14 Best Camping Grill Grates for Campfire Cooking

When on the hunt for the best camping grates for grilling and campfires, it might seem like there aren’t a lot to choose from. After all, they’re just simple camping grill grates, right? Well, that’s not necessarily the case. Campfire grates come in a range of designs that offer different cooking experiences, and they won’t all suit the same kind of camper.

Firepit grates are pretty self-explanatory in their name – they are grates that sit on top of a campfire to grill your food. You can experiment cooking a ton of different dishes, from simple meat and veg, to more fun meals like pancakes, muffins, soup, pizza, nachos, and chili (just to name a few). 

For those looking for a budget option to a camp stove, or simply need something less heavy-duty, camp cooking grates eliminate the need to bring heavy gas tanks or bulky coal sacks on your trip.

Most Versatile Model
GameMaker - Open Fire Cooking Gravity Combo Grill & Skillet, Ultimate Camping Cooking Tool Black, Grill dimensions: 18.5” x 16.375”
Best Quality Build Model
Bruntmor Grill Swing Campfire Cooking Stand BBQ Grill for Cookware & Dutch Oven Adjustable Collapsible Legs with Hooks & Accessories & Carrying Case
Best Lightweight Travel Model
Expedition Research LLC Family 3-Pack - The Original Bushcraft Grill - Welded Stainless Steel High Strength Mesh (Campfire Rated), USA
GameMaker - Open Fire Cooking Gravity Combo Grill & Skillet, Ultimate Camping Cooking Tool Black, Grill dimensions: 18.5” x 16.375”
Bruntmor Grill Swing Campfire Cooking Stand BBQ Grill for Cookware & Dutch Oven Adjustable Collapsible Legs with Hooks & Accessories & Carrying Case
Expedition Research LLC Family 3-Pack - The Original Bushcraft Grill - Welded Stainless Steel High Strength Mesh (Campfire Rated), USA
Most Versatile Model
GameMaker - Open Fire Cooking Gravity Combo Grill & Skillet, Ultimate Camping Cooking Tool Black, Grill dimensions: 18.5” x 16.375”
GameMaker - Open Fire Cooking Gravity Combo Grill & Skillet, Ultimate Camping Cooking Tool Black, Grill dimensions: 18.5” x 16.375”
Best Quality Build Model
Bruntmor Grill Swing Campfire Cooking Stand BBQ Grill for Cookware & Dutch Oven Adjustable Collapsible Legs with Hooks & Accessories & Carrying Case
Bruntmor Grill Swing Campfire Cooking Stand BBQ Grill for Cookware & Dutch Oven Adjustable Collapsible Legs with Hooks & Accessories & Carrying Case
Best Lightweight Travel Model
Expedition Research LLC Family 3-Pack - The Original Bushcraft Grill - Welded Stainless Steel High Strength Mesh (Campfire Rated), USA
Expedition Research LLC Family 3-Pack - The Original Bushcraft Grill - Welded Stainless Steel High Strength Mesh (Campfire Rated), USA

If you do happen to have a camp stove, then you can upgrade it with a larger, more robust grate to cook more food. Another benefit with heavier versions, like cast iron grates, is that you can use pots and pans, which instantly widens the variety of meals you can cook.

Portable stainless steel grates are perfect for hikers, hunters, fishers, and all those explorers who need something that won’t weigh down their pack. You can also check out our camping grill reviews, to see if you prefer an all in one option. 

Let’s get right into our review of the best camping grates you can find today.

 

 

1. Game Maker Gravity Grill

Gravity Grill Open Fire Camping Grill

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 2.1lbs

Size: 60”H x 75”D Body & 18”L x 16.5”W Grill

Our first choice is this swinging model, which we love because of its unique design. Unlike some other swinging versions, this one is made from lightweight steel, so you get the advantage of a swing without the heavy form. The only drawback is that you can’t put an iron pot on top, but this is more intended for grilling anyway.

