Top Portable Grilling Setups for Backpackers – Must Have Gear

Backpacking is one of the best ways to explore the great outdoors. And what’s better than enjoying a delicious meal in the wilderness after a long day of hiking? That’s where portable grilling setups come in handy. As a backpacker, having the right gear is essential for a successful trip. And a portable grill is a must-have item on your gear list.

Portable grilling setups for backpackers come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different needs. Whether you prefer propane, charcoal, or electric grills, there is an option out there for you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top portable grilling setups for backpackers and essential accessories to make your outdoor cooking experience a breeze.

Benefits of Portable Grilling Setups for Backpackers

When it comes to backpacking, every ounce counts. That’s why choosing the right gear is crucial, and portable grilling setups are no exception. Not only can they add a delicious element to your outdoor adventures, but they also offer several benefits that make them worth considering for your next trip.


One of the most significant advantages of portable grilling setups is their convenience. They are designed to be easy to transport and set up, allowing you to enjoy a hot meal in the middle of the wilderness without any hassle.

Whether you’re backpacking, camping, or hiking, a portable grill can be a game-changer. You won’t have to rely on pre-packaged meals or cold food anymore, making your outdoor adventures more enjoyable and exciting.


Another benefit of portable grilling setups is their efficiency. They come in various types, including propane, charcoal, and electric, each with their unique advantages.

Propane grills, for example, are easy to use, and their heat output can quickly cook your meals, making them ideal for backpackers who want to save time and energy.

Charcoal grills, on the other hand, offer a more traditional grilling experience and can produce an authentic smoky flavor in your food.

Electric grills are energy-efficient and can be used anywhere you have access to electricity, making them perfect for campsites with power outlets or RVs.


Portable grilling setups are also incredibly versatile. Their compact size and lightweight design allow you to take them on backpacking trips, camping adventures, tailgating events, and more.

Additionally, they are suitable for cooking a broad range of foods, from burgers and hotdogs to vegetables and fish. With a portable grill, you can unleash your creativity and enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals even when you’re away from home.

In summary, the benefits of portable grilling setups for backpackers are clear. They are convenient, efficient, and versatile, and can significantly enhance your outdoor cooking experience, making them a must-have gear for any adventure seeker.

Types of Portable Grills for Backpackers

When it comes to selecting a portable grill for your backpacking trip, there are a few different types to consider. Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose one that suits your needs and preferences.

Compact Propane Grills

Propane grills are a popular choice for backpackers due to their convenience and ease of use. They are compact and lightweight, making them easy to transport, and they heat up quickly, allowing you to start cooking in no time. Some models even come with collapsible legs and a carrying case for added portability.

One of the downsides of propane grills is that they require a fuel source, which means you’ll need to bring along a propane canister. These can be heavy, so it’s important to factor in the weight when packing for your trip.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are another popular option for backpackers who prefer the smoky flavor and aroma of charcoal. They are lightweight and compact, making them easy to transport, and they don’t require any fuel canisters. However, they do require a bit more preparation time, as you’ll need to light the charcoal and wait for it to heat up before you can start cooking.

Keep in mind that charcoal can be messy, so be sure to bring a trash bag to dispose of any ash or debris.

Electric Grills

Electric grills are a great option for backpackers who want a grill that’s easy to use and requires minimal setup. They are compact and lightweight, and they don’t require any fuel or fire. Simply plug them in, and you’re ready to start grilling.

However, electric grills do require a power source, which means you’ll need to bring along a portable generator or find a campsite with electrical hookups.

Overall, the type of portable grill you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the specific needs of your backpacking trip. Consider factors like weight, fuel source, and cooking style when making your selection.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Portable Grill

When looking for a portable grill to take on your backpacking trip, there are several important features to consider to ensure you get the best grill for your needs. Here are some key features to keep in mind when choosing a portable grill:

Size and Weight: One of the most important factors in choosing a portable grill is its size and weight. You want a grill that is small and lightweight enough to carry with you on your backpacking trip, while still being large enough to cook your meals. Look for grills that are designed specifically for camping or backpacking, as they are typically more compact and lightweight than regular grills.

