5 Best Camping Grills in 2022: These Will Light Your Fire

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by  David Martin | Last Updated: 

Camping grills are awesome tools for getting outside and cooking meals in the great outdoors. With so many to choose from, however, it can be hard to find the right grill to fit your needs.

In this article we’ll run through the top picks in five different categories so you can find the best camping grill for you.

Most Compact
  • Packable, wood fire camping grill that can fit in a backpack
  • Built with high-quality materials like 304 stainless steel
  • Total weight of 4.2 pounds
Best Propane
  • Great for car camping and includes quick-heat option to get cooking in no time
  • Works well even in windy conditions
  • Comes in multiple colors and can include team-specific logos
Best Charcoal
  • Features a 360 airflow system that keeps charcoal super hot
  • Elevated on a 13 inch stand so you can sit while you grill
  • 22 inch diameter grill provides plenty of surface area for grilling
Best for Tailgates
  • Foldable design makes for easy set up and tear down
  • Built in table and wheels 
  • Matchless lighting to get cooking quickly
Best Portable Smoker

 

  • Portable smoker in the size of a suitcase
  • Built in thermometer
  • Vent sliders to help control airflow and ashes

There’s nothing like grilling to bring the right vibe to a gathering and get the taste buds tingling. Seared meats, grilled vegetables, the smell of smoke, and a cold beer seem to set the world right, no matter what’s on the news.

The only problem is that most grilling is confined to full-size grills and smokers that you can’t fit in a backpack or toss in your car, which means it can be hard to bring grilling to the backcountry or the game. 

The solution? You need a camp grill.

Camping grills come in all shapes, sizes, and functionalities, to the extent that it can be hard to find which one is right for you. Do you want a charcoal or propane grill? Does it need to be compact or large enough to cook for a crowd? 

If you’re trying to find answers to these questions or just want to learn more about the different types of camping grills out there, I’ll be covering the top camping grills across five categories so you can find the right grill for you.

5 Best Camping Grills for the Outdoors

Most Compact: Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio

Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio from the side 1

My top pick for the most compact grill is Wolf and Grizzly’s Campfire Trio.

This small but mighty trio is comprised of a Fire Safe, Fire Set, and Grill. The Fire Safe is a foldable base that keeps your fire elevated and contained, and is designed to maximize airflow to the fire to get hot coals. 

The Fire Set is a ferrocerium rod and striker combo that provides reliable sparks at any altitude, in any conditions. Rated for 20,000 strikes, the Fire Set is designed to last well beyond any box of matches or lighter, and features an internal jute cord that you can cut and use as tinder in emergencies.

Wolf and Grizzly Using the Fire Set

The Grill features a stand and rollable surface that fits snugly around the Fire Safe and packs up tightly. The stand has three adjustable heights that give you the flexibility to move your food closer or further from the fire, depending on your cooking needs. 

All packed up, the Campfire Trio weighs 4.2 pounds, which makes it an easy addition to any car camping kit, and a possible addition to bike camper’s and backpacker’s kits as well. 

Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe with Fire

This packable grill setup is made with durable 304 stainless steel, which guarantees consistent use no matter how hot your fire gets.

The Campfire Trio is great for anyone who likes to adventure on a whim. Its portability enables easy carrying and packing, and the thoughtful design makes this grill a breeze to set up, even in the dark.

What I Like

  • It’s easy to set up, take down, and cook on.

  • The Grill has three adjustable height settings to accommodate a variety of cooking situations

  • The Campfire Trio weighs only 4.2 pounds.

  • It’s easy to keep in your car or backpack for whenever the adventurous itch arises.

What I Don’t Like

  • Nothing!

What Other Reviewers Say

Wolf and Grizzly has scores of enthusiastic reviews that center on the kit’s portability and ease of use. Other common sentiments include the Fire Safe’s durability and the Grill’s adjustable height settings. 

The few negative reviews I could find were from backpackers who found the Campfire Trio to be a bit too heavy for their kit.

