Best Camping Grill for Outdoors

Updated on

In this article, we are reviewing best camping grill for outdoors, charcoal grills, stove grills, etc.

Best Camping Grill
Best Camping Grill

I tested five products and found the Blackstone 1650 to be the best overall grill for outdoor camping.

Getting the best portable camping grills for an outdoor trip is important because you often can’t make a quick trip down to the store if something doesn’t work out. What you have is what you’ve got, so it’s vital to take the time and figure out what makes sense for your situation.

Blackstone’s 1650 is big enough to cook a meaningful amount of food but also comes in a storage-friendly rectangular shape. There are better grills out there, but most of them are extremely large or have odd shapes that make them tougher to fit into a packed vehicle. The 1650 hits the sweet spot of size, shape, and price.

However, it’s not the only option worth considering. There are some other choices, including grills that come with bigger stands, grills that attach to a trailer hitch, and even grills that can go straight over a campfire. I don’t like any of those as much as the 1650 based on pure merit, but they will be a better choice for some families.

Keep reading to find out more about my choices on the best portable camping grills and what to look for when going shopping.

Best Camping Grill Mini-Reviews

Here are my seven best camping grills for outdoor camping.

Blackstone 1650 – Best Overall Portable Grill

Blackstone’s 1650 is a well-balanced tabletop gas grill. The top features 260 square inches of cooking space, with a cooktop that flips over for storage and travel. Underneath the surface, an H-shaped burner offers more even heat distribution with a total output of 12,000 BTUs. Its one of the popular propane grills.

This griddle is big enough cooking surface to make food for several people without being so large that it’s awkward or difficult to store. The built-in grease catcher helps stop messes, while the easy ignition makes it simple for anyone to use. It also makes a great option as a car camping grill.

However, while I like this product overall, there are a few things to keep in mind before buying it. First, like most good grills, you need to season them before using them. Blackstone has an official video guide for this, and it’s not hard, but don’t expect to use this straight out of the package.

Second, this griddle weighs about 21 pounds, not counting any food you add. That’s not unduly heavy for a camping griddle, but it is a little heavier than some people may want to deal with.

Finally, you may need an adapter to use a different propane tank. By default, this grill works with travel-friendly one-pound tanks, which will last for about one regular meal. You may need to get a hose to connect it to a larger 20-pound propane tank if you want to use it multiple times in one trip.

None of these are fatal flaws, but they’re worth keeping in mind when you go shopping. 

Pros: 

  • It has an even heat distribution 
  • It’s great for large families or groups

Cons:

  • It’s a heavier option compared to other grills

Weber Q1000 – Runner-up Camping Grill

Weber’s Q1000 propane grill is a decent alternative to the Blackstone 1650. The most immediate difference between the two is their shapes. The Q1000 has an egg-like shape with a stand to hold it up, making it less square and a little harder to pack when you need to fit things in tightly.

The Q1000 is also smaller and slightly weaker than the 1650, cooking at 8500 BTUs over 189 square inches of cooking space. This makes it better for camping trips with one or two people, and it may not have enough room to cook things properly for a larger family.

Although a bit small, the Q1000 is user-friendly thanks to its push-button ignition and simple control valve. The cooking grill grate is a straightforward cast iron design with porcelain enameling, while the grill’s body and lid are cast aluminum. The heat-resistant exterior frame is made with a nylon variant for durability.

Like the 1650, this grill works best with small, disposable liquid propane containers. However, Weber sells an official adapter so you can connect it to the more-popular 20-lb tanks. Having a manufacturer-provided option is always better.

Overall, the fact that this grill is smaller and cooler than the 1650 is why I can’t put it in the top spot. However, it is comfortably portable and ergonomic, making it a respectable choice for shorter camping trips. Consider getting something more robust for long trips. 

Pros: 

  • It has a push-button ignition
  • The exterior is heat-resistant 

Cons:

  • It may not be the best option for grilling for large groups due to its size

Solo Stove Grill Bundle – Best Bundle Camp Stove Option

Best solo stove Grill

Solo Stove’s Grill Bundle is an excellent portable charcoal grills option for people who don’t have a camping grill or any of the other tools necessary to grill. It has everything you need. This portable charcoal grill uses charcoal to work and has a 360-degree airflow to get your food from the grill to your plate faster. 

It’s also one of the best portable charcoal grill, we found on the market.

This is the best bundle grill option because it has pretty much everything you could want with a starter grill. You get the grill, a carrying case, a grill stand, grilling tools like a spatula, tongs, and meat fork, a grill shelter, a few charcoal bricks, and starters. 

The grill stand is short at 13 inches tall, making it perfect for transporting it to and from campsites. The grill is made with stainless steel making it hotter and easy to clean when you’re finished making a meal. 

The grill will only take five to ten minutes to heat up with their design. This quick heat-up process reduces the overall cooking time. Solo Stove’s camping grill is easy to set up. You only need the six bolts that it comes with before you’re ready to grill. 

