Enjoying the best of what nature has to offer often means trekking for hours, if not days or even weeks into the wilderness. The distance from civilization that allows for skies full of brightly beaming visible stars and the tranquil, unadulterated sounds of the outdoors, however, also means that you’re separated from the comforts and amenities of home. And while long hot showers and pillow-top mattresses may not be items that can feasibly (or reasonably) be brought along for a weekend in the woods, a hot meal is one of the comforts of home that you don’t have to forgo, so long as you have the right kit.
The good news is that the market is brimming with countless camping stoves and grills, regardless of your budget, needs, or intended use. The bad news, however, is that this inundated market means it can be difficult navigating your way through all of the different available camping grills — each of which ranges in design, type, size, construction and material quality, and available features offered. So, to help get you on the best possible path to cooking out in the wilderness, we’ve put together this guide to the 10 best camping grills.
Get To Cooking
The Seven Areas To Consider When Buying A Camping Grill
There’s only so much beef jerky, granola, and crushed up Pringles that one can subsist upon in nature before finally breaking down and pulling the trigger on purchasing a proper camping grill. Camp stoves are great for heating up all manner of foods, though few things beat fresh-grilled meat, regardless as to whether you’re in the city or the backcountry. And when that time comes for you and you’re in the market for an off-the-grid grilling system, there are a number of factors that should be considered prior to making your purchase:
Fuel Type: There are a wide variety of fuel types to power your camping grill, with the most common being wood, butane, alcohol, solar, and white gas (also known as Coleman fuel or its generic name: petroleum naphtha). Each of these has their own strengths and weaknesses that make them more or less conducive to particular situations and/or types of camping.
For example, solar and wood-burning ovens don’t require that you carry (or pay for) any extra fuel or receptacles, though they lack the convenience and utility of their gas-powered counterparts and their operation can be plagued by bad weather. Some fuel sources also perform poorly or are otherwise compromised by frigid temperatures, unlike white fuel, which can operate without issue even in otherworldly arctic conditions.
Power Output: After fuel, the next thing to look at is power output. You should determine your need in this area based on how much cooking you plan to do, how many people you’ll be cooking for, what kind of conditions you’ll be cooking in, and so on. Based on your answers to these questions, you can then determine aspects such as how many burners you need (or what grill top dimensions you’ll require) and how many BTUs will be required to be sufficient.
Construction & Material Quality: Like any product, the materials used and the quality of the construction plays an enormous role in the overall quality of a camping grill. Look for high-end, treated materials that will stand the test of time, especially if you’re going to be exposing your grill to harsh environments over the years.
Features & Design: This is another vital area to consider, as overall design plays an enormous role in differentiating models. Look for novel design traits that find ways to improve long-time existing offerings, as well as supplementary features in addition to specs regarding how they perform basic cooking functions.
Size, Weight, & Transportability: If you’re planning on backpacking, you’re definitely going to be looking at very different camping grills than someone looking to do some car camping. The size and weight of a grill are crucial for this reason, as is how easily-transportable a particular grill may (or may not) be. Look for features like collapsing, folding, or nesting elements that allow for compact, easy-to-carry forms, as well as carrying cases/bags.
Ease Of Cleaning: Chances are that when you’re home you don’t cook in a disgusting mess of a kitchen, and it should be no different when using a camping grill when off-the-grid. You want to clean these grills regularly — in fact, if you’re on the go day in and day out, you’ll have to — which is why it’s so critical to consider how easy it is to clean a particular grill. Also, keep in mind, you’ll likely often be cleaning in the dark using a lantern or headlamp so hard-to-reach nooks and crannies are your enemies.
Brand Reputation: While you often have to shell out a few extra bucks for the added peace of mind, buying from a reputable, well-trusted outdoor brand is always a great way to ensure that you’re getting a good product. There are rare exceptions to this rule, but more than nine times out of ten, (if not 99 times out of 100) this rule will serve you well.
Counting 'Em Down
The 10 Best Camping Grills
Now that you have a better sense of what to look for and consider when in the market for a new camping grill, let’s jump into our selections for the 10 very best camping grills that are currently available for you to purchase.
TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Stove
This item from TOAKS is a modern, high-end take on traditional wood-burning camp stoves, boasting full (Grade 1 or Grade 2) titanium construction. Developed and penned in California, this award-winning stove sports a nesting design that allows it to take a compact 7.25” T x 0.75” D form. Unlike the lion’s share of other camp grills and stoves on this list, this entry can be fueled using organic combustable biomass. Tipping the scales at just one-third of a pound (151-grams), this ultra-lightweight camp stove also comes in a handy nylon travel bag.
Kovea Slim Twin Propane Stove
The vast majority of camping grills and stoves boast a thickness of several inches (when closed), though the folks at Kovea have drawn from the company’s 38-years of experience to deliver a redesigned stove that sports a markedly slimmer profile than pretty much any other competitor. Fired up via an automatic Piezo-ignition, the 9.5lb Slim Twin is equipped with a folding three-sided windscreen and heavy-duty nickel-plated steel cooking grate. Positioned 11” apart, allowing for two large pots or pans to be used simultaneously, the system’s dual burners offer 10,500 BTU’s which translate to 3-minute boil times (for a liter of water). This Kovea offering also includes an adapter piece for standard 1lb bottles of propane, which afford the stove a generous burn time of almost two-hours with the burner at its maximum setting.