The Verdict

Wolf and Grizzly provides the tools you need to go out and grill at a moment’s notice. The Campfire Trio is so portable you could probably be neck deep in a creek and successfully grilling bratwurst, if that’s what you’re into.

Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio

Complete with the Fire Safe, Fire Starter, and Grill Kit, the Campfire Trio is everything you need to cook an amazing meal in the woods.

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Best Propane: Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill

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If you’re the kind of guy that wants to minimize the amount of time it takes to transform a frozen hockey-puck of a hamburger into a delicious greasy treat, the Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill is for you.

This portable meat crucible features a quick heat option so you don’t have to wait a single second longer than necessary to chow down. The grill works well in windy conditions, and is small enough to set up under a canopy or umbrella in case of rain. 

A variety of color choices are available for those who want to bring a little zing to their camp kitchen, like orange and green. 

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There’s some disparity online regarding the weight of the Q1200, with Amazon saying it weighs a single pound, and others saying it’s thirty, but one review reveals that 30 is simply the shipping weight, and 23 is the actual grill weight without the propane attached.

While you definitely won’t be slinging this into a backpack, the Q1200 is still small enough to fit in the back of your car and is best suited for car or RV camping.

Featuring 189 square inches of cooking area, this is obviously smaller than the grill you keep on your back deck, but can still cook six burgers at once.

What I Like

  • The quick-heat feature and compact size means this grill is ready to cook in minutes.

  • It’s designed with a matchless ignition, folding side tables, and built-in thermometer.

  • It’s great for car camping and use at camp grounds.

  • A wide selection of colors helps bring some personality to an otherwise ugly cooking element.

What I Don’t Like

  • At 23 pounds, you definitely don’t want to be hiking out to any campsites and lugging this along.

  • It’s fairly expensive, coming in at $240. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The Q1200’s reviewers are remarkably enthusiastic. Thousands of reviewers have come out to write not just a few lines, but paragraphs about how the Q1200 is their favorite grill in most situations. 

Common accolades referenced its portability for car camping and ease of use, while the few negative sentiments I could find focused on some difficulty controlling the heat.

The Verdict

If you like to camp out of your car, an RV, or at a campsite, the Weber Q1200 will provide. It’s too heavy to bring hiking, but makes up for its lack of portability with quick-heat functionality, high heat, and a matchless ignition.

Weber Q1200 Propane Grill

This portable meat crucible features a quick heat option so you don’t have to wait a single second longer than necessary to chow down. The grill works well in windy conditions, and is small enough to set up under a canopy or umbrella in case of rain.

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Best Charcoal: Solo Stove Grill

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The Solo Stove Grill is the Cadillac of charcoal grills. Just like the Escalade, this grill is a big boy. 

Weighing a whopping 38.5 pounds, the only person I’d expect to see backpacking with this is David Goggins, and he’d still only eat raw meat underwater or something crazy like that. 

The Solo Stove Grill is portable, but only viable for car and RV camping. Some of its significant weight is due to the fact that the grill is 22 inches in diameter, which comes out to about 380 square inches of cooking area. 

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This got my pick for best charcoal camping grill not just because of its size, but also because of its 360 airflow design, which feeds in air from the bottom of the grill to keep your charcoal hot and stay hot. 

This convective heating environment removes the need for messing with airflow or adding more charcoal later. Just set it, forget it, and throw your food on the grill. 

The Solo Stove Grill comes with a hefty stand that puts the cooktop at 22 inches all, which is about the perfect height for sitting and grilling. All this luxury and convenience comes at a cost, though, or more specifically a $550 price tag.

What I Like

  • The 360 airflow technology makes the finicky act of charcoal grilling much more consistent.

  • With 380 square inches of cooking area, there’s more than enough room to feed a small crowd.

  • It’s easy to set up, and easy to take down. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The entry price is definitely restrictive. 

