6 Best Portable Gas Grills for Camping & Tailgating (2017 Review)

The best camping grill can make your camping trip magical

The right portable grill can make your camping trip magical. Photo: billss/flickr

If you are like me, when camping or tailgating your days are full of activity.

After a ten mile hike or a day of swimming in the river, you are ready for some serious eating.

A portable grill will help you make meals that will hit the spot without taking hours to prepare.

We’ve done the research and chosen our top pick for the best camping grill in 2017; read on to learn more.

Best Camping Grill for 2017- Quick Picks

If you're in a hurry, here are our two favorite portable grills in this review:

Buyers Guide

How to Choose The Right Grill For Your Needs

Ready to take the plunge and purchase a grill? Take a few minutes to think about how you plan to use the grill, as well as how heavy of a grill you feel comfortable transporting. If you're car camping or tailgating, you don't really have to worry about the size or weight. If you're backpacking, you'll probably want to go with something much, much smaller to cook with.

Choosing a grill will require you to weigh durability against weight and price; for example those made with cast iron will weigh around 40 pounds and usually be more expensive (though you're paying for high quality goods), while those made of less durable materials will weigh closer to 20 pounds and many can be purchased for less. Once you have a good idea of what you are looking for, you will be well-positioned to consider the options available.

What Features to Look For

Look for compact grills that offer lots of cooking surface

Look for compact grills that offer lots of cooking surface. Photo: r0b0r0b/flickr

There are a range of features available in portable gas grills, which we will discuss below. What features you will want to look for will depend on how you will use the grill; ones to consider (among others) include temperature control, number of burners, attached shelves and ease of assembly.

Temperature Control

It is fairly standard for an easy-to-transport grill to have just one temperature control as a result of its size. Should there be two burners, it will be preferable that there be two temperature controls, so that you can cook at two different temperatures, adjusting as necessary.

Surface Cooking Area

The surface area of your grill is the space that will be available for cooking; grills that are able to be easily transported will typically have anywhere from 210-285 square inches of cooking area. If you plan on regularly cooking for four, focus on the grills with 275-285 square inches of surface area; that space will be sufficient to grill eight burgers or cook up bacon and eggs for your group.

Number of Burners

Whether you should look for a grill with more than one burner depends upon your plans for it. You will want to look for a grill with a second burner if you plan to cook different types of foods at the same time (say meat and vegetables), as you can adjust the temperature of each burner to achieve the best result. On the other hand, one burner will be sufficient if you are mainly looking to grill hot dogs and hamburgers.

Grates

Behold the majesty of flame-grilled meat

Behold the majesty of flame-grilled meat. Photo: Tattie Chomper/flickr

Grates are panels that fit across the surface of your grill. They play a part in keeping the heat in the cooking area. Grates can be made of different materials, to include chrome, nickel, cast iron, and stainless steel.

Chrome and nickel plates don’t hold heat as well as cast iron and stainless steel grates. Stainless steel grates are easy to clean; cast iron grates that are covered in porcelain enamel work well though the porcelain may crack or chip.

Cast iron grates that are not covered with porcelain can rust if they are not treated (also known as 'seasoned'); check out the video below to learn how to treat cast iron grill grates.

Ignition

The majority of gas grills include spark ignition systems. Depending on the grill, the ignition system may run on a battery or will work through the friction of pushing a button or turning a dial to get a spark. Typically, there will be a manual ignition hole on the side of the grill in case the starter fails.

Quality Of Construction

What materials your grill is made of, and how well it is constructed is important when considering its longevity. When looking for a grill to accompany you on your adventures, lightweight materials will be used to keep its weight down, however this may mean that the grill is less stable in its construction.

The stability of the grill is key when it comes to safety, so you will want to be sure that you feel that the grill and stand are stable. Usually grills that are welded will be more stable than those put together with nuts and bolts.

Materials like cast aluminum, cast iron, enameled steel and stainless steel are best when considering the durability of the grill.

Ease of Transportation

They may be small, but portable grills will allow you to cook amazing food on your trip

They may be small, but portable grills will allow you to cook amazing food on your trip. Photo: r0b0r0b/flickr

How “portable” a grill actually is will depend on how heavy it is, as well as its physical size. When I camp, I tend to barely have enough room for everything I am taking, meaning I need a grill that won’t take up much space.

