Aptly named, The Traveler is a portable wood pellet grill from Country Smokers.
Until recently if you wanted a pellet smoker to take camping or tailgating you didn’t have a lot of choices.
For this review, we put The Traveler to the test to see how well it performed as a portable pellet grill.
Country Smokers sent me this grill for free in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own
Country Smokers The Traveler Review Overview
With 256 square inches of grill space and a 5-pound hopper, The Traveler has definitely been designed for portability.
But how well does it cook?
After thoroughly testing the grill in a range of situations we can confidently say this grill does what it says it can do. It can do a mean sear and does a good job of smoking.
The temperature is very consistent and very convenient to use.
- Black sand exterior
- Control type: dial-in digital
- Cooking temperature: 180°F to 500°F
- Total Cooking Surface: 256 square inches
- Searing zone
- 5 lb hopper capacity
You can run the grill on standard power, or if you are on the go you can power the grill off a 12-volt DC plug in your vehicle with a 100-watt inverter.
Country Smokers are owned by Dansons, the same company that owns Pit Boss.
What I like:
- Portability – A pellet grill that can go on road trips, camping or out to the ballpark for tailgating. This grill/smoker is light at 52.9 pounds and easy to transport
- Searing zone – This feature appears to be more than a marketing gimmick. It actually works. I was quite impressed with this little grill’s ability to sear some meat!
- Grill grates – The grates have been very easy to clean off and they seem to be well made. The upper grate is removable from the base grate. I really like this feature. It is handy when you need all the space you can get.
What I don’t like:
- No carry handle – The grill may be portable, but it doesn’t have carrying handles which makes it a little awkward to carry. It also requires a vehicle to be within extension cord distance and gel starter in order to use the grill’s portability.
- No backstop to prevent food sliding off – The grill grates slide food a little too well! I slid a burger right off of the back of the grill, as there is nothing there to stop it. Since the cooking area is not super large, I was trying to use every inch of the grilling area. It would probably help if there was a small lip or something to act as a backstop to keep food from sliding off.
The grilling area is definitely on the small, but it is comparable to some other portable grills. Read on to see how it compares with the competition.
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Unboxing and assembly
The package was well protected with thick cardboard and foam.
Grill grate and diffuser plate, sear zone sliding plates were protected with more foam and cardboard.
Metal parts were arranged so they couldn’t touch during shipping.
Oh so easy. It doesn’t get easier than this. A couple of screws for the handle. A few screws for the legs and you’re done!
It took 15 minutes conservatively.
Read and follow the instructions explicitly for priming, startup, and preheating of your grill. I can’t stress this enough. This is the key to great pellet wood cooking experiences.
All metals parts had a good coat of paint. No rust, no non-painted surfaces.
Corners of sheet metal parts were sealed with high temp caulking.
Considering this is a portable grill, I was very impressed with the coating and strength quality of the parts. I believe this grill would live to see multiple seasons of good use.
There was a small issue initially with how the lid fit on the base. The lid was sitting offset of the base to the left. I loosened the lid hinge screws, adjusted the lid, and re-tightened them. After that, the lid was nice and square.
Temperature control and accuracy of grill and probes
The grill has 2 internal probes: 1 that displays on the control panel, the other is installed in the hood.
These probes measured very accurately when tested by my Thermoworks Smoke.
They ranged from 0-10°F difference from my testing device. Some of that could be accounted for by the probes being in slightly different positions.
When set at higher temps (350° or above), the temp range averaged 355-375°. The max temp I recorded was 375°, but it only reaches this temp briefly before lowering again.
When set at lower temps (225°), the temp range averaged 227-252°.
Not too shabby for a portable pellet grill
This level of fluctuation is pretty normal as most pellet grill fires work in waves. Pellets drop, they smolder, they catch fire, then burn out. Repeat.
Because of this, the temperature in the firebox will normally go up and down in waves. The temps will rise up briefly and then drop briefly. This is normal behavior.
For reference, I tested my gas stove: When set to 250°, the stove’s temp range was 235-248° ( a range of 13°).
Cooking on The Traveller
You can plug the traveler into a standard 120V fuse for use around the home, but this grill wasn’t designed to sit around your house!
The grill can be used in conjunction with a 100-watt inverter to run the grill off of a 12-volt DC plug in your vehicle.
This will power the auger and control panel, but the grill igniter will have to be disconnected as it requires 1000 Watts to function.
So a person would need to use a gel starter to initially ignite the pellets. Then use the 100 watt inverter to continue operating the grill.
Pellet Consumption: About ½ lb per hour on lower temps (250° or less). About ¾-1 lb per hour on higher temps.
Pay attention to which way the grill is positioned if the wind is blowing. I made the mistake of positioning it wrong with the wind blowing.
Every time I opened the hood the smoke would blow right in my face.
This little sucker can produce some smoke. This is not a negative for the grill, just unexpected operational information.
How to run the grill without a vehicle
I don’t like the idea of being tethered to a vehicle by an extension cord. If I want portable, then by golly I want portable!
If you want to go cordless here’s what you need:
- 1000 Watt max inverter (the grill igniter needs 1000 watts to run)
- 35 AH SLA (sealed lead acid battery)
With these items, you will get all the portability that you want.
If you’re gonna buy an inverter to power the grill anyway, you might as well pay a little more and get one that will power the grill’s igniter too. The igniter only runs for a couple minutes anyway.
The grill takes 8.3 amps per hour to run. So you can get a small SLA battery that will power the grill for however long your want!
I chose the 35 AH size because that would give you roughly 4 hours of run time. I believe this would give you several days of cooking if a person were camping before they would need to recharge the battery.
Obviously, if you were planning on using it to smoke foods, you may need a larger battery.
Alternative portable pellet grills
Davy Crockett VS The Traveller
- The Traveller is about 15 pounds lighter
- Davy Crockett is currently more expensive
- Davy Crockett has Wifi connectivity and can be controlled via App (it has limited range though)
- Davy Crockett includes a meat probe
Traeger Tailgater VS The Traveller
- The Traveller is about 9 pounds lighter
- The Tailgater is significantly more expensive
- The Tailgater has 300 square inches of cooking space which makes it a little roomier
In our opinion, the Country Smokers Traveller is more of a pure portable grill, while the two other options can be used as a small grill at home and have some portable features.
This is a great portable pellet grill/smoker.
It’s very easy to operate. It’s easy to clean and maintain. Its pellet consumption is very efficient and reasonable. It’s priced very well for its size, and it has some of the same features as bigger grills like the searing zone.
And while I wasn’t able to solve the drawback of no backstop, I was able to provide a reasonable solution to being tethered to a vehicle.
Do you love the taste of food being cooked over real wood, but like to keep things simple? Do you like to go camping? RV’ing? Tailgating? BBQing at the park?
If you said yes to both of those questions, then this is a grill you should take a serious look at.