The backpack-friendly foldable GoBQ fabric grill

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Tailgating with the folding GoBQ

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There are many portable tailgating grills on the market, but not many of them are compact enough to fold into a backpack or shoulder bag and carry by foot. The all-new GoBQ uses a foldable fabric construction to offer just that type of light, ultra-portable transport. You can use the grill to cook up lunch or dinner anywhere your feet can take you.

"Most people are more mobile these days," says GoBQ cofounder and CEO Todd Zaroban in introducing the grill. "They're not always driving cars. They're walking; they're taking public transportation."

Even many compact grills can prove quite heavy and cumbersome if you have to carry them by foot or public transit. Zaroban and GoBQ partner Eric Goeken attempt to offer a more versatile portable grill package by following a formula that has long worked for outdoor gear like tents and chairs: folding construction.

Instead of the solid metal chassis that is all but universal in portable grill construction, the GoBQ is built from a fireproof silicone-coated fiberglass fabric that can handle temperatures up to 1,200° F (648° C). According to GoBQ designers, the FDA-approved material is commonly used in other cookware applications like baking mats and oven conveyor belts. The fabric is secured into a set of folding legs and easily compacts into the included clamshell-style carry bag. The GoBQ has a hanging, chainmail-like charcoal holder and a rollable cooking grate to complete its packable design.

The GoBQ designers claim that their grill is the "first and only ultra-portable packable grill," but a quick review of the portable grills Gizmag has covered in the past reveals that to be a false claim. From backpacking stove grill add-ons to folding metal grills from ultralight cooking experts, and from titanium-staked grill nets to disposable foil grills, there are already many ultra-portable packable grills, and some weigh a fraction of the GoBQ's 8 lb (3.6 kg).

While the GoBQ isn't the first light, packable grill, it does offer a cooking form factor that is quite similar to the familiar charcoal kettle grills that many use for tailgating, camping and other outdoor activities. The grill has a 14 x 14-in (35.6 x 35.6-cm) cooking grate that offers more cooking area than the Weber Smokey Joe 14.

The GoBQ's heat-resistant fabric also comes with several other claimed advantages. It purportedly cools twice as fast as metal, speeding up the process of cooling the grill down enough to transport home. The fabric also insulates heat, making the outside cooler to the touch than a metal grill (though we're still sure you want to avoid grabbing it when it's firing on all cylinders).

Goeken and Zaroban have cycled through several prototypes to perfect their design and are now looking to bring it to market with help from the Indiegogo community. The US$99 pledge level has already sold out, but pledges of $120 are enough to secure a GoBQ grill, while $135 gets you a grill and carry strap. Assuming everything moves along as planned, GoBQ grills will begin shipping in August.

You can check out the team's pitch video below.

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