14 Best Portable BBQs For Camping & Travel 2017

Best Portable BBQs For Camping & Travel

Barbecue season is here, and there are more portable varieties available to buy than ever before; some which are perfect for family camping, and some, which are perfect for back garden BBQ days and more. Having so much choice can actually be quite daunting, and so this is a comprehensive, in-depth guide that will surely help you decide on the perfect portable BBQ for you. We have put together the best of the best so you don’t have to; you will find their weight, cooking area size, which is the cheapest etc.

For a quick overview comparison of the BBQs in this guide, have a look at the table below. To see a more indepth review of each product scroll down or click on the name in the table to jump to the review.

Portable BBQ Name Fuel TypeWeightCooking Area
Weber Go AnywhereCharcoal6 kg42 x 26 cm
LotusGrillGas3.7 kg32 cm diameter
Landmann PiccolinoCharcoal1.5 kg34 cm diameter
La HaciendaCharcoal5 kg56 cm diameter
Char-Broil X200Gas11 kg30 x 45 cm
ZoginCharcoal1.8 kg35 x 27 cm
Notebook GrillCharcoal3 kg43.5 x 29 cm
Crusader Table TopGas4.3 kg42 x 27 cm
Bonnington KingfisherCharcoal3 kg50 x 36 cm
Landmann Cast IronCharcoal6 kg36 cm diameter
Cadac Safari Chef 2Gas3.6 kg26 cm diameter
Kool GrillCharcoal3.7 kg40 x 40 cm
Invero MiniCharcoal1.4 kg26 cm diameter
Cobb PremierCharcoal3.8 kg32 cm diameter

Weber Go Anywhere

Weber Go AnywhereThis sturdy, charcoal barbecue has a great, space-saving design has foldaway legs and a comfortable top handle, which makes it very easily portable. The suitcase-like design makes it stylish, sleek and makes transportation even easier. It comes with uncommon, yet handy, extras such as a grater. It’s small and portable enough to take anywhere with you, and very easy to assemble; all that’s needed is to set up the legs, remove the lid and fill with charcoal. You can fit around six burgers on the grill, which is impressive for such a small and compact barbecue. It will last for many years if properly maintained.

Pros
  • 10-year warranty
  • Space saving design
  • Fire and rust resistant
  • Heats quickly
Cons
  • No drip tray or heat dispenser
  • No transport wheels

LotusGrill

LotusGrillThe Lotus Grill is a beautiful round and stylish design, and all of the colours it comes in are eye-catching and vibrant. This clever design uses a battery-powered fan, which enables you to control the cooking times, and thus you are more likely to have perfectly cooked barbecue food! The fact that it’s fuelled by an efficient gas system allows you to begin cooking in just three minutes. There are no safety worries concerning the heat of the grill, as its double skinned: this means that the outside will not get hot, and so can be moved around whilst food is cooking. Not only is this feature good for safety reasons, but also means that all of the heat stays within the grill and cooks your food to perfection. The grill comes with handy accessories like a dome cooking lid and pizza stone. The charcoal is also separated from the food by a lid and flat plate so there is absolutely no smoke escaping into the air. The stainless steel grill can be put into the dishwasher for easy cleaning, and the whole grill is easy to assemble itself. The 4 x AA batteries that are supplied last approximately 60 hours.

Pros
  • Smokeless cooking
  • Start cooking in 3-4 minutes
  • Internal fan is battery powered
  • Easy to assemble
Cons
  • Certain foods make it difficult to clean

Landmann Piccolino

Landmann PiccolinoThis classic kettle style charcoal barbecue will not limit the foods you can serve up at the barbecue; you can cook the classics such as sausage and burgers, but also fish and seafood. The neat, compact design comes with a roasting hood, barbecue tongs, and a warming rack. The tongs conveniently slide into one of the barbecue legs so that you won’t lose them. It’s quite small, however, good enough to cook for a small family, and is great value for money! This functional design has a lid with clips on it, which makes it easy to take anywhere with you. It’s made of steel so that it’s sturdy, but still fairly lightweight for transporting. The lid and fire bowl are enamelled which makes it easier to clean, and more durable. Also, the cooking grill is chrome-plated. This barbecue can be used with briquettes for best results; however, lump wood may also be used.

