There’s nothing like cooking your favourite food on the grill. But what about when you are camping or on the road? Portable grills give you the flavor you love with the convenience of a grill you can take along in an RV, to a tailgate or when car camping. The best camping grills are truly portable. Look for something light enough to carry, unless you plan to use it exclusively on a tailgate. Even then, loading in and out of the truck is easier with a grill you can move easily. If you want to use your portable grill at table height without a separate table or stand, Coleman’s Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE has its own folding legs and wheels for easy setup and use.
Alternatively, you may need something portable enough to carry to the beach, for a wilderness picnic or even backpacking. If so, then we’ve got you covered.
- FAQs when choosing portable camping grills
- The best propane fuelled camping grills
- The best non-propane fuelled camping grills
- What to look for when choosing the best camping grills
- Technical features of the best portable camping grills
- Design features of the best portable camping grills
Summary of the best portable grills for camping in 2020
Here’s a quick summary of your options with more info on each grill in the best camping grills section.
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|Mr Steak 1 Burner Infrared Portable Grill||Propane||14,000||High temperature infrared burner||$$$$|
|Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill||Propane||8500||Built-in thermometer||$$$$|
|Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill||Propane||5,500||Extendable legs||$$|
|Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill||Propane||20,000||Built-in table and wheels||$$$|
|EUREKA Gonzo Grill Cook System||Propane||10,000||Doubles as an oven||$$$$|
|Coleman Fold N Go Portable Grill||Propane||6,000||Highly portable||$|
|Bitty Big Q Compact Retractable Grill||Charcoal or wood||/||Folds up mega small and is super lightweight||$|
|Primus Kamoto OpenFire Pit||Charcoal||/||Highly portable and doubles as a fire pit||$$$|
|Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill||Charcoal||/||Highly portable||$|
|BioLite BaseCamp||Wood||/||Built-in phone charger and light!||$$$$|
|Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box||Charcoal||/||Doubles as a side fire or smoker||$|
|Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's Charcoal Grill||Charcoal||/||Super durable||$$|
|Camp Chef Professional Barbecue Box||Use with camp stove||/||Doubles as a smoker||$$|
FAQs when choosing camping grills
If you’re after a tabletop grill that is cable of putting out serious heat quickly, then the Mr Steak 1 Burner Infrared Portable Grill is tough to beat. However, for something a little more versatile, the Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill is an superb option for tabletop grilling.
The best camping grills: propane fuelled
When it comes to fast, efficient and insanely hot grilling, the Mr Steak 1 Burner Infrared Portable Grill is where it’s at. Delivering 14000 BTU’s of propane-fueled cooking power, the unique ceramic infrared burner excels at super-high temperature grilling — 1000ºF / 538ºC to be precise! The result is delicious, steakhouse quality grilled feasts cooked to perfection in a matter of minutes.
At 29.5lbs, this may not be the most lightweight camping grill on our list but its high performance, heavy duty construction features folding legs, a locking lid, and a silicone carry handle, making it compact and portable enough to carry wherever your grilling adventures may take you. It also features a removable grease tray and a stainless steel V-grate that sits above the infrared burner.
- Insanely hot!
- Highly portable
- Electronic ignition
- Removable grease tray
- On the heavy side
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The Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill is a portable option from one of the most trusted names in the grilling world. A quick-heat option means you are ready to cook in no time, even in windy conditions. The Weber Q1200 is one of the best options on our list for cooking greasy or juicy foods thanks to an angled grease tray and catch pan. Of all the options on our list, the Weber Q1200 comes in the most colorful options – over a dozen color choices, including team-specific logos!
- Built-in thermometer
- Comes pre-assembled in the box
- Easy clean up
- Heavier option
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Cuisinart’s Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill is large enough for eight burgers but light enough to carry in one hand at just over 13 pounds. Folding legs and a carrying handle make the Petit Gourmet an extremely portable option. Even with the legs folded, four corner feet stabilize the grill for storage or for cooking on a higher surface. The drip pan is much smaller than other grills this size, so be prepared with a disposable drip pan for especially greasy or juicy foods.
- Adjustable height
- Folding legs
- Small drip pan
- Plastic components near high heat
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For times when you need a camping grill that doesn’t take up valuable table or tailgate space, Coleman’s RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill comes with everything you need – the stand, slide-out side tables, and wheels are all attached. You won’t even need a lighter or matches thanks to the push button ignition. When it’s time to pack up and head home, the stand folds down, leaving you with a rolling grill about the size of a carryon suitcase.
- Built-in table and wheels
- Matchless lighting
- Other cooktops available for purchase
- Uneven heat on high
- Takes up more storage space than a tabletop option
EUREKA’s Gonzo Grill Cook System is a truly unique cooking option for your next camping trip or tailgate. At the size of a soup pot, the Gonzo Grill is only large enough for four full-sized burger patties. The size makes it incredibly convenient to store and transport. If you occasionally need a larger grill, it can be combined with other Gonzo grills for a larger setup. That way, you only take what you need and avoid the extra weight and bulk of a larger grill when cooking for just a small group.