Fuel Tanks

Grills that are easy to transport will usually be developed to operate with small camping size propane cylinders. Some grills offer adapter hoses that can be purchased so that you are able to connect your grill to a 20 pound propane tank rather than the smaller ones. If you're the DIY type, you can make your own Coleman fuel substitute to save some money.

Number of Shelves

Also called side tables, shelves may be removable so as to be cleaned and not get in the way when you are transporting your grill. Shelves are particularly helpful as a preparation area for when you are putting your meal together.

Available Accessories

Some grills come with accessories, but other ones won't be as generous and you'll have to buy them on their own. Accessories include the adapter hose mentioned above, covers for the grill, different griddles and grates, and plenty of other options.

Ease of Assembly

If you are like me, you don’t want to spend a lot of time putting your grill together each time you transport it. Some portable grills are ready to go right out of the box (or out of your car). Others will be a little more complicated to set up.

Determining the Best Camping Grill

Next we will take a look at six highly rated options and we'll go in-depth to explain how we determined our top choice for a portable gas grill for camping and tailgating.

Comparison Guide

Product

Weight

Cooking Space

Our Rating

Details

Weber Liquid Propane Grill

43 lbs

280 sq. in.

Coleman Road Trip LXE

44 lbs

285 sq. in.

Cuisinart CGG-220

36 lbs

240 sq in.

Blackstone Dash

18 lbs

240 sq in.

Char-Broil TRU Infrared

22 lbs

245 sq. in.

Holland Companion

20 lbs

212 sq. in.

Reviewing the Best Camping Grills for 2017

1) Weber 54060001 Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill - Best bang for the buck

Weber 54060001 Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill - 375

The Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill offers 280 square inches of cooking area, with one stainless steel burner that produces 12,000 BTU's per hour. This grill can be turned on by using an electronic ignition considered to be easy-start.

The cooking grates are cast iron with porcelain enamel and the lid and body are made of cast aluminum. This 42 pound grill is assembled already; you only need to take it out of the box. While it runs on disposable LP cylinders (14.1 or 16.4 oz) you can also purchase a LP adapter hose (an optional accessory) to connect it to a 20 pound tank.

This easy-to-transport grill has split grates and you can purchase a compatible griddle in order to cook on both the griddle and grate at the same time. A tall lid means you can cook roasts and birds with the lid closed and a built-in thermometer lets you keep your eye on the temperatures inside the grill.

Pros

  • Set up is simple: just take the grill out of its box
  • Two folding shelves (also called work tables) provide you space for food preparation

Cons

  • Some find the shape to be awkward and difficult to pack

2) Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE - Great for road trips

Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE

Weighing in at 44 pounds, the Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE folds to a compact size (small enough to fit in most trunks) and its large handle and wheels make it easy to take with you. Offering a Perfect Flow Pressure Control System, this grill by Coleman has two burners that can each be adjusted separately and will provide steady heat, regardless of the outdoor temperatures. The cooking surface is 285 square inches and the open-flame drip-through grill provides an authentic taste.

Surfaces are cast-iron and griddles and pot supports can be purchased separately; dual stainless steel sliding side tables provide you a place for food preparation. To ignite the InstaStart matchless lighting system all you have to do is push a button and you will get 20,000BTU’s of power.

Pros

  • This is a sturdy grill that folds up nicely and is easy to transport
  • It is simple to control the temperature and the heat is spread evenly throughout the cooking surface

Cons

  • The stainless steel area below the grates can be challenging to clean
  • There is not much “head room” above the grill; should you be cooking something tall the cover will have to remain open

3) Cuisinart CGG-220 Everyday Portable Gas Grill - Easy to clean

Cuisinart CGG-220 Everyday Portable Gas Grill

Offering 240 sqaure inches of grilling space, the Cuisinart CGG-220 Everyday Portable Gas Grill offers a single 15,000 BTU burner with a cast iron grill grate with porcelain enamel. You can easily start the grill with the TwistStart electric ignition and the temperature gauge helps you adjust to your desired heat. This easy-to-transport grill by Cuisinart includes two 10 by 10 inch side tables that are helpful for food preparation and can be removed when transporting.

The grill's lid is heat resistant and stainless steel for durability. Weighing 36 pounds, it is easily able to be transported anywhere you want to go. A removable drip tray allows for easy clean up. You can use 14.1 and 16.4 ounce bottle LP gas canisters and as well as a 20 pound LP tank when using an adaptor hose that can be purchased separately.