With dual base stakes, this gets pushed into the ground for a stable fit. A chain runs from behind the grate to the cable that attaches to the cooking area. This chain lets you adjust the height, so you can control the temperature without going near the fire – that’s a double win for those with kids and pets as it’s out of easy reach.

Key Features:

  • Ultralight Construction for Easy Travel
  • Adjustable Height for Temperature Control
  • 300sq Inches of Cooking Space

 

2. Bruntmor Swing Grill Grate

Bruntmor Swing Grill Grate Standing Swing Set

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 27.6lbs

Size: Legs: 34”L x 34”W

         Grate: 16”L x 11”W

Now this model from Bruntmor is really exciting, because you’re getting so many elements in one go. It’s on the pricier side, but again, you’re getting a full set that includes 5 hooks with different lengths, and an adjustable cooking surface.

Stainless steel means it’s lighter than if it were iron, plus the legs fold out and collapse when it’s time to store it away. There are countless cooking options to choose from with this set. You can hang a kettle or pots from the hooks, put a pot on the grate, or cook food straight on the grill. A 0.5” lip around the edge of the cooking area prevents food from slipping off.

Key Features:

  • Light Stainless Steel with High Heat Resistance
  • 5 Adjustable Hooks & Main Grate for Temperature Control
  • Carry Bag included

 

3. Expedition Research LLC Combo

Expedition Research LLC Combo

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 4.5oz

Size: Large: 9.5”L x 5”W 

         Small: 5”L x 5”W

This is pretty much as portable as it gets. For backpackers and mountaineers who need as little extra weight as possible in their gear, this is a great option. Made from hand-welded steel, it’s also combined with a thick 3D mesh that increases its strength.

You get 2 grates in one pack, and you can set them up over the fire with logs for legs. To keep them safe while travelling, they get stored in a tough nylon drawstring bag that is super low-profile.

Key Features:

  • Double Grids with Extremely Lightweight Design
  • Strong Nylon Carry Bag
  • Edge-to-Edge Stainless Steel Welding with Customized Mesh

 

4. REDCAMP Folding Campfire Grill Grate

REDCAMP Folding Campfire Grill

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 3.15lbs

Size: 17”L x 12.6”W x 5.7”H

Here we’ve got a heavy-duty model that’s great for car or RV camping, as well as outdoor picnics. It’s versatile in the sense that you can put food right on the grids, or use a pot or pan. With 304 stainless steel for the grid and 201 stainless steel for the legs, this has been built to last.

One of the highlights for us is the carry bag, which has nylon handles and a slim profile for easier storage. It’s straightforward to set up, and the steel has a very high resistance to heat which prevents corrosion.

Key Features:

  • Collapsing Legs for Compact Storage
  • Large Briefcase-Style Transport Bag Included
  • High-Quality Welding with Round Corners for Safety

 

5. Coleman Roadtrip Swaptop Cast Iron Grill

Coleman Roadtrip Swaptop Cast Iron Grill

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Type: Cast Iron

Weight: 6lbs

Size: 13”L x 13”W x 1.5”H

Next is the Swaptop, which is a highly versatile model that is available in both griddle and grill versions. Made from porcelain-coated iron, it’s not only more durable, but also more effortless to clean.

With generous surface space, you can cook several things at a time without making the area cramped. This is meant to fit with Coleman’s Roadtrip Camp Grill, so you could put a griddle on one side for pancakes and eggs, and a grid on the other for searing meat and vegetables.

Key Features:

  • Porcelain-Coated Iron for Added Durability
  • Roomy Cooking Surface 142sq Inches
  • Compatible with Griddle & Grill (Sold Separately)

 

6. WOLF GRIZZLY Compact Campfire Grill

WOLF GRIZZLY Compact Campfire Grill

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 2.2lbs

Size: 11.4”L x 11”W Cooking Surface

This compact backpacking grill is another lightweight option that is also convenient to carry. Instead of a flat transport bag, this one gets stored in a tube-like case with a full-length handle – you could even clip it on your gear with a carabiner.

