Last updated: August 22, 2021

If you like to be outdoors and spend your holidays as a camper, then you know that fresh air can also make you very hungry. Camping barbecues often come in handy to put a hot meal on the table.

They are small and compact, making them ideal for travelling. Camping barbecues differ mainly in their purpose and the necessary equipment. Our editors have put several barbecues under the microscope and present their favourites in the camping barbecue test 2021.




The most important facts

  • Camping barbecues are small, light and practical to transport, making them perfect for excursions and camping trips.
  • With suitable accessories, a wide variety of dishes can be prepared. These range from grilled meat and vegetables to wok dishes and pizza.
  • Depending on your preferences and wishes, you can choose either a charcoal or a gas barbecue. These come in different sizes, shapes and weights.

The Best Camping Grill: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask before buying a camping barbecue

What is a camping barbecue for?

Camping barbecues are perfect for barbecuing at campsites, lakes, parks and generally anywhere outdoors where barbecuing is allowed. But the name should not be deceiving, because you can also use them at home, in your own garden or on your balcony.

Camping barbecues can be used for camping as well as for barbecues at home. (Image source: unsplash.com / Vincent Keiman)

Their largely small weight and diameter allow them to be easily transported. That's why camping grills are ideal for adventurous people who want to prepare their own food during their camping trip.

Since you often don't have much time to prepare food on such camping trips, the camping barbecue is the ideal companion. One of its most important features is that it is quick and easy to set up and dismantle.

Camping grills can be used to prepare a wide variety of dishes - from breakfast to dinner. There are already many different cookbooks that are specifically geared towards preparing food with camping barbecues.

Which manufacturers of camping barbecues are there?

The list of camping barbecue manufacturers is long. They offer different types of camping barbecues. In addition, spare parts and various accessories can be purchased directly from the manufacturers. In the following, we present five camping barbecue manufacturers whose products, according to our research, are most frequently purchased in Germany.

Cadac has a wide range of barbecues and accessories. In the camping barbecue category, they offer gas barbecues of various designs, sizes and shapes. In addition, pressure regulators as well as gas cartridges can also be purchased from Cadac.

The Cobb company describes their barbecues as the smallest, fastest and safest in the world. Unlike Cadac, Cobb offers not only gas camping grills, but also charcoal grills.

Outwell offers everything related to camping - from tents to barbecue accessories. Like Cobb, Outwell also has charcoal and gas camping grills in its range.

Enders offers gas barbecues and low-smoke charcoal barbecues in innovative designs. In addition to small and practical camping barbecues, they also produce larger professional barbecues and various camping accessories.

The Campingaz company, as the name suggests, provides everything to do with camping. You can choose between charcoal and gas barbecues and get other accessories and various camping utensils.

What are the alternatives to a camping barbecue?

You don't necessarily need a camping barbecue to enjoy delicious meals during a camping trip. There are many alternatives that promise similar results. Depending on your preferences, you can decide whether to choose a camping barbecue or one of the alternatives.

One option is to put pieces of wood together, light a fire and, for example, put sausages on skewers and cook them that way. To make it easier, you can put a grate over the fire and grill meat and vegetables on it.

However, it must be stressed that such an open fire is not particularly safe and the uncontrolled spread of fire is more likely than when grilling with a camping barbecue.

Instead of lighting a fire with wood, a gas cartridge can also be used. In combination with a grill grate, food can also be prepared in this way. However, you don't have to use only a grill, you can also use a pot or wok, for example.

Suppliers of camping accessories often also offer fire bowls. This makes it much easier to control the fire. You can place various grills, woks or grill plates on fire bowls. This allows you to assemble your own barbecue.

In addition to conventional gas and charcoal grills, you can also opt for an electric grill. This is not complicated to operate, because you simply and quickly plug it into a socket and you are ready for the barbecue experience. However, an electric barbecue is often impractical when camping, as you have to rely on electricity.

Decision: What types of camping barbecues are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy a camping barbecue, you can choose between different types:

  • Charcoal camping barbecue
  • Gas camping barbecue

You can choose your favourite depending on your preferences for food preparation. The most important differences between these two types of camping barbecues are presented in this section to help you decide.

What are the features of a charcoal camping barbecue and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The charcoal camping barbecue represents everything that is traditionally thought of as barbecuing - real fire, smoke and the smell of freshly prepared meat. With a charcoal camping barbecue, you get the atmosphere of classic barbecues.

Advantages
  • Traditional and classic barbecue experience
  • Uncomplicated and easy assembly and disassembly
  • No technology to fail
  • Not reliant on gas or electricity availability
Disadvantages
  • Banned at many campsites
  • Smoke and unpleasant smell
  • Occasionally difficult to get the charcoal fire going
  • Longer time to reach the right temperature

One problem, however, is that barbecuing with a charcoal camping barbecue is no longer allowed in many campsites, parks and open spaces for safety reasons. Therefore, you may be taking a risk if you get a charcoal barbecue and want to use it during your camping trip.

