The Best Backpacking Grills for 2024, Tested and Reviewed

If you’re used to spending time outdoors, especially backpacking or overnight adventures, you’ll be well aware of how much food plays a part in your experience. The amount of times we’ve been backpacking and have had lacklustre food that has made us feel miserable after a couple of days – food really does have the ability to change your perspective. So getting it right is crucial – when you’re backpacking, or really doing any kind of activity like this, your food is your fuel, you need to want to eat what you have in front of you! When we first started hearing about the idea of portable grills for backpacking trips and hiking, we thought it was perhaps overkill. However, when a friend told us she’d started taking a portable grill on her multi day SUP adventures, and how much she looked forward to food stops, we became a lot more interested.

The more we researched the benefits it could give us, it seemed like a really good idea actually and now we’re completely hooked. Portable grills can work so well for a whole range of outdoor adventures and can make food so much more enjoyable than it might previously have been. They can also be multi purpose too, giving you a great additional grill for when you might need it at home. Let’s face it though, portable grills can be costly, so we’ve spent a lot of time weighing up the pro’s and con’s of what we consider to be four of the best models out there for leave no trace compatible outdoor grilling. We’ve had really bad experiences with some heat sources on camps before, and it has made us really picky on what we choose to take with us on our hikes, which is why we’ve taken great care when compiling this list (and haven’t padded it out with loads of other models). You want something you know is going to work and deliver, especially when you’re a long distance from anywhere in remote locations. Even better if it allows you to look forward to your favorite food at the end of a long day.

Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list, we don’t think it needs to be and this is based on our personal recommendations from hikers, to hikers. So without further ado, here is our guide to what we personally feel are the best portable grills and best backpacking grills out there from testing out in the field, with pros and cons, to help you find a grill that suits your needs and budget. Whether this is your first grill or are looking for an upgrade, you’ll be able to get excited about cooking delicious meals that you look forward to on next camping trip!

In a hurry? Here are the backpacking grills That we think are the best out there right now

Here’s a brief summary of your options:

Biolite Campstove Complete Cook Kit

  • Runs on: sticks, wood, pellets
  • Weight: 4.4lb / 2.3kg – full kit, 3.96lb / 1.8kg – just campstove and grill
  • Best for: complete system with multiple uses

Unigear Foldable Campstove & BBQ

  • Runs on: wood
  • Weight: 2.2lb / 996g
  • Best for: great for imperfect weather, lightweight

Uco Flatpack Portable Stainless Steel Grill (Mini)

  • Runs on: sticks, wood
  • Weight: 3.3lb / 1.5kg
  • Best for: doubles as a fire pit

Wolf and Grizzly Grill

  • Runs on: charcoal, wood
  • Weight: 2.2lb / 998g
  • Best for: uneven surfaces

Our Overall Winner for Best Backpacking Grill:

BioLite CampStove 2+ Wood Burning, Electricity Generating & USB Charging Camp Stove, Complete Kit
  • Best for: Those who want a piece of kit with multiple uses
  • Weight: (full kit) 4.84lb 2.3kg, (just campstove & grill) 3.96lb/1.8kg

Why is the BioLite CampStove Complete Cook Kit our top choice?

We chose the Biolite Campstove as our winner for best backpacking grill quite simply because it’s a really neat system, is easy to use and we think for the price point, this set up has so much to offer when looking at small grills. The fact that it contains the stove, grill and coffee press is one thing, but being able to charge devices via the devices thermal technology gives it a real bonus and could make it the best option for anyone who is looking for a versatile set up. The high quality build of the integrated system means you can cut down on extra accessories and have a one size fits all approach to some of the most vital pieces of kit you’ll need whilst backpacking – which means less weight and less items to have to own. We also thought the Flexlight was a real additional winner – being able to actually see your food properly without the need for a headlamp when you’re cooking at night is more important than you might think – it gives you the ability to be a lot more flexible. We also like how this all fits together when you pack it down with the KettlePot being able to store the CampStove. The biolite griddle top is also big enough to cook a sizeable amount of food, yet doesn’t take up too much backpack space – a win win. We believe it’s well worth the money, will last you a long time and is one of the best backpacking grills / camping stoves out there.

Main Features:
  • Boils 1L of water in just under 5 minutes
  • Stove generates 3W power to charge devices and with an internal 3,200 mah battery to store power
  • FlexLight to illuminate cooktop
  • Burn sticks, wood scraps or pellets
  • The biolite camping stove has thermoelectric combustion technology – meaning its smokeless
  • Extensive well rated customer reviews (well worth considering)
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Good option as a multi purpose device – cuts down on excessive kit
  • Needs level ground to feel secure, especially whilst grilling
  • Some features might not be relevant depending on your needs
  • Could be too small to use for a bigger group

Runner Up

Unigear Wood Burning Camp Stoves Picnic BBQ Cooker/Potable Folding Stainless Steel Backpacking Stove
  • Best for: The sheltered design makes this grill a great option in difficult weather and windy conditions
  • Weight: 2.2lb/998grams

Our runner up for best backpacking grill packs up with a pretty small profile – folding to take up very little space in a backpack for easy storage. In our opinion it’s one of the best grills out there – combined with its light footprint, weight and pack down, the overall design makes it feel really robust. One of the best things about the Unigear is that it really comes into its own in less than perfect conditions. It seems like the walls of the unit shield it pretty well from the elements. We’ve had situations in the past where wind has really prevented us from eating a hot meal at camp – sometimes using up a lot more fuel if the flame is constantly blowing away from what you’re trying to heat up! So having a stable solution for less than perfect conditions can really help put your mind at ease – something not to be discounted. You can use organic matter such as leaves or twigs, or if you don’t have access to that, alcohol as a starter. It’s also multi use, allowing you to boil water, cook, warm things up and BBQ.

