden to cook over flames. In such situations, a solution is a camping grill that runs on propane or electricity.
Tips for buying a new camping grill
Budget – The price range is so big that even someone with a very limited budget will find something for themselves. If you specify your budget right at the start, it will be much easier for you to find something fitting for yourself.
Type of fuel – Once you have your budget specified, move on to choosing the type of fuel. Charcoal offers the best food flavor and fun and costs the least, but it requires a lot of attention. The propane options, on the other hand, offer the easiest temperature control, evenly spread heat and convenience but they cost a lot. There are also electric or pellet versions available, but personally I believe that the only right choice is charcoal or gas.
Temperature control – You want to take a huge part in the cooking process or you simply want fast and tasty food? Having upsides and downsides of different types of fuel in mind, I insist you take this aspect into account.
Size and weight – All of my suggestions are mobile but some of them still weight quite a lot. The charcoal versions are the most lightweight to the point you can easily carry them around in one hand (like Weber Go-Anywhere for example).
Lid lock – It’s difficult to get the inside of a grill perfectly cleaned once you’re done cooking, there will always be some minor waste left. During transportation, the lid should be secured in its place or else everything inside the grill will end up outside of it (ash, grease and other food remains).
Handles – Personally I prefer options that come with a lid handle and side handles. It increases convenience during transportation and makes it possible to move a hot grill at any moment.
Stand – It certainly improves the convenience of cooking, getting close in this regard to a full-sized grill. On top of that, if you have a stand, you don’t have to worry about the cooking surface in most situations.
Warranty – Cooking away from home is not perfect household conditions. The risk of damage during transportation or camping is much higher. In such situations premature malfunctions or defects will show up much sooner. If you often cook away from home then choose a brand that provides a great warranty (such as Weber).