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Camping Grill Buyers Guide

A camping trip is incomplete without palatable food and delicacies prepared on a smoking hot grill! The taste of freshly prepared meat and juice steak can make your trip even better and fruitful. But, to prepare tasty food, you need a camping grill that's easy to use outdoors.

Do you know how to buy a camping grill? Or what type of grill will be the best for the trip? When it comes to portable grills, making a choice is difficult, and that’s why this camping grill buyer’s guide is here.

In the guide, we have explained the types of grills you can consider and other factors, including the performance, to prepare multiple batches for your family and friends.

Why is this buyer’s guide important?

Some folks may think that buying a grill is all about the heating potential, but it's not! From the portability to ease of assembly and grill size, you have to consider many things that can impact the performance.

This expert's guide contains complete information about camping grill, so reading it is a must if you have plans to purchase a grill.

Factors to consider when buying a camping grill

The factors listed in the guide will help you choose a grill that's ideal for camping. You cannot carry a cumbersome grill that's hard to set up on the camping location, so check these factors and choose a perfect camping grill in every aspect.

Types of camping grills

Start with selecting from the types of camping grills. There are different types of grills available with different sources of power, i.e., charcoal, propane, and much more. Since an electric grill is not an option as you don't have the availability of electricity.

Selecting the right type is important if you want to cook food quickly with a highly portable grill.

Propane grills

Propane grills are highly popular among campers because of the ease of use, and portability. Furthermore, cleaning a propane grill is easier as compared to charcoal grills as you don't have to clean the black sticky residue sticking to the grills.

All you have to do is connect the gas tank with the grill, and you are ready to use it. Rotating the knobs will push the gas out from the burners, and you can use a matchstick to light it up for cooking. Some propane grills even work with natural gas in case you run out of propane.

If you need a camping grill that's highly versatile and quick to set up, then go for propane grills. You don't have to bear the extra expenses of charcoal and natural gas. Moreover, cleaning the grill is easy, and it is perfect for campers that don't want to waste a lot of time cleaning and packing the grill.

The only downside of propane grills is that you have to keep checking the tank so that it doesn't run out of gas when checking. Getting the gas refilled is another task, and you have to drive to the nearest station to top-up the tank.

A pro tip: If you want to purchase a propane grill, get a separate propane tank. Keeping two tanks with you means you have a backup available in case the first tank runs out of gas.

Charcoal grills

If you don't want the hassles of a gas tank, look for charcoal camping grills that are ready to use. These grills are lightweight and highly portable, plus you can shed the weight of a separate tank, so you get extra space for the luggage.

Basically, a charcoal grill is like a tank that holds smoldering coal firing up the grill. The grills are affordable and low on maintenance as there are no burners, and pipes attached.

Setting up a charcoal grill is also easy, but it can take time to reach extreme temperatures suitable for searing meats. Charcoal camping grills are perfect for occasional campers as using the grill can be expensive due to the cost of charcoal.

You don't have to run into the hassles of refilling tanks to complement those late-night camping plans with tasty food. However, there are some downsides to using charcoal grills, such as high heating time and laborious cleanup.

Cleaning a charcoal grill isn't that easy, and you need special detergents that can clean the blackish residues sticking to the grill's surface.

Easy to set up

Buying a grill that's hard to set up on the camping spot can turn out to be a nightmare. Imagine you and your friends spending hours, and still, the grill is not ready for cooking; it can be excruciating, right?

You should buy camping grills that are easy to set up so that you can start cooking straight away after unfolding the grill. There are multiple options available in the market, such as foldable grills, which are extremely easy to use.

Furthermore, check the gas tank available with the propane grill and make sure that it is easy to connect with the pipeline of the grill.

A pro tip: Try setting up the grill in your backyard so that you don’t have a hard time setting it up while camping. Always carry the instruction manual so you can quickly find out the complete process of assembling the camping grill.

Size

Determining the size of the grill is crucial to ensure that it has enough cooking surface area, and you can carry it in your truck. The cooking area is measured in square inches. Most typical camping grills have three gas burners that have around 450-500 square inches cooking area, and that's ideal for a small family.

If you are camping with a group, go for bigger grills with a 550-650 square inch area to grill more food simultaneously. Additionally, check the grill's footprint to determine how much area it covers. Most manufacturers provide foldable shelves with the grills that are detachable or collapsible.

Carrying a bulky grill can be a real challenge if you have a small car. So checking the overall size is essential to have a pleasant experience with the new camping grill.