Main Features:
  • Strong and reliable heat source
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Protects from the elements whilst cooking
  • Compact design means it folds down small into a backpack
  • Strong and robust
  • Good price point and value for money
  • Quick and easy to put together and get cooking
  • If not packed properly, the grill could get out of shape
UCO Flatpack Mini Portable Stainless Steel Grill and Fire Pit
  • Best for: The sheltered design makes it useful in difficult weather
  • Weight: 3.3lbs/1.5 kgs

We really like that this grill is available in two sizes – either the mini version or the larger model. The mini version (our choice) can typically cook enough food for two, whilst the regular can handle enough for larger groups – around a family of four hungry hikers. This grill is built to last, its strong, durable and punches well above its weight for the price. This backpacking grill also works great in less than perfect weather conditions using the stainless steel walls to shelter from the elements, wind etc. The V shape of the grill also helps to distribute heat evenly.

Main Features:
  • Stainless steel
  • Unique V shape design
  • Can be turned into a fire pit instead if needed
  • Protects from the elements whilst cooking
  • Strong design
  • Can be turned into a fire pit instead if needed
  • Protects from the elements whilst cooking
  • Relatively cheap for what you get – good value for money
  • Heavier than some other models

Want to make the most of your adventures?

Wolf and Grizzly Grill Edition Kit | Camping Grill for Backpacking, Camping and Bushcraft | The Perfect Compact, Folding Grill for Your Next Adventure | Camping Grill Grate Over Fire/Campfire Grill
  • Best for: Lightweight, compact size and small pack-down
  • Weight: 2.2lbs/998grams

Packing down to the size of a flask is one of the reasons we really liked this ultralight grill. It’s also really quick to set up and pretty no nonsense. This grill is also really versatile – you can adjust the height of the legs for a better experience and depending on the ground you’re working on. This also means that it can be set up to use charcoal or wood as your fuel source too – meaning more flexibility. Even though it packs down small, the grill gives you a relatively large surface area to cook, whether its to cook fish, hot dogs or anything in between, it’s built to withstand heat as its made out of stainless steel. We also loved how the grill sits and allows for each corner to be adjusted so you can compensate for uneven ground. We think this is one of the best backpacking grills and a top pick as a charcoal grill too. It’s really simple and easy to use and really doesn’t take long to set up and get going.

Main Features:
  • Can be used in a variety of positions and for different fuel sources
  • Stainless steel robust design
  • Large 120 square inch (find metric) cooking surface and 30 pounds (find metric) load capacity
  • This ultralight stove is easy to set up and packs down very small – making it an easy transport option
  • Large cooking area
  • Adjustability allows you to compensate for uneven ground – you’re not always going to have a picnic table to hand when backpacking and camping!
  • Primitive design and could take some getting used to

Key Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Backpacking Grill for Your Needs

It’s about making a choice that ticks enough of the boxes between your budget and the usage you intend, but here are some key things we’d suggest looking out for when choosing a grill that’s right for you:

Which Material is the Grill Made of?

There are many options out there for backpacking grills – so it can be easy to get caught up in detail here, but essentially it boils down to which material is most suited to when and how you plan to use your grill. There are two main material types we’d generally consider as best:

  • Steel: resistant to rust, strong, and easy to clean – but can be a little on the heavy side
  • Titanium: higher quality, seen on more premium models

Weight and Dimensions

You’ll know best what the best balance is between functionality and how you intend to use your grill versus the weight when choosing the best camping grill for you. If you’re planning to use your grill often, and you’re either backpacking alone or as a small group, we’d recommend investing in the BioLite CampStove, as it means you can also cut down on other kit you might need due to its functionality. However, if this is only something you plan on using every now and again, investing in something like the Unigear Grill may be a better option. Think about your pack weight for an average backpacking trip carefully when deciding which grill to buy. The thing that’s great about a backpacking grill as opposed to a stove is that you don’t have to carry a bottle of fuel, which can actually make your pack lighter. Also consider if you’re hiking somewhere where there is going to be no organic matter available, such as twigs and wood, and the best way to work around this. The overall size and dimension of the grill is also something to consider – look at the packed down size and work out if this will fit in your pack easily.

Is it Easy to Put Together?

We don’t know about you, but the last thing you want when you’re getting to camp is something that is hard to get up and running. If you’ve been out all day, you want something that is simple and easy, and not to mention reliable. Especially at high altitude when your responses may be a little slower. You want something you know is going to work and deliver, especially when you’re a long distance from anywhere in remote locations.

Practising Leave No Trace

It’s important to make sure that wherever you plan to use your grill system, you make sure that this is allowed – as some areas have specific guidelines when it comes to grills.

There are so many options out there when it comes to backpacking grills – many with lofty claims. So we wanted to create a guide to what we consider to be the best backpacking grills out there to make it that bit more simple, and to weigh up the pros and cons with various models to choose the right backpacking grill for your needs.

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