When you think of camp cooking, roasting hotdogs and s’mores probably comes to mind.
But, as nostalgic and tasty as these traditional treats are, it’s easy to get tired of hot dogs and pre-packaged chows, especially if you’re in for an extended camping trip.
For me, I don’t like the inconsistencies of cooking with a pan over a campfire.
Instead, I prefer cooking using a camping grill.
I know some campers swear by portable stoves, which have long been a staple camping kit, but let’s be real here—nothing beats the taste of grilled food.
A quality camping grill ensures you never go without a good burger, delicious vegetables, tasty corn, or steak, even when you’re away from civilization.
Its greatest draw, though, is its ease of use. Setting the best camping grill gets your meal ready quickly while still offering open air, al fresco dining.
And unlike traditional grills, camping grills are ultra-compact and lightweight, so they won’t add much baggage while you are on the move.
However, these travel-friendly cookers come in a variety of designs, sizes, and shapes, so choosing the right option for your camping needs can be a little challenging.
Fortunately, we’ll introduce you to our choice of the best camping grills. And, as a bonus, we’ve also prepared a comprehensive buying guide to help with the purchase selection.
Table of Contents
The Best Camping Grills For The Money
#1 Weber Q1200 - EDITOR'S CHOICE
Our top pick, the Weber Q1200, is a portable, propane-powered grill that makes your camping life simple and convenient.
This smaller member of the Q family is an upgrade to the already popular Q120.
It gives you plenty of space and power, especially for its size.
The Q1200 also a versatile option, and while my primary purchase rationale was to use the Q1200 for camping, I also found it a great alternative to a large patio grill.
Features and Benefits
Overall, the Weber Q1200 is a quality-made product. Despite being rated as both an indoor and outdoor grill, it comes with the sturdiness and durability of a more professional outdoor model.
For example, the cooking grate is made entirely of cast iron. It will hold up exceptionally well to the abuses of camping, including constant knocks, falls, and even exposure to elements such as rain. Yet, the porcelain enamel on the grate gives the grill a lovely sleek and fancy look.
As for the lid and body, the cast aluminum offers a solid yet lightweight design that will stand the test of time.
If you mostly use the grill indoors, it might last forever. It makes a lasting impression on the outdoors as well.
Weber lists the grilling surface area at 189 square inches, and though not the largest surface, it’s big enough to grill six large hamburger patties or around 18 regular hotdogs.
Alternatively, it can hold two smallish steaks on one grate and a veggie pack on the other.
While I wouldn’t recommend the grill for large get-together parties, I found it the ideal size for two who grill regularly, and, in some cases, a family with small kids.
However, if used for meat only and not for veggies, it can accommodate food for up to six, so it can be a great option for a small group of friends.
I have to say, I was skeptical about the Q1200 only having 8500 BTU output. Boy, I was wrong!
This grill packs a punch, and I love how it gets plenty hot, with the cooking heat spreading evenly across the entire grill, free of any cold spots.
It also doesn’t have any trouble getting up to high temperatures, even during a cold season.
The Q1200 also runs hot even on its lowest setting, which is great for direct grilling. It’s also possible to use the grill for indirect heating by using a grill basket to create more distance from the direct flame.
While the Q1200 offers just the right amount of portability for some, it’s a fail for others.
For me, lack of portability is one big strike against this grill.
At 30 pounds it feels chunky and awkward, and wouldn’t be the ideal option for backpacking.
However, it’s easy to stash in your RV or even trunk and still leave extra space for other camping gear.
Plus, it has the option of investing in a stand for portability. But, after paying so much for the grill, few would be willing to dig deeper into their pockets.
Or would they?
I suppose it depends on how much this grill appeals to you.
Nevertheless, as is, the Q1200 is perfect for some situations, including tailgating and RVing. The small footprint also makes it an inspiring option for those with limited space on their condo balcony.
Ease of use
Cleaning a grill is never fun, but I feel the Q1200 is super easy to clean.
First, the grease tray at the bottom of the tray collects grease and debris for easy waste disposal.
Second, the removable trays and grill grates are small enough to fit into a dish tub for a thorough clean.
#2 Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill - Best for Flavor
Few things in life are as satisfying as cooking food over an uncomplicated charcoal grill. It’s a simple, hands-on cooking experience that connects you with your food and your grill.
Grilling with charcoal particularly is a great cooking option, especially if you prioritize flavor.
