Volcano Grills VL-20-300 3-Fuel Portable Camping Stove & Fire Pit Review
The Volcano Grills VL-20-300 3-Fuel Portable camping Stove And Fire Pit were designed to cover a lot of common needs shared by camping and RV adventures. Let’s face it, setting up camp is often a hassle that takes a lot of time out of enjoying your vacation. Sometimes even a nice three day weekend gets a significant portion wasted to setting up the camp kitchen and making a reliable fire.
This grill offers a solution to multiple burning questions, as it can serve as a charcoal grill, a gas grill, wok ring, Dutch oven heater, and even a wood-burning fire pit. It comes in its own carrying case, with a 19,500 BTU propane element, and a regulator set up to connect to a larger 25-pound propane tank.
In it’s collapsed state the Volcano Grills VL-20-300 is only 5-inches high with a 17-inch base diameter. You can expand it in a matter of seconds, where it provides you with a 12-inch diameter grill grate. If you like the grate can be removed and a Dutch oven can be inserted, or you can use the circle as a wok ring.
True to the name the VL-20-300 can use three different fuel sources. Charcoal burns hot and efficient in the lower firebox. Though if you prefer, you can slip the propane element in there to create a consistent, clean-burning flame. Just don’t use the charcoal and propane at the same time.
When you are done cooking you can slide pieces of wood in and it will double as a reasonably sized firepit with a diameter that is compliant with most Federally managed campground regulations.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Simplicity is the name of the game with the Volcano Grills VL-20-300. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, yet the design is still innovative. It’s also very sturdy, to the point wherein it’s collapsed mode a lightweight person could just about use it as a step stool.
Something to keep in mind with the propane set up is that it comes with a basic regulator for connecting to a 25-pound or larger liquid propane tank. If you want to connect it to another source, such as a DOT 39 1-pound gas cylinder, or an RV’s low-pressure LP system, then you will need to buy an inexpensive adaptor.
The propane element itself is rated to produce a whopping 19,500 BTUs of heat. At first glance, this might seem like overkill. However, with a large unit like this, with a lot of available air space, you are inevitably losing a lot of thermal potential to the surrounding air.
There’s also very little in the way of assembly with the Volcano Grills VL-20-300. Beyond setting up the propane burner for the first time, you should have it up and running for the first time in less than half an hour.
While Volcano Grills tries to hang their marketing hat on their convenience, it’s really the versatility that deserves to be appreciated. The configuration and the fuel types lend themselves to many different types of cooking
Imagine starting out your day with the propane element installed. You can then set a cast iron frying pan on top to make bacon and eggs. Then pull the element out to build a charcoal fire for grilling hamburgers at lunch or leave the burner in and pull out your wok for some back-woods stir fry.
You could then say leave for a hike and set up a charcoal fire or build a bed of wood coals before slipping a Dutch oven into the 12-inch opening to let it simmer up a stew. As the sun sets, you can then use it as a very safe fire pit for roasting marshmallows before bed.
That’s just a basic taste of what you can do with this very convenient, versatile outdoor cooking device.
All that being said, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The bottom gets rocket hot, so even though they mention it being an RV grill, it’s not the sort of thing you are going to mount to sidewalls with some lag screws. It’s meant to be set on the ground.
Though it does cool down very quickly. This means you could pack it with you on the pontoon boat. If you catch a few fish in the morning, you can pull ashore in a quiet spot and use it to prepare a classic shore lunch.
It also needs an adaptor to run off an RV low-pressure gas line or a 1-pound propane cylinder. Which is inexpensive, but in some situations could limit how portable it is.
The 12-inch diameter grill grate provides 113 square inches of grill grate space. Though if you wanted to fit a griddle top on it, you could feasibly fry up breakfast for a family of four.
The collapsible nature of the design and the fact that you can use three different fuel sources makes the Volcano Grills VL-20-300 a special feature in-and-of-itself. Yet you don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s also very simple to use.
Ease to Clean
Cleanup is a little bit of a double-edged sword. There isn’t really anything in the way of a grease tray. The grill grates are a little bit on the sticky side, so they will need extra scraping. There’s also the fact that the heat coming off the bottom will kill any grass underneath it.
If you use it for charcoal or wood, there’s no effective way to suffocate the fire. You will need to wait for it to burn out on its own. If you really need to get going and you have a pair of welding gloves, you could tip it over to pour the coals out. Just don’t pour water inside it, as this will lead to long-term corrosion issues.
The Volcano Grills VL-20-300 comes with a 1-year warranty, which is about what you’d expect for a simple camp grill like this.
This isn’t the sort of grill you are going to attach to the exterior of your RV or even fire up on the front deck of your pontoon boat. The lowness to the ground simply makes it too dangerous for that. If you are looking for a highly versatile outdoor cooking appliance that’s easy to use, then you really should give the Volcano Grills VL-20-300 some extra consideration.
- Uses charcoal, wood, or propane
- Comes set up for a large LP tank
- Doubles as a campfire ring
- Easy setup and storage
- Works with woks, frying pans, and Dutch ovens
- Not meant to attach
- Can burn underlying grass
- Needs an adaptor for RV gas lines