Pros
  • Warming rack
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Comes with stainless steel tongs
  • Lid clips for easy transport
  • Ventilation discs
Cons
  • No bottom vents
  • Clips to hold lid are stiff

La Hacienda Camping Firebowl

La Hacienda Camping FirebowlThis modern and stylish looking design is the ideal portable charcoal barbecue fire pit to take with you camping, to the beach or a festival. It has folding legs to store easily at home, or in your vehicle, and comes with a carry bag that fits perfectly, so you don’t have to search for one yourself. The bowl has a mesh lid and wood grate; it’s all made from steel and finished in black heat resistant paint. The barbecue is strong and sturdy, yet still lightweight for you to move around. It comes with a chrome cooking grill, log grate, a metal tool for raking ashes, and a mesh lid to contain any sparks and keep out bugs. The fact that it doubles as a firepit to keep everyone warm during outdoor trips makes it a perfect summer purchase and is great value for money considering it has two features, and comes with various tools and accessories. It’s easy to assemble, as well as easy to use.

Pros
  • Folding legs
  • Carry bag
  • Black heat resistant paint
  • Lightweight but strong
Cons
  • Lid does not sit well

Char-Broil X200

Char-Broil X200This rugged, tough designed barbecue has an advanced TRU-Infrared cooking system, which cooks the food evenly, and has fewer flare-ups, that ultimately gives 50% juicier food and uses up to 30% less gas. So even though you will be paying quite a bit of money for the barbecue initially, you could be saving money in the long run as it is so energy efficient. The stainless steel burner is strong, durable and built to last, and stainless steel grate is high quality as well as easy to clean. The high-tech electronic igniter makes for easy use as it lights up the grill at the push of a button. The lid-mounted temperature gauge allows you to monitor the inside temperature and will ensure perfectly cooked food every time. It’s powered by a portable 16.4-ounce disposable liquid propane cylinder, which is sold separately.

Pros
  • TRU Infrared cooking system
  • Stainless steel burner
  • Electronic lighter
  • Lid-mounted temperature gauge
Cons
  • Propane cylinder sold separately

Zogin Barbecue Grill

Zogin Barbecue GrillThis small, metal, charcoal barbecue stove is incredibly compact, convenient to carry and super easy to assemble. It could not be more simple, and minimalistic. The foldable design makes it great for transporting and storing at home, and the handle design is also great for portability. It’s designed to give maximum cooking area space, and so will easily feed the whole family even though it’s so compact. Although the legs foldaway, they are still sturdy and will not break – great value for money.

Pros
  • Compact design
  • Easy to assemble
  • Handles to pull grill out easily
  • Foldable
Cons
  • Thin material

Notebook Folding Grill

Notebook Folding GrillThis foldaway barbecue is a great compact choice; it has heat-resistant paint, with chrome-plated steel grids, making it sturdy and built to last. Despite the sturdy materials, it is still very lightweight and perfectly portable as its only 3KG and easy to pack away. The ingenious design allows for it to fold completely flat, and the handles are simply two holes on the side of the barbecue for even more space saving and ease of use. This barbecue couldn’t be easier to use, you just simply unfold, add the wire racks and begin! It’s designed to maximise food-cooking space, and there is room for several burgers, sausages, and veggies. It’s super cheap for such a good working barbecue.

Pros
  • Folds away
  • Heat resistant
  • Chrome plated steel grids
  • Carry handle
Cons
  • Metal is thin
  • Paint wear

Crusader Table Top

Crusader Table TopThis simple, rustic gas barbecue comes with a supply of lava rocks, which will add an authentic barbecue taste to your cooking, without needing to use a charcoal grill. It uses butane or propane and operates directly off of a hose and regulator (not included). It’s an ideal barbecue to take along in a motorhome, as its rectangular and compact shape will be easy to pack away, and use on a tabletop. It’s easy to assemble and has folding legs that double up as a lid retainer during transport. Great for cooking both meat and fish.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes with lava rocks
  • Cheap
  • Compact
Cons
  • Hose and regulator not included

Bonnington Plastics Kingfisher

Bonnington Plastics KingfisherThis small, clean-looking, stainless steel barrel barbecue is easy to transport to camping trips, the beach or a festival. It is compact, and yet the lid opens out flat so you have double the cooking space available; however, if it’s windy outside you can prop the lid up and use it as a windbreak to keep your food cooking. It includes side vents, and a wooden carry handle, which makes it very portable. It heats up quickly, and the heat is controllable. The drum style makes it perfect for cooking not only meat, but also foods such as jacket potato, and vegetables. It’s easy to assemble, and great value for money as it’s simple and yet everything you need in a portable barbecue.

