We’ve covered the best camping grills across a range of different types, but the time has come to finally review the best portable camping grills that the market has to offer.
Portable propane camping grills are some of our favorites to use while out on the road, because you can achieve a good old’ fashioned cookout without hauling around a massive appliance.
Folding camping grills let you take the party wherever you go. You’re not limited to one place, because you can take them to the beach, parks, other people’s homes, in your RV, and of course, while camping.
Charcoal grills can take a long time to start up and warm up. What’s more, most people don’t enjoy a smoky flavor in every meal. That’s why folding propane grills are our top pick, because they’re easy to set up and clean, and you don’t need to lug around a huge sack of charcoal everywhere you go.
A portable grill for camping often (but not always) folds away to a slim profile for more convenient storage. They’re made for more short-term camping, like hiking or fishing trips, and much cheaper than a full-sized model. Plus, you can find propane or electric versions, depending on your preference.
To make your choice easier, we’ve compiled the best portable travel grills out there, so let’s jump straight into it.
1. Eureka! Portable Camping Gonzo Grill
Type: Non-Folding, Propane
The 3-in-1 system in this model instantly caught our eye. You can sauté, boil, fry, and grill all with the one appliance. There’s no need to purchase separate surfaces, as it comes with all the cast-iron plates you need.
Despite its miniature size, you can fit quite a lot on the surface. That’s because of the smart design that resembles somewhat of an hourglass. The base and top are larger, which provides ample space to cook, and stability at the bottom. We like how the griddle and grate are built on the same piece, so you just need to flip it over to get access to one or the other.
Get full control of the heat with the front dial, which gives you 4 temperature settings. If you’re camping with a large group, we love the fact that you can connect several other grills together, which are all powered by 1 gas cylinder. The lid has vents in them for added airflow, and a cast-iron construction increases longevity.
- 3-in-1 Design with Griddle, Grate & Stove Attachment
- Dishwasher-Safe & Removable Drip Tray
- Stowaway Handles & Steel Vented Lid
2. Coleman Party Portable Camping Grill
Type: Removable Legs, Propane
Coleman have hit it out of the park again here with this ultra-mini barbecue from their grill line. Since this is such a small design, they’ve considered the area of the grate, so that it’s maximized to add on more food. It lasts around 2.5 hours with a 16.4 ounce gas cylinder on its highest temperature setting.
With PerfectFlow technology, this model keeps heat regulated to give an even cook. A unique feature we like is that fact that you can interchange the grill plates. Swap it out for a stove grate to cook with a saucepan or pot, which is handy while camping when you need to boil water.
Portability comes through with the detachable legs. The 4 legs come off and get stored inside the barbecue in a drawstring bag. As well as camp trips, we can see this working well inside motorhomes.
- Spacious Cooking Area 122sq Inches Despite Mini Size
- One-Push Ignition Button
- Ability to Interchange Grates
3. Coleman Fold N Go Portable Camping Grill
Type: Folding Lid, Propane
As the name suggests, this is a folding model with a locking lid, and much different to the previous one on our list from Coleman. It takes just around 2 minutes to heat up after a one-button ignition. With a horseshoe shape, the burner is able to distribute the heat for more consistent cooking.
Constructed from sheet metal for durability, the inner grate is thickly coated with black enamel. This not only aids with cleaning afterwards, but also helps with regulating the heat along with their PerfectFlow technology. This technology is a big advantage in rough weather, because it stops the flame from blowing out when it’s windy.
Other elements that make it hassle-free to clean are the dishwasher-safe grate, and the removable grease pan. The built-in top handle lets you carry it with ease, but it also comes with a padded transport case with dual side pockets.
- Briefcase-Like Design with Latching Lid
- Rapid One-Button Ignition & 2-Minute Warm Up
- 105” of Cooking Space with Enamel-Coated Grate
4. Coleman Camp Propane Grill
Type: Folding Lid, Propane
Second last on our list is another model from this beloved brand. This one has the highest BTU rating of the other ones from the same brand, and it’s also the largest. It has a traditional barbecue design, with the rectangular shape, so it’s easy to line up the food while cooking.
Since it doesn’t have legs, it’s best used as a tabletop grill. Again, you’ve got the PerfectFlow technology at work, which ensures consistent performance of the heat in rough outdoor conditions. A different feature that we haven’t seen yet is the PerfectHeat technology – this makes sure the fuel is being used efficiently so you don’t need to change out the cylinder as often.
Our favorite feature is the wide-block panels on either side. They fold up and down, and protect the food from winds.