The leg design is a standout for us, because they can be seamlessly adjusted in 3 different modes for temperature regulation. These include an 8.5” mode, 6.5”, and flat. Despite its compact nature, it has an impressive load capacity of 30lbs.

Key Features:

  • Hassle-Free Heat Regulation with 3 Heights
  • Vast Cooking Area with 120sq Inches
  • 304 Stainless Steel Withstands Higher Temperatures

 

7. Campfire Defender Protect Preserve – Pop Up Pit Grilling Grates

Campfire Defender Protect Preserve Grilling Grate

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 9lbs

Size: 22.5”L x 22.5”W

This is an ideal choice for short backpacking or hiking trips, or even car camping when you don’t want a full-on camping barbecue. The carry bag is long, but slim, and has a full-length handle for added comfort.

With just 3 parts, the assembly doesn’t take long, and you can purchase the lower pit separately if you aren’t using it with a campfire. They’ve really thought about how this model can pack in the most compact way, with folding grates, small tube riser posts, and thin support rails.

Key Features:

  • 500sq Inch Massive Cooking Space & Pop Up Design
  • Supports up to 75lbs – Great For Pot Dishes
  • Compact Pack Size at 26”L x 3”W x 6”H

 

8. Kamado Joe Half Moon Cooking Grate

Kamado Joe Half Moon Cooking Grate

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Type: Cast Iron & Stainless Steel Options

Weight: 10.67lbs

Size: 24”L x 12”W x 0.38”H

This half moon model not only works well on its own when propped up with some wood, but can also be fitted inside the full-size or portable barbecues from the same brand.

There are several options to choose from, all with the half moon style. There are the simple cast iron and steel ones, and then you’ve got a stain-resistant soapstone cooking surface for meat and vegetables, a laser-cut fish and veg grate that prevents sticking, and a reversible griddle for softer foods like eggs.

Key Features:

  • Multiple Surface Options Suit Different Foods
  • High-Grade Cast Iron & Stainless Steel Have Better Heat Retention
  • Suitable On Their Own or With a Kamado Joe Appliance

 

9. onlyfire Round Firepit Grate

onlyfire Round Firepit Grate

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 7.73lbs (19” Size)

Size: 19”, 22”, 24”, 30” Available  

Next we have onlyfire’s model which is suited to firepits, due to its circular shape. You can choose from 4 different sizes, so you can find the best one to suit your pit. It’s great for both camping and at-home use if you have a permanent firepit in the backyard. If you are cooking on it, we suggest using a pot or pan instead of putting food directly on it.

All 4 legs are detachable, which makes storage a breeze. If you’re using this grid in a pit with firewood on top, then these legs are perfect for helping circulate airflow because the wood is further from the ground. The painted steel can withstand high temperatures.

Key Features:

  • Removable Legs for Simple Transport
  • Ideal for Both Cooking & Holding Firewood
  • Steel Build with High Temperature Resistant Paint

 

10. Steven Raichlen Tuscan Campfire Cooking Grate

Steven Raichlen Tuscan BBQ Campfire Grill

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Type: Cast Iron

Weight: 10.34lbs

Size: 14”L x 14”W x 4.5”H

Simplicity and class – this is the cast iron grill from Steven Raichlen, a barbecuing expert. At just over 10lbs it’s not the heaviest cast iron model out there, but the overall construction is solid and made for simple cooking.

With a square shape you can fit quite a bit on the surface, as the whole space can be utilized. Despite its traditional design, we like that the legs can screw off, which makes for flatter storage. You can use it with wood or charcoal fires.

