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Best Camp Grills For Car Camping, Backpacking, and Overlanding

Published March 19, 2024


Eating is one of our favorite parts about camping. After a long day of hiking, biking, or simply breathing the mountain air, we crave a good hot meal. That calls for the best camp kitchen we can muster for our roadside recipes or a pop-up, backcountry bistro. Our Gearhead® Experts have worked their culinary magic at countless campsites, so we tapped into the expertise of our top tailgate and trailhead chefs to find the best camp grills and stoves for car camping, backpacking, and overlanding.

  • Best Camp Grills For Car Camping
  • Best Camp Stoves For Backpacking
  • Best Camp Grills For Overlanding
  • Camp Grill FAQs
  • Informative Links

Best Camp Grills For Car Camping

When we’ve got a car or truck to carry extra weight, we can splurge on a bigger camp kitchen that lets us serve up several courses or add some finesse presentations to our campground cooking arsenal. That's why our favorite camp grills and stoves have larger cooking surfaces while still being relatively easy to lug between our vehicle and campsite.

iKamper Aioks All In One Kitchen System

Top Camp Grill

The Aioks All In One Kitchen System literally lets us roll out food for our crew with a rolling crate that contains a complete cooking system and a fold-out table for four. Weighing only 20 pounds, this portable camp kitchen features two burners for multi-course cooking with enough tabletop space for our sous chef and a full spread of campground staples. This all-in-one system lets us enjoy a pop-up camp kitchen—and dining room—that's easy to transport to and from our car.

Winning Features

  • Portable kitchen + table sets up easily
  • Uses butane or propane canisters (with adapter)
  • 20lb wheeled crate for portability
  • Two 7,500 BTU burners

iKamper Disco Series

Most Versatile Camp Kitchen

Another iKamper option, the Disco is a versatile modular system with a tripod that lets us elevate our cooking surface over a gas burner or suspend it over a campfire or coals. The tripod can anchor the Disco almost anywhere while the enameled cast iron provides a fuss-free, cast-iron cooking experience in a shallow disc that’s up for skillet, shallow fry, and sauté presentations. This versatility lets us whip up eggs and bacon in the morning—and slow-cook a California Tri-Tip over coals in the evening.

Winning Features

  • Enamel-coated cast iron skillet
  • Compatible with coals, fire, or butane/propane canisters
  • Tri-pod for stand-up or sit-down cooking
  • One 8,455 BTU burner

Snow Peak Takibi Fire & Grill

Top Camp Grill-Fire Pit Hybrid

The Snow Peak Takibi Fire & Grill is a portable camp grill that doubles as a fire pit. The Takibi is easy to pack and carry with stainless steel components that we can assemble quickly into a small fire box or hibachi-style grill. We can set the grill grate in three different positions to adjust our cooking temperature, so we can sear a steak, roast veggies, or start a sausage sizzle—whatever we have on the menu. After dinner, we can remove the grate to enjoy a small fire and s’mores.

Winning Features

  • Versatile grill and fireplace
  • Grill top grate to cook over wood/coals
  • Collapsible components for portability
  • 27lbs

Ignik Outdoors Stainless FireCan Deluxe + Grill

Best Portable Grill/Fire Pit

The Ignik Outdoors Stainless FireCan Deluxe + Grill is another portable camp grill and fire pit that we can set up in matter of seconds. This unit switches easily from grilling mode to fire pit mode, letting us light up some propane or fire up some wood or coals for some outdoor cooking or fireside beers. Weighing less than 14 pounds, this camp grill is highly portable with a convenient carrying handle and foldable legs, all in an ammo can style case.

Winning Features

  • Multi-fuel cooking in a compact grill
  • Snap-in grill grate for true camp grilling
  • 13lb 13oz
  • 50,000 BTU/hr

Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven

Best Outdoor Pizza Oven

We’ve lost friendships arguing over the best post-hike or post-ride food—burgers, tacos, or pizza. If you’re team pizza, the Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven is your camp kitchen staple of choice. Fueled by wood, charcoal, or gas, the Karu 12G fires up to 900 degrees, letting us crank out 12-inch pizzas in only a minute or two. This may be the world’s most advanced portable pizza oven, but we can also bake or roast other foods on the 13 x 13in baking stone. Really, though, this pick is all about the pizza.