And today, we shall be looking at one of the popular charcoal camping grills on the market- the Weber Jumbo Joe.
Of all the charcoal grills I’ve come across, I feel the Jumbo Joe strikes the best balance of features, performance, and ease of use.
But, is it the right camping grill for you?
Features and Benefits
The Jumbo Joe is a heavy-duty and durable option and won’t give in to the roughness of Mother Nature.
For instance, I’ve had the grill strapped to the catwalk on the truck and gone over some rough roads with it, and it has held up really wel.
Also, the regular dings, knocks, and falls do little to no damage to the grille, and it’s not compromised by exposure to the elements.
In particular, the heavy-duty steel grates never disappoint and are sure to give you ultimate quality and use for seasons on end.
The grilling space is not something you have to worry about with the Jumbo Joe.
With a length of 19.75 inches and a massive cooking surface of 240 square inches, it’s possible to prepare up to 15 burgers when cooking for a large group.
Alternatively, you can cook six burgers and eight hotdogs and still have some space left for more.
It’s also big enough to accommodate two racks of ribs or even fit corn and burgers for a group of six.
Personally, I find the grilling surface perfect for cooking meat cuts and other skewered dishes. With the grill, you no longer have to wait for one cut to cook before popping in the next one.
What I don’t enjoy about the cooking surface is the limited space under the cover. If it had an expansive cover like its sibling, the Go Anywhere, it would have been easier to prepare a beer can chicken and other larger, bone-in recipes. Sadly, it’s purely for thinner items like pork chops, burgers, and skewers.
Setting the desired heat for your grill is crucial since not all foods require the same amount of heat.
Fortunately, it is easy to control the heat on the Jumbo Joe, thanks to the aluminum dampers. These sturdy dampers are not only durable, but they make it easier to increase or decrease your temperature as you wish.
Additionally, the grill features a dual-vent system that gives you some fine-grained temperature control only found in Weber’s full-size kettles.
If you need a lightweight grill that you can easily take along on your camping trips or when tailgating, the Weber Jumbo Joe never disappoints.
Coming in at only 22 pounds and with a compact dimension, this option will easily tuck into your car’s trunk and leave space for other accessories. And, when in an RV, its presence is barely noticeable.
Its lightness also makes it a backpacker’s delight as users can carry the grill for long distances without fatigue.
Ease of use
Cleaning and maintaining is often the Achilles heel of any grill, but not with the Jumbo Joe.
This option has several features to promote easy maintenance, and one that we love is the ash catcher that does exactly as its name suggests. It helps a lot during cleaning up as you can remove the ash with ease and dispose of it properly.
#3 Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill - Best for Tailgating
There’s a reason why the Coleman RoadTrip is a real crowd-pleaser—it’s perfect when you’re away from home and need to cook for a large crowd.
It’s a particularly great option for tailgating parties, and this is evident from the various features such as quick-fold legs, rugged wheels, and swappable cooktops.
Features and Benefits
Overall, the build quality of the Coleman RoadTrip is decent for a grill this size.
The steel construction of the body feels strong and will take a few dings, knocks, and even falls without breaking.
While we felt it was a bit wobbly, you shouldn’t experience any issue on a smooth surface.
Our greatest downer on the quality is the pair of plastic side tables, which feel a bit flimsy. We would have hoped to see at least some metal-based and sturdy tables for the price, which wouldn’t break at the slightest heavy handling.
Nevertheless, the two tables serve well, especially for a tailgating grill, and will provide an even bigger space for placing your cooking ingredients.
The Coleman Roadrip, with three burners and 285 square inch grilling area, is perfect for campers who love to cook everything all at once.
Here, you don’t have to wait for one item to cook as you can toss everything on at a go and wait for them to cook.
According to user reviews, the grilling surface can accommodate up to 14 burgers at a time.
It’s also a great option for small families or crowds of around seven and will allow you to cook various items at once, including chicken breasts, sausages, and hot dogs.
The Coleman delivers a grilling power of 20,000 BTU and is more powerful than you probably need for your tailgating outings, so be prepared to cook on low.
It heats up fast and can sustain the heat for a long time, so, when grilling chicken, it will only take a record time of 20 minutes.
Plus, it comes with three burners, which provide a good amount of independent temperature control.
