Smoked food has a charm of its own especially in summer when you’re out camping or have friends over. If you love the outdoors, you know one of your essentials is a good smoker for camping. That being said, you don’t want anything too bulky or heavy. A portable pellet smoker for camping or even a portable electric smoker for camping, are great options.
Although many brands claim their smokers for camping to be portable, not all of them are practical. When you’re out camping you want to make sure that you have all the must-have camping accessories. These accessories, however, should be compact enough to transport in the back of your truck or car. They should also be easy to use.
How To Choose The Best Smoker For Camping
Before you decide to invest in a portable pellet smoker for camping or a portable electric smoker for camping it’s a good idea to understand the features that make it your preferred choice. It goes without saying that anything you take for camping should be durable and lightweight. That aside, similar to the best Dutch ovens for camping, a smoker too should be versatile and easy to carry. However, that’s only a small part of what you need to look out for. Other features that you should take into account with a portable pellet smoker or other smokers for camping are specified below.
Smokers for camping are generally quite bulky since they have so many additional features. So finding one that is functional yet lightweight is not always easy. Nevertheless, there are quite a few options for compact smokers to choose from.
Again, the size and weight of your smoker will depend on how much you want to cook in it. Another thing to note is that all compact smokers may not be lightweight. A portable electric smoker for camping usually weighs more than a charcoal grill due to the extras.
Smokers are of various types so the kind of smoker you choose will also determine its portability.
- Pellet Smokers – A portable pellet smoker generally weighs more than an average charcoal smoker. This is due to the hopper and wood pellets so you’ll need to consider this.
- Charcoal Grill – If you’re looking for an easy-to-transport smoker for camping a charcoal grill is a good choice. These come in a variety of sizes and also weigh less than most grills. The advantage of this type is you get the authentic smoky flavor. On the downside, you’ll have to continuously replenish your stock of charcoal.
- Gas Grill – While gas grills are another good portable choice for camping the downside is they’re not stand alone. They require a propane tank to heat which can be quite bulky. However, the advantage of using a gas grill is that it provides even heat and gives you control over cooking temperatures.
- Electric Smoker – You can get a lot out of a portable electric smoker for camping but you’ll need a power outlet to operate this one. These are great for RVs or if you have a generator or car converter.
Versatility and Durability
Smokers that are powder coated with a steel body tend to outlast others. You’re going to be shelling out quite a bit for a smoker so you’ll need to make sure that it’s designed to last.
It’s also a good idea to look for smokers that do much more than smoking. A versatile smoker for camping may be a little more expensive than others, but they’re definitely worth it.
What Are The Different Types of Wood Pellets Used in Portable Smokers?
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to wood pellets for a portable pellet smoker for camping. They’re available in different kinds with different flavors to enhance the taste. Choose wood pellets according to the type of food you are smoking and the kind of smoker you have. For example, charcoal, pecan, mesquite, hickory, and gourmet blend are great for beef while competition blend, apple or fruitwood pellets are good for seafood.
Are Pellets Better Than Wood Chips?
While wood chips do not require much processing, they burn faster than pellets which means fewer smoky flavors. Since pellets burn at higher temperatures, you can cook a larger variety of meats with them.
Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30 inch, Black
Masterbuilt has a good range of smokers that are portable and efficient. The Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker stands at 30 inches and weighs a little less than 50 pounds. It’s an impressive portable electric smoker for camping and a good system for a beginner or pro.
It has a digital panel that allows you to control the settings. Just plug in the smoker set the digital controls and it’s good to go. Besides this, the thermostat control also provides even and consistent smoking.
Another impressive feature of this portable electric smoker for camping is the patented side wood chip loader. You don’t need to open the smoker door to experiment with flavors. With four chrome-coated racks, you have plenty of cooking space.