Winning Features

  • World's most advanced portable pizza oven
  • 12in pizzas ready in as little as 60 seconds
  • Burns wood, charcoal, or gas
  • Reaches 850F baking temp in only 15 minutes
  • 34lbs

Coleman Roadtrip 24in XLT Griddle

Best Camp Griddle for Hungry Car Campers

The Coleman Roadtrip 24in XLT Griddle lets us camp chefs crank out as many pancakes, omelets, and burgers as we can for hungry kids, hikers, bikers, and anglers. The 24-inch cooktop lets us cook for multiple people at once with a flat-top griddle that’s ready for either breakfast or supper foods. This griddle-on-the-go weighs 73 pounds but packs down small and rolls out easily thanks to its wheeled, collapsible legs.

Winning Features

  • 336sq in griddle for high-volume cooking
  • 2 grill burners run on propane
  • Collapsible legs for easy transport
  • 20,000BTU

Winnerwell Nomad 1G Cook Camping Stove

Best Portable Wood Stove

A portable wood stove, the Nomad can heat up small recreational shelters and support cooking on its stainless-steel cooktop. We can throw a skillet or Dutch oven on top or add some Winnerwell accessories to bake biscuits, potatoes, or cookies and serve some hot drinks. That makes the Nomad another option for campsite gourmets, especially in colder environments that could use the added heat of a portable wood stove.

Winning Features

  • Portable stove with cook top versatility
  • Wood burning
  • Best for colder environments
  • Only 14.2lbs

Best Camp Stoves For Backpacking

Backpackers normally prioritize weight savings and packability when it comes to choosing outdoor gear. That’s also the case with backpacking stoves. For backpacking, we want a cooking system that’s lightweight and highly packable but also powerful enough to boil water for our rehydrated meals, noodles, coffees, and hot chocolates. Here are our favorite camp stoves for backpacking:

Jetboil Flash Stove

Top Pick

Jetboil has won the hearts of many backpackers with their small yet efficient stoves that heat water in a hurry. The Jetboil Flash boils water in only 100 seconds and nests within itself to take up less room in our pack. The push-button ignition eliminates our need for a lighter, and the 1-liter size works well for freeze-dried foods and hot drinks. This contemporary classic is an easy choice for quick coffee times on the trail and for rehydrated meals that are, well, ready in a flash.

Winning Features

  • Jetboil’s fast stove (100 second boil time)
  • Uses (butane) gas canisters
  • 13.1oz
  • 9,000 BTU

MSR Pocketrocket 2 Mini Stove Kit

Runner Up

Basic is often best when we’re backpacking, and that’s definitely the case with the MSR Pocketrocket 2 Mini. This lightweight legend packs down extra small with a stove, canister, pot, bowl, pot lifter, and lid that nest together so perfectly they can fit inside a 5x4in stuff sack. The mini burner may be small, but it still packs enough punch to boil a liter of water in only 3 and a half minutes, letting us tuck into our backpacker food without much of a wait. The Pocketrocket is our pick when space is at a premium.

Winning Features

  • Complete set takes up little pack space
  • 3.5-minute boil time
  • Uses 4oz gas (butane) canisters
  • 9.8oz

Snow Peak LiteMax Stove

Best Ultralight Backpacking Stove

The LiteMax is Snow Peak’s lightest and most powerful backpacking stove. With a claimed weight of only 1.9 ounces, this is a true welterweight, yet it still cranks out 11,200 BTUs of heat to boil water for our noodles and pouches. This is just a stove, so we’ll need to add our cookware. But this titanium and aluminum stove impresses us with its miniscule weight.

Winning Features

  • Ultralight weighs less than 2oz
  • Uses propane/butane canisters
  • 11,200 BTUs

MSR WhisperLite International Multi-Fuel Stove

Best Multi-Fuel Backpacking Stove

If you’re not into isobutane canisters, the MSR WhisperLite International Multi-Fuel Stove is a liquid fuel stove that’s compatible with kerosene, white gas, and unleaded gasoline. That multi-fuel capability has made the WhisperLite an iconic stove for long-distance backpackers and international travelers who like the versatility and cost savings associated with liquid fuels. Liquid fuel stoves are also more reliable and consistent in cold weather, making them a smart option for high elevation treks and winter backpacking.