- Compact design
- Functions as both an oven and grill
- Compatible with other Gonzo products
- Small cook space
At just over 10 pounds, the Coleman Fold N Go Portable Grill is light enough to carry one-handed, even when your campsite is set back from your car. A separate carrying case is available from Coleman for even easier transport. The porcelain-coated grate is easy to clean, although the non-stick protection is lost if the porcelain ever chips or flakes off. If you are just starting out with a camping grill and not sure how often you will use it, the Fold N Go is a great starting point as one of the lightest and least expensive options on our list.
- Griddle cooktop available
- Porcelain coating can chip
- No ignition button – be sure to pack a lighter!
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The best camping grills: non-propane fuelled
The highly unique Bitty Big Q Compact Retractable Grill is hands down the best portable grill on our list. It weighs 1.77 lb (800g) and packs down to a tiny package that measures only 6.7 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches (17 x 9 x 9 cm). Yep, that’s about the size of a 1 litre Nalgene bottle. And yes, it will fit into the side pocket of your backpack! Of course, it lacks a place to burn coals or wood like the other options on our list. But its portable nature means that it can be used as a grill over any small fire or placed over an existing fire ring or pit. This is especially useful when you rock up to a campground expecting a grill over the fire ring, but none exists!
It’s made of stainless steel with fold out legs that can be set at three different heights to work with the size and heat of your fire or coals. It’s also incredibly easy to set up and fold away, and crucially, comes in a tough carry bag to protect your stuff from soot when carrying. It’s perfect for campfire cooking at the beach, backpacking BBQ’s, picnics and even car camping.
- Mega portable
- Super lightweight
- Easy to fold away
- Self-cleans as you fold it away!
- Small grilling surface (160 square inches)
- Grill only – doesn’t have area to burn coals or wood
- A little wobbly compared with other grills
If you’re looking for traditional charcoal grill that is truly portable then you can’t go wrong with the Primus Kamoto OpenFire Pit. Its clever folding design means that it can be comfortably carried to those hard to reach secret picnic spots. And weighing in at only 6kg makes this even more doable. But the best bit? Once you’ve done cooking up a storm, just fill it up with logs, stoke up a fire and enjoy fireside dining.
For more info read our full review of the Primus Kamoto OpenFire Pit.
- Folable and highly portable
- Doubles as a fire pit
- The heat doesn’t spread across the whole grill
Another option from Weber if you prefer to grill with charcoal is the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill. Rounded legs give the grill stability in grass or sand as well as on a table or tailgate, but they are not the strongest grill legs on our list. If you plan to use your camping grill with heavy cast iron cookware, this might not be the best pick for you. If you want something you can take anywhere, however, the name is not a misnomer – at the size of a portable toolbox, the Go-Anywhere makes a great traveling grill. The rectangular shape makes it convenient to pack with other gear as well.
- Easy to pack and store
- Not for heavy cookware
- Cannot adjust grate height
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The BaseCamp grill from BioLite is sure to be a conversation starter anywhere you go. This unique wood-burning stove is shaped almost like a bird bath. The column base makes the perfect place to keep a wood fire burning, while the circular grate on top extends out from the base to give you enough room to cook for up to eight people. There’s plenty of room for a group to cook their own hotdogs or gather around during cooking. Another truly unique feature is a Lithium ion battery on the side of the grill that charges on the excess heat, allowing you to charge any device that uses a USB charging cord while you cook!
- Doubles as a phone charger
- Has a light that is powered by the heat
- Plenty of room for a group
- Requires wood for fuel
- No lid or cover
Char-Griller’s Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box is the least expensive option on our list. By itself, it works as a charcoal grill. Used with other Char-Griller barrel grills, the Table Top Charcoal Grill can also be used as a fire box or smoke box. This is a great feature if you plan to expand your tailgating or camping grill in the future but want to start with something portable now. Two access doors and a removable ash pan give you total control over airflow and simplify clean up when you are done.
- Cast iron
- Doubles as a side fire box or smoker
- Once converted to a side fire box, it cannot be used as a grill
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Lodge, the same company that makes quality cast iron cookware, has a portable grill: the L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill. This grill is anything but lightweight, but that weight translates into even cooking and long-lasting heat. Charcoal is loaded in the back of the grill for hibachi-style cooking at one of two adjustable heights. Most things will not stick to the seasoned cast iron, but it does require the same care as other cast iron cookware – wash it with just water and dry quickly, oiling it occasionally if the surface loses its sheen.
- Made from long-lasting cast iron
- Even heating
- Adjustable cooking heights
- Requires special care
- Very heavy
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If you want to get more out of an existing camp stove, take a look at Camp Chef’s Professional Barbecue Box. The Barbecue Box does not have its own heat source; it must be used with another camp stove and fits on a single burner of a 14-inch camp stove. What it does give you is the ability to make professional-quality barbecued and smoked foods in an RV, on a camping trip, or at a tailgate. The interior diffuser plate heats up quickly and cooks up to six burgers with radiant heat. Place wood pellets or chips under the grate to impart smoke flavor while you cook as well.
