Anyone setting out to buy a camping stove or a portable grill will have their own idea of what this means. Though there are a few basic requirements that we all see as essential. If you’re looking for a propane or butane (gas) cooker for camping, it has to be compact and lightweight. At the same time, it needs to meet your cooking requirements.
Whether it’s a portable grill for your RV, or a single burner propane stove for hiking trips, you have limited space and weight will be a factor for many. A table top cooker, or portable grill, has to provide you with a versatile range of uses. It also has to be safe to use and transport.
This review is going to take all these factors into account. Realizing that we all have different needs, the best camping stove for one is not the best for another, we’ve selected a comprehensive range of products for this review. If you’re looking for the best camping stove or portable grill for family vacations and outings, that can be just as useful in the back yard for barbecue entertaining, this is where you’re going to find it.
That can also be said for the outdoor adventurer who wants a basic cooker for backpacking in the wilderness.
The review is going to take the form of two reviews in one. If you’re looking for a good camping stove, propane-butane burners for basic cooking, you’ll find these in the section entitled Camping Stoves. The second half of the review will look at the Portable Grills that can be used for a home barbecue, for camping, or both.
Here you’ll find propane or propane-butane combination camping stoves. We can call them gas burners, ranging from lightweight single burners for camping up to larger tabletop cookers, suitable for family camping.
1. Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stoves
As the name suggests, the Etekcity Ultralight Portable stove is designed for backpacking. To this is end, it’s a wonderful, inexpensive product. We can also view this as a great solution for power outages. It will always be available when you need to boil water for a cup of coffee or make a quick meal at home when the lights are down.
As an avid backpacker for many years, I appreciate the value of a lightweight camping stove that folds into a compact, very portable unit. Here, the Etekcity has certainly won me over. It weighs only a few ounces, measuring 1.81” X 2.36” X 3.15”. The Etekcity collapses and fits snugly into a storage bag. That’s what we want from a backpacking stove.
As for durability, I can’t fault this product. Aluminum is used wherever possible to save on weight and it won’t corrode. Aluminum lasts forever. Where it really counts, for the burner components, they’ve used stainless steel. You can’t find a better material to withstand heat and never rust.
There are certain practical considerations that are unique to camping cookers. You have to contend with wind and you don’t always have a level, stable surface to cook on. Here the guys at Etekcity have definitely done their job. The Etekcity ultralight camping stove is well balanced with serrated grooves on the extended pot holder that provide a firm, non-slip grip. It is suitable for pots and pans up to 7” in diameter. The
combustion head has a honeycomb design, for improved burning in all weather and a well-designed wind protector keeps the heat concentrated where it needs to be.
The Etekcity fits onto any regular 7/16” thread camping propane-butane canister. It is clean burning with no soot, in accordance with the US Forestry Service policy of “leave no trace”. It’s also easy to use. The electronic igniter works well, even when there’s a wind blowing and the extended fuel flow valve is easy to reach with a pot on the stove. Regulating the flame from low to high is easy enough.
From its very reasonable price to its exceptional capabilities, the Etekcity is definitely one of the best camping stoves for the intrepid backpacker. I’m really impressed with the quality and durability of this product and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a portable, lightweight camping stove.
2. Coleman Triton 2-Burner Propane Stove
The Coleman brand is synonymous with camping gear of every description, ranging from quality, affordable entry level products to high-end (more expensive) options. The Coleman Triton 2-burner propane stove falls into the more affordable category. It’s a sensible buy, packed with all the useful design features that Coleman experience brings to the table. I really like this camping stove for its practicality and affordability.
The reason why so many of us love Coleman camping gear is that they really understand what we need. I guess this comes from so many years of providing practical camping equipment. This is abundantly clear when we look at the Colman Triton range of camping stoves. This 2-Burner variant is big enough to accommodate a 12” and 10” pot or pan, side by side. What I like even more, is the additional griddle. It is huge, almost entirely covering the 23.1” X 13.9” top surface of the stove. This means you can easily make breakfast for the whole family with ease. The griddle is sold separately as an optional extra. I highly recommend making this small investment.
The wind guard is a perfect example of Coleman common-sense practicality. We all know how difficult it is use to use a propane stove outdoors when the wind is gusting. So Coleman have fitted a very practical, three-sided wind guard to this camping stove. This certainly helps a lot to avoid all that frustration. It also has an ignition button, so you don’t need matches. Each burner has a control knob for precise temperature control.
The metal surfaces are durable and easy to clean. Storage and transportation is no problem at all. The wind guard also functions as a protective cover when not in use and is securely locked into position by means of a heavy-duty latch. It has a convenient metal attachment pipe for using a regular camping propane canister and burns with perfect efficiency.
I’ll be the first in line for any Coleman product and this camping stove is particularly attractive in its value for money. It’s a safe and very convenient 2-burner tabletop camping stove.
3. Jetboil Flash Camping Stove Cooking System
The Jetboil Flash is more than a compact camping stove, it is an entire cooking system in one versatile package. While the concept is not entirely unique, the Jetboil Flash has optimized efficiency to a level where the cheaper systems can’t compete. It will use less gas and boil water in record time.