Temperature control

Temperature control is a crucial factor since it has a significant impact on the food being cooked or grilled. Lower temperature means the food will take more time, and the cooking can be uneven, whereas high temperatures can burn the food, which is something no one wants to happen.

In gas grills such as propane, you will see multiple knobs available to control the burners. You can regulate the heat as per the demand of the delicacy, so cooking food properly will be easy. Also, this is one of the biggest merits why campers love propane grills.

In charcoal grills, there is no such knob, and you have to regulate the temperature of the grill by changing the placement of the smoldering charcoal using tongs. Raising the temperature takes more time, and cooking food requires a technique if you are using a charcoal grill.

However, nothing can replace the smoky flavor you get with charcoal camping grills.

Wind resistance

Cooking outdoors comes with some undeniable drawbacks, and wind resistance is one of them. The strong wind currents can make it hard for the grill to sustain the flame, and you have to reignite it multiple times.

Look for a camping grill that offers excellent resistance against winds so that you can cook without any problems. These grills may have windshields around the burners that prevent the winds from affecting the flame.

Versatility

If you are on a multi-day camping trip, then eating the same food can be boring, as you cannot do much with a grill! So get a grill that's versatile, and you can cook multiple types of food on it.

You will find a range top in some camping grills that are ideal for cooking eggs, small veggies, and fish that can fall down in the tray or lose the moisture due to direct heat.

Yes, these grills can be fairly expensive, but you can cook a lot of things, so spending some more money is wise.

Construction

Modern camping grills are made using two common materials i.e., aluminum and steel. Aluminum grills are lightweight, durable, and have high heat conductivity. On the other hand, steel grills are heavy but have low heat conductivity.

If you go for a steel grill, it will retain the heat even after turning off the burners. But this is not the case with aluminum burners. The heat can diminish as soon as you turn off the burners, so the gas eating capacity of aluminum grills is more than steel and ceramic counterparts.

Also, pay attention to the grill's stability so that you don't face any issues when using the grill on an uneven surface.

Durability

You may think that all grills are fairly durable due to metallic bodies, but this is not the case. The material should resist corrosion, which is the main culprit behind making the grill unfit for use. The grates can catch corrosion due to the moisture, and you cannot cook food on rusted grates.

Check whether all the components of the grill are durable and resistant to corrosion. Furthermore, tailgating a grill can lead to small accidents, so the durability of the grill plays a vital role when selecting a camping grill.

Burners

When looking for burners in a grill, you should pay attention to two things. The first one is how many burners are there as more burners will give you the freedom to cook more food. The second thing to consider is the heat, which is measured in BTUs.

Generally, camping grills come with two and one burner configuration to make the grill highly portable. You can choose a grill with two burners to cook something different while grilling meat on one burner.

When checking the heat rating, you will find the BTU rating. Higher BTUs rating means that the burner can produce more heat. Don't buy a burner with something less than 8,000 BTUs.

Ignition system

The ignition system lights up the flame in the grill, so how can we ignore this! You will find auto-ignition in some models that ignite the flame as you rotate the knob to release gas. These models can be expensive and need high maintenance.

Other grills come with a traditional ignition system where you have to use a lighter or matchbox to ignite the grill. These options are only available in gas-based models. In charcoal grills, you won't see any knobs, so there is no dedicated ignition system as well.

A pro tip: Always be careful while igniting the grill. Keep the heat settings at the lowest to ensure safety for you and other campers.

If you have a charcoal grill, then take out a few pieces of coal and light them up on a plate or a hard surface. Now put the burning coal in the grill as it is the safest practice to ignite the grill.

Shelves

The shelves attached to the grill are more useful than you think. With a camping grill with two shelves, you get adequate space to keep the sauces, spice, and plates, so cooking and serving will be easy. On the other hand, if you are buying a tabletop grill, then there is no need to look for shelves.

Check if the shelves are foldable so that there are no hassles during transportations. Foldable shelves are the best, and some grills even come with removable shelves so you can ditch them when using the grill in your backyard.

Easy to transport

You have to take the camping grill to the camping area so it should be easy to transport. Carrying a bulky grill can be difficult, and handling it is even hard when you reach the spot. Always look for portable grills that are foldable and lightweight so you can move them without any additional help.

Also, check the material's quality to ensure that the grill won't get damaged during transportation. With all these things in mind, you can settle down with a vamping grill that's highly portable, and you can easily take it to the camping destination.