However, charcoal camping barbecues are by far the easiest option. They are quick and easy to set up and there is no technology that could break and hinder your barbecue experience.

What's more, charcoal or briquettes can be bought cheaply in almost any supermarket. Therefore, you don't have to take them with you from home, but can also get them on the go.

What many people find a hurdle when grilling with a charcoal camping barbecue is the time-consuming process of firing up the charcoal. Inexperienced people in particular need a little longer to bring the charcoal to the right temperature for barbecuing.

Once the fire and temperature have developed, it is also difficult to regulate them. The charcoal camping barbecue therefore requires constant attention, as the cooling time is also longer and you have to keep an eye on the barbecue even after you have finished barbecuing because of the risk of fire.

What distinguishes a gas camping barbecue and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

For many campers, the gas camping barbecue is the best companion. The practical gas cartridge or gas bottle is easy to transport and can be used anywhere. Thus, the barbecue can be lit and switched off with little effort.

With the help of the gas cartridge or bottle, your barbecue reaches a high temperature in just a few minutes and is therefore quickly ready for use.

A gas camping barbecue allows you to prepare food without smoke. This also prevents unpleasant odours, which makes the barbecue experience more pleasant for both you and your neighbours.

Various accessories are available for gas barbecues. Different grill plates, woks or pizza stones can be used to prepare many dishes. This allows you to prepare your food differently at any time - depending on whether you prefer grilling, cooking or baking.

Like charcoal camping barbecues, gas barbecues are sometimes not allowed on campsites and outdoors for safety reasons. Therefore, we recommend that you find out before your trip whether grilling with gas barbecues is allowed at your destination.

Also remember to take enough gas cartridges or bottles with you. If they run out, you could be left without your meal. Also, you can never be sure if the local shop has the right gas cartridges or bottles for your barbecue.

Advantages
  • Lightweight, small and convenient gas cartridges
  • No smoke or unpleasant odours
  • Ready to use in minutes
Disadvantages
  • Carry enough gas cartridges
  • Gas cartridges for every type of barbecue are not available everywhere
  • Occasionally not allowed on campsites

Buying criteria: Use these criteria to compare and rate camping barbecues

There are a few things to consider before buying a camping barbecue. To help you choose the barbecue that suits you and meets the most important criteria, we have compiled them for you here:

  • Easy to set up and dismantle
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Material
  • Simplicity of cleaning
  • Possible uses

Ease of set-up and disassembly

When you choose a camping barbecue, you should make sure that it is quick and easy to set up and take apart. This is important because when camping, most people can't or don't want to spend a lot of time setting up a barbecue or taking it down and putting it away.

It is also ideal if the barbecue is foldable. This feature is especially practical for camping, because when you are travelling by car or camper van, such appliances should be as space-saving as possible. A foldable barbecue is much easier to transport.

A foldable barbecue is perfect for camping - it is practical and easy to transport. (Image source: unsplash.com / Daan Stevens)

If your camping barbecue doesn't have too many components - so much the better! This means you don't need a long manual to put it together. Plus, you're more likely to lose the individual parts if you have several of them.

Size

When people talk about size with grills, they are referring to the diameter of the grilling surface. As with conventional grills used for barbecuing at home, there are also different size versions of camping grills. However, most manufacturers make sure that camping barbecues are as practical as possible.

Smaller grills are best for camping. These are easier to transport because they don't take up too much space in the boot. However, if you need a larger grilling surface, folding grills are a good solution.

Many camping barbecues are between 26 and 28 cm in diameter. This size is sufficient for a camping trip or an excursion and is of course the best option when you think about storage.

The smaller the barbecue, the more practical it is. Small grills can therefore simply be placed on the table and the grilling fun can begin.

If you are travelling with a caravan and space is not a problem, you can also opt for a larger barbecue. The diameters of such larger camping barbecues range up to 115 cm.

Weight

As with size, manufacturers also pay attention to the weight of the camping barbecue. It should not only be small and easy to store, but also light and therefore easy to transport.

On camping trips and excursions, you often have to move the barbecue, take it from the car to the barbecue site and back again. If the barbecue is large and heavy, this task often becomes a challenge.

For this reason, most barbecues made especially for camping weigh no more than 5 kg. However, some designs, with larger diameters and more accessories, fall into the 5 to 15 kg weight category. Very few camping barbecues weigh more than 15 kg and these are not recommended as they are not practical and compact.

Material

Stainless steel barbecues are usually recommended for camping barbecues. These are resistant to rust and therefore perfect if you plan to use them often.

Unlike stainless steel barbecues, camping barbecues made of conventional steel are not particularly resistant to temperature and corrosion. But a conventional steel barbecue is usually lighter, which is especially important for camping, as the barbecue often has to be moved and transported.