Pros:

  • It comes with the grill and everything else you need
  • It has 360-degree airflow  

Cons:

  • It may not be worth it for people who have grill tools, starters, and the other things it comes with

HitchFire Forge 15 – Best Hitch Grill

HitchFire’s Forge 15 is a relative rarity among camping grills. Rather than being a tabletop unit or a freestanding structure, it attaches directly to the trailer hitch on vehicles like trucks and RVs. The built-in swing arm means you can easily move it out of the way and access a vehicle’s trunk, which is a vital quality of life feature.

At full extension, this grill will still let you lower tailgates into trucks. Even without that, it can remain far enough away from a vehicle to avoid coating it with smoke or smells as long as the grill is downwind.

This is one of the largest options on my list, with 355 square inches of cooking space across two burners. Each burner can use up to 7500 BTUs, which is a little lower than some other grills but still high enough to get the job done. It uses 16-ounce propane tanks, but like most other portable grills, the manufacturer offers an adapter for bigger fuel tanks.

The main draw for this grill is the size. It’s big enough to feed a large group, and that matters for some families. However, it’s also 70 pounds and rather bulky, so it can be hard to get onto the hitch unless you have at least two people handling it. You can load it up at home and travel with it hitched, but it’s still heavy.

HitchFire’s Forge 15 is also the least-portable choice here. It needs to stay with your vehicle, so it’s not a good option if you want to park somewhere and hike a few miles to a camping site. All of the other grills on this list are portable enough to take into backcountry areas, but the Forge 15 is not.

On top of all that, this grill is noticeably more expensive than the other options on this list. If price is a factor, you probably don’t want to get this one.

In short, HitchFire’s grill has many qualities, both positive and negative, that set it apart from the other options here. It’s not for everyone, and especially not for buyers who don’t have a hitch on their vehicle, but it’s worth considering if you have a large vehicle and need to cook for many people.

Pros: 

  • Large grilling space suitable for 8-10 people
  • Convenient features such as fold out prep table and integrated bottle opener

Cons:

  • Heavy and difficult to transport if using off of hitch

Coleman RoadTrip 285 – Best Grill with Stand

Coleman is one of the most recognized names in grilling, and deservedly so. The RoadTrip 285 stands out from the crowd here thanks to its built-in stand. Unsurprisingly, it takes up much more space than other grill options, but that’s inevitable if you want something with a larger base. Its a liquid propane grill grate with a stand. It is also one of the best portable grills.

The bottom of this grill is a straightforward design with two wheels on one side and a long bar on the other. That makes it easy to wheel this entire grill into place or adjust it for different heights.

The RoadTrip 285 is slightly larger than my favorite, coming in at 285 square inches of grilling area. It also has three adjustable burners so you can have more control over the cooking temperature and make different means at the same time. That’s a great addition for any product, and it’s helped by a built-in thermometer.

Power-wise, this grill can reach 20,000 BTUs, which is once again a step up from Blackstone’s 1650. However, remember that it distributes the heat across several burners, so you probably won’t get the full heat in one spot.

Other notable features include pull-out side tables and a simple ignition system. This system uses small propane tanks by default, but since it’s larger than the other options on this list, I strongly recommend getting the adapter hose for a bigger fuel tank.

Coleman offers a three-year limited warranty for this product, which is longer than many of its competitors. Overall, I think the RoadTrip 285 is a great choice for most people, and it was a serious contender for my top spot.

There are two reasons it’s down here, though. The first is size. This grill folds up into a luggage-like transport design, but it’s still bulkier than some other options. Size matters when you’re going camping. The second issue is weight. At 41 pounds, this grill is too heavy for some people and hard to move long distances or over rough terrain, even on wheels.

If neither of those issues is a deal-breaker, though, the RoadTrip 285 is worth considering for both power and flexibility.

Pros:

  • It has pull-out side tables
  • The stand is built-in

Cons:

  • The grill is bulkier than other grills

Texsport Over Fire Grill – Best Campfire Grill

If Coleman’s grill is a fancy product, Texsport’s campfire grill is the complete opposite. Rather than being a propane-fueled specialty burner, this is essentially a large piece of steel that you can put directly over a campfire to cook your food. Its large legs fold under to make it impressively compact.

While you can cook directly on this grill, it also works well as a support for other tools like pans or smaller griddles. Its value is in its simplicity.

I spent some time debating whether to include this grill on my final list. Ultimately, I decided that I should because it’s important to discuss different options for camping products, even if they aren’t the right choice for everyone.

The primary thing that sets this option apart is that it doesn’t rely on propane. If you can build a proper campfire, you can use this to cook over it. Propane is easy and convenient for cooking, but you might run out of it on longer trips. In that case, using readily-available fuels like wood to cook makes things easier.

The downside to a manual grill like this is that it’s much harder to control the temperature. It takes practice to manage fire for proper cooking, so I suggest using this grill several times at home before you bring it on a trip. If you’re familiar with using it, things will go much better.

Outside of everything else, this is easily the cheapest camping grill on my list.

