Setting off for distant lands is as far back in American history as, well, American history itself. Every year, millions of Americans enjoy the pastime of hopping in their RVs, hitting the open road, and taking a break from the daily grind. Whether you’re heading straight for a favorite campground or carving out some personal exploration, there’s plenty of opportunity to bond with friends, family, or even a few good strangers over a hot grill and a cold beer.

That’s right: a hot grill. What? Who told you that you’d have to leave the grill mastery at home? We’ve got a copy of the highway handbook right here — there’s nothing in here that says navigating interstates and backroads in a magnificent vessel that towers above your fellow man means you can’t anticipate a succulent steak (or several) along the trip. For more information about the sizzling, sight-seeing sorcery we call “camper grills,” get ready to have your minds blown open below.

What to Look for in an RV Grill

Alright, time to get serious, because even the best RV portable grills have to stomach compromises somewhere. From the toughest grills with enduring construction to lighter grills prone to shorter lifespans, drawing a line in the sand may just send the tide elsewhere; you should know how that delicate balance teeters before making any steadfast commitments. So, before we get into the fun stuff, here are four major factors to think about any grill you’d want to bring onto your RV.

Magma Crossover Grilling system mounted to the back of a van

Grill Size and Available Storage

Portability belongs on a pedestal when every square foot counts. But the grill alone won’t give you the bigger picture, and you’ll absolutely want to factor in the size factor of its fuel. Are weight gain or storage space your highest concerns? If so, you’re likely to find excellent value in propane gas or electric RV grills, which can either shrink the fuel storage or — in the latter case — eliminate it.

Man setting up Camp Chef Pursuit portable pellet grill in front of his RV camping area

Stamina and Sturdiness

Excited trekkers may be tempted to embrace lighter materials, but that thought usually lasts as long as the grill does. Then again, thicker and heavier material can easily be a necessary dealbreaker. Painted steel, cast aluminum, and ceramic grills generally weigh less; are you fine replacing them more often? Cast iron and powder-coated steel are heftier materials; can you commit to handling them day-in and day-out?

Woman pulling a folded down Weber Traveler grill across rocky terrain

Weather and Wilderness

Knowing the climates where you hope to take your RV camper grill goes far to start narrowing down choices. Gas historically struggles in windy environments, and propane RV grills haven’t yet triumphed over their mortal enemy: a stiff breeze. Coastal excursions must factor in harsh saline air, while frequent rain puts a damper on charcoal while making bricks of pellets. Do the campgrounds you’ve picked offer 110/120-volt outlets?

Man pulling a hot pizza out of a Camp Chef cooker in front of an RV

Features and Flexibility

Isn’t pouring over features the fun part in picking just about any grill? We think so. From burner counts to pop-out shelves and programmable features, there’s a lot to love with RV grills. But we encourage you to remain flexible with quality-of-life demands; all the automatic lid locks and alarms in the world won’t help if a folding grill would’ve spared you endless headaches… Well, with one exception: the Magma Crossover Series cooking system. If you have the room for a few extra pieces, it’s practically a portable propane kitchen for your RV!

Choosing Fuel Type for Your RV Grill

As is so often the case, the best portable grill for RV living is the one you’ll use. (And the one you’ll use is the one that won’t elicit groans when you picture lugging it out.) The quickest way there is to discuss the various fuel types on offer. That choice will lay down immutable facts about the ease (or exertion) of fire management, weight and space, the taste of the food, and more. Is it any wonder we want you thinking about this one early?

Eggs, bacon, and pancakes cooking on a Magma Crossover portable gas griddle on a picnic table

Gas Camper Grills

Rather save the adventures for the hiking trails? Then look no further than the rock-solid gas RV grill. Easy, dependable, and comparatively safer, this choice generally puts your cookout on cruise control. But straying from civilization means bumps in the road: propane runs out, and predicting when isn’t always possible. You’ll also need to decide if you’re carrying pricier and (generally) non-refillable 1-lb tanks for their portability, or their heftier cousins of the 20-lb variety. Even so, liquid propane takes the sweat out of controlling fire, so the hassle of storage and refilling can prove worthwhile.

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Man and dog sitting in front of RV with portable kettle charcoal grill

Charcoal Camper Grills

Tired of hefty grills with intricate parts? Prefer to outsource every conceivable ounce of physics to the fuel itself? Welcome to charcoal. Charcoal RV grills not only chuck fallible components to the wayside — no flame tamers or valves here, folks — but they offer a satisfyingly primitive experience over crackling hot coals and delicious, smoky wood chip or chunks. Then again, charcoal insists you know what you’re doing; keeping the fire going, controlled, and stopped isn’t easy far from home, and improper ash disposal can draw wild attention. Plus, charcoal bags are heavy! But your inner primordial (and your tastebuds) will appreciate your hard work.

