Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ultralight Backpacking Grill

While I don't normally cook on the trail, a lot of people have been looking for lightweight grilling options for backpacking. At the supermarket today, I stumbled on to the Oscarware Grill Topper and thought some people might find it interesting.

 The one I got was $1.50, measures 7" X 11" and weighs 0.8 oz.  This one looks like a good size for grilling trout or for a solo hiker but they make larger ones and different shapes.  It's little more than an aluminum mesh that you would have to prop up with rocks but looks like it would work pretty well.  Now all you need is an ultralight spatula.
Ultralight Backpacking GrillSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

26 comments:

James N. said...

Also, it would be a great inexpensive source for mesh material for stoves. I bet you could make a pot support or an Esbit stove out of that pretty easily.

Anonymous said...

I would not have put this in my backpack without padding. It seems to have some sharp edges that quickly destroys both the backpack and the contents of the backpack. Otherwise, good idea!

Jason Klass said...

Good point James. Usually you have to buy that stuff in larger quantities so this would be a good source if you only needed a little.

Anon-
The edges aren't sharp per say but I will wouldn't put in inside my pack without first placing it in a sturdy freezer bag (more because it will be sooty). Or, you could just hang it off the ousside of your pack.

Anonymous said...

The label visible in the most excellent high quality phtotograph enjoins the user to keep this product away from open flame, presumably because of aluminum's tendency to collapse when exposed to high heat. For that reason, I don't think I'd want to use this thin material as a pot support.

It would probably be suitable for camp cooking if you're using charcoal, either the packed in variety or site made after the fire has died down.

Jason Klass said...

Anon-
The label on mine doesn't say to keep it away from open flames. It says to not leave it on open flames when there's no food on it and to remove from the heat when you take the food off. Did you see a different label somewhere else?

J said...

Okay, I tried one of these grill toppers not long ago (diff brand). It melted where direct flame came in contact with it, even the hot coals caused it to over heat and begin to sag in the middle.

I recently bought a $2.99 stainless steal fish grill basket, with a Dremmel tool and cutting wheel removed the long handle and any unnecessary frame then smoothed out any rough feeling edges. So far the grill has worked perfectly for me, just the right size for fish, chicken steak or veggies. Finished size 5"x9", weight 1.2 oz. The original fish basket had a top and bottom, so I have two grills at $1.50 each.

I carry the grill inside a recycled tyvek shipping envelope like the ones FedEx, UPS and the Post Office uses, they're light weight and very durable. I place the grill inside the tyvek sleeve then under the shock cord on the front of my pack. I don't have a front pocket so this seemed like the best place to carry it and not worry about damaging anything inside my pack.

Jason Klass said...

J-That sounds like a great idea. Do you happen to have a link to the fish basket? Also, I like the idea of Using a Tyvek container: tough and will keep other stuff from getting dirty. Nice work!

J said...

Jason- no I'm sorry I don't have a link for the one I have. I bought it at a north GA hunting/fishing/grocery/cafe/ice creamery/gas station/hardware store with lots of deer head and fish mounted and hanging on the walls. :D If you Google fish grill basket you'll see what I'm talking about. The one I have isn't shaped like a fish, it's more rectangle in shape. I've seen them at WalMart, Target and sometimes in the grocery store in the grill section, sometime they're called a burger basket.

J said...

Jason- it looks a lot like this one, but more rectangle in shape

Jason Klass said...

Hi J,
There's no link. Send me the link and maybe I can code it for you.

Jason Klass said...

Here's a picture of
J's Grill

Anonymous said...

Jason,

Your photo, first sentence of instructions on right directly under UPC: "Don't leave on open flames" I can see how you might interpret this to mean after removing food, but based on J's comment, I think it safe to say it means just what it says.

Jason Klass said...

