The Best Portable Grills and Accessories to Take Camping
There’s nothing quite like the taste of smoky, grilled food in the fresh air of the great outdoors. Camping food doesn’t have to just be granola, hot dogs, and s’mores. With the right portable camping grill and accessories, you can enjoy deliciously grilled meat, veggies, and even desserts no matter where in the world you set up your tent. Plus, with the healthy benefits of grilling, you and your camping crew can stay nourished while getting close to nature.
In this guide, we’ll give you our top picks for portable camping grills including charcoal, pellet, gas, and over-fire options, as well as some other essential accessories to make your grilling experience easy and fun while camping.
Best Portable Camping Grills
Looking for a grill that’s going to give you the smoky flavor you crave without adding tons of extra weight to your pack? We’ve listed some of our top picks for you!
Some basics to know when selecting portable camping grills:
Charcoal grills are going to give you that smoky, rich flavor that you crave, especially for camping. These grills create that campfire flavor without having to actually build, light, and tend to a campfire. You won’t get that same decadent flavor with gas or pellet grills. Learn the difference between grill types here.
Charcoal kettle grills offer the flavor of the charcoal grill, but with added portability. They’re typically made of a lightweight metal and require less charcoal than a kamado or barrel grill, so they’re easy to bring out into the wilderness.
If you choose to use a gas grill, you’ll likely need to bring a tank of propane with you. We prefer to carry charcoal with us rather than propane for safety and portability purposes. Plus, portable charcoal is super affordable, especially compared to costly propane canisters. However, you will need to find a way to dispose of the charcoal left in your Kick Ash Basket.
Make sure you look up local regulations about grilling and preparing food in the park or site. Some campsites don’t allow grilling, while others have guidelines regarding how you dump your ash, for instance.
Top Camping Charcoal Grill
Charcoal grilling is the go-to for barbequing and camping purists. We’re huge charcoal fans at Kick Ash Basket, so our camping trips absolutely have to consist of that fire-flame flavor. Learn how to select the best charcoal grill for you.
We have to hand it to the Weber Kettle grill: it comes in different sizes, but the 22” is typically the preferred option for campers. It offers the original flavor and feel of a charcoal grill, but with the benefits of a high-end propane Weber. Its features include a plated-steel cooking grate and charcoal grate, bottom wire rack, heat-shield lid handle, and easy leg assembly (making it even more portable).
Although this kettle offers a “one-touch cleaning system,” charcoal grills on their own are still pretty annoying to clean up, especially while you’re trying to enjoy your camping experience. So stop playing with fire and get back to the great outdoors with fast and easy cleanup using the Kick Ash Basket. With the Kick Ash Basket, you just shake the ash out of the cold charcoal, and you’re ready to cook again— it’s that easy! We recommend the medium Kick Ash Basket and the Ring of Fire to make pre- and post- grill time a breeze, so you can get back to what matters most: your friends, family, and food. Check out our products for the Weber Kettle here.
Photo by Grilla Grills on grillagrills.com
Portable Pellet Grill
If you’re a fan of wood pellet grilling, which has been making a huge splash in the grilling world recently, you’ll love the Chimp Portable Wood Pellet Grill by Grilla Grills. It has a compact frame that makes it easy to carry with you, but it still has all the powerhouse features we love in a Grilla Grill. This includes a durable steel structure, rugged exterior locking stand, temperature control technology (Alpha Smoke), auto ignition, digital control system, indirect cooking, stainless steel burn great, blower fan to prevent flare-ups, safety shutdowns, and so much more. If you want a smokier flavor than gas without dealing with charcoal, you can consider the Grilla Grills portable pellet option.
Our Pick for Gas Camping Grill
If you’re choosing to go the gas route, we have to recommend the Coleman RoadTrip LXE— it’s made with road trips in mind! It has wheels and a collapsible design, so it’s easy to move around on even the toughest terrains. With a durable steel-construction, you’ll have a rugged device that can handle movement wherever you decide to go. Firing up your gas camping grill is easy with the button ignition, and temperature knobs mean simple control over your cook. It also has a spacious grill top, and you can switch out the stove for a range flat top based on cooking preferences. With a built-in table, you can easily prep food before serving, which is great for saving space on camping trips.
Keep in mind that propane canisters can be on the pricier side, so consider your camping budget when purchasing a portable grill.
The Best Over-Fire Grill
Grilling over your campfire can be one of the greatest joys of camping (if you know how to do so safely). All you need to do is purchase a grilling platform that has stakes that go in the ground and that sits comfortably over your campfire.