- Side Panels Block Wind for More Even Cook
- PerfectHeat & PerfectFlow Technology for Fuel & Heat Efficiency
- 180sq Inch Large Surface
5. Cuisinart CGG-750 Portable Camping Grill
Type: Folding Legs, Propane
Well, this certainly doesn’t look anything like a grill – and that’s why we love it. With the legs tucked underneath and handle upright, this looks just like a big lunchbox or mini cooler. Hidden inside, though, is a 154sq inch porcelain-enameled grate with a 9,000 BTU burner. Due to this design choice, we think it’s perfect to take to the beach where you need something that’s streamlined and without too many bits and bobs.
The definite highlight feature for us is the 2-in-1 you get with this model. Above the main grate there is a flat wood surface that can be used as a chopping board. It’s such a cool add-on that you wouldn’t normally see on these kinds of grills.
The gas cylinder gets stored underneath the red grill section, and is secured down with a flip-out wire piece. You can lift out this red part, with the cylinder still underneath, and pop out the aluminum legs for a bit of a heightened surface. The controls for ignition are straightforward, as it’s a simple twisting knob on the front that does all the work.
- Large Grill Space with Concealed Gas Cylinder System
- Wood Lid Doubles as Chopping Board
- Strong Aluminum Handle with Rubber Grip for Comfort
6. Pit Boss Grills Portable Camping Grill
Type: Folding Legs, Propane
First on the list is this all-steel model from Pit Boss. They are known for their heavy-duty appliances, but they’ve created a more compact version for increased portability. At 23lbs, it’s more suited for RV or car camping, as it’s too heavy to fit in a bag for hiking.
Dual burners add up to 10,000 BTUs (which measures the total output of heat for the burner every hour). In terms of the folding design, both the legs and the hood collapse for a slimmer look. With the flat bottom and slightly curved top, it’s easy to store.
A push-and-turn ignition knob makes it faster to light, and you’ll find a dome thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Able to operate with a 20lb gas cylinder, you can get more burn time in one go. It comes with a 26” hose piece, so you don’t need to purchase one separately.
- 276sq Inches of Cooking Space
- Compact Structure 16”L x 23”H x 19.5”D
- Foldable Legs & Latching Lid for Security
7. NOMADIQ Portable Gas Camping Grill
Type: Folding, Propane
While this might look like a sandwich press at first glance, this is in fact a super slim mini barbecue that packs a punch. The design is truly impressive, because you’re getting increased grill space, without the bulky shape. Delivering close to 10,000 BTUs, you get over 200sq inches of space to cook on. We appreciate that the grates are dishwasher safe, because it’s much faster to wash up.
A 45 second set up is all it takes to get things going. The drip pans are located on either side, and disappear underneath when not in use. Light it up with a one-push ignition button. Since the burners are located on different sides, you’re able to control the temperature output separately.
We like the modern touch of a nylon carry handle, which gets clipped onto either side. This lets you carry it like a messenger bag, which takes off a lot of the load (even though it’s not that heavy in the first place). This handle also acts as an additional locking mechanism for more security.
- Wide-Area 226sq Inch Surface with Non-Stick Grates
- Dishwasher Safe $ Rust-Resistant Grates
- Robust Steel Construction with Cast-Iron Plates
8. CUISINART CGG-608 Portable Camping Grill
Type: Folding Lid, Propane
Next we’ve got this folding lid model from CUSINART. We like folding hoods because the appliance turns into a compact piece that is a cinch to carry around and store in the back of your car. A twist-start ignition makes lighting it up a breeze, and you’ve got an integrated thermometer to control the heat. The grate has enough space to cook for 5 people.
Working with a 1lb gas cylinder, the grate is made from stainless steel, which means it’s resistant to rust. It’s also more effortless to clean, because things don’t stick as easily. Not to mention the dishwasher safe grid, which means you don’t need to spend much time scrubbing away. To keep everything secure once it’s packed up, the lid has a locking system.
- Built-In Temperature Gauge with Specific Labels
- Wide Carry Handle Removes Pressure
- 184sq Inches of Grate Space Cooks for 5 People
9. Napoleon TravelQ PRO285E Portable Electric Camping Grill
Type: Folding Lid, Electric
Peak Temperature: 600°F+
Even though this one is on the pricier side, you are paying for an advanced system that is powered electronically instead of through gas. It’s also quite a heavy-duty model, made from cast iron and cast aluminum for better heat retention.
A highlight for us is the stylish and sleek feel of this grill – this is achieved through the smooth all-black metal and lime green accents. Inside is the porcelain coated grate, which is rust-resistant and shaped with waves. These wave grids aren’t just there to look cool, as they provide an equal heat transfer and better sear.
To turn it into a standing barbecue, you can purchase the PRO285-STAND TravelQ Portable Cart and Shelf Kit separately. Otherwise, it works impressively as a tabletop model, with hefty side handles for carrying. The ACCU-Probe temperature gauge is right on the front, and gives labels like “Smoking Range” to get the best cook.