If you can't decide between the two, you can choose a steel barbecue that is coated with a special powder and therefore more difficult to rust, similar to the stainless steel barbecue.

Ease of cleaning

A crucial factor when buying a camping barbecue is definitely the ease of cleaning. As with setting up the barbecue, no one wants to spend a lot of time cleaning their barbecue while on holiday.

If your decision is to go with a charcoal camping barbecue, cleaning may be a little more complicated and difficult than it is with a gas barbecue. This is due to the open fire that is created by the charcoal barbecue. This means that leftovers from the grilled food can quickly burn into the grate.

With a charcoal camping barbecue, it is important that you can easily empty the charcoal. Unlike charcoal barbecues, gas barbecues do not require you to dispose of ash. For this reason, cleaning a gas barbecue is usually easier.

In general, you should also check the product description to see if the parts of the camping barbecue are dishwasher safe. This is always a big plus when it comes to cleaning your barbecue, because it makes your work easier in many cases.

Possible uses

As the name suggests, the most important function of a camping barbecue is to grill. But nowadays, many manufacturers also offer different accessories that allow you to use your barbecue for cooking or baking as well.

If you decide to buy a camping barbecue, it should ideally also have different uses. This allows you to prepare dishes in different ways each time - grilling, boiling or baking.

If you know from the start that you only want to use your camping barbecue for barbecuing, then you should not consider other uses. Since a camping barbecue should be light, small, practical and transportable, it makes no sense to lug around unnecessary accessories.

Facts worth knowing about camping barbecues

What accessories are available for camping barbecues?

There is a wide range of accessories for camping barbecues. These range from grill plates or aprons to gloves and tongs. The practical thing is that you can only choose the accessories that you really need.

For the perfect barbecue experience, you can choose between grill plates made of different materials. If you also want to prepare vegetables with your camping barbecue, a wok or a vegetable basket are suitable for this. With a pizza stone, you can easily bake a pizza. The possibilities are many.

It is important to emphasise that you can use your camping barbecue without any accessories. So if you don't want to pack and transport a lot of stuff, you can just pack the barbecue for your camping trip!

What dishes can I prepare with a camping barbecue?

Generally speaking, the main function of a camping barbecue is to prepare barbecue dishes. However, with the right accessories, you can also prepare wok dishes or even pizza.

With a camping barbecue you can prepare different dishes, whether meat, fish or vegetables. (Image source: unsplash.com / El Chefo)

Cookbooks have already been written for camping and barbecuing. These contain recipes for different dishes, from steak to vegetable dishes. You can also find suitable dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can either research the cookbooks and recipes on the internet or get them in print.

With a camping barbecue, you can prepare what you would normally like to eat at home. The only things that matter are your wishes and the right accessories.

How do I clean a camping barbecue?

Even if you are on holiday or on the road, you should take the time to clean your barbecue thoroughly after use. No one wants to have their meat or vegetables cooked on a dirty grill next time.

If you decide to use a charcoal camping barbecue, you should first let the burnt charcoal cool down and then dispose of it. The grate should also only be cleaned when it has cooled down completely.

Barbecue brushes and barbecue cleaners are best for cleaning, although there are various other alternatives. Steel brushes are perfect for removing food residue from the grate.

Another option is to wrap the cooled grate in newspaper, lay it on the floor and pour water over it. You can leave it like this overnight, because the newspaper softens what has been burnt and makes it easy to clean afterwards.

It is best to take a look at the product description of your camping barbecue. There you can quickly find out whether the parts of your barbecue are dishwasher-safe. If they are, the cleaning dilemma is quickly solved!

Alternative Description
Grill cleaner Spray the grill cleaner on the grate and let it work. Then rinse the grill with water and wipe it off.
Newspaper and water Wrap the grate in newspaper, lay it on the floor and pour water over it. The newspaper softens what has been burnt and makes cleaning easy.
Reheat the grill grate Reheat the grate after use to burn off all the food residue. When the grate has cooled down, the dirt can be removed with a grill brush.
Dishwasher If the grate is dishwasher-safe and not too large, you can put it in the dishwasher. However, larger dirt residues must be removed with the grill brush beforehand.

Where can you barbecue?

It is actually quite natural to prepare your own meals on the barbecue outdoors during a camping holiday. However, barbecuing is now prohibited on many campsites because of the risk of fire.

Barbecues are also often banned in other public places, such as parks or lakes. For this reason, we advise you to find out before your trip whether barbecuing with a charcoal or gas barbecue is allowed.

Even if there is no barbecue ban, you should never barbecue near forests and especially not in strong winds. A strong wind often leads to uncontrolled spreading of the flame. Also, in all situations, you should never let your lit barbecue out of your sight for safety reasons.

Image source: Unsplash.com / Evan Wise

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