Ignition is also a cinch—just push the button, and voila! You also get an integrated thermometer on the lid which lets you keep track of the internal temperature.
The Coleman RoadTrip would have easily topped our list of the best camping grills were it not for the weight.
The only downside with this option is it can easily catch you off guard when the legs aren’t supporting the 46 pounds of weight.
But, other than that, it has all the other features of a portable grill, including two-wheels and foldable legs.
Ease of use
It’s easy to manage the Coleman RoadTrip, with the grease management system helping to collect drippings and oil from your food.
Additionally, the porcelain grates are removable and easy to clean.
#4 Coleman Fold N Go Propane Grill - Best Budget Option
If you’re on a budget and looking for a simple, frills-free camping grill, you can’t go wrong with the Coleman Fold N Go.
Sure, it lacks the bells and whistles of some of our premium options, but it’s a back-to-basics grill that will get your food prepared fast and conveniently.
For the price, it’s easy to expect it to be a flimsy option, but this bad boy packs a punch and will handle a lot of cooking, even in the toughest conditions.
Features and Benefits
The build quality for the grill is decent, although there are lots of grills out there that are considerably better.
However, for the price, this wasn’t a surprise either; after all, you get what you pay for.
In particular, the latches have quality control issues and are wonky, loose, and tend to jam a lot.
It’s a good option, though, if you’re the cautious type and maybe don’t plan on abusing the grill a lot.
The Coleman Fold N Go has a modest grilling surface of 105 square inches, and while it’s certainly not the largest, it’s big enough to handle three to five burgers at a time, so it’s still more than enough even when you’ve a guest over.
It can also fit four medium-sized chicken breasts and cook a variety of food ranging from burgers and bacon to veggies and hot dogs.
The grilling performance of the Coleman Fold N Go is also fantastic.
Though it has a low BTU rating of 6,000, it heats up quickly and produces sufficient heat for steaks, dogs, and burgers. It’s hot enough that you nee to check food often, otherwise you’ll burn everything.
And that’s not all!
It utilizes proprietary PerfectFlow technology to ensure a consistent performance with no hotspots.
Plus, the controls are precise, and we found it easy to adjust the intensity of the flame, depending on our cooking needs.
The Coleman Fold N Go could be the perfect alternative to the bulkier Coleman RoadTrip.
Unlike its sibling, which is a challenge to get off the RV, the Fold N Go is an ultra-light and compact option. It fits the bill for anyone looking for a grill they can fit into their boat’s storage compartment or something that can be stuffed into a dump pouch for backpacking.
With a manageable weight of 10 pounds and modest dimensions, it’s possible to carry the grill for long periods without getting tired.
Ease of use
Managing the Coleman Fold N Go is no different from other options on this list.
A grease management system collects the drippings and any oils from the food, while the removable trays make the cleaning process a cinch.
#5 Blackstone Grills Tailgater Grill and Griddle Combo - Best Stove Combo
Last on our list of the best camping grills is a unit with several advantages that puts it above the competition.
The Blackstone Grill is a portable gas grill/grilled combo perfect for both backyard and outdoor cooking.
It comes at a reasonable price and is held in high regard by hobbyists and professional grillers alike for a couple of good reasons.
Features and Benefits
Durability is a significant test, so from the word go it’s easy to see that this grill oozes quality.
Sporting powder-coated steel, this option doesn’t feel like a cheap piece of junk, and there’s no need to worry about outdoor bumps, knocks, and battering.
However, it comes with many weld seams, so it would help if you covered it up when you’re not using it to prevent long-term exposure to the elements.
At the same time, the griddle is also sturdy, with the cold-rolled steel construction bolstering its overall strength and ensuring that you can cook anything from steaks and burgers to pancakes.
Few grills can compete with what Blackstone offers for the grilling surface.
Oh boy, this grill is super huge, and with a grilling surface area of 512 square inches, it’s easy to grill in bulk, which is great if you’re cooking for a crowd.
From the reviews, this option is super large and can accommodate up to 10 hamburgers, five steaks, and 20 dogs, and still leave some space for vegetables.
And because part of the griddle does not have gaps, it’s difficult for small pieces of food like bacon strips or asparagus to fall in between like they often do on a traditional grill.
The Blackstone Grill is versatile, too, and will accommodate a variety of foods.
I find the flat top perfect for eggs, burgers, hash browns, and bacon, while the grill is ideal for steaks and chicken.