Winning Features

  • Liquid Fuel versatility
  • Uses white gas, kerosene, gasoline, etc.
  • 1.5L pot
  • 10.9oz

Best Camp Grills For Overlanding

When we’re living out of our vehicle on our overlanding escapes, we can afford to splurge on a more tricked out camp kitchen. We may choose to stick with more compact units that don’t take up too much space, or we may opt for larger camp grills with multiple burners for bigger meals and more control over our cooking temperatures. These camp grills and stoves let us cook like a pro when our tailgate is our kitchen and the mountains are our living room.

Coleman Cascade 3-In-1

New Top Pick

Coleman has been crushing campsite cooking for ages. The Cascade 3-in-1 triples our fun with the option of cooking over an open burner or on a cast-iron grill plate or griddle. That 3-in-1 system gives us gobs of cooking options from cakes and eggs to grilled trout to a vegetable stir fry. The Cascade doesn’t take up too much space in our overlanding vehicle, either, as it weighs less than 15 pounds and folds up when not in use.

Winning Features

  • 3 cooking options in one camp stove
  • Cast iron cooking surfaces
  • Folding design for compact stowage
  • 24,000 BTUs

Camp Chef Pro 90X Three-Burner Stove

Top Pick

The Camp Chef Pro 90X Three-Burner Stove makes our cooking on the road experience more like our cooking at home experience. This camp grill features a wide cooking surface with three gas burners, so we can cook for a large group or juggle multiple dishes at the same time. The matchless ignition makes the Camp Chef Pro easy to light while the windscreen keeps it lit when the trade winds pick up or the monsoons roll in for the afternoon. This is our choice when we want to get away from small fuel bottles or enjoy some more elbow room when we’re cooking up a shore lunch or tailgate tacos.

Winning Features

  • Large 3-burner cooking surface
  • Runs on LP tank
  • 59.5lb
  • Three 30,000 BTU burners

Jet Boil Genesis Base Camp 2 Burner Cooking System

Most Portable Two-Burner Camp Stove

This little beauty packs down small in our overlanding vehicle while coming up big when it’s time to whip up breakfast or supper next to our truck. The Jet Boil Genesis Base Camp 2 is a foldup camp stove with two powerful burners, a 10in frying pan, and a 5L pot—a perfect set up for spaghetti and meatballs, stir fry and rice, and other mains and sides we like to mix and match. This complete cook system runs on propane bottles and packs down small enough for van-lifers, thanks to its compact size and nested storage.

Winning Features

  • Complete set packs down to 10 x 7 inches
  • Uses 16.4oz LP bottles
  • 9lb 2oz
  • Two 10,000 BTU burners

Ooni Koda 16in Gas Powered Pizza Oven

Best Pizza Oven for Big Appetites

The only thing better than a 12-inch pizza is a 16-inch pizza—an overlanding delicacy we can enjoy outdoors with the Ooni Koda 16in Gas Powered Pizza Oven. Unlike the Ooni oven above, the Koda 16 runs on propane or natural gas and cooks up an extra-large pizza in only a minute with cooking temps up to 950 degrees. We can also crank out flame-cooked steaks, fish, and vegetables with the Koda, but we’re all about the pizza, especially after a grueling day of surf, switchbacks, or single track.

Winning Features

  • Camp oven for pizza lovers
  • Propane or natural gas fuel
  • 16-inch stone cooking surface
  • 39.2lbs

Coleman Road Trip 285 SU Grill

Best Camp Grill for Big Meals

Bigger than the Road Trip 24 above, the Road Trip 285 SU Grill features a large, 285 square inch grilling area and three adjustable burners. This portable grill runs on 16oz propane cylinders and features collapsible legs for easier transport and storage. Once we roll it out of our rig, however, the Road Trip 285 gives us plenty of room to work with side tables and large cast-iron grates that can hold several skewers, burgers, brats, or fillets to feed our squad.

Winning Features

  • Large cast iron grates
  • 3 adjustable burners + thermometer
  • 52.5lb
  • 20,000 BTUs

What Camp Grill Is Right For Me?

Our Gearhead® Experts have narrowed down your choices to a few recommended camp grills and stoves for car camping, backpacking, and overlanding. To dial in your choice, you need to match your camp kitchen to the type of cooking you’ll be doing and work through key decision points regarding what type of fuel to use, the pros and cons of different cooking surfaces, and how much weight savings and portability you need for your specific camping set up.

