The Weber Traveller BBQ is a gas BBQ with a difference; at the pull of a lever it'll fold down flat, with wheels at the bottom and a big handle at the top, so it can be wheeled around in the manner of an old lady shopping trolley. I've been testing one out whenever the sun has shown its face in recent weeks, and have come to the conclusion it's one of the best gas barbecues around. And very possibly one of the best portable barbecues too... although that one will depend on what your definition of 'portable' is. Read on for my full Weber Traveller review.
Weber Traveler review: design and features
Weber Traveler specs
Main burners: 3.8KW
Size when up, lid closed: H94.5 x W110.8 x D58.4cm
Size when folded: 104 x 60 x 32cm
Cooking area: 2,65cm sq
Fuel type: Liquid petroleum gas
The Weber Traveler is a single-burner barbecue that sits on a folding mechanism that enables it to be collapsed down flat, like a deckchair, when not in use. Despite being sold on its portability, it's not exactly light, tipping the scales at over 28kg.
There's a generously sized cast-iron grilling area (big enough for 20 drumsticks or around three dozen sausages... or a wheelbarrow load of veggie kebabs). The lid and cook box are porcelain-enamelled, for reliable indirect grilling with minimal flare-ups. For easier cleaning, Weber has added a removable tray at the base of the cook box, it which sits disposable foil trays, to catch the fat.
There's a temperature gauge on the hood to give you some idea of what's going on inside, a knob to adjust the temperature from high to low, based on what you're cooking (interestingly, Weber suggests you might want to cook pancakes on low, which feels like a challenge on an open-bottomed griddle, but who am I to say?). For organisational purposes, there's a large preparation area to the right of the grill, and three knobs on which you can hang utensils.
The Weber Traveler runs on the kind of disposable, screw top gas canisters made by the likes of Coleman, Weber and Primus. It's a practical option for transporting around, and Weber says the design is optimised for efficient gas usage. Nevertheless, if you wanted to use bigger canisters, the design could easily adapted to work with a standard Patio Gas propane bottle.
Underneath the cook box is a heavy-duty frame that feels sturdy and reliable, both when cooking and when wheeling the flattened barbecue around. The design is appropriately chunky to hold up such a serious barbecue section, but looks stylish and is pleasant to grip. Large wheels on one side aid portability.
At RRP, it'll set you back £479, which is surprisingly reasonable for what you're getting, and especially considering its from Weber.
Weber Traveler review: setup, transport and storage
The Weber Traveler is a cinch to put up and down. The folding mechanism is extremely elegant: to unfold the Traveler, you undo a safety latch, place your foot on a grippy red section on the leg and pull it up until it clicks into position. Simple. Satisfying. But not as simple and satisfying as putting this barbecue down. Place your foot on the red footrest, deploy a lever underneath the barbecue, and it collapses slowly to the ground with a gentle damping action. At the end, the handle section lifts and the hood lock slides into place. It's impressive enough that you'll probably want to put it up and down several times before even firing up the gas, just so you can enjoy the engineering magic.
The large wheels and a chunky, wide handle at the top make it extremely easy to move about, despite its hefty weight, on uneven, grassy terrain as well as more solid, flatter paths.
It's not exactly portable portable. I wouldn't, for example, pull it along a track down to the beach, not least because I'm pretty sure those wheels wouldn't deal with sand well. For that you need something you can pick up and carry with one hand (something like the Campingaz Party Grill 400 would work – but that option does also mean you'd have to deal with a smaller grilling area).
It is, however, extremely portable compared to other gas barbecues of a similar size. You could indeed, as Weber suggests, load it into a car – if you had a reasonably sized boot and didn't mind it getting greasy – and drive it to a big gathering that was in need of more grills.
The ability to flatten it down is also a big win on the storage front – it can be easily rolled into and out of a garden shed or garage, where it can live when not in use. Where I think this would really shine is for people with limited garden space, who don't want a big BBQ sat out all year.
Weber Traveler review: cooking
Getting up and a-grillin' is very straightforward. With the barbecue set up, the process is as you'd expect (screw on a gas cylinder, open the flow of gas with a knob, and switch on the grill itself). There's a separate clicker to ignite the flame, and once alight the temperature can be controlled using a knob on the front. With the hood down it comes up to temperature quickly – as displayed via a dial on the hood.
I used this to cook mainly veggie dishes, and although there's only one burner, the heat was pretty even. The grill is plenty big enough to cater to a lot of people at once – Weber hasn't scrimped on size in its pursuit of portability, so you won't have people hanging around for ages waiting for be fed. The tray on the right hand side is large enough to be very useful, and there are four knobs onto which you can hang your tongs and flippers.
Obviously, there's only so much fat a veggie kebab and some flatbreads will produce, so I also put the drip tray system to the test with a half-dozen particularly juicy sausages for the carnivores in attendance. It's definitely effective in collecting the majority of the grease, and although you will still have to clean out the base of the tray, it's generally a much simpler process. A hack if you don't want to take out shares in tiny disposable Weber-branded foil trays is to line that bit with tin foil and just chuck that in the bin each time. The grill can also be lifted out, in two parts, for easy cleaning. Or as easy as cleaning a barbecue grill ever is, anyway.
Weber Traveler review: verdict
Now to the really important bit of my Weber Traveler review: should you buy one? This barbecue manages to solve the seemingly impossible conundrum of those who want a barbecue that's compact to store and easy to move around, but don't want to compromise on grill size. The folding mechanism is very cleverly designed, both in concept and execution, making what is undoubtedly a still chunky and heavy barbecue extremely manageable. While that chunkiness does mean you're slightly limited in how far you'd want to take it – it's not well suited to being dragged long distances, for instance – the fact remains there aren't many barbecues of this size you could pop into the boot of your car.