If you’re anything like me, the thought of packed beaches, urine-filled swimming pools, and rowdy downtown crowds sounds like a pretty terrible way to spend Memorial Day Weekend.

You’ll find me miles away from civilization, in the mountains, grilling with some friends near a waterfall. On second thought, you won’t find me, but that’s the point right?

As we all know, grilling in the woods isn’t always an easy feat. Transportation, fuel sources, and weather can make it a pretty daunting task. Thanks to modern technology and innovation, the backcountry grill industry has exploded. Whether you’re looking to do a solo backpacking trip or just car camping with friends, there is something here for you. These grills would even make Hank Hill proud.

Fire | $0.00

A timeless classic. You can’t go wrong with fire. It’s reliable, easy to create, and most importantly, hot. You can move coals around for multiple cooking stations, boil water on it, or cook food on a stick over it. I really don’t need to go on, do I? It’s fire.

UCO Flatpack | $29.99 $25.49

When it comes to functionality and ease of transport, the UCO Flatpack is about as good as it gets. Folding up into a small, easy to carry pack, the grill only weighs 3.7 pounds. It can cook for up to four people, is easy to set up (under 30 seconds), and is just as easy to clean. Using wood as fuel, you don’t need to carry additional propane or butane tanks with you. This is one of my favorites on this list due to its simplicity.

Coleman Triton Propane Stove | $74.99

A modern take on the two burner classic that started it all, the Coleman Triton is your go-to two burner camping stove. Just like its forefathers, the Triton runs on Propane. The two burners are individually adjustable, allowing you to make the perfect omelet on one side while boiling water for coffee on the other. This stove can kick up to over 22,000 BTUs of power, which is some commercial grade heat. The Coleman Triton weights in at around 11 lbs and has a maximum burn time of about 1 hour per propane canister.

Quick Note: BTUs stands for British Thermal Units. It’s how they rate the output of a burner. Your average household stove is around 7,000 BTUs per burner.

MSR WhisperLite™ Universal | $139.95 $104.95

Perfect for backpackers, the MSR Whisperlite Universal is only 11.2 ounces and, depending on the fuel you use, has almost two hours of burn time. They built this stove to run off of multiple fuel sources to accommodate different types of backpacking. It can use white gas, kerosene, or MSR IsoPro, which is a propane/isobutane blend. The multiple fuel sources allow you to pack what you need for the weather you’ll be cooking in.

Solo Stove Campfire | $149.99 $109.99

Weighing in at 2.2 lbs, the Solo Stove Campfire is my second favorite of the bunch. A simple, easy to pack wood burning stove that can cook for a group. The Solo Stove’s design is pretty ingenious too. The air intake holes at the bottom continually feed oxygen to fire from beneath as the heat leaving the channels inside draws air in. This helps keep the stove burning hotter and minimizes smoke. You can use it as a literal campfire, or use the cooking ring on top for your pot or pan.

Biolite CampStove 2 | $129.95

I’m pretty sure this is the only way that you can charge a phone by cooking bacon. Not only does it look cool, but it’s an ingenious design as well. The Biolite CampStove 2 uses a Thermoelectric Generator to create power from heat generated by the fire. This creates three watts of continuous power while the fire is burning. That’s enough power to charge a phone or camera while out in the woods. Surplus electricity is stored in the battery which can detach from the stove. This allows you to charge your devices later, without fire. The LED indicators on the device let you see how strong your fire is, how much air is flowing through the system, and how much power is available. More on the anatomy of the stove here.

Photo: primus.us

Primus Onja Stove | $149.95

The Primus Onja is the perfect day trip and car camping stove. Not only does it look good, it’s super functional too. The oak lid doubles as a cutting board or serving tray. The body houses the gas canister and conceals the burners from the wind. At 7.5 pounds, it’s not going to kill your shoulder while carrying it either. Each burner puts out about 10,000 BTUs and burns for about 34 minutes on one canister.

GoSun Sport Portable Solar Camping Grill

Photo: gosun.co

GoSun Sport Solar Cooker | $279.00

I came across GoSun’s products a little while ago and was blown away by the idea. Small, portable, and lightweight, the grill uses the sun to bake, roast, or steam your meal. Reaching up to 550°F, the GoSun Sport can cook a meal for two in twenty minutes. Weighing in a 7.5 pounds, it’s easy to pack in and pack out, just by folding it up. Since you’re not using fire, you can cook when there are burn bans (might want to research that in your area). The only drawback is that you can only cook when there is sunshine or a light overcast.

Jetboil Genesis Basecamp System | $349.95

The Jetboil Basecamp System is the mac-daddy of outdoor cooking solutions. It comes with a non-stick frying pan, 5-liter pot/lid, and a windscreen. All of that, with the two burners and gas, fits in one small carrying bag. Using propane, the two burners put out around 10,000 BTUs and weigh around 9 lbs. The Genesis is popular amongst alpinists who have to cook in harsh conditions. The Genesis Basecamp is capable of cooking in twenty-degree weather.

These grills are perfect for the solo backpacker, weekend warrior or the car camping family looking to take their culinary skills out into the woods this Memorial Day Weekend. Did we miss a grill or do you have a favorite of the above? Let us know!


Justin Forrest is an outdoor writer, fly fishing addict, and co-founder of Narrative North—based in Asheville, N.C. He posts pictures of cats and fishing on Instagram sometimes.