- Cast iron grate
- Built-in thermometer
- Doubles as a smoker
- No heat source
What to look for when choosing the best camping grills
If you are choosing a new portable camping grill, or upgrading an old one, there are a few things you need to consider before you go for the most powerful, lightweight one available.
Ask yourself the following questions about how, where and what you like to grill:
- Where do you intend using your grill the most?
Backyard? Car camping? Picnics? RVing? Tailgating?
- What sort of food do you like to cook on your portable camping grill?
Simple burgers and sausages? Or steaks, smoked chicken, steamed veggies and more?
- How many people do you intend cooking for on your portable grill?
Just a couple of you or big groups?
- Do you prefer the convenience of grilling on gas or the extra flavour that comes with grilling on charcoal grill?
Once you have a clear idea of how you intend using your portable grill you can start to narrow down what features are important to you.
Technical features of the best portable camping grills
In theory, the higher the number of BTU’s (British Thermal Units) a grill has, the greater potential there is for high heat output and retention. However, the design, number of burners and construction of the entire grill will, to a degree, also affect the overall efficiency.
To keep it simple, if you want a super hot and powerful grill look one with a high BTU output.
Most camping grills use liquid propane canisters. These canisters can be purchased in many locations and are easy to store and transport. If you want to connect a full-sized propane tank to your portable grill, all you need is an adaptor hose.
Portable gas grills are by far the most quick and convenient way to barbeque your food. However, grills fueled by propane tend to be a little heavier and less portable than other options.
Non-propane fueled camping grills are ideal if you would like to avoid using gas for ecological reasons. Some people also prefer the taste of charcoal grilled food to food cooked over gas.
Of course, even the best portable charcoal grill will take considerably longer to get hot enough to cook over than a gas grill. But they are usually more lightweight and portable, and in most cases are less expensive.
The ability to control temperature of your camping grill is a really important feature — especially if you’re cooking for folk who won’t abide by singed sangers! The best portable gas grills will have temperature controls and there are some that also have built-in thermometers to keep check on what’s going on underneath the hood without lifting it up!
Most of the best portable gas grills will have a built-in ignition. In theory, this makes one less thing to remember to bring. However, it’s always a good idea to bring back-up lighter or matches anyway.
Design features of the best portable camping grills
Although the performance of camping grills is super important, the way they are designed is also a key thing to consider. The best portable grills should suit your needs from a cooking, usability, portability and versatility point of view.
Consider the following:
Grate size and construction
The size of the cooking area on your camping grill is a big consideration. There’s no use opting for a super small portable grill if you hope to feed your group of 10! Equally, if you just want to use it to cook a couple of burgers and some veggies you won’t want anything huge.
It’s also worth looking at what the grate is made of. Does it have a non-stick coating? Does it have two sides that have different uses: a griddle on one side and a flat iron on the other, for example? Stainless steel grates are easy to clean and will resist rust. Heavier, high-end portable grills feature porcelain-enameled and/or cast-iron grates which are highly durable and excellent at heat retention.
If you are short on space in your car or campervan, or intend using your grill for picnics, beach BBQs or out on the boat, then portability is a major factor to consider. The best portable grills will pack up into a secure suitcase-style container with good carry handles. Any legs or extra components should be contained within the grill. This makes it easy to pack in the car and even easier to carry short distances.
With this in mind, the weight of a portable camping grills should also be considered. Low weight doesn’t matter at all if you are looking for a grill for tailgating or backyard barbecuing. Otherwise, the lighter the grill, the further you can carry it.
Ease of construction
The best portable grills should only take a minute or two to set up. This is especially important if you only want to use your grill for an evening before packing it up and moving on. If, however, you are setting up camp for a week it doesn’t matter if it takes 10 minutes to put the components of your grill together.
The best portable gas grills have a drip tray to catch cooking fat in. These are usually removable making the post-feast clean-up much easier and quicker. This in turn makes the grill more appealing from a portability point of view.
The most portable camping grills have very limited ‘extra’ space for food preparation. No side tables or shelves to store food or utensils on. Some larger tabletop gas grills tend to have side tables that fold away or extend for a little more convenience when cooking.
Some of the best camping grills are those whose height can be adjusted. Some options have fold-out legs that stabilise the grill and raise it off the ground or tabletop for easier access. And some camping grills have legs that extend to different heights.
The final thing to consider when choosing a grill for camping is how versatile it is. Some gas grills are suitable for use with pots and pans making them an excellent option for cooking normal camping meals. If you like to experiment with smoking and using your grill as an oven then this is also an option with some grills. The best portable charcoal grills are those that can also double as a firepit for a post-BBQ campfire.
You don’t need to stay home to cook on the grill with one of the best camping grills of 2020. Whether you are traveling in an RV, tailgating with friends, or heading out for a camping trip, one of our portable grills is what you need to grill on your next excursion.