The real magic lies in the 1-liter (35.2 Oz.) Flux Ring cooking cup. This not only brings water to the boil in record time, a rate of 100 seconds per 17.5 ounces, it also keeps the water hot for longer.
This is thanks to an insulating material around the cooking cup. For a quick cup of coffee or instant noodles in flash, it will be ready in less than a minute and will remain warm for a long time. Shorter cooking times also means
that you’ll burn through less gas. So your butane-propane canister is going to last longer. You can see by the color-changing, Thermochromatic indicator, when the water is boiling.
There are a bunch of additional accessories that you can get for the Jetboil Flash. You get the fully versatile Flux Ring cooking cup, fuel canister stabilizer, and a bottom cover that doubles up as a handy measuring cup or bowl as part of the deal. Optional extras include a coffee press (which I highly recommend), a pot support, skillet, Flux Ring cooking pot (also highly recommended), a hanging kit, and utensils. This
provides you with the full range of backpacking cooking gear in one portable kit.
Using the canister stabilizer, the Jetboil remains perfectly balanced on an unsteady surface. It has a convenient electric igniter and works well in the wind. The Jetboil uses tough carbon for the base of the cooker. While this is a durable material, it’s not as light as those that use aluminum. So it is heavier than many other backpacking camping stoves. Though at 13.1 ounces, this isn’t much of an issue.
The all-in-one convenience of the Jetboil Flash Camping Stove is fantastic. Super-fast cooking times are a real bonus. Even though it may be a little bulky, and not the lightest single burner camping stove, it’s versatility and functional accessories make this a unique and very appealing product.
4. Solo Stove Lite - Compact Wood Burning Backpacking Stove
If you’re hiking or hunting in the woods, there really is no need to use a butane-propane burner. You have free fuel all around you and the Solo Lite Backpacking stove allows you to take full advantage of this.
This compact wood burning stove makes the most of their patented double wall design. It is virtually smoke-free and maximizes the available heat. It’s little wonder that this camping stove has won numerous awards. It has combustion and heat transfer that far exceeds any regular camp fire and is much safer.
Vent holes near the top of the burner, create a secondary burn that allows preheated oxygen to fuel the flames. This is what makes it such an efficient wood burning camping stove. You only need a few twigs, even leaves, to boil a pot of water.
Manufactured entirely from stainless steel, the Solo Stove Lite is as durable as it gets and weighs only 9-ounces. It has a 4.25” diameter and stands 5.7” tall. Though it compresses down to a height of only 3.8” when packed. This is perfect for backpacking portability where every square inch of packing space, and every ounce of weight counts.
This is a camping stove that is likely to last you a lifetime. High quality stainless steel in a simple design with no moving parts, means there is absolutely nothing to go wrong. Best of all, you also have free fuel for life. It’s the dream product for the adventurous eco-tourist.
5. Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Range
Unlike most 2-burner camping stoves, the Camp Chef Explorer 2 is not a tabletop stove. It comes with a stand and uses a standard propane (LPG) tank. This is a heavy-duty camping stove and is, therefore, a little on the heavy side. For an RV, it’s ideal and very capable. What really grabbed my attention is the fantastic array of accessories that are available. It’s a versatile 2-burner camping stove that can also be used as a barbecue, oven, griddle, even a pizza oven.
The dual burners have two separate temperature control knobs for perfect control over the flame. These are incredibly powerful with up to 30,000 BTU heating. You can use any of the Blue Flame 14” double burner accessories, of which there are is a huge selection.
With 448 square inches of cooking surface (14” X 32”) and wind protection on 3-sides, large-scale outdoor catering couldn’t be more of a pleasure. Each of the four metal legs can be adjusted independently, so you can adapt to uneven ground, up to a working height of 29”. As I mentioned, this is no lightweight. At 30.5 pounds it takes some lugging around. Though this is an indication as to the heavy-duty nature of this camping stove.
Materials are of the highest standard and the aluminum burners should give you many years of faithful service. If you prefer a tabletop cooker, the legs are removable. This will also reduce the weight quite considerably.
For a barbecue on the porch, a hunting trip, or camping in the great outdoors, this versatile portable camping stove allows you to prepare chef quality meals anywhere. You are not limited to just a stove with double gas burners. With the plethora of accessories available to you, the possibilities are endless. The High-quality build of this product is undeniable and it comes with a tough carrying bag.
A portable grill is not just a great thing to have for camping. For a barbecue at home, or tailgating, people everywhere appreciate the easy operation and versatility of a good portable grill.
1. Blackstone Tabletop Grill
Catering outdoors, for a large group of people, is a synch thanks to a 330 square inch griddle. Two independent heat zones mean that you have perfect control for cooking at different temperatures on one griddle. The two control knobs are exquisite, with a stainless steel finish and a smooth action that allows for very sensitive temperature control. These are set upon an easy to clean, very durable stainless steel front panel.