Types Of Fuel For Camp Grills And Stoves

The camp stoves we’ve recommended run on different kinds of fuels or multi-fuel systems. When cooking outdoors, weekend campers, backpackers, and overlanders can choose between several types of camping fuel—from charcoal and wood to isobutane-propane canisters to liquid fuels and multi-fuel systems.

Here are some Gearhead tips for choosing the best fuel for your camp kitchen:

  • Isobutane-propane canisters are lightweight and easy to use. However, they’re not as reliable in cold weather or thin alpine air, hard to refill, and difficult to recycle, making them a poor option environmentally.
  • Liquid fuel stoves use cheaper fuel sources, make it easier to monitor your fuel supply, and are more reliable in cold weather and thin, alpine air than isobutane and propane stoves. However, they’re not as user-friendly and can spill inside packs, ruining food, clothes, and other supplies.
  • Propane grills are convenient, easy to light, and provide enough fuel for weeks or months of use. At the same time, they don’t impart as much flavor as wood or charcoal and generally take up more space than most fuels for grills and stoves.
  • 16oz propane cylinders hold more fuel than Isobutane canisters, but they’re also heavier and not as packable. That makes them a convenient option for car campers but a poor pick for backpackers.
  • Charcoal is cheap and imparts more flavor to meat and vegetables than petroleum-based fuels. At the same time, it’s heavy, takes up space, and may be banned in dry climates and national forests due to increased fire risks.
  • Wood can be a great cooking fuel if it’s readily available around your campsite. At the same time, wood may not light well when wet, may not be available in some environments, and may be banned in certain areas that restrict open fires, especially in the southwest.

Types of Cooking Surfaces

Finally, the camp kitchens we recommend each use durable cooking surfaces with different pros and cons, depending on the type of cooking you do and how well you take care of your gear after cooking and eating.


Many campground chefs and grill masters love cast iron grates and skillets. Cast iron gets extra hot and holds heat well, making it a great surface for searing meat and vegetables.


At the same time, cast iron oxidizes easily, so it needs to be kept dry and seasoned with oil or grease to maintain a sound cooking surface. That makes cast iron more high maintenance than most camp grills and stoves.


That’s led some campers and grillers to strike a compromise with enamel-coated cast iron grills. Enamel-coated cast iron still gives you the supreme heat retention and searing abilities of cast iron, but that coating prevents rust and takes less work to maintain the health of your cooking surface.


Another option is stainless steel grills and stoves. Stainless steel makes for a durable cooking surface, and its alloy makes it less susceptible to rust than cast iron. If you’re not the fussy type—or want to save some money—stainless steel cooking surfaces are a good choice for your camp grill or stove.

Buying Your Camp Grills And Stoves At Backcountry

We hope this listicle has helped you home in on the best camp grill or stove for your front country campsite or backcountry adventures. If you still need more help making up your mind, feel free to call or chat with a Backcountry Gearhead to send you on the way to top chef experiences on your next car camping, backpacking, or overlanding adventure.


Q: What is the best grill to take camping?

A: The best grills to take car camping are the iKamper Aioks All In One Kitchen System

(top choice), iKamper Disco, Snow Peak Takibi, Ignik Outdoors Stainless FireCan Deluxe + Grill, Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven, Coleman Roadtrip 24in XLT Griddle,

and Winnerwell Nomad 1G Cook Camping Stove. For overlanders, our Gearhead® Experts recommend the Coleman Cascade 3-In-1 (new top choice), Camp Chef Pro 90X Three-Burner Stove (top choice), Jet Boil Genesis Base Camp 2 Burner, Ooni Koda 16in Gas Powered Pizza Oven, and Coleman Road Trip 285 SU Grill.



Q: Are portable grills worth it?

A: Yes, portable grills give campers, overlanders, and van-lifers extra options to cook up and eat the kinds of food we love. We enjoy our time at the beach, backcountry, and mountains better when we have a portable gas or charcoal grill to cook campground pleasers like burgers and shore lunches or a portable stove to dish up spaghetti and meatballs and hot breakfasts like bacon, eggs, and pancakes.


Q: How many BTU do I need for a camp stove?

A: For basic campground cooking, choose a camp stove with at least 10,000 BTUs. For bigger groups or colder weather, choose a camp stove with 20,000 to 30,000 BTUs.