However, some users complain about how long the grill takes to heat up, which is usually around five minutes. This is an aspect that could see some improvement.
Another draw against the cooking performance is that the grill is greatly affected by the wind.
The Blackstone Tailgater is a heavy grill, but this is not a deal-breaker considering it comes with adjustable legs on caster wheels.
While it might not be the backpacking option you’re looking for, it has every desirable feature to let you roll it in a camping site.
Plus, it’s foldable, and though it’s not as fancy as other options on our list, we appreciate that it is compact for easy stashing into your RV or car’s boot.
Ease of use
Typical of other grills on our list, this unit has a waste management system, as it easily collects the dripping and oils from the food for easy cleaning.
The Tailgater’s trays are also removable, so it’s easy to give the grill a thorough clean.
Best Camping Grills Buying Guide
With so many options on the market, picking the right camping grill for your needs can be challenging.
To help with the selection, we’ve created a comprehensive guide detailing every factor to consider in your next purchase.
Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Camping Grill
Heating power refers to the strength of the flame the burner delivers.
Normally, heating power is measured in BTU or rather British Thermal Unit.
Generally, the higher the BTU rating, the more powerful a grill is. Grills with a higher BTU will cook food faster but consume fuel at a much higher rate.
Also, one thing you should understand is high BTU doesn’t always translate to better performance, and sometimes, a high heating power could be a disadvantage because it’s easier for your food to overcook or burn.
Cooking surface area
The cooking surface area, usually measured in square inches, refers to the actual cooking area.
A large cooking area is a benefit, especially if you’ve a family or crowd, as it lets you grill multiple or even large portions of meals at a time.
Ideally, however, the appropriate size of your cooking area should be determined by the size of your camping team.
Remember that larger isn’t always better, and if you’re camping solo or with a partner, you won’t need a large option.
While grills with a large surface area might deliver in certain areas, they also lack in others.
Camping grills use many different fuel sources, though most of them use gas.
A gas grill uses different gas types, though propane is most commonly used because of its affordability and ease of use.
Another common gas option is Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), which is equally accessible and inexpensive.
The main benefit of gas-powered grills is their convenience as they’re easy to light. They also don’t need much storage space or transportation effort.
On the flip side, gas runs down fast, especially if used on a grill with a high BTU rating.
This is where charcoal fuel beats gas.
Not only is the charcoal fuel cheap, but it also takes longer to deplete, but you have to put up with several compromises such as the inconvenience of getting the grill to light, which isn’t good for an outdoor camper.
Also, the transportation and storage cost of charcoal is higher than that of gas.
An ideal camping grill should be sturdy and reliable.
The type of material for making the grill determines its durability to a great extent, and when choosing a grill, you’ll want to consider the choice of material.
Steel dominates because of its affordability and great performance.
Aluminum is also another great option, and, though not as durable as steel, it’s lightweight and has greater heat conductivity than steel. However, it’s not cheap.
The final material is ceramic, which is good at both conduction and heat retention. It allows for faster cooking and will retain heat for a long time after turning off the grill.
For a camping grill, you should choose an option that is easy to move around.
Here, you should consider the weight, size, and design of the grill.
A portable grill should be lightweight enough for you to carry with ease.
Size is the next essential factor when considering portability. Your choice of the grill should be compact enough to fit into available storage spaces.
And when it comes to the design, pick an option with features to promote ease of movement, such as integrated handles for easy carrying.
Advanced features and accessories
It will greatly help if you choose a camping grill with plenty of accessories since you won’t have the privilege of kitchen items to hand during your camping trips.
For instance, pick a versatile option that will let you prepare a wide range of meals. It should also have a host of accessories such as shelves, multiple burners, and side panels to make your cooking as hassle-free as possible.
Other features to consider in a camping grill include an automatic ignition system and temperature control. The ignition feature will eliminate the need for matches when lighting the grill.
At the same time, temperature control comes in handy, especially when you need to select a specific temperature setting for a specific meal.
It’s also a good idea to pick a camping grill that can work with alternative fuel sources.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
The Weber Q1200 is our top choice for several reasons.
It’s a practical option, balancing functionality, ease of use, and price.
While it doesn’t deliver the most powerful flame, it offers just the right amount of power for typical campers.
It’s also lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to take along with you on your outdoor adventures.
The 189 square inch cooking area is also modest, yet generous enough for small families.