HitchFire Forge 15 – Best Hitch Grill

HitchFire’s Forge 15 is a relative rarity among camping grills. Rather than being a tabletop unit or a freestanding structure, it attaches directly to the trailer hitch on vehicles like trucks and RVs. The built-in swing arm means you can easily move it out of the way and access a vehicle’s trunk, which is a vital quality of life feature.

At full extension, this grill will still let you lower tailgates into trucks. Even without that, it can remain far enough away from a vehicle to avoid coating it with smoke or smells as long as the grill is downwind.

This is one of the largest options on my list, with 355 square inches of cooking space across two burners. Each burner can use up to 7500 BTUs, which is a little lower than some other grills but still high enough to get the job done. It uses 16-ounce propane tanks, but like most other portable grills, the manufacturer offers an adapter for bigger fuel tanks.

The main draw for this grill is the size. It’s big enough to feed a large group, and that matters for some families. However, it’s also 70 pounds and rather bulky, so it can be hard to get onto the hitch unless you have at least two people handling it. You can load it up at home and travel with it hitched, but it’s still heavy.

HitchFire’s Forge 15 is also the least-portable choice here. It needs to stay with your vehicle, so it’s not a good option if you want to park somewhere and hike a few miles to a camping site. All of the other grills on this list are portable enough to take into backcountry areas, but the Forge 15 is not.

On top of all that, this grill is noticeably more expensive than the other options on this list. If price is a factor, you probably don’t want to get this one.

In short, HitchFire’s grill has many qualities, both positive and negative, that set it apart from the other options here. It’s not for everyone, and especially not for buyers who don’t have a hitch on their vehicle, but it’s worth considering if you have a large vehicle and need to cook for many people.

Buying Guide

How to choose the best camping grills?

Here are some things to look for when you’re going shopping for outdoor portable camping grills.

Cooking Space

Cooking space is one of the main considerations for camping grills. Generally, you need about 72 inches of space per person when cooking food, and it’s better to keep at least a quarter of the grill clear. This helps ensure heat can rise through the air and isn’t blocked by the bottom of the food.

Most camping grills have space to cook food for two or three people simultaneously. Larger grills, like HitchFire’s Forge 15, might feed up to five people. Either way, they always trend smaller than backyard grills that don’t need to worry about space considerations.

Heating Power

Grills measure their heating power in BTUs, which are standardized measurements. Higher is generally better because you can always turn a grill down, but you can’t increase things above their maximum. However, BTUs alone isn’t a good measure for performance.

Instead, divide the BTUs by the cooking area to get the approximate heating power for each section. For example, dividing the Blackstone 1650’s 12,000 BTUs by its 260 square inches of cooking area gives us 46.15 BTUs per square inch.

Weber’s Q1000 sounds like it’s weaker at first because it only has 8500 BTUs, but by applying this calculation, we see it has a power of about 44.97 BTUs per square inch. That’s almost identical to the Blackstone 1650 and shows that while the Q1000 is smaller, it’s not meaningfully weaker.

Most good camping grills have a BTU-per-square-inch calculation that’s somewhere between 40 and 50, usually hovering near the middle. Anything below 40 is probably too weak, while anything much higher is stronger than you need.

For context, a serious professional grill often has 80 to 100 BTUs per square inch. Average campers don’t need the power of professional tools, though.

Size

Size is another important factor to consider when you’re going camping, and this is a separate factor from cooking space. Ideally, a grill is large enough to cook food for everyone but also small enough that you can fit it in your vehicle. Weight is a part of this consideration because a grill should be light enough for someone in your group to carry.

Blackstone’s 1650 is essentially rectangular, which means it’s compact and easy to store inside a vehicle. HitchFire’s Forge 15 manages to avoid this problem because you can store it outside your vehicle for a trip, freeing up room in your trunk for other supplies.

I prefer box-like shapes over other designs because it’s easier to store and stack things when they have regular shapes. Too many curves can make it hard to balance something correctly.

Fuel Source

Propane is easily the most common fuel source for outdoor camping grills. While most units can fit a 16-ounce can of liquid propane, you need an adapter hose and a larger fuel tank if you want to cook more than one meal.

What this really means is that your fuel source can be a limit on the length of your trip, or at least your enjoyment of it. Texsport’s campfire grill doesn’t require propane, so it’s ultimately the best choice for long camping trips.

You can manipulate this limit by timing trips so that you can pick up more propane between stops. Don’t forget to bring at least one extra can of fuel for emergencies. Propane tanks are fairly large, though, so try to avoid bringing too much. Also, remember that you can save fuel by cooking at something less than the hottest temperature.

Conclusion

Blackstone’s 1650 is the best grill for most people and offers enough cooking space. It offers a great balance of size, weight, and performance for camping trips, and it’s available at a competitive price. However, people have different needs (up to and including just having more people on the trip), so make sure to look through the other options before selecting a grill for your trip.

Grills will last for a long time if you take care of them, so order one today and start practicing with it. Once you have a little experience with grilling food on camping trips, you’ll see why so many people use it as their preferred cooking method for long trips.