Pros
  • Stainless steel
  • Lid opens flat to double the grilling area
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Shiny finish

Landmann Cast Iron

Cast Iron LandmannThis robust, antique-style barbecue has a cast iron fire bowl, cooking grill and charcoal grid with wooden carrying handles for ease of use. Not only can you cook your food on it, but also it can be used as an outdoor heater for cold evenings and camping trips. It’s easily lit with any kindling or newspaper, but charcoal briquettes give the best cooking results (lump wood charcoal can also be used). The grill is easily removed for cleaning, and it’s easy to assemble. The functional design, which includes air vents, allows for good air circulation, and heat control. It’s small enough to fit in your vehicle and travel with you, but not too small to feed the family.

Pros
  • Cast iron fire bowl
  • Height adjustable grill
  • Wooden carry handles
  • Air vent for heat control
Cons
  • No lid

Cadac Safari Chef 2

Cadac Safari Chef 2Although very versatile and multipurpose, this barbecue and grilling system is still in the running for a lightweight portable barbecue choice. This is one of the most versatile portable barbecues on the market, and it can be used on any surface and is easily folded up and stacked together once finished with – you can even store it in a carrying case. There is a hygienic, and convenient fat collection dish, which makes for easy cleaning,

There are four interchangeable surfaces that can suit many styles of cooking. There is a burner with a pot stand, barbecue grill, baking tray, wok (which can also be used as a lid), and is all powered by a refillable gas cylinder which does not come with the barbecue itself. It is fuelled by butane, propane or GPL gas at 30m bar. The 30m bar enables low-pressure appliances to operate off of gas cartridges. It heats up almost instantly, and there is no strong barbecue smell that sticks to your clothes and other materials. This barbecue is fantastic for any outdoor occasion, and will only add to your experience and make everything a little bit easier for you.

Pros
  • Hob rings for pots
  • Nonstick flat griddle
  • Quick heating
  • Adjustable heat
Cons
  • Cylinder pipe and pressure regulator not included

Kool Grill

Kool GrillThis lightweight grill has a battery-assisted fan system that blows air over the charcoal, meaning that you reach a perfect cooking temperature in just six minutes – this is a fantastic time for a charcoal grill. The changeable airflow speed gives you control over the temperature, which will allow you to get fantastic cooking results. The stainless steel keeps the heat within the grill so that the outside remains cool to the touch; you can even move it whilst it’s cooking. The charcoal is cleverly locked in place beneath the grill so that you won’t have to worry about it spilling or tipping out. It’s cost effective as you only need a handful of charcoal to get the heat going, and the continuous cooking time is up to an hour and a half. It’s perfect for a group of people or a large family as it can easily accommodate up to six people in one sitting. The stainless steel grill and fat drain bowl are conveniently dishwasher safe, which means it’s very easy to clean. There is a handy carry bag that comes with the barbecue, which makes it an even better portable option.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Battery assisted fan
  • Double wall layer to ensure outer bowl is cool to touch
  • Can pick up even whilst cooking
Cons
  • Batteries not included

Invero Mini BBQ

Invero Mini BBQThis charcoal barbecue is a simple design with just a bucket and stainless steel cooking rack; it’s perfect for those on a budget or anyone who has minimal space in their house or vehicle. The compact design comes with foldaway legs, which makes it perfect for transportation and packing away. The tiny size and simplicity make it easy to clean and maintain.

