Portable grills provide better, more consistent heat and easier cleanup than backpacking stoves or open fires, and they're not all the car-camping behemoths of yesteryear. Modern grills vary a great deal in their weight—from three to 24 pounds—and use either wood or propane as fuel. Wood-fired ones are generally lighter to carry in, and can be carried onto planes. Propane units are obviously less fuss, since they heat consistently for over three and a half hours on a standard one-pound canister.
Before you buy, consider whether you need a grill at all. The easiest solution would be to toss a steel grate over two flat rocks in your fire circle and be done with it. That’s not a bad idea, especially if you carry along an easy-to-clean stainless steel cook surface such as Rome’s Pioneer. But stand-alone portables provide more even heat for your culinary adventures, and they can be set up anywhere. Here are our favorite new entries and old stand-bys.