- Lightweight and easy to assemble
- Heats well
- The digital display is easy to read and controls are easy to understand
- Four racks for cooking
- Adjustable feet
- Lots of pieces to clean between uses
- The wood chip tray is a bit small
Pellethead Davy Crockett Pellet Grill Tailgating Package Includes Cover-Collapsible Rack-BBQ Lights
If you’re on the lookout for a portable pellet smoker for camping, the Davy Crockett Pellet Grill from Pellethead is a good buy. It’s also a good portable electric smoker for camping with adapters for three power options.
The legs of the Davy Crocket fold and double up as handles which makes transporting easy. The system also includes a Premium Pellethead exclusive black grill cover and Pellethead Magnetic Grill lights. Apart from this, you’ll also find a collapsible rack for additional grilling space. You’re all set with a cooking surface of 219 square inches.
The auto-start makes this easy to use. You can monitor the cooking with the help of WiFi and your smartphone. The system requires a 12V DC power supply and has a nine-pound fuel hopper. It’s a pretty efficient system and doesn’t eat up too much fuel.
- Foldable legs which convert to handles
- Magnetic grill lights
- Exclusive grill cover
- 219 square inches of cook space
- Auto-start and sensor-mate to monitor temperature
- When the hopper is filled with pellets the weight is a bit unbalanced
- Not very easy to clean the ash out
Traeger Pellet Grills TFB30KLF Tailgater 20 Grill
Traeger is a trusted name in grills and smokers, and the TFB30KLF Tailgater 20 Grill tells us why. It gives fantastic results every time with epic flavors. The reason this smoker is so great for camping is the portable size and stashable EZ fold legs. With the legs folded, you can easily transport it to your camping site.
These grills are fueled by 100% all-natural hardwood pellets. You can enjoy amazing wood-fired flavors in everything you cook. It’s not just grilling and smoking you can do with this grill. You can bake, roast, braise, and barbecue with this 6-in-1 system.
The new versions now come with Traeger’s Digital Arc controller for precise, consistent temperatures. It also has a Keep Warm Mode that ensures warm food when you’re ready to dig in.
- Reaches high temperatures quickly
- Digital Arc controller for precise, consistent temperatures
- Keep Warm Mode
- 6-in-1 system
- Stashable EZ fold legs
- The instruction manual is not very clear and a bit confusing
ASMOKE AS300 Electric Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating Tabletop Grill and Smoker
The ASMOKE AS300 Electric Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating Tabletop Grills and Smokers are easy to transport in the accompanying carry bag. This versatile portable pellet smoker for camping comes in four different colors, so you can choose the one you like.
It’s an 8-in-1 portable electric smoker for camping that allows either direct or indirect grilling. You can barbecue, bake, roast, smoke, sear, boil and braise with this system. It also has two tiers of porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grids. This means you have 256 square inches of open grilling space.
What makes this one of the best portable electric smokers for camping is the innovative technology. It has a smart temperature control system as well as a programmable meat probe port. The temperature dial goes from 180 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, giving you a wide range of temperatures. It’s easy to monitor the temperature with the color LED digital temperature controller.
Furthermore, the auto-pellet reloading and heating fan helps in maintaining the desired temperature. Another standout feature of this grill is the patented system that allows even distribution of heat.
- Small and compact
- Auto-pellet reloading system
- 8-in-1 cooking styles
- Smart meat probe
- Color LED temperature control
- Quick start heating
- 5-year warranty
- The temperature is slightly inaccurate
- Requires a 110 power source
Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker
A vertical, cabinet-style design sets apart the Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker from the other smokers on our list. This may not be the best smoker for camping in the market, but it does provide plenty of cooking space. Three smoking racks give you the convenience of smoking up a feast!
It comes with adjustable dampers that control heat. Cool-touch handles allow you to move your grill even while cooking without burning your hands. You’ll also find an easy-to-refill water pan and a convenient grate on the top for warming sauces and marinades.
Apart from the vertical design, the smoker also has a double drawer. This gives you easy access to water and fuel without losing any heat in the cooking chamber. It uses a simple propane burner to heat the wood chips and water for smoking. You’ll also find a lid-mounted temperature gauge while the burner has its own temperature control.