- Massive 285sq Inch Surface with 1500 Watts of Power
- Removable & Robust Porcelainized Grate with Wave Grids
- Precise Temperature Control with Side Dial
10. Grillerette Pro Battery Powered Portable Camping Grill
Type: Non-Folding, Battery-Powered
Peak Temperature: 842°C
For those interested in contemporary designs, this model is for you. It has an ultra-modern construction which they call the “re-imagined” charcoal grill. It’s kind of like your own “smart” grill, like a smartphone. This is also ideal for those who like the smoky taste you get from coals.
Starting at the top, the grill plate has a fascinating slot design that transfers heat more equally and is simpler to clean. Next is the grease pan, which guides oils to the outside to prevent it from wetting the coals – this delivers 90% less smoke. Below is the canister section, which is smaller to make it easier to manage with fewer coals.
Now here’s where it gets even more interesting, because the whole thing is powered by a fan. Using 4 AA batteries, the fan generates gusts of wind that blow on the charcoal to keep it lit. Lastly the base is a lightweight part that has side handles to effortlessly carry it around. When not in use, it slides into the carry case that has a wide handle and zipper for a snug fit.
- Ultralightweight 8lbs with Handles for Carrying
- Battery-Powered Fan & Smart-Grate Distribute Heat Evenly
- Convenient Side Benches for Storage
How to Choose a Portable Camping Grill
While all of these models fall in the portable range, their sizes can vary, even if only slightly. This can make a big difference with how you’re travelling while camping, because you don’t want something over 10lbs if you’re planning to hike.
The British Thermal Unit rating tells you how much heat a grill can generate. Now, it’s important to recognize here that these portable models will not produce the same BTUs as a full-size one. With that in mind, we think a good BTU for these kinds of grills falls between the 6,000 and 10,000 range. Of course, anything higher than that is a big plus, because that means faster cooking power.
Mode of Transportation
How easy is the grill to carry around? While you won’t necessarily be carrying one on your back, since they’re more suited to car camping, it should be simple enough to carry from your vehicle to the cooking site. Look out for things like wide handles (rubber grips are a plus), as well as what it looks like when it’s packed away. Models that have a slim profile or smooth curves can be easier to store in a vehicle without taking up much space.
This relates to the size of the cooking surface, as well as the type. First is the size, which is typically measured in square inches. There is no right or wrong answer here, as it depends on how much food you usually cook. The type of surface will determine what kinds of dishes you can cook.
Griddles are flat surfaces that let you cook things like pancakes, eggs, or anything else that would otherwise slide through the slits on a grid. Speaking of grids, these are the traditional types of barbecue surfaces. They let you get a charred effect on the food. Finally you’ve got stove grates – these act just like a stove at home, where you can place a pot or pan on top to boil water or make soups and sauces.
While you can buy your own temperature gauge to stick inside meats and whatnot, a built-in gauge on the grill is a big advantage in our eyes. They let you control how hot things are getting, which provides a better cooking experience.
This will depend on personal preference, and whether you see certain bonus features as an advantage. As you’ve seen from our list, there are many brands who add features to stand out from the rest. These can include innovative grate designs, shoulder carry-handles, chopping board attachments, interchangeable grates, and wind blocking panels (just to name a few).
Top 5 Tips for Camping with a Portable Grill
- Be Prepared – No matter if you’re at home or in the woods, cooking always requires some planning ahead of time. Prep the meat and veg by keeping it safe in plastic wrap or bags (or eco-friendly silicone alternatives), or put them on skewers beforehand to save time. Remember to always keep foods that can go off in a cooler. Also, don’t forget the cutlery, and steer clear of plastic if you can.
- Choose the Right Kind of Food – While we know you’re not going to attempt a soufflé (well, we don’t know what kind of camper you are, so power to you), there are certain dishes that are going to make your life much easier. Go for simple, but delicious, meals that work well on grills. Shrimp, steak, corn, mushrooms, peppers, and chicken are all great starting points.
- Pack the Right Tools – As well as utensils, don’t forget about what happens after you eat…cleanup! Make sure you bring garbage bags, water, and eco-friendly soap (or baking soda and vinegar) to make the process easier.
- Avoid Accidents – Travelling with propane cylinders isn’t impossible; it just requires the right safety precautions. Some simple rules-of-thumb to consider include: keep the cylinder well ventilated, don’t smoke around it, and keep it out of direct sunlight and upright.
- Charcoal or Gas? – There are several differences between these two cooking methods, one of the main being taste. Charcoal gives off a very smoky flavor, which isn’t for everyone. Charcoal grills also take longer to set up, whereas most gas models have one-push button ignition. Think about your preference and choose the right one for you before taking off.
Conclusion on Portable Camping Grills
Folding camp grills are some of the best things to come out of modern-day camping. Cooking while out in the wild has come a long way, and we love that you have so many options out there that provide innovative features. A folding travel grill lets you enjoy scrumptious meals, without much effort thanks to simple propane or electronic systems and compact designs.