Anon-
Yes, it says that, but if you read the whole thing, it says not to leave it on the grill with food on it and that you should remove it from the grill right after you take the food off. There's only one way to find out. Next time I make a campfire, I'm just going to have to test it and see what happens. When I saw it, I was imagining spreading some hot coals to grill over (not putting it in the fire itself). But it would be good to know if it melts in the coals as the one J tried did. We'll see.

J said...

Jason- I with you, give it a try and see what happens. The one I used was a different brand, I don't remember what it was, but looked to be basically the same thing.

Like I said earlier direct flame melted the mesh burning a hole approx. 2" wide. After awhile longer the center of the grill started to sag from the heat of the coals. The coals were approx 3" below the grill. I suspect the coals from the fire were much hotter than on a charcoal grill and the distance of 3" may have been too close.

It will be interesting it see how yours performs. Maybe a photo or two so everyone can see.

Scott Breakall said...

Great find, Jason! I recently took a 10 oz grill with me on an overnight trip, and it worked well, but left me wanting something lighter. This is perfect!

Oeryk said...

These are pricey, but look great, are light and will likely last forever given some care:

http://www.purcelltrench.com/grills.htm

Jason Klass said...

Oeryk-

Wow, those look pretty cool. If you were planning on some serious grilling, I can see how that might be the way to go. I don't actually think the price is all that bad. It would be better if it were lighter but you can't have it all. Thanks for the link!

Oeryk said...

Yeah, 4.7oz for the Streamside Packer is a tad heavy, but it is stainless steel tubing and pretty darn tough. I may order one to throw in the pack when going out for the weekend to fish.

Jason Klass said...

Oeryk
I think it's a good design and if I grilled more, i would carry it. It's just that I'm a vegetarian so it's not very practical for me on anything other than luxury trips. :(

Edgar said...

Jason,
Love your blog, I just got to know it.
As for the mesh, I'm with James, it looks like great material to make some pot holder. I'll give it a shot for my Trangia.

Edgar

none said...

I grabbed one of those disposable barbecues at Vons the other day. Not sure if they still have 'em, but I ended up using it for a week or so, and after all the charcoal was burned up, I just pulled the grill out of it, used some tin snips and a file to get rid of the sharp edges. I then shoved it into one of those fed ex style bubble wrap envelopes. After using it for a week barbecuing steaks, etc. it has held up well. I think it comes in at a couple oz's or so.

none said...

Here's a picture:

http://www.riteaidonlinestore.com/qxp223117_333181_sespider/ez_grill/disposable_instant_grill_small.htm

Larry said...

I was going on a day hike with the wife and planning a small dinner. found this in the storage drawer of my patio BBQ. I was sure it would be perfect. It even easily folded in half to go in the pack. Build a small fire and waited for some of the fuel to burn down to coals. Put my slick little grill on above the fire and it promptly started to melt/burn! "J" has the idea. Small but durable grill. It could be 1/4 of this aluminum thing. And using the recycled tyvek bag is another great idea

tw_jcc said...

I used them and they melt as soon as my camp fire touched it. The manufacture responded my issues and they said there are fine print on the label said "not for open flame" so it works well with charcoal grill only. ~0_0~

Danno said...

I tried this for the first time over the weekend...I cooked fresh caught fish in it. It seemed to work ok, nice to be able to dispose of it at the end of the trip. However, I think i'll go back to using foil for fish. I usually pre cut 2 to 3 sheets per day on the trail, they keep the butter and seasoning inside and also work to steam the fish in addition to grilling it. Great idea though...I folded mine and put it in a ziplock bag for storage. I found a 3 pack at Wal-Mart for a few bucks, so i guess I still will need touse up the Other two

The Yellow Porcupine said...

I was on a backpacking trip recently and my water purifier failed - so I had to boil much more water than I brought fuel for. I had nothing to support the pot over a fire and the wood was very dry, so it took a long time to boil enough water, especially with no pot support over fire.
Has anyone tried just using a couple tent stakes as a pot support over a fire?