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The 5 Best Camping Grills for Any Outdoor Adventure

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If you're camping off the grid and you're getting tired of using a campfire and a cast iron to make your burgers, you need to add a portable grill to your packing list. It's a great option to create all kinds of delicious meals while you're out in the wilderness. We're not telling you to take your at-home grill to the campsite, because there are portable options that make for the best camping grills. They won't take up a ton of space, the results are nearly identical to your full-sized grill at home, and they're easy to use and maintain. Like regular grills, there are propane and charcoal options, so you can pick your preference, but there are a few factors to consider. If you go with a propane option, it's easier to get cooking right away, but note that you'll need to bring a propane tank and a propane hose adapter to ensure you'll never run out of fuel. While charcoal grills can take longer to get started, they're great for smaller groups, are generally more affordable, and all you'll need to bring in addition is some lump charcoal. Also consider the size or your grill when you're making the purchase — the larger the grill, the more people you can cook for, but also note the weight to ensure you'll have the space to carry it.

If you pick one of these up, you'll also get year-round use out of it, since you don't have to use it just for camping. The grills are also fantastic for tailgating and for an RV, and you can take them on day trips to the beach or the lake. It's time to get summer cookin' with some of the best camping grills on the market. Choose our picks for the best grills to accompany you on your next camping trip adventure.

1. The Best Propane Option



Weber Q1200 Titanium Liquid Propane Grill - Amazon, $259.00

This Weber Propane Grill has a pretty sizable grilling space (189 square inches) for a unit that only weighs around one pound, making it our pick for a durable, reasonably priced option that you'll use for all sorts of occasions. It has porcelain-enameled cast iron grates — which means your food won't stick — and the stainless steel construction makes this a low maintenance, sturdy choice. This will fit around four steaks or burgers at a time, or a full meal in one go for two people — and the built-in temperature reader will allow you to execute a perfect medium-rare. You can use a small propane tank with it or purchase the adapter hose for under twenty dollars. You'll also need to snag some drip pans to safely catch the grease, but it's a worthwhile purchase that will save you a ton of time on clean-up. This is a great option for someone traveling in an RV or someone who takes regular weekend camping trips.

2. The Best Charcoal Option 

weber joe


Weber Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Charcoal Grill - Amazon, $89

This charcoal grill is similar to the larger Weber charcoal grills you've probably used at one point in your life — but this one is made to be portable. At 18 pounds and with 18 inches of cooking space, it's heavier and will take up more room in your RV or trunk than our propane pick, but you'll also be able to cook up to eight burgers at a time with this. If you prefer charcoal over propane, you'll also love that it has a durable porcelain-enameled lid and bowl like its larger counterparts — but the lid lock also functions as a lid holder so you'll never have to place it on the ground (a smart addition for a travel model!) We love this option because it comes in at under $100, will feed larger groups of people, and is an upgraded model from previous Weber portable grills: It's a reliable, affordable choice for camping trips and even for smaller patios. One reviewer wrote: "I've cooked countless whole chickens, burgers, dogs, steaks, brats, and even ribs on this thing over the past 4-5 years, and I'm telling you this bad boy out cooks so many other grills that it's become my constant companion on vacations and trips."

3. A Griddle Option For Elevated Cooking

Royal Gourmet Portable Gas Griddle - Amazon, $137.98

If you like to use your campfire to cook burgers and hot dogs, but want something else to create more interesting meals, this is a great addition to your camping gear. What we like about this option is it can create a variety different meals with ease: from pancakes and bacon for breakfast to sausage and peppers for dinner, the flat top won't give you those classic grill marks, but it will enhance your meals with its even cooking and flat surface. Imagine: you can cook steaks and meats over an open fire and vegetables and sides over this affordable griddle. It uses a 20-pound propane tank (which you'll have to purchase separately), but does come with an adaptor as well as a protective cover. We also like that this is easy to clean: a removable grease cup slides out with ease, and the top is removable as well. Pair this with a campfire grill grate, and you'll be able to make all sorts of unique and delicious meals.

4. Our Favorite Splurge

Nomad Grill & Smoker - Nomad, $649.00

Yes — this grill is expensive. But if you're an avid camper, angler, beach enthusiast, lake tripper, or tailgater (or any combination of those things), you're going to absolutely love this Nomad grill and smoker. Let us break it down for you: at 28 pounds, this grill closes up like a suitcase and cooks up to 30 burgers at a time — and can even smoke up to two racks of ribs. Yep — this smokes port butts, sausages, and whatever else you want to try. This Texas-based brand is serious about grilling and has only one product — this smoker and grill — along with some accessories that can go along with it. It took them three years to perfect, and when they did, they created a charcoal-based grill and smoker that cools down in under 20 minutes, has up to 425 square inches of cooking space, and is made with ultra-light stainless steel grates. The Nomad has so many smart features, like a vent sliders held with ultra-strong magnets, a comfortable handle, a finish that won't corrode or rust over time, and a convective air flow that provides even heating and faster cooking that uses less energy. If you're someone who appreciates good, quality meat that deserves to be cooked perfectly, the options are endless with this tool: smoke salmon on a fishing trip, spatchcock chicken, reverse sear your favorite cut of beef, grill vegetables for homemade roasted salsas to pair with homemade al pastor, or smoke a rack of beef ribs. One reviewer writes this: "There is not a truly portable grill on the market that holds a candle to the Nomad." If you love to cook, spend a lot of time outdoors, and are willing to splurge, this is the option for you.

5. The Best Budget Option

Quick Grill Folding Charcoal Grill - Amazon, $31.95

This charcoal grill is a budget-friendly choice, but it's a sturdy option if you hate waiting around to create a fire or don't have a lot of space in your car (this is great for car camping!) The stainless steel grill folds down flat, and for under $40, it comes with everything you need: a grill rack, a charcoal rack, and a travel case. It's a simple solution with no bells or whistles, but you'll be able to grill five or six burgers, a few steaks, or around eight sausages at a time, so it's a great solution for a campground. You can always buy another if you want to cook simply but for a crowd.

This article was originally published on July 7th, 2015. It has been updated by Alida Nugent.

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