Keeping the griddle clean is just as easy. Grease channels, built into the griddle, make for low fat cooking and a cleaner griddle. The grease is contained in catch drawers for quick and easy cleaning once you’re done. The Blackstone Tabletop grill is portable, measuring 22.5” X 19” X 9” with an optional cover. Because of the thick metal griddle, which is great, it is not too light at 32-pounds. You also have to take a propane tank with you. Though this doesn’t bother me all that much, I like the heavy-duty quality and capabilities of this grill. So a little extra weight is
to be expected.
For family meals on a camping vacation, backyard barbecues, or tailgating, this is a formidable tabletop grill. As far as overall quality goes, it’s certainly one of the best portable gas grills I’ve seen in a long time.
2. Camp Chef Deluxe Barbecue Grill Box
When you compare the price of any other high-end gas grill, the Camp Chef Deluxe Barbecue Grill Box may appear to be unbelievably cheap. What you need to take into account is that this is more of an accessory for any of the Camp Chef 1, 2, or 3 burner camping stoves. It makes the perfect addition to your camping arsenal if you already own a Camp Chef 2 Burner camping stove. Though it should fit onto most propane camping stoves, up to three burners. The Camp Chef Deluxe Grill Box forms part of the Blue Flame range of accessories. This means there are several optional extras, like a griddle or stand with a side tray, to name a few.
When you look at it this way, the Camp Chef Grill Box is no longer a cheap product. Instead, it is one of the best gas grills of a high quality standard. The thick, chunky cast iron grill grate is made to last and provides excellent heat distribution. The hood provides excellent ventilation and has a seriously heavy-duty handle. The hinges are also tough and is bolted on, instead of using flimsy rivets like you’ll find on cheap products. It also has a thermometer built into the hood. This is great for slow smoking brisket, ribs, and other large cuts as you can monitor and control the temperature. Though for smoking, I’d prefer adjustable vents to maintain better temperature control.
The Camp Chef Explorer range is a marvelous camping or home barbecue solution. Once you have the top-quality burners, there is an impressive array of options available to you. They are all of an exceptionally high standard. This is abundantly clear when you look at the Camp Chef Deluxe Barbecue Grill Box.
3. Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE
True to form, Coleman has perfectly matched affordability with practicality in the form of the Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill. I’ll be reviewing the LXE model which has a collapsible stand wheels. There’s also an LX variant which is the same in all respects, except it has a foldup stand with no wheels. Both grills in this lineup have a great selection of optional extras, like a griddle or pot holders. So it can perform the function of a multi-purpose camping stove-grill-griddle, or the perfect home barbecue.
In terms of quality, it is typical of Coleman mid-priced products. It is not adorned with flashy stainless steel finishes and commercial style controls. Instead, quality metal surfaces and durable plastic control knobs are perfectly functional and excellent value for money.
It has all the functionality and practicality of a high-end grill at a much more reasonable price and is perfect for family camping and outdoor entertaining. A 285 square inch grilling surface with 20,000 BTU burners is quite capable for family-sized catering. It has an excellent hood with a durable coating. I really like that there is a lever to adjust the ventilation on the hood, this improves temperature control.
The collapsible stand with wheels is wonderful for ease of use and portability. It also has pot holders on both sides, making outdoor cooking so much less hassle. At the front, you have two temperature control knobs for dual burner control. Separate heat control means you can slow
cook on one side, whilst searing steaks on the other. It also a one touch electronic igniter, no matches required. The stand, grill, and hood all add up to a bit of weight, 44-pounds of it.
As a very affordable family gas grill, the Coleman Road Trip Portable Grill is easily the best in its class. Sensible, but not flashy, it is typical good old Coleman value for money.
4. Blackstone Dash Portable Grill/Griddle for Outdoor Cooking
The Blackstone Dash Portable Grill definitely deserves recognition as one of the best in terms portability. It’s incredibly lightweight for its size, at only 18 pounds. You can carry this portable gas grill like a briefcase and it flips up into a usable grill in seconds. Even though this is one of the easiest portable grills to carry around and set up, it’s no baby when it comes to cooking for the whole family.
It has an impressive 247 sq. in. griddle that’s reversible. On one side, it’s a great griddle for making breakfast, stir fries, and burgers. Flip it over and you have a gilling surface which is perfect for steaks.
It has a hood and a stand that setups without any hassle, in no time at all. Though all the lightweight materials, although metal, does mean that this is not exactly a heavy-duty grill and needs to be handled with some care. It should keep working well for many years. Though I wouldn’t recommend bashing it about on the back of a pickup on bad roads.
The Blackstone Dash has a single 7,000 BTU burner with a simple control knob at the fitting for the portable propane canister. Heat distribution is great, albeit not as powerful as the more expensive gas grills of this size.
For the ultimate grab and go portable grill, the Blackstone Dash is a real winner. The wonderful design that allows the grill fold away into a neat, easy to carry unit, with a carrying handle is what makes this product so attractive. Along with a weight saving design, it’s really great for picnics, tailgating and, of course, camping.