Fuel Efficiency: Another important feature to consider is fuel efficiency. When you’re out in the wilderness, you don’t want to run out of fuel halfway through cooking your meal. Look for grills that are designed to be fuel efficient and have a long burn time. Propane grills are typically more efficient than charcoal grills, but also take up more space and weigh more.

Ease of Setup: Setting up your grill should be quick and easy, especially when you’re out in the wilderness. Look for grills that are designed to be easy to set up and take down, with minimal assembly required. Some grills even come with their own carrying case to make transport even easier.

Cooking Surface: The size and material of the cooking surface is also an important factor to consider. You want a grill with a large enough cooking surface to cook your meals, but not so large that it’s difficult to transport. The material of the cooking surface can also affect how well your food is cooked. Cast iron grates are great for searing meat, while non-stick surfaces are easier to clean.

Durability: Finally, you want a grill that is durable enough to withstand the rigors of backpacking. Look for grills made from high-quality materials that are built to last. Stainless steel and aluminum are both lightweight and durable materials that are commonly used in portable grills.

Top Portable Grilling Setups for Backpackers – Propane Grills

Propane grills are a popular choice among backpackers due to their convenience and efficiency. They offer fast heating times and are easy to clean, making them an excellent option for those who want a hassle-free grilling experience.

Here are some of the top portable grilling setups for backpackers using propane:

Product Name Features Pros Cons
Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill – 285 square inch cooking surface
– Three adjustable burners
– Portable and easy to set up
– Foldable design for easy storage
– Built-in thermometer
– Durable construction
– May be heavy for some backpackers
– Difficult to regulate temperature precisely
Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill – 145 square inch cooking surface
– Powerful 5,500 BTU burner
– Lightweight and compact design
– Perfect for small groups or individual use
– Fast heating time
– Drip tray for easy cleaning
– May be too small for larger backpacking groups
– No built-in thermometer
Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill – 280 square inch cooking surface
– Two folding work tables
– Built-in thermometer and control valve
– High-quality construction for long-lasting use
– Large enough to cook for small groups
– Easy to clean
– May be larger and heavier than other portable grills
– Higher price point

These propane grills are excellent options for backpackers who want a reliable and efficient grilling setup. Consider your cooking needs and preferences when selecting the best option for your outdoor adventures.

Top Portable Grilling Setups for Backpackers – Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grilling is a time-honored tradition that many outdoor enthusiasts swear by, and backpackers are no exception. If you’re looking for a charcoal grill that is portable and easy to use, consider one of these top-rated options:

Product Weight Dimensions Special Features Price
Weber Smokey Joe 9 lbs 14.25″ x 14.5″ x 17″ Plated steel cooking grate, porcelain-enameled bowl and lid $34.99
Cuisinart CCG190RB 2.2 lbs 14.5″ x 14.5″ x 15″ Lightweight and compact, perfect for backpackers on-the-go $24.99
Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill 27 lbs 19″ x 10.25″ x 8.25″ Cast iron construction, adjustable height, built-in handle for easy transport $119.99

Each of these grills offers a unique set of advantages for backpackers. The Weber Smokey Joe, for example, is a classic option that provides excellent cooking performance and durability. The Cuisinart CCG190RB is a lightweight and affordable choice that is perfect for backpackers who value portability and ease of use. Meanwhile, the Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill is a heavier option that offers superior cooking performance and versatility, making it ideal for campers and backpackers who prioritize quality over weight restrictions.

When choosing a charcoal grill for backpacking, it’s important to consider factors like size, weight, and cooking performance. Look for a grill that is lightweight and compact enough to fit into your backpack, but still provides adequate cooking space for your needs. Additionally, consider the fuel efficiency of the grill, as well as any special features like adjustable height or built-in handles for enhanced portability.

No matter which charcoal grill you choose, you can be sure that it will provide you with a delicious and satisfying meal during your outdoor adventures.

