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Product Review: Coleman Fold N Go Grill

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We brought the Coleman Fold N Go Propane Grill on several camping trips and have even used it at home.

We brought the Coleman Fold N Go Propane Grill on several camping trips and have even used it at home.

Coleman Fold N Go Grill Specifics

Coleman continues to surprise me with lovely little camping products that make my life a whole lot simpler. My latest find, the Coleman Fold N Go Grill, is a compact dynamo of a grill, perfect for a family or even a small group camping trip.

Out of the box, the grill is mostly assembled. You have to attach four plastic feet with the provided screws. This was difficult on my grill—I ended up stripping the screws so the feet ended up only loosely attached.

The propane control arm is a separate piece that attaches when the stove is in operation. It clicks in with hardly any effort at all, which was a big surprise the first time I used it. The connection seemed so loose that I was sure the gas was destined to leak. Fortunately, the connection between the control arm and the grill is quite safe and secure; easy enough for a child to figure out and attach which is a huge improvement over my 1980s-era Coleman stovetop.

Other than that, the grill is ready to go. It has a clamshell design with sleek steel construction and like most Coleman camping products, it's decently attractive.

The grill plate is porcelain coated steel and dishwasher safe. A drip pan is built-in. (The directions said that the drip pan is removable and dishwasher safe, but I haven't figured out how to remove the pan quite yet.)

An adequate latching device keeps the grill closed during transport. The metal carrying handle attached to the grill is convenient, though best for smaller hands.

Like many Coleman products, the Fold N Go Grill has the InstaStart matchless ignition for lighting. A temperature control dial is located where the propane canister is attached.

My Fold N Go, purchased from Costco for about $85, came with two accessories that normally need to be purchased separately. There was a stove grate that allows you to use the grill as a stovetop if desired and a carrying bag. It's important to check the box carefully before you buy so that you know what comes with your grill.

The Fold N Go grill in action with 20 hotdogs. Cooking was easy, and cleanup a breeze.

The Fold N Go grill in action with 20 hotdogs. Cooking was easy, and cleanup a breeze.

How the Coleman Fold N Go Grill Performs

On its first outing, the Coleman grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for twelve people; the hot dogs for lunch and hamburgers for dinner. Given kids were doing the cooking, 20 hot dogs "fit" onto the grill plate at one time. The kids used tongs to move them around, but it probably would have been wise to put only about 12 on the grill at one time. The kids pre-sprayed the grill with non-stick cooking spray, and the grill easily wiped clean after lunch.

For our dinner, about four medium-sized burgers fit onto the grill at one time. We sprayed the grill prior to heating with non-stick cooking spray to aid in clean-up. This worked well for the beef hamburgers, but unfortunately, the turkey burgers fell apart and had to be removed from the grill and fried on a stovetop.

The Instastart ignition worked like a charm and grilling was easy and uneventful for both meals. While it would have been nice to have had a larger grill, cooking sixteen burgers did not take that long. What was noteworthy was that the grill plate heated very evenly—no hot spots or cool spots.

After the grill cooled, clean-up was fairly simple, though messy. The drip pan was literally filled with burnt bits, random beef and turkey chunks, and of course, grease. It wiped out easily, though. The kids cleaned the grill plate as best they could and washed it with a scrubby pad to get most of the burnt bits off. When I got home, I put the grill plate into the dishwasher and got it very clean.

Before we could take our second camping trip, our backyard home grill gave out. We decided to pull out the Fold N Go grill and see if it could cook our tri-tip.

Two big (approx 3 pounds each) tri-tips barely fit on the grill. In retrospect, we probably should have cooked them one at a time. But to our surprise, the grill performed quite well. The tri-tip fit nicely underneath the dome-shaped lid of the grill so we could keep the heat close to the meat. Tri-tip normally takes about 45 minutes to cook on the big backyard grill but took a few minutes longer on the Coleman. Other than the slightly longer cooking time, the grill did great with the tri-tip. The grill plate went straight into the dishwasher, the drip pan wiped clean.

On our next camping trip, we used the Fold N Go grill to heat up bacon, which normally we would cook in a frying pan. We had a giant package of pre-cooked bacon and decided to cook half in the portable Coleman oven and the other half on the grill. The bacon heated up quickly, and crisped nicely as well—a bonus we didn't expect. Since the bacon was pre-cooked, there wasn't too much grease in the drip pan. Cleanup was a snap.

At lunch, I swapped out the grill with the accessory stove grate. The heating element worked great and it was nice to have a secondary stove top. The only downside was the lack of side panels on the Fold N Go to shield the flame from the wind, so the flame kept going out. I hadn't noticed a wind issue at all when using the Fold N Go with the grill plate, but I could see that it might be a problem when using the stove grate accessory.

We used the Fold N Go Grill at dinner to grill skinless chicken. This turned out to be quite messy, as the chicken stuck to the grill. Nobody could remember spraying the grill with non-stick spray, so this could have been the problem. Cleaning was more difficult, but I put the grill top into the dishwasher when I got home, which took care of the caked-on mess.

The grill after cooking sixteen hamburgers.  It cleaned nicely at the campsite and the grill plate got really clean after a spin in the dishwasher at home.

The grill after cooking sixteen hamburgers. It cleaned nicely at the campsite and the grill plate got really clean after a spin in the dishwasher at home.

Final Thoughts

The Coleman Fold N Go Grill is probably best for families of 4-5 people max. While it is a useful grill for group camping trips, the grill surface area is limited. However, the grill's weight and compact size make it easy to throw into the truck for car camping trips. Clean up at the campsite is easy, provided you spray cook surfaces with non-stick cooking spray.

If you do a lot of car camping, I'd recommend purchasing the accessory stove grate and using the grill as an additional stove top for times when you aren't using the grill. The stove grate fits perfectly underneath the grill top so you can store and carry it with the Fold N Go. The carry-case accessory isn't really necessary unless you want to be completely sure that you don't get grease spills in your car. Although our Fold N Go came with the carrying case, we've never used it. We simply make sure to wipe out the grill completely before transport.

When checking the Coleman website, I noticed the company does not have spare parts available for the Fold N Go Grill, which likely means that if yours breaks, you will have to call Coleman's customer service for advice on what to do.

Larger families or groups might consider the Coleman RoadTrip Portable Tabletop Grill, a larger and more robust table grill that is similar in appearance to the Fold N Go Grill.

Update: I finally figured out how to remove the drip pan from the grill for dishwasher cleaning. The pan fits snugly in the bottom of the grill. It has no real "lip" to grip. You have to use your fingernails and lightly pry the pan off. It doesn't take much effort; it just isn't readily apparent that the drip pan is removable. The dishwasher, by the way, does a spectacular job of cleaning the drip pan.


jeremytorres on May 30, 2011:

I like that stuff. Thanks for sharing, great hub.,

Camping Dan on September 08, 2009:

I tried the Fold N Go before on some car camping trips. It was not my favorite grill but it worked really well for me.