  • It’s super heavy, but then again this isn’t meant to be taken deep into the backcountry.

What Other Reviewers Say

The Solo Stove Grill has hordes of enthusiastic reviewers, many of which look to own RVs. Common points of enthusiasm focused on the grills portability and ability to get super hot with little effort. 

For once in my life, I couldn’t find any negative reviews on this product. One reviewer mentioned it would be nice to have an easy-carry handle and a tool rack, but still waxed eloquent on the 360 airflow design.

The Verdict

If you want to spoil yourself with a portable, hot charcoal grill that takes next to no effort to get going, the Solo Stove Grill is for you. While this grill is potentially the least portable grill in this article, it’s perfect for car and RV camping and is big enough to cook for a crowd.

Solo Stove Grill

This got my pick for best charcoal camping grill not just because of its size, but also because of its 360 airflow design, which feeds in air from the bottom of the grill to keep your charcoal hot and stay hot.

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Best for Tailgates: Coleman RoadTrip 285

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When tailgate season comes around, you want to be able to provide. That means you want ample seating, cold drinks, lots of grill space, lots of grill power, and perhaps most important, an easy setup. 

That’s where the Coleman RoadTrip 285 comes in. Featuring a sturdy, foldable design and three adjustable burners, this grill sets up in a flash and allows for customized cooking. 

When folded, the built-in wheels allow the grill to function like a rolling suitcase, which makes for easy transportation across paved surfaces. That’s ideal because the RoadTrip 285 is the heaviest grill in this review, coming in at 46 pounds. 

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In terms of cooking surface area, this grill has a roomy 285 square inches across cast iron grill grates which will get hot and stay hot. 

I like that this grill stands up to full, standard height and doesn’t need to be placed on the tailgate of a truck or table. The space you save on your tailgate can be better appropriated for seating, drinks, or condiments. 

The RoadTrip 285 is essentially a mini version of the grill on your back deck, and definitely best to keep in the back of your truck or shed. This could be used for car or RV camping as well, but I think the Coleman Q1200 and Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio are better suited.

What I Like

  • The grill is easy to set up, break down, and roll thanks to the folding design and built-in wheels.

  • The three adjustable burners gives you the ability to sear at high heat or use indirect heat.

  • It comes in a variety of colors so you can support your favorite team.

  • It’s fairly priced at $250.

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s super heavy, but that’s okay since you won’t be hitting the trail with it.

What Other Reviewers Say

Overall, reviewers are enthusiastic about the RoadTrip 285. It’s easy to set up, take down, and it cooks food without any issues. 

However, there were quite a few negative reviews regarding flimsy handles and a small drip tray that often created more mess than it was worth.

The Verdict

If you need a solid, foldable grill for tailgate season the Coleman RoadTrip 285 is a great option. Its folding design and ability to be wheeled around like a suitcase make a combo of power and portability that’s hard to beat.

Coleman RoadTrip 285

Featuring a sturdy, foldable design and three adjustable burners, the Coleman RoadTrip 285 grill sets up in a flash and allows for customized cooking.

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Best Portable Smoker: Nomad Grill and Smoker

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When it comes to smoking meat, I often think of massive, converted oil drums that have been turned into enormous smoking racks by the legendary barbecues of the American South. Thus, a portable smoker never seemed like a viable option in my mind, but boy was I wrong. 

The Nomad Grill and Smoker is basically just a magical briefcase for making delicious meat, but this simple design packs some serious punch. 

Featuring advanced thermal architecture, an anodized finish, and airflow vent sliders, this meat businessman’s companion is designed to get hot, stay hot, and look good, use after use. 

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The anodized aluminum shell keeps the weight from getting too high, but also makes this grill durable and corrosion resistant.

When flipped open, the grill has a surface area of 425 square inches, which equates to about 15 burgers per side. Cast and cambered grates ensure your cooking surface stands up to high heat and grease time and time again without deteriorating. 