Pros
  • Stainless steel cooking rack
  • Foldaway legs
  • Compact
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Small

Cobb BBQ

Cobb BBQThis long lasting, top of the range Cobb barbecue is not only fuel-efficient but also doesn’t release any smoke into the air whilst cooking. The grill only needs six briquettes in order to cook for up to four hours, and so it’s perfect for buyers who don’t want to be standing over their barbecue and applying more fuel to keep it going. The separate food and charcoal sections mean that there is no smoke released, and this is perfect for buyers that have small children around, or perhaps do not want to disturb their neighbours. The separation of the food and charcoal also means that there will be no food charring or fat-dripping flare-ups. The Cobb remains cool to the touch on the outside whilst cooking, and so you can comfortably use it on any surface without causing damage. The heat will easily stay within the barbecue, and cook your food to perfection. The light up time is an impressive 15-25 minutes, which is a decent speed for a charcoal barbecue, and also means that you can focus on preparing the food whilst the grill heats up. The grill-cooking surface is non-stick, and a lifting fork is provided for handling hot food. The moat has two uses: for draining fat and oil into it, and to infuse roasts with flavour. The bowl pops out of the base for easy cleaning, and the stainless steel makes it an even easier job. This barbecue is versatile enough to cook in a variety of ways, such as pizza, and smoked fish, and yet is still compact enough to take on trips with you.

Pros
  • Includes carry bag
  • Remains cool on outside
  • Easy to clean
  • Stainless steel cooking parts
  • Doesn’t smoke
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Lacks authentic BBQ taste

Which Barbecue to go for?

Best quality & features – The Cadac Safari Chef 2 is recommended, as it is multipurpose, versatile, and great value for money. The interchangeable cooking surfaces raise it above all the other portable barbecues in terms of available features that come with the set.  Being fuelled by gas means that you will be able to cook very quickly, and the choice of cooking in pots, grills, and a wok means that the cooking possibilities are endless.

On a budget – The Invero mini BBQ is around £15, which is perfect for those who don’t want to spend lots on their barbecue; it does the job of cooking your food perfectly, and you can take it around with you in your car with ease. It’s a simple, no nonsense barbecue.

The lightest option – The mini Invero is perfect for anyone who wants a light, easy to carry barbecue. Weighing only 3.17 pounds you could even carry it around without travelling by car, and there are no accessories or pieces to set up with it; it’s a simple design, which is great for those who want a light option.

For campingLa Hacienda is ideal for camping because it comes with a carry bag, is sturdy and has folding legs so it can easily survive any camping situations. The mesh lid is also helpful for avoiding bugs around your food whilst it’s cooking.

Reliability – The Weber Go-Anywhere is the most reliable due to its long warranty, sturdy design, and ease of use as it uses coal, not gas. The weather proof handle and fire and rust-resistant lid and bowl will allow it to last for a much longer time in many types of weather, as opposed to an average barbecue. The rust resistant cooking grate is triple-plated which adds to its durability.

Space Saving – The Zogin grill is the ideal space saving barbecue as it already has fairly small dimensions of L35cm, W27cm and H20cm but it goes the further mile and is foldable into a small, rectangular, thin design. You can easily slide this somewhere in your garage, or somewhere outside that will keep it safe from the elements.

Portable BBQ Buying Guide

Portable BBQ Buying Guide

There are many different factors to consider when purchasing your portable barbecue, and it’s important to look into the detail of which factors will suit your family, location and situation best. Especially if you are going to use it regularly, investing in the perfect barbecue will certainly improve your summer experience, and allow all barbecuing days to run smoothly. A small, reliable model would be ideal for those who are camping, however, if you mainly want to barbecue in your home garden, a sturdy and more expensive model could be better.

Fuel – Coal or Gas?

Fuel Coal Or Gas

Some people believe that charcoal barbecues creates the authentic, smoky barbecue taste, however, a smoky taste with a gas barbecue is easily achieved by using wood-chips wrapped in foil with holes in it. Sometimes it’s possible to spot the difference, and so perhaps if one of your favourite features of a barbecue is the classic grill lines and smoky flavour, it may be better for you to purchase a charcoal model.

Charcoal barbecues are, of course, the more traditional option, so if you are looking for a typical or classic model then charcoal would be a good choice; they typically either use lumpwood or briquettes to generate the heat and add the flame-grilled appearance to your food. Lumpwood gets hot quicker and burns to a higher temperature, whereas briquettes burn for longer.