Key Features:

  • Thick Grids Leave Chunky Grill Marks for Smoky Flavor
  • Screw-Off Legs Allow Less Complicated Storage
  • Vast Surface to Cook Multiple Foods

 

11. Coleman Tripod Campfire Grill Grate

Coleman Tripod Campfire Grill

 

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Type: Galvanized Steel

Weight: 5lbs

Size: 17” Diameter Grate

Next is this traditional tripod grate for camping from Coleman. We say traditional because it’s very straightforward, with no frills or gadgets. The 3 legs stand over the fire while the grid hangs, which gives you better control while cooking.

Another element of control comes in with the temperature, as you can alter the length of the chain to bring the food closer or further away from the fire. The cooking area is spacious, and can fit around 8 burgers and 12 sausages.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable Chain with Locking Mechanism
  • Robust Galvanized Steel Build Withstands High Heat
  • Shock-Corded Steel Legs Fold for Easygoing Storage

 

12. onlyfire X-Marks Firepit Grill Grate

onlyfire X-Marks Firepit Grill Grate

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 5lbs

Size: 30” Diameter

For those firepit lovers, we’ve got another firepit grate from onlyfire, but this time it’s a little different. There are no legs, so it’s more suited to flat cooking where the food will get a thicker char mark for an intense smoky flavor.

The steel build means it’s lighter than a cast iron alternative, so this can be used for longer camping trips. Dual handles let you pick it up and move it around with ease, and with zero assembly, the cleaning process is super simple.

Key Features:

  • All-Steel Construction is Easier to Clean
  • No Assembly Required
  • Double Solid Steel Handles for Better Weight Bearing

 

13. Coleman Deluxe Campfire Grill

Coleman Deluxe Campfire Grill

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Type: Nickel-Plated Steel

Weight: 2.65lbs

Size: 24”L x 12”W x 6.3”H  

This is a budget camping grill grate that is very straightforward and classic in design. It’s got an effortless leg folding system, where it collapses completely flat – this makes it an ideal choice for backpackers where space is precious.

While nickel-plated steel isn’t anything new, it’s not the most common material to use. However, it is one of the most durable surfaces out there, as it can withstand constant and harsh cleaning over the years.

Key Features:

  • Wide Area 288sq Inch Surface
  • Folds Flat at 0.6”
  • Robust Nickel-Plated Steel Survives Constant Cleanups

 

14. UCO Grilliput Portable Camping Grill

UCO Grilliput Portable Camping Grill

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Type: Stainless Steel

Weight: 19.8oz

Size: 9.1”L x 10.2”W

Who doesn’t love free stuff? This super simple model is lightweight, making it ideal for hikers, backpackers, bikers and hunters, and comes with a free firebowl for charcoal or firewood. The stainless steel construction is durable, but keeps things light. We like the tall legs, as they give you slightly more temperature control.

All of the loose parts get stored inside one of the tubes for secure transport. When packed away, it measures just 11.4” x 0.9. When it comes to cleanup, the whole thing is dishwasher safe (which means it can last many handwashes while out in the wild), and there are built-in grooves to make dirty rods easier to clean.

Key Features:

  • Bonus Collapsible Firebowl
  • Super Compact Storage & Lightweight Build
  • Dishwasher Safe & Integrated Cleaning Groove

 

Camping Grill Grate Tips

Set Up

The assembly for the grate will vary on which model you have, as there are many different designs out there. Some models don’t even require a set up process. For those that do, typically you’ll have things like folded or screw-on legs, and a few other parts like poles or tubes. Most of the time they are quite straightforward, but always check the instructions to make sure it is set up correctly to avoid any mishaps.

Cooking

There are several cooking methods you can use while using grids. Cast iron skillets or pots are super popular, because they can resist really high heat and are fairly easy to clean. Just check beforehand though if the grate can withstand a certain weight, because otherwise you could break it with a heavy pan.

