It is a question that is almost as old as camping itself. It is a question that has vexed camping philosophers and campfire quarterbacks for years! Should I get a camp grill, a camp griddle, or a camp stove? Or some combination or all three?
There is no simple answer to this question. But of course we decided to tackle it on today’s podcast, and here on the blog anyway. Because we have no fear. And because Jeremy is obsessed with this stuff. Stephanie–not so much. Even though she is the one who initially invested in a good Weber camp grill ( a Q100) about 8 years ago.
So let’s look at the pros and cons of each and recommend a few models in each category!
To listen to Jeremy and Stephanie talk about Camp Grills, Camp Griddles, and Camp Stoves on The RV Atlas podcast, then click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your podcasts!
Pros and Cons of Camp Grills
Camp grills are great for grilling chicken, steaks, pork chops, burgers, and hot dogs. A great grill is a campground classic and makes an amazing dinner. Maybe an amazing lunch if you are feeling extra carnivorous. Plus, for many of us…FOOD TASTES GREAT OVER FIRE. And it has for a few thousand years. Camp grills are also easy to keep clean and come in a wide variety of options at different price points. And if you like grill marks you are not gonna get em on a flat top griddle. Camp grills are also easy to store and clean.
But a camp grill is not a great tool for breakfast. It requires a separate (and sometimes expensive and heavy) griddle top to make things like bacon, pancakes, and eggs. And even then, it won’t have a place for the grease to drain or gather like any quality camp griddle will.
We love the Weber Q1200 ($209.00) and its highly portable design and cool color selections. It is hard to beat the even distribution of heat and the high quality porcelain enamel grill grates. The big brother Weber Q2200 ($269.00) is excellent for larger families. They both make amazing food, they both last forever, and they are both easy to take apart and clean. However, I do not like the stand that Weber makes to go along with these two grills. Pick up a separate stand like the ones made by GCI Outdoor. They are better quality and cost about the same price as the Weber stand.
On a Budget?
If you find the Weber camp grills to be a bit spendy (which is understandable) here is another option. The Cabela’s stainless steel tabletop grill. for $99 is also a very good choice. It’s a well made grill for a “grate” price. But the grates are not nearly as nice as the grates on the Weber Q1200 and 2200–but if you don’t care about grate quality like I do–then this may be the grill for you!
If you want a charcoal option, I LOVE my Weber Jumbo Joe. It has a huge amount of grilling space for a tabletop grill. It is also easy to carry and has nice extra features. You can prop the lid up and also lock the lid into place for storage.
But how much do I cook with charcoal at the campground? Not much. I love the taste of food over charcoal, but my family could care less and it takes longer to prep a charcoal grill than a gas grill. –It is hard to find the time to get the charcoal going and it is a bit messier to deal with.
Pros and Cons of Camp Griddles
A camp griddle is a very diverse piece of cooking equipment that can handle breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is just as good at making pancakes as it is at making burgers. And you don’t need any additional equipment to clean up or lug around. Griddles are also great for taco night, hibachi, stir fry, grilled cheese, and a million other things. A lot of people really like camp griddles because they can handle so many different culinary tasks.
Generally speaking, a really good griddle is cheaper than a really good grill. They are also easy to clean and maintain–but only if you use them a lot! Like camp grills, they are usually compact and easy to store.
You have to do an initial round of seasoning and can actually take over an hour to do. After that you have to maintain the seasoning or it can get rusty fast. If it sits in your camper for a month without use it could get rusty if you live in an area with moisture. Bigger griddles can get also get a little bit heavy to move around.
Stephanie also refuses to eat scrambled eggs off the griddle. Foods pick up many other tastes and eggs can come out on the dark side. It’s less of a problem for me but Stephanie has a point here.
Recommended Camp Griddles
We love the Blackstone 17 inch single burner. It is a great model to have for a couple or small family. The Blackstone 22 inch two-burner is my absolute favorite! It’s great for families with several kids who need to make lots of food FAST!
17′ and 22″ Blackstone Griddles come in a bunch of configurations depending on where you buy them. The biggest choice you may have to make is hood or no hood? For camping I probably prefer not getting a hood. The hoods make them much bigger and harder to store. You can just get a basting cover to melt cheese or steam veggies. But plenty of folks like the convenience of a hood and wouldn’t buy one without it. At the end of the day there is no wrong way to griddle. It’s all up to you!
Other companies make griddles too, but we have a longstanding sponsorship with Blackstone and we are proud to recommend them as our camp griddle of choice.
Pros and Cons of Two Burner Camp Stoves
The Two burner camp stove is a true camping icon–but perhaps a bit less popular today. It seems like most RV owners choose to camp with a grill or a griddle and just use the burners inside their rigs to boil water or what have you. But the two burner camp stove is a work horse! And some campers just can’t live without it.
If you want to boil water for pasta outside of the RV, then you are not gonna do that on a grill or griddle. Additionally, if you love your cast iron skillet or dutch oven–you are not going to use them on top of a flat top griddle either. Two burner camp stoves can also be pretty darn small and portable and easy to store. They are also incredibly easy to take care of and clean. Camp stoves require little to no maintenance because you are not cooking directly on the burners. They also tent to be cheap and affordable.
If you want to make a lot of burgers or pancakes at one time for a big crew, then good luck doing the on a two burner camp stove. Limited space in a pan or skillet means making MANY rounds of pancakes or burgers to satisfy the whole crew. A grill or a griddle might be a better option for larger families.
Skillets and frying pans don’t always heat evenly. I’ll never forget burning one side of a pancake and undercooking the other.
A camp stove also requires other equipment–pots pans etc… You can’t cook anything directly on those burners. So you can end up with a clutter of camp cooking equipment.
Recommended Two Burner Camp Stoves
I might avoid the classic Coleman cheap found at the big box stores. People in reviews often complain there is little to no temperature control.
Instead consider getting a used Classic Coleman camp stove from facebook marketplace! The models with the red fuel tank up front are incredibly reliable. Look for the smaller and more portable 424 or the somewhat larger 413–or get the amazing three burner 426. They have great temperature control and they work incredibly well in cold weather.
In terms of new models, Bass Pro Shops makes an excellent two burner camp stove that is rugged and durable with solid heat control (and windguards) It costs $109.99. I have one and I am very impressed with the quality.
I have also heard very good things about Eureka camp stoves and they come in super cute and hip colors and don’t look like grandpas old workhorse camp stove.
The smaller Ignite ($109 ) is a cute green color and the Ignite Plus ($144 ) comes in a cute blue color. The Ignite plus has more room for larger skillets. for larger skillets. Reviews say again and again that the temperature control is good and they are well made.
So What Should YOU Get?
- If you love cooking outside and have the storage space you should get all three.
- If you have limited space and cook a lot outside and want to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner–get a griddle.
- However, if you have limited space and only really like to grill for dinner–get a camp grill only.
- If you don’t want to worry about keeping something seasoned between trips—don’t get a griddle.
Whatever you get or don’t get is entirely up to you! Just remember to make great food and have fun cooking in the outdoors!