If you like to use a campfire to cook your camp meals, and you want to cook more than hot dogs or hobo foil meals, you will almost certainly need a grill or grate. And with the variety of styles available, it might be hard to decide which one is the right one for you.
Ranging from simple flat grates, to self-supporting ones with folding legs, to tripods, and full-blown multifunction campfire rotisseries, you have a lot of choices.
The most important factor, (other than your budget), is to find one that matches the type of campfire cooking you like to do.
Running a close second in importance is packing space. How much can you spare? Most of the basic campfire grills have folding legs, so they take up very little packing space, and aren’t very heavy, but others like the rotisserie above, are loaded with extra utility functions, which means more weight and space requirements.
Here are some examples of the basic types of campfire grills.
Flat Campfire Grill
There are also round campfire grills. These range from a heavy-duty one, (as shone), to one from your BBQ grill at home. **Note: Most campsite fire-rings will be larger in diameter than all but the largest round grills, so you can’t safely plan on using the fire-ring to support your round campfire grill.
How to pick the right Campfire Grill for you:
Consider these questions first:
- How much and what type of campfire cooking will you be doing; just some light skillet cooking, water or coffee pot heating, or heavier cast iron cookware use. Do you just need a flat grill surface, or could you make use of other features, like the ones pictured in the rotisserie or tripod grills.
**Don’t get caught up in the “more is better” trap. Sometimes it isn’t, it’s just more. So why pay more, and pack more bulk if you won’t be using the extra features.
- Which type fits your budget.
- Are you restricted by available packing space.
Once you have an idea of what you want, if you can, ask other campers what they use and what they like or dislike about their campfire cooking set-ups.
For example; “I do a lot of campfire cooking and would probably use all the features of a rotisserie-style campfire grill, but … I don’t want to pack the bulk, or go through all the set-up and break-down. So my grill is like the heavy-duty Texsport flat grill with folding legs. Also, I like to do woodcraft when I go camping, so if I need a rotisserie or coffee pot hanger, I will create my own with lashing projects.” – Gus.
If you like campfire cooking, but it isn’t, (or you don’t want it to be), a major part of your tent camping experience, – then stick with the simple easy to cook camp meals and menus, and simple but functional camp equipment.
The Campfire Rotisserie Grill, above, is a great piece of cooking gear, but it would be over-kill for the camper just described. For this type of camper a versatile folding-leg campfire grill would be perfect; use the legs down when needed over an open campfire, or use just one leg down and the other side up to use it on a campfire-ring, or use it with both legs folded on an open BBQ pit.
Look for functional durability, not the latest gizmos or gadgets. (they seldom last) Cheap flimsy grates can be dangerous if overloaded. But of course it’s your money, spend it how you like.
Where to get them, and how much to pay:
- These are usually found only in camping supply-type stores or online.
- You might also check with commercial campgrounds in your area, – you would be surprised at the types of camping gear that gets left behind. Might be able to pick one up cheap.
- Prices will depend on styles, but plan on a minimum of $25 – $35, and you could go as high as $100 for some of the more multi-functional models.
Here are several choices to give you an idea of whats available:
** I highly recommend Amazon.com for camping supplies. Their prices are usually lower than our local camping stores, the free standard 3-5 day shipping is almost always faster than that, and their return policy is even better than Walmart’s.
This campfire grill is a light-weight model that may be appropriate if you are only going to camp a few times a year, or if you are backpacking and have to carry all your gear on your back. It is not a durable model that will last year after year, or one you would want to use for heavy loads, but depending on your needs, it might be suitable for you, and at only $14, it is the least expensive. Coleman Folding Campfire Grill
Gus uses one like this. The design is simple, strong and durable, and has the most versatility. The Texsport grill has heavy-duty steel construction that can support a full Dutch oven if needed, and a nice large 24″ x 16″ cooking area. The legs also fold-up flat so it doesn’t take much packing space. About $25
Texsport Heavy-duty Campfire Grill
If A hanging grill fits your style, then this Coleman model might be right for you. As mentioned, I like Coleman gear, but sometimes it seems to be made for a little lighter duty than I prefer. Watching other campers use these, they are usually using one hand to steady the grill while they are working with the camp food on it.
You can easily adjust the height of the grill with the hanging chain, and you can also use it to hang other things over the fire, like a coffee pot or Dutch oven. The legs are made of galvanized metal and are collapsible for easy packing and storage. About $27 Tripod Hanging Campfire Grill
This Texsport Rotisserie & Spit Grill is a very nice piece of campfire equipment. It doesn’t fit my style, but only for the reasons mentioned above. Texsport makes good sturdy quality camping gear, and this multi-function fire grill is no exception. At about $52, you get a lot of bang for your buck. (click link to see features details) – Recommended!
Texsport Rotisserie & Spit Grill
The point is to give you some ideas to consider to help you decide which one might fit your needs for campfire cooking. Even though a couple were recommended, and a couple were panned, it doesn’t mean they may or may not work for you. Amazon has over 300 different listings for campfire grills, – a good source for ideas and comparisons, even if you don’t buy.
Here are some examples of the camping equipment discussed above.
Even if you are not interested in buying now, they will give you an idea of the choices you have and the prices you can expect.
Notes and discussions:
Here are a few more pieces of camping gear you might be interested in:
You can make your own wax-based fire starters for outdoor camping, (and for fireplaces and deck fire pits), but fire starters like these on the right, by Coleman, are so inexpensive and easy to use that you’ll never use paper or tinder again for your campfires. Coleman Strike-a-Fire Fire Starters
Once you use a folding camp shovel, and discover all its uses around camp you will wonder why you didn’t include one in your camp gear sooner. This sturdy but light-weight Coleman model is so compact it even fits in a 10″ carry-bag. Here are some of the models available:Folding Camp Shovel
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