Pros

  • A lighter weight option than some portable grills, this gas grill by Cuisinart will be easier to carry to where you plan to use it
  • The two side tables are great for food preparation, particularly when outdoors with limited table space

Cons

  • Some who have purchased this gas grill by Cuisinart have experienced difficulty with the clips that hold the side tables
  • Some have found the heat to be uneven

4) Blackstone Dash Portable Grill - Great for tailgating

Blackstone Dash Portable Grill for Outdoor Cooking, Camping and Tailgating

The Blackstone Dash Portable Grill offers 240 square inches of cooking surface with a flat griddle on one side and a ridged grill on the other. A 7000 BTU burner powers this easily transported grill that at 18 pounds, can accompany you on all sorts of adventures. Offering enclosed cooking your will be ensured a hotter and more consistent temperature while saving fuel. A grease management system is built in making it easy to clean.

One telescoping two pronged leg and two front legs allow for easy set up and ensures stability on assorted terrain. When taking it with you, it can be carried like a briefcase or you can extend the handle and pull it behind you like a rolling suitcase.

Pros

  • This easy-to-transport grill by Blackstone is not hard to clean, thanks in part to the grease management system
  • Offers excellent versatility with the griddle and ridged grill

Cons

  • While its weight of 18 pounds makes it easy to transport, its materials are less durable than some options
  • Some users feel this easily transported grill is slow to heat up

5) Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro 180 Portable Gas Grill

Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro 180 Portable Gas Grill

Offering 245 square feet of cooking space and a burner powered by 9000 BTU’s is the Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro 180 Portable Gas Grill. The TRU-Infrared technology used will help you cook your food evenly with less flare-ups.

This portable grill by Char-Broil includes a stainless steel grate for grilling as well as a warming rack. The electronic ignition is integrated into a gas control knob that will allow you to adjust the heat to your preference; the temperature can be monitored with a temperature gauge on the lid.

At a weight of only 22 pounds, transportation for any of your outdoor adventures is easy. While it is built to connect to small propane canisters, an attachment is available for purchase that will allow you to use a large propane tank.

Pros

  • This infrared grill by Char-Broil heats up quickly and cooks food fast and evenly
  • Weighing only 22 pounds, there is no question this is a grill that is easy to transport

Cons

  • Some users have had difficulty with the igniter, where it does not work or will work some of the time
  • A good amount of assembling is required

6) Holland Companion Propane Portable Grill, No Flare-up BBQ Grill

Holland Companion PROPANE Portable Grill, No Flare-up BBQ Grill

The Holland Companion PROPANE Portable Grill is made of all stainless steel and includes the exclusive patented Holland Grill system that is guaranteed to prevent flare-ups. It includes a drip pan that is between the food and the flame, ensuring that your food does not catch on fire.

Offering 212 square inches of cooking surface, this easy-to-transport grill by Holland has low, medium and high adjustable settings that range from 2600 btu to 4900 btu and uses a 16 oz disposable propane tank (a conversion hose can be purchased in order to connect it to a 20 pound tank). Weighing in at a little over 20 pounds, this is an easy grill to take with you on any of your adventures.

Pros

  • Stainless steel material ensures durability over the long term
  • Its portability makes it easy to move to a place where the wind will be blocked

Cons

  • It is important to keep in mind that this grill cooks slowly
  • The cooking surface offered is less than the other options reviewed
  • In windy conditions the flame can go out

The Best Camping Grill Review WINNER

The Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill

Weber 54060001 Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill - 375

We love that this portable option by Weber offers 280 square inches of cooking area. With a heat of 12,000 BTU, it will get hot within a reasonable timeframe, without getting so hot as to cause your food to burn. The porcelain enamel covering the cast iron cooking grates will keep them from rusting and the cast aluminum body provides the durability that you seek in a purchase for your outdoor adventures.

As someone busy exploring the outdoors, the less time spent on assembly the better; this grill by Weber is ready to go right out of the box. An electronic ignition makes it easy to start and its tall lid means that you can cook things like roasts while keeping the lid closed to hold in heat.

The built-in thermometer helps you keep an eye on the temperature so that you can cook to your specifications. The two shelves built into the grill offer the preparation area you need for your meals. Together these features lead to our naming the Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill our top choice for a portable grill to accompany you on your adventures.