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Sausage, peppers, and asparagus grilling on a Country Smoker Portable Wood Pellet Grill on a beach

Pellet Camper Grills

The best pellet grills are built uniquely tough. Pellet RV grills bring that durability to, well, wherever you can park! Take the convenience of gas ignition, evoke similarly flavorful, smoky style from charcoal, and what do you get? A grill made to make you smile. They’re adept at a variety of cooking styles, and fire control is handled through versatile digital controls. Just like charcoal, however, those bags stay heavy. All those electrical components weigh down the machine, and you’ll need a standard 110/120-volt outlet — not always available. Solve those issues, and the convenience will reward you.

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Seafoam Green Weber Lumin Grill on stainless steel cart

Electric Camper Grills

Forget hefty fuel. If that sentence alone sold you, buy an electric RV grill — if you can guarantee access to a 110/120-volt source whenever you want something sizzling. For that reason, manufacturers have been slow to adopt the all-electric lifestyle. But there’s really little beating the convenience or safety of a lightweight, well-engineered piece of equipment that says, “Keep me juiced, and you’ll never look back.” Sure, they don’t smoke — if they do, you have problems — and it can be a hassle finding power, but they’re formidable yet painless machines. And hey: no open flames!

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RV Grill Departments

Final Considerations

Aren’t the possibilities incredible? Push the pause button on life, hit the highway, and breathe in fresh air with fascinating sights before you. But before we send you on your merry way, we have a little leftover housecleaning — RV-cleaning? — to finally address. These parting sentiments should fill in a few gaps with food for thought. Take a look below at general maintenance and start thinking about RV grill accessories, then get to planning your next big adventure. Happy exploring!

Magma Crossover RV Mounts

Trailer hitch mounts make excellent use of a spare hitch. While mounting equipment itself doesn't often consume much room, every inch counts when you're traveling. And why not make wise use of your resources? Thanks to a trailer hitch grill mount, that unused component can become your staging area for camper grilling. Safety comes first, so we heavily recommend that you review all relevant owner's manuals (this includes your RV) to ensure nothing combustible will be within clearance limits of your cooking station. At time of writing, the Magma Products is our sole camping grills partner to design trailer hitch mounts — further making the Magma RV Crossover cooking system a sure win for nearly any trip.

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Keep Up With Upkeep

A dirty grill at home is a hassle. A dirty grill in nature is a magnet for attention: insects eager to provide ecological waste management could arrive in droves, whereas wildlife may find itself summoned by the Ghost of Burgers Past. That’s why every meal should be wrapped up with a quick round of proper cleaning. Considering disease vectors, the chance for spoiled food, and general ickiness, we don’t suggest cordially inviting over a thousand new RV roommates. Electric and propane grills are a simple routine: burning away lingering grub, scrubbing grates, and wiping surfaces. For the other fuel types, well…

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Properly Trash the Ash

Then there’s this stuff. If you’ve cooking on charcoal or pellets, safe ash disposal after all cooks is mandatory; animal noses are far more sensitive to the drippings absorbed in those puffy flakes, and ash doesn’t play well with metals on a chemical level to begin with. When you’re done bringing your great backyard to the great outdoors, clear out the leftover powder and follow local rules for ejecting it from your life with prejudice. Then again, you could always resist the feature list — some RV camper grills offer a basket or ash catcher designed to lessen that burden.

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Cookware for Campers

And, just like that, we’re straight back to the fun! With clever planning ahead, every new component you add to your camper collection could provide further culinary options to your recreational repertoire. For a popular and practical choice, we suggest cast iron cookware, which rewards regular maintenance and seasoning with nearly unparalleled heat cooperation. If space savings rank higher on your to-do list, marine-grade Magma cookware is designed with square footage in mind; of course, what is a boat grill if not the RV grill of the sea? As with everything related to blazing the trail beyond your own backyard, plan your grilling ahead — then kit out your camper accordingly.

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That’s it for us! We hope we’ve done our part to help you find your ideal rv grill so you can enjoy the taste of BBQ no matter where you’re trailblazing. If you have other questions about grills for camping beyond the backyard or need more help narrowing down your options, don’t hesitate to call our grilling experts at 1-877-743-2269. See you on the trail!