Grate material

The food will come in direct contact with the grates, so these should be clean and free from rust. When checking the grates, make sure that they are made from high-quality material that can resist rust. Furthermore, the grates should be lightweight as carrying the traditional cast-iron grates can be daunting.

Stainless steel grates are ideal as these have excellent corrosion resistance and are lightweight as compared to cast-iron grills. Also, steel grates can bear more heat, and cleaning them is easy as compared to cast-iron.

A pro tip: If you want to maintain the true flavor if the grill, then cast iron grates are excellent. If you are ready to carry some more weight and a hard cleaning process for the sake of taste, then look for grates made using cast iron.

Easy to clean

Cleaning the grill is essential to prevent mold formation on the grates and other components. A grill with an improper design can be hard to clean, so you have to spend more time to make it spick and span. Go for grills with a simple design and easy-access components so that you can clean it on the go.

Most branded grills manufacturers like Coleman manufacture grills that are easy to clean, so look for camping grills that are highly-selling and manufactured by top brands.

Stability

The base of the camping grill should be stable on the ground to ensure safety. A grill with an unstable base has chances to top over when you are cooking food, and it can have severe consequences. When using a grill, safety is paramount, so you should check if all the grill components are of high quality, and the base is sturdy and stable.

Budget

The price of camping grills can range from $50-300, depending on the type and model you choose. Generally, tabletop grills are cheaper as compared to full-fledged grills. Make your budget before searching for the best grills so you can buy a good option under your budget.

Accessories to buy with a camping grill

So you have decided what camping grill you are going to buy? Excellent! But adding these accessories to your cart will reward you with a better cooking experience. Check what accessories you need, and don't forget to add them to your shopping cart.

  • Thermometer

Some dishes require you to cook them on specific heat, so using a thermometer will be beneficial. Also, with a thermometer, you can find out if the meat is cooked properly or not. Camping grills don't come with a thermometer, so you have to buy it separately.

  • Tongs

With tongs, you can pick up the searing meat pieces with ease without getting your hands burned. Look for quality tongs made using stainless steel as these are highly durable. Another benefit of tongs is that you can use them to displace the smoldering coal to regulate the grill's temperature.

  • Heat resistant gloves

Wearing heat-resistant gloves is essential when using a grill to protect your hands from the excess heat or flames coming out of the burner. The gloves become much more important when you have a charcoal grill as you have to put more charcoal in it.

  • Wooden grill scraper

A wooden grill scraper is the easiest way to scrape out the sticky meat and other residues from the grate. These scrapers are easy to clean and don't damage the grates.

  • Basting brush

Get a quality brush for basting the meat and other foods getting cooked on the grill.

  • Barbeque grill light

Most campers forget to buy a barbeque grill light, but it is a necessity during the night. The grill lights attach to the grill's body, so your friend doesn't have to stand there with the flashlight when you are cooking.

FAQs: Best Camping Grills

Q: Can I use a grill with rusted grates?

A: No, we don't recommend using a grill with rusted grates. The loose rust can mix with the food, and it can lead to various health problems. Always clean the rust off the grates and then use it for cooking.

Q: How to store the grill?

A: Clean the grill thoroughly before putting it into the store or the garage. If you have a propane gas grill, then remove the tank and store it separately. Buy a good quality grill cover to protect the grill from moisture and dust.

Q: How to remove rust from the grates?

A: Follow the below-mentioned process to make the grill grates free from rust.

Step 1: Sand the rust

Use a sanding paper to get rid of the loose rust sticking to the grates. Be gentle while cleaning so that you don’t scratch the surface.

Step 2: Apply baking soda paste.

Take a bowl and add a few teaspoons of baking soda, depending on the grill area. Make a thick paste and apply it evenly on the rusted area. Sit back reading a magazine while the paste dries and removes the rust.

Step 3: Scrap it off with a brush.

Scrap off the paste with a metal-wire brush. Don’t be too harsh as it can damage the grates.

Step 4: Rinse the grates.

Now rinse the grates and clean them with a soft cloth. Let them dry, and you can use the grates again for grilling food.

Conclusion

Having a camping grill will add more fun to your trip because everyone drools over tasty food. With these factors in mind, you can purchase the best camping grill that's easy to use and highly portable. Also, check the FAQ section to know some tips about using grills for cooking food.

Lastly, go for popular brands if you want quality. Make sure to buy the type of grill that's suitable for you to have a good experience with it.

Happy camping!


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