When my family goes camping we like to take a mini-bbq which runs off of a small propane tank with us. This is great if we have the room in our vehicle, and we plan on driving right up to our campsite. When I am hunting I usually leave this bbq at home because there just isn’t room. I have been looking for a solution to this problem, I want a grilling surface, but I don’t want to carry a heavy bbq or extra fuel (propane would only be for the grill).
UCO (Utility, Comfort, Originality) is a company crafting outdoor gear in Washington since 1971. Their focus is to increase the functionality of a product through simplicity, you only get what you need to make it work. They make two products I was interested in for addressing my grill problem; UCO Flatpack Grill & Firepit, and the Mini Flatpack Grill (same design just overall smaller). I ended up going with the full-sized Flatpack Grill.
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Weight: 3.3 lbs
Compressed (backpack mode)
- Height: 9.25”
- Width: 1-1.25”
Expanded (bbq/fire pit mode)
- Height: 11”
- Width: 10”
- Depth: 13.5”
- Width: 13”
- Depth: 10”
One of the first things I noticed is how small this grill was. The specifications listed on the packaging material, and their website are correct. The next thing I noticed was how easy it was to set up. Check out their video below.
I decided to run a test on this setup to see how it would function with how I intended on using it. I had some extra camp wood around so I prepared some wood: shavings, small kindling, and then medium-to-normal sized kindling. You wont be getting any large pieces of wood in the grill. When preparing the wood I noticed that I needed to take into account the length of wood (so the pieces would actually fit in and not interfere with the grill surface. This wasn’t a big deal, just something to consider before starting the fire.
I used some dryer lint mixed with petroleum-based jelly (Vaseline-type), wrapped into a paper towel. This is pretty typical to what I would use out hunting. The fire started right away and within a few minutes I was grilling. I tested it with an already cooked steak, an uncooked steak, and two hotdogs. The V design of the fuel container (section wood, briquette would sit) helps to reflect heat towards the grilling surface. There are also holes alone the sides of this container which allow good air flow.
At one point I actually had the surface a lot hotter than I wanted. It will take me a few tries to get it down to where I like it for the food I cook. There is also the option of carrying a small bag of briquette for a fuel source. With this you wouldn’t need to trim the wood, or carry fuel starters (lint/Vaseline), just a lighter would do.
The construction felt solid, it never collapsed on itself, or changed once heated. There is a lot of common sense applied to this product. A small tool is included that is used to move the grill surface on and off while a fire is going. Even the box is smart. It fits this entire product in without wasting space, and has a carrying handle. I recommend keeping this box to use once the grill becomes dirty from use. Then you can still slide it into your pack without working about getting your clothes getting soot, charcoal, or other materials on them.
Overall I really like this grill. I was surprised a grill this small had the surface cooking capacity this one does. I was also really impressed with the common-sense construction. So often companies have overcomplicated products by putting too many moving pieces in them. I intend on taking this grill out this hunting season and if I discover any weaknesses I will be sure to do a follow-up.