- Double drawer design helps retain heat
- Easy to refill the water pan
- Convenient grate on top for warming marinades and sauces
- Even distribution of heat
- Three smoking racks
- The temperature gauge is not very accurate
Cuisinart COS-118 Charcoal Smoker
Easy to set up with everything included except the charcoal and wood chunks, the Cuisinart COS -118 Charcoal Smoker is an impressive smoker for camping. You can smoke all your favorite foods in this smoker, including cheese and vegetables. The smoker has a steel housing and is easy to maintain and clean.
A porcelain enameled steel bowl holds the water, allowing the fusion of heat from the wood to create smoky flavors. Accessing the water and fuel is easy through the vertical side door. Another stand out of this smoker is the ease of controlling the amount of heat and smoke. By opening or closing the two vents the amount of smoke and heat can be managed.
This smoker also gives you more cooking area as it has two steel wire racks that can be stacked inside the smoker. You can easily lift the lid to check on the foods you’re smoking. The vertical design allows even heating of your food.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Steel housing
- More control over the heat and smoke with two vents
- Two racks of cooking space
- Lightweight at 25 pounds
- The door doesn’t shut fully and tends to leak a bit
Z Grills ZPG-450A Pellet Grill & Smoker
One of the best combination grills for newbies is the Z Grills ZPG-450A Pellet Grill & Smoker. The reason why it’s so great for beginners is that it offers an electronic auto-start ignition. You won’t have to sweat with a laborious intensive start-up. In addition to this, the portable pellet smoker for camping will do all the work for you. All you need to do is set the temperature, sit back, and relax.
The PID technology that the system uses maintains the tightest temperature possible throughout your cooking. This gives you consistent results. Another standout feature of this grill is that it has an 8-in-1 versatility. The wide temperature range allows you to grill, smoke, roast, bake, and whatever else you can think of.
The large-capacity pellet hopper offers a longer cooking time as you won’t need to constantly refill it. While the grill is designed for smaller families, it isn’t very light at 84 pounds. That’s because it has a sturdy steel construction. However, the advantage of this material is its high durability. Combined with a powder coating finish, this portable pellet smoker for camping will last you for years.
- Easy start-up with an electronic auto ignition
- Auto-control temperature allows you to relax without constant monitoring
- 8-in-1 versatility
- A large-capacity pellet hopper
- Durable material
- Not very lightweight or easy to transport
- It’s important to clean out the ash after each extended use or the system may not work well
Raptor Grilling Optimized Portable Charcoal Grill Smoker
One of the most fuel-efficient smokers for camping is the Raptor Grilling Optimized Portable Charcoal Grill Smoker. This tabletop travel grill helps you save quite a bit on fuel, especially if you’re using lump charcoal or exotic fuels like binchotan charcoal. This helps you pack light as you won’t need extra charcoal.
You can cook your meals with minimum mess due to the clean handles on the grate and charcoal basket. You won’t need to touch charcoal or ash when you’re relighting your grill. It comes with a charcoal chimney starter that helps keep your hands clean.
An exclusive sealed lid and tight tolerance air valves will allow you to find the perfect grilling temperature. It also cools down quickly, taking about an hour from cooking to room temperature so you can pack it away once you’re done. It also features a large chrome-plated steel grate that provides 230 square inches of outdoor cooking surface. TI’s also pretty versatile and can be used for a number of different functions.
- Patented cooking grate and fuel basket handles
- Cools down within an hour from cooking
- Patented integrated lid stand
- Patented charcoal transfer port
- Large cooking surface
- A little heavy to carry
CampMaid Grill and Smoker with Carry Bag
When you’re out camping, too many pots and pans can be quite cumbersome. However, with the CampMaid Grill Set camping is so much easier. The innovative design features three pieces that make camping so much more fun.
The set includes the exclusive Dutch Oven Lid Lifter, Flip Grill, and Charcoal/Wood Holder Heat Source. These are all conveniently packaged and can be transported in the bonus carry bag.