Coleman Dual-Fuel 2 Burner Stove
Some designs go generations without seeing any major updates or revisions, with the original design offering few areas to improve on. And this “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” mentality directly applies to Coleman’s Guide Series Powerhouse Dual-Fuel Camping Stove. Built to withstand the test of time, this longtime camping essential features a folding, adjustable windscreen and a chrome-plated cooking grate. The device’s “Band-a-Blu” burners deliver as much as 17,000 BTUs of heat, too. What really sets it apart, however, is the fact that, in addition to traditional white fuel, this stove can also run off of unleaded gasoline which is not only cheap but very readily accessible no matter where you find yourself.
Primus Kuchoma Grill
The Kuchoma camping grill from Primus maximizes cooking space while still coming in a fairly compact package. Measuring 17.3” x 6.1 x 12” and weighing exactly 10lbs, this grill’s primary selling point is unquestionably its removable non-stick ceramic grill grate that mimics the properties of a pre-seasoned (oiled) cast iron piece of cookware while a horizontal burner tube ensures that the heat from the Kuchoma’s 8,530 BTUs are distributed evenly. Standing on raised steel legs, this grill also features a Piezo-ignition and a wooden and metal handle for opening and closing the grill’s hood as well as doubling as a suitcase-style carrying handle when the grill is closed.
Biolite Basecamp Grill
Many of BioLite’s wares represent blatant and meaningful innovations, and the company’s Basecamp grill is no different. Weighing just under 18lbs and sporting a 13.25” (in diameter) stove-top, this cutting-edge grill burns wood and then converts the resulting heat into energy which can be used for cooking, or for juicing up the product’s 2,200mAh Lithium-ion power bank. Constructed from high-quality cast iron, stainless steel, and high-temperature plastic, the grill features a lever that allows the flames from inside the burn chamber to be dispersed or concentrated, whether you want to cook or enjoy a campfire-style function. The Basecamp Grill is also sold with an included FlexLight that plugs into the BioLite offering’s integrated USB ports (plus an ashtray, fuel rack, and fire starters).
MSR Reactor Stove System
Capable of boiling a half-liter of water in under 90-seconds, Mountain Safety Research’s Reactor Stove System is one of the most high-performing units out there. Made in America, this system is comprised of a piece of high-efficiency cookware and a cutting-edge camp stove that neatly stack together, while the heat and (4oz) fuel sources fit snuggly inside the 1.7L pot. Where really makes this offering shine is its use of MSR’s patented radiant burner, heat exchanger, and internal pressure regulator, that come together to deliver a ridiculously fuel-efficient stove — an ability furthered by the heat exchanger completely shrouding the radiant burner head from the wind.
Snow Peak Grill Burner
Since the company’s inception in the late 1950s, Japan’s Snow Peak has been building high-quality outdoors goods to exacting standards, and the Sanjo City-based outfit’s Grill Burner is far from an exception, with the 11lb grill enables you to enjoy gourmet, slow-cooked hibachi-style cooking while out in nature. The kit features a burner body made from brass, die-cast zinc, stainless steel, and resin, a steel water dish, and a Lodge-style cast iron griddle, as well as a storage case and a binding band to make it easier to carry. Offering 674.6 BTUs, this grill can stretch a single 80z fuel canister out to last an impressive 1.5 hours.
Biolite Smokeless Firepit
What originally began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 and has since turned into one of the coolest and most advanced camping gadgets and backyard accessories in existence, BioLite’s Firepit puts a very modern and cutting-edge twist on the traditional camping grill. The product can function as either a charcoal or wood-burning grill, too, but what really sets it apart is its integrated fan, USB-rechargeable Powerpack, and more than 50 air jets that enable the thing to be almost completely smoke-free. A supplementary USB port links to the Firepit’s 2,400mAh PowerPack so it can also charge a mobile device, or power any number of the peripherals BioLite offers for the Firepit. The grill also pairs with a dedicated smartphone app that allows you to control things like burn time and temperature from your phone or tablet.
GoSun Sport Pro Pack Solar Cooker
Rather than using a liquid fuel source, this solar cooker harnesses, amplifies, and retains the mighty power of the sun to deliver a cooking apparatus that can reach temperatures of 550-degrees Fahrenheit (or 290 degrees celsius) when placed in direct sunlight. Simply load your uncooked food into the system’s tubular cooking chamber, position the reflector, and your food is then being heated from 360-degrees, circulating heat evenly and operating similarly to a cylindrical Dutch oven of sorts. Despite the thickness of the metal, this offering comes secured inside a 7.5lb clamshell case that enables it to withstand a fair amount of abuse without bending or breaking. And, in addition to non-stick silicone baking pans and an extra cooking/prep tray, the GoSun cooker also includes an attachment that allows it to boil up to 14oz of water.
Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Camping Cooking System
Whether you’re looking to grill, boil, fry, or sauté, it really is hard to beat Jetboil’s all-in-one Basecamp Cooking System. The product features a daisy-chain/clamshell-style folding pair of burners that offer 10,000 BTUs, a 10” ceramic-coated non-stick frying pan, and a 5-liter FluxPot, which the burners nest inside of when not being used. The frying pan and the pot’s lid then act as a cap, enabling the entire system to break down into a highly-compact 8.5” x 10.75” form that all neatly slips into a carrying case (which includes a separate compartment for the system’s fuel regulator). The Basecamp Cooking System can also boil water in conditions as low as 20-degrees Fahrenheit (or -6 degrees celsius). A single one-pound propane bottle is enough for the system to boil a liter of water — a task that takes it just north of three-minutes – almost 50 times.
The 15 Best Camping Utensils
Now that you’ve got your camping grill situation all squared-away, you’re going to need a quality set of cutlery, and what better place to start than our guide to the best camping utensils?