The Stromberg Carlson Stake and Grille is a popular option because it uses only one stake, and you can swing the grill plate away from the fire to gather your food (which is safer than trying to retrieve your food from the fire). It also has a generous cooking surface and is made of durable, quality materials. It’s on the pricier side, though, so a lot of campers instead choose the AmazonBasics portable folding campfire grill with folding stability legs, a welded steel top, and a heavy cast-iron frame (along with great reviews).
The Small, Portable Camping Grill
We’re fans of charcoal grilling, so we like to maintain that passion in even the smallest sizes. The Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill is super portable and easy to bring along, especially with its carrying handle. It has a durable plated-steel cooking grate and a porcelain-enameled lid and base to retain heat, but it still has a compact and lightweight design. When the legs and lid are folded up, it’s about the same size as a fishing tackle box. It can hold up to six burgers, so it’s still big enough for the whole family without taking up too much room. Plus, it comes in at around $60, so it’s a great value for a high-quality product.
Portable Camping Grill Accessories
1. Kick Ash Basket
If you’re cooking with charcoal, you need a Kick Ash Basket to go with it. Our baskets make cooking with charcoal safer, while making cleanup faster than ever before. The Kick Ash Basket holds the charcoal, so you can just lift out the cold charcoal and shake the ash out. That way you can let the leftover charcoal breathe, allowing you to start up your charcoal grill a lot faster and cleaner next time around. Seriously, our customers can’t get enough of the Kick Ash Basket. You have to try it for yourself for your next camping trip or backyard BBQ!
2. Instant Meat Read Thermometer
Make sure your meat is cooked all the way through to prevent anyone from getting sick in the middle of your trip. A thermometer ensures your meat is fully cooked without overcooking or drying out your favorite burgers and brats. It’s a small accessory that will make a huge difference in your safety and confidence while cooking. Check out Amazon’s top picks for digital thermometers here.
3. Cutting Board
Here’s our favorite little camping tip: forgo the plates, and use a durable cutting board as your plate! You can cut up your steak right on the board, and eat from it, too! (Don’t eat off of it if you’re cutting raw meat on the cutting board, though.) This will save you on dishes and water, while actually letting the juices stay in the meat a little longer. We like the OXO good grips cutting board because it’s small and portable, made of durable plastic (rather than wood), and has drip-catcher and easy-pour corners to minimize messes.
4. BBQ Tools
A griller is only as good as his tools. You want a grill set that’s portable enough to bring with you while also getting the job done. Check out this list of to-go portable camping grill utensils for some ideas. Our favorite go-to camping essential is a set of magnetized tongs. These have a convenient magnet so they can attach directly to your grill during transport, so your tongs and other essentials are always on-hand.
5. Heat Resistant Gloves
Please, whatever you do, don’t burn yourself while camping! Not only is it a damper on the fun, but you’ll also be more prone to infection out in the wilderness. The best thing you can do to protect the griller is to bring along heat resistant gloves. Our gloves’ non-slip silicone grip offers comfortable use, flexibility, and the utmost safety, with protection up to 932°F (for short spurts of heat, not intended for long-term use).
Photo by Chris Fuller on Unsplash
6. Grill Light
At home, you can turn on the outdoor lights or even the lights from the kitchen if you’re grilling after sunset. One of the beauties of being out in the wilderness is the darkness— but you don’t want to grill in the dark. Get a grill light that clamps to the side of the grill and lights up your cooking space. This ensures you won’t have undercooked or burnt food, while keeping your hands (and other body parts) safe. Check out this list of grill lights, but make sure to look for long-lasting LED bulbs and flexible necks to direct the light where you want it.
7. Kabob Grill Baskets
Another basket that you’ll love: kabob baskets! These baskets prevent your kabobs from slipping and sliding while you flip them, so your campout meat and veggies will always come out perfect. They are made with heavy-duty steel and a non-stick coating, so you can cook the perfect kabobs over your camping charcoal grill. (These work best with charcoal as opposed to gas grills.)
8. Aluminum Foil
Don’t forget the aluminum foil! For grilling and cleanup, leftovers, and arts and crafts, aluminum foil is an essential for camping. It’s often forgotten or overlooked, but we guarantee you’ll thank us when you have it on hand!
You can’t forget the food— you can’t have a cookout without the “cook” part! So, make sure you pack up some delicious meats, veggies, and even grillable desserts that your camping party will love. We highly recommend reading the Best Foods to Grill When on a Budget, so you can focus more on the experience and less on the cost. We also have a helpful resource for those of you bringing picky eaters along to the site.
Let’s Go Camping
Just thinking about firing up the grill for some s’mores and brats has us itching to pack up the camping gear and hit the trails. Don’t forget to bring along your Kick Ash Basket to make charcoal cleanup a breeze, as well as to make grilling safer for you and the environment. Oh, and don’t forget to invite us along!