The Best Grill For A Camper Van

The call of the wild draws many people to take to the woods, wetlands or desert in hopes of escaping the often-tedious stress of modern-day life. Yet for some, the idea of tent camping is just a little too rough around the edges! The desire for a true overhead roof and other simple amenities like air conditioning is a powerful draw for most.

Many of these people will invest in a travel trailer, camper or convertible “Toy Hauler.” Even if a new unit is beyond your budget, the used camper market is usually rife with nicely priced options. Some of which are light enough to be towed behind a mid-size SUV or a light-duty pickup truck.

Unfortunately, the summer sun can be a cruel mistress. Most campers simply aren’t set up to let you safely run the air conditioning system while you are underway. Even when you get to camp, the heat of cooking in the camper’s kitchen can seemingly negate the roof or window-mounted air conditioner unit.

This drives a lot of RV camper adventurers to cook outdoors on hot or overly humid days. Unfortunately, the inconsistency of the campfire ring simply will not due to cooking three square meals a day. This opens the door for a camp grill, griddle or camp stove.

This isn’t a new trend. Fortunately, many grill manufacturers have made a concerted effort to infuse the camping products marketplace with high-quality units that can do a whole lot more than just sear up a hamburger or hot dog. Some can even double as a griddle or are capable of hybrid grilling things like bone-in pieces of chicken.

Important Camper Grill Features

Chances are the grill that you use in the camper isn’t going to be the same one from your deck. Instead, most people choose a slightly smaller portable grill or camp stove that they can also take with them for occasional trips to the beach and tailgate parties.

Of course, campers are moving things, and they tend to bounce around a lot. Especially if you are going to be staying in out of the way places with often poorly maintained roads. For these units, there are a few simple features to look for to help make them more convenient. This includes things like:

  • A locking lid to secure the top and possibly hold grill tools
  • Folding feet to minimize the total volume of space the camper grill takes up in storage
  • A detachable base to easily move the grill around
  • A regulator with quick connect hose to connect a gas grill to a larger propane tank
  • An easy to remove drippings tray for fast clean up when breaking down camp
  • Lightweight materials like aluminum endcaps to make it easy to carry

Choosing The Right Fuel Source For Your Camper Grill

You have a few different options when it comes to a fuel source for a camper grill. Depending on what your camper or travel trailer is equipped for, and how much you are willing to haul with you, charcoal, gas, and electric options are all in play.

Charcoal Grills For The Camper

Charcoal is the classic fuel source for many outdoor chefs and grilling purists. It brings with it the kind of fire-kissed smoky flavors that conjure up memories of childhood camping trips with dear old Dad. However, it does require you to bring the briquettes with you, which could be an issue if the trunk of your car or SUV has limited space.

One way around this is to use chunks of burning wood from the firepit. Just make sure that it’s 100% hardwood like oak. Softwood like pine has resin and other chemical compounds that will give the food an off-flavor and could possibly make you sick.

You also have to remember to make sure the grill is completely extinguished before you leave. If you are going to be staying at RV parks and camper-designated campgrounds, you might want to double-check in advance to see if they have any special rules when it comes to charcoal grills. A small number ban charcoal grills or require you to use your charcoal grill in a designated spot.

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Propane Gas Grills For The Camper

In recent years, the potential fire risk and inconvenience of ash that comes with charcoal has made propane grills increasingly popular. Most of these portable gas grills come set up to run on a 1-pound propane cylinder. Though many of them can be converted to run off a regulator connected to a larger propane tank. Just bear in mind that if you have a fifth-wheel camper or another unit with a low-pressure exterior gas line connection, that it might reduce the overall BTU output.

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Electric Grills For The Camper

It’s also worth noting that the increased availability of power posts, RV generators, and shore power connections at RV parks has made reliable electricity more available than ever before. At the same time, many high-quality grill manufacturers have taken advantage of advancements in electronic heating devices to produce attractive electric grills.

If your camper, travel trailer or toy hauler has a reliable generator, or you frequently travel to places locations with access to reliable 120 Volt electricity, an electric grill might just be worth considering.

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