Your Dutch oven can be converted into a grill, steamer, smoker, and pizza oven at your convenience. The versatility of this smoker is quite unparalleled. The grab-and-hold design allows you to easily remove the Dutch Oven lid, keeping the coals in place and off the ground. This portable cooker set is a staple for your outdoor adventures.
- Multifunctional and versatile
- Easy to transport in bonus carry bag
- The grab-and-hold design makes cooking easy
- Tripod stand
- The accompanying bag may be a bit small for some Dutch ovens with legs
Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Electric Wi-Fi Control Foldable Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating Grill
If you’re looking for a small, portable pellet smoker for camping, Green Mountain’s Davy Crockett is a good option. This grill is easy to pack as it folds down to fit in nearly any trunk and weighs only 57 pounds. It’s quite an impressive tailgating grill.
Apart from its convenient size the grill also has another great feature. It has a Sense-Mate that constantly monitors the temperature of the grill. However, that’s not all that makes this such a great portable electric smoker for camping.
It also comes with a digital WiFi controller that helps you monitor the grill through an app. Another feature that adds to the convenience of using this grill is that it can run on 12V or 120AC. It averages about 60 watts of power.
The whole system includes a meat probe, a peaked lid for stand up chicken, rib racks and a convenience tray with utensil hooks.
- A wide temperature range allows you to sear or smoke
- Can run on 12V or 120AC
- Includes a meat probe
- Sense-Mate to monitor temperature
- Excellent customer service
- The 12V plug tends to pop out during the smoke which can be a little annoying if you’re not monitoring the device
Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker
A budget-friendly smoker for camping that is convenient to use is Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker. Combined with a propane stove or any other stove, this smoker can be used both indoors and outdoors. It comes with sample wood chips, a stick-free rack, a drip pan, and a recipe guide.
You can use this to smoke meat, fish, or even veggies. This multipurpose grill can also be used for steaming, poaching, or roasting in the pan. When you’re done using it, it’s also safe to pop into the dishwasher. The seamless stainless steel makes it dishwasher safe.
What makes this stovetop smoker so great for camping is that it’s easy to store. The handles fold away while all the other components fit inside.
- Convenient to use
- Comes with sample wood chips
- Dishwasher safe
- Easy to store
- This is not large enough if you have extra guests
Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill and Smoker
A sturdy smoker for camping that delivers the right flavors is the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker. Made of solid 22 gauge steel and a powder-coated exterior, this smoker is designed to last. The triple-walled cooker retains heat and maintains temperatures from 200-700 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the short sturdy legs keep the grill steady. Transporting the grill is easy as it weighs only 37 pounds and comes with side handles.
The 153 square inches of grilling space is ideal when camping out. An adjustable top damper helps maintain airflow while the heat is controlled with a built-in temperature gauge. There’s also a damper at the bottom to control airflow. This smoker is ideal for searing meat at high heat or a slow smoke.
When it comes to cleaning this grill it’s not too difficult as the easy dump ash pan makes cleaning up easy.
- Sturdy and lightweight
- Easy to transport with side handles
- Good insulation
- Easy to assemble
- The handle is a little tricky to install
- A bit small for larger groups
Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker
When it comes down to choosing the best smoker for camping you can’t go wrong with a Weber. The brand has been around for the longest time and definitely knows how to satisfy a customer. The Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker is a testament to just how great their products are.
You can choose the small bullet-style charcoal smoker if you’re a small family. It’s easy to throw this into the back of your truck as it weighs just over 20 pounds. That being said, you can still manage to execute multiple roasts as the extra-large water pan maintains the heat for all-day smoking. It has two cooking grates that allow you to cook more than one item at once.
The grill features a powder-coated body, plated steel cooking grates, and rust-resistant metal legs. This ensures your smoker will be around for a while without the fear of it getting ruined. A built-in lid thermometer is a convenient option for checking the temperature. Another great thing about this smoker is that it comes in different sizes so you can choose one that suits your family.
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to use
- Large water pan maintains heat for all-day smoking
- Available in different sizes
- The 14 inch is a bit compact so larger pieces of meat will not fit