While this grill has the option to be wicked hot for searing, it can also lock and seal for a low and slow smoke. The airflow vent and Tel-Tru T-Stat built-in thermometer provide for a controlled smoke without having to open the case every few minutes.

Of course, all this meat treat innovation comes at a cost. The Nomad Grill and Smoker comes in at $600, but for many this is a small price to pay for delicious smoked goods in the backcountry.

What I Like

  • It’s slightly heavy at 28 pounds, but features an ergonomic handle with soft touch points for carrying comfort.

  • It has a huge grilling surface for a relatively small package.

  • Overall it’s thoughtfully designed and made to stand up to the test of high and low heats at duration.

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s prohibitively expensive for most people.

What Other Reviewers Say

Despite the price, the Nomad Grill and Smoker has excellent reviews. One reviewer even dubbed it, “a grill-smoker that James Bond would have been proud of.” 

Positive sentiments focused on the grill’s ability to sear and get super hot, but also to smoke meats well. These reviews featured many more pictures than most, and man does that food look good. 

The few negative reviews I could find centered around some difficulty getting the grill hot, but that may have more to do with charcoal grilling knowledge than the Nomad itself.

The Verdict

If you want the ability to trek into the Alaskan bush, fly fish the most beautiful salmon you’ve ever seen, and then immediately smoke it, the Nomad Grill and Smoker is the right fit for you. While it’s a bit heavy at 28 pounds, a compact design and ergonomic handle makes for easy carrying and continued adventure.

Nomad Grills

The Nomad Grill and Smoker is basically just a magical briefcase for making delicious meat, but this simple design packs some serious punch.

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Is it Better to Use an Over the Fire Grill?

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Using an over the fire grill versus a propane or charcoal grill is ultimately a matter of preference, and I won’t say one is better or worse. 

In many respects the decision comes down to what you’re trying to do and where, whether that be cooking a large meal quickly at a campsite or cooking a fresh-caught fish in the backcountry. 

These token examples require different amounts of preparation and necessitate a certain level of portability, or lack thereof. While propane and charcoal grills are great for cooking larger meals in a well-equipped location that’s at your campsite or RV, they don’t provide much flexibility if you want to go explore and potentially cook something.

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On the other hand, an over the fire grill like the Campfire Trio from Wolf and Grizzly facilitates adventure wherever you can find it. Throw it in your backpack, get out into the backcountry, and see what you can find.

I enjoy the flexibility of adventuring with the Campfire Trio because even if I don’t plan to cook on anything, the Fire Safe provides a safe, elevated environment to build a small fire that won’t be damaging to the environment. 

While there’s no better or worse option for camp grills, my personal opinion is that Wolf and Grizzly’s Campfire Trio opens up a greater range of possibilities for adventure, which is why it’s now a permanent part of my camping kit.

Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio

Complete with the Fire Safe, Fire Starter, and Grill Kit, the Campfire Trio is everything you need to cook an amazing meal in the woods.

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Get Grilling

That’s it! Between these five camping grills you’ll find a good diversity of grills to suit your needs, whether you’re planning to hike through the bush or keep it cozy in a RV.  

If you know a friend who’s been wanting a camping grill but hasn’t yet been able to pull the trigger, send them this article! They can thank you later with grilled goodies.

FAQs

What can I grill over fire?

You can grill just about anything over fire, from steaks and vegetables to pizzas and jambalaya.

Can you smoke meat over an open fire?

It’s possible to smoke meat over an open fire, but tricky. The most important thing to a good smoke is keeping the temperature at a consistent 225 degrees, which can be hard to do over an open flame or coals without past experience.

How do you grill steak over an open fire?

You can easily grill steaks over an open fire by using the Campfire Trio from Wolf and Grizzly. Place the steaks on the grill over direct heat for roughly five minutes. Flip, and cook the steaks for another 4 minutes. If more time is needed to reach your preferred doneness, move the steaks to the outer edge of the grill, where it will still be hot but not over direct heat.

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