Gas barbecues can start cooking much quicker than charcoal as the temperature is regulated, and you will find that gas cooks food more evenly too. If you’re camping, at a festival, or just going somewhere where you have limited time, a gas barbecue would be a better choice as you don’t have to wait for it to heat up. Gas is also a great choice in Britain due to the rapid weather changes. However, with charcoal barbecues, you can purchase a chimney starter which speeds up the cooking process considerably, and you can purchase these for around £15 (there are cheaper, and more expensive available).

Portable BBQ for camping

If you are on a budget, charcoal barbecues could be a better choice, as gas does tend to be quite a bit more expensive; but perhaps you may consider the added features and convenience of a gas barbecue to be worth the extra price.

In terms of cleaning gas barbecues you can simply turn the burners on high and brush the grate with warm water to clean it. Charcoal tends to require more of an arm workout. It’s sometimes a safer option to cook fish or seafood on a gas barbecue due to the fact that you can control the cooking temperature – it is possible to cook fish on charcoal grills too. There are smaller disposable gas canisters available for portable gas barbecues and so it shouldn’t be any more difficult than bringing a bag of charcoal.

Grills & Cooking area size

BBQ Grill Area Size

Barbecue grills tend to be made of four different types of material which are: chrome plated, porcelain coated, cast iron, or stainless steel. Chrome plated tends to be the most affordable, whereas porcelain is usually the most expensive as they are rust resistant, non-stick and generally durable (but will also last for many years). Chrome and stainless steel are the most common and need regular cleaning, whereas cast iron has a more traditional and rustic look, as well as holding heat very well – rusting is a possibility though.

The cooking area is something else to consider; small barbecues tend to only accommodate 1-2 people, whereas bigger portable ones can easily accommodate 6+. If you are on a budget, you can purchase a cheaper barbecue with a small cooking size and still accommodate a large group of people – there will just be a longer waiting time for food, which is not a huge problem for some people. As well as how many people, think about what you intend to cook on the grill, for example, you may be vegetarian and so may need less room, as there will be no large cuts of meat. When considering size also think of the maintenance, larger grills may not fit in your dishwasher, and will require more cleaning. If you want minimum cleaning, a smaller barbecue would perhaps be better.

Cost to run

You will usually purchase propane gas when using a gas barbecue (also known as ‘patio gas’) and when you first buy it you may have to pay a deposit or hire charge for the cylinder as well as the gas. You may pay £30 for 13kg, which may give around 12 hours’ cooking time. On average a 7kg bag of charcoal costs around £10 or slightly less and that will be able to fuel up to 3 medium sized barbecues. Purchasing an expensive barbecue at first may work out cheaper in the long run as it will work for longer, require less maintenance, and you probably won’t need to pay to get it fixed at any point. If you are limited for space perhaps look for a foldable or collapsible barbecue as they are very space efficient, and it will also be easier to find a bag for it.

Other considerations

Consider whether you will keep the barbecue outside when not in use and if so, looking for one with a lid will be a good idea to protect it from the elements. Another positive reason for having a lid is to control the heat easier so that your cook is cooked throughout. Keep in mind the type of design you would like: a kettle design is one of the most popular originating from America and more tradition type of look. Consider the accessories that the barbecue will come with (or that are available to purchase with it), warming racks are so helpful when cooking for bigger groups of people; you don’t need to worry so much if you have a small barbecue when you are able to keep cooked food warm.

Everyone reason for buying a portable BBQ is different, so there is no specific one to buy. Hopefully, this guide has made your decision easier on which is right for you.

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14 Best Portable BBQs For Camping & Travel 2017 was last modified: November 28th, 2017 by Emma Thompson

Comments: 2

  1. Etta September 24, 2017 at 5:07 pm Reply

    I did not know about the differences between charcoal and gas BBQing methods. It makes sense in retrospect. Looks like a great list to abide by for when I go out camping. Thank you very much for sharing. I learned something new today. 🙂

    • Emma Thompson November 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm Reply

      Happy barbecuing Etta 🙂 I need to get out camping more!

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