  • Foil packed cooking is another great technique. As the name suggests, you wrap the food in a foil packet, and let the fire do the rest of the work. You can cook a whole meal in one packet, like fish and vegetables or even a dessert like apple pie.
  • Oil or butter? Personally, we prefer olive oil, as it is more versatile than you may think. In addition to lubricating the grill, it also adds so much flavor, and can be used in salads and on fresh vegetables for an added kick.

Turn, turn, turn

Turning your food while it’s cooking is another big tip. Since the heat is coming from one source (underneath) then it’s easy to burn one side of the food and undercook the other. Turning ensures an even cook.

Utensils

Using the right cooking utensils is very important when you’re dealing with open flames and high temperatures. You don’t want to be sticking your hand near a campfire to turn over the food. Even with a swinging grate, you should have a great pair of tongs and even mitts for grilling.

Cleaning

Like with a full-sized barbecue, scrubbing the grate with a brush while it’s warm still applies for these smaller versions. Using water and an eco-friendly soap (or even a sliced onion!) can help unstick food and cut through grease. This step can also prevent insects from getting in you grill. If you don’t have a brush or soap on hand, use a piece of wood (be mindful with painted steel grates though) or aluminum foil to scrub.

Maintenance

Deep cleaning is important at least once in a while to get rid of any built-up gunk. Dip it inside a solution of water and vinegar and let it soak for 5-10 minutes, before using a brush, lemon wedge, onion, or cob of corn to scrub away. Apparently a coffee soak for 3 hours also works, but takes much longer.

Storage 

This can also be considered part of maintenance, because storage plays a big part in helping a grill last as long as possible. Look for models that have carry bags, but if not, then find a bag that will fit the grill snug, so it doesn’t knock around during travel. If the grill can fold down flat, always store it like that, and try disassembling it if that’s an option. Also, avoid storing it when it’s still wet, as that can cause rust build-up overtime.

 

Camping Grates: Stainless Steel vs. Cast Iron?

While we did include a nickel-plated steel option on our list, stainless steel and cast iron are the two most popular materials used. It can feel overwhelming trying to decide which one to choose, so let’s break it down.

What’s the difference?

Both materials are made up of iron ore, as well as other elements. This is where the difference lies, because both consist of different amounts of non-iron elements. Basically, cast iron has a higher percentage of carbon when compared to stainless steel, while the latter has more chromium. 

Stainless Steel Benefits

  • Usually lightweight, this is better for campers who are travelling with less gear.
  • Less susceptible to corrosion or rust build-up.
  • Very smooth surface, which is easy to clean.

Cast Iron Benefits

  • Impressive retention of heat – can withstand very high temperatures.
  • Great for searing meats and vegetables to achieve a stronger flavor.
  • Heavy-duty build can typically last for years.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. There is no one better than the other, because each one has their own advantages that will suit different people.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I cook on my camping grill grate?

There are endless meals you can cook, and delicious ones at that! Camp food doesn’t have to be flavorless or boring, and you can experiment with lots of ingredients. Some grates you can put pots and pans on, which means you can boil water and make sauces. Here are some ideas:

  • Pasta with simple oil and parsley sauce
  • Chili con carne
  • Baked potatoes
  • Foil-baked fish
  • Pizza
  • Kebabs

What goes on the grill first?

Applying a thick coating of cooking oil will grease up the surface to stop food from sticking. Treat the grill just like you would in your kitchen, so be careful with raw meat (like chicken) to avoid cross-contamination.

How do you keep food from sticking to the grill grates?

Before you think about oiling up, remember to always clean before cooking. If there’s any stuck food, it will cause more food to stick, and oil won’t do much. Then, add cooking oil on the warm grill, as well as onto the food.

 

Conclusion on Camping Grill Grates

With all the best camping grill grates to choose from on our list, we’re sure you’ve found one that suits your needs. Remember to consider how many people you’ll be cooking for to determine how large the grill should be, and also think about the weight and design if you need something more portable. Treat and maintain your grill with love, and it will give you plenty of finger-licking good meals on your next camping adventure.

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