Mankind has been trying to perfect (and contain) the campfire since the caveman first discovered how tasty barbecue can be. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the ring of rocks we all grew up with, consider the new breed of portable fire pit the next evolutionary step in campfire management. As wildfires rage and Leave No Trace principles become even more important, these portable fire pits offer a safer, more forest-friendly alternative to that ring of rocks. Bonus: many of the new portable fire pits are designed to reduce the fire’s smoke. We tested five of the most highly rated portable fire pits on the market. Here are our thoughts.
BioLite FirePit ($200)
BioLite goes high-tech with