Top Portable Grilling Setups for Backpackers – Electric Grills

Electric grills are a great option for backpackers who want an energy-efficient and easy-to-use option for outdoor cooking. These grills are typically compact and lightweight, making them ideal for packing into your backpack. Here are some of the top portable grilling setups for backpackers that use electric grills:

Product Name Features Pros Cons
George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill -Variable temperature control
-Non-stick surface
-Adjustable height
-Easy-to-remove drip tray
-Indoor and outdoor use
-Large grilling surface
-Easy to clean
-Requires an electrical outlet
-May not get as hot as other grills
Cuisinart Petite Gourmet Portable Tabletop Electric Grill -Folding legs for easy transport
-Adjustable temperature control
-Non-stick surface
-Versatile cooking options
-Portable and lightweight
-Quick and easy setup
-Even heating
-May not get as hot as other grills
-Not ideal for larger groups
Weber Q 1400 Electric Grill -Cast aluminum body and lid
-Porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates
-Infinite heat control settings
-Removable catch pan and greased management system
-Sturdy and durable
-Easy to clean
-Large cooking surface
-Requires an electrical outlet
-May not get as hot as other grills

Electric grills are a great option for backpackers who want a hassle-free way to cook outdoors. They are easy to use and clean, and they also have a low environmental impact. Whether you’re camping in the mountains or just going for a picnic in the park, one of these electric grills is sure to help you cook up a delicious meal.

Essential Grilling Accessories for Backpackers

When it comes to backpacking, having the right gear can make a world of difference in your overall experience. The same goes for grilling. While a portable grill is important, there are some essential accessories that every backpacking grill master should have in their kit for a successful trip.

Portable Utensil Set

No grilling setup is complete without the proper utensils. Investing in a portable utensil set will make cooking and eating much easier while on the trail. Look for a set that includes a spatula, tongs, and a fork, all with compact designs for easy packing.

Grill Cover

A good grill cover is an important addition to your backpacking gear. It will protect your grill from the elements and keep it clean during transport. Look for a cover that is lightweight and durable, with an easy-to-use closure system.


Grilling without a thermometer is like driving without a speedometer. A good thermometer ensures that your food is cooked to perfection, and helps avoid undercooked or burnt meals. Look for a compact and reliable thermometer that can be easily packed with the rest of your gear.

Campfire Grill Grate

For those times when you don’t want to carry a separate grill, a campfire grill grate is a great alternative. It can be placed over a campfire to cook your food directly on the flames. Look for a grate that is lightweight and rust-resistant, with legs that fold up for easy storage.


While not technically a grilling accessory, a good cooler is essential for keeping food and drinks fresh during a backpacking trip. Look for a cooler that is lightweight and has a durable design, with enough space to hold all of your meals and snacks.

Investing in these essential grilling accessories will make your backpacking trip much more enjoyable and convenient. With the right gear, you can cook up delicious meals in the great outdoors without sacrificing taste or quality.

Maintaining and Cleaning Your Portable Grill

Caring for your portable grill after use is essential to ensure it remains in top condition for future outdoor cooking adventures. Regular cleaning and maintenance not only extend the life of your grill but also prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria, rust, and other contaminants that can affect the taste and quality of your food. Here are some tips to help you keep your portable grill in great shape.

1. Clean the Grill Grates

After each use, clean the grill grates with a wire brush or grill scraper to remove any food particles and debris. For stubborn grime, use a grill cleaner and a non-abrasive sponge. Rinse the grates with water and dry them completely with a towel before storing them in a dry place.

2. Empty and Clean the Grease Tray

Empty the grease tray after each use and dispose of the grease properly. Clean the tray with a gentle soap and water solution and dry it completely before replacing it in the grill.

3. Wipe Down the Exterior

Wipe down the exterior of the grill with a damp cloth to remove any dirt and dust. For stubborn stains, use a gentle cleaner and avoid using abrasive materials that can scratch the surface. Dry the grill completely with a towel before storing it.

4. Check for Gas Leaks

If you have a portable gas grill, check for gas leaks regularly. Apply a solution of soapy water to the gas connections and turn on the gas. If you see bubbles forming, there may be a leak. Turn off the gas immediately and tighten the connections. If the problem persists, consult a professional.

5. Store the Grill Properly

Store your portable grill in a dry and ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Cover the grill with a protective cover to prevent dust and debris from accumulating on the surface. Before storing the grill for an extended period, disconnect the gas tank and store it separately.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your portable grill will ensure it remains in top condition for years to come. Follow these tips, and you’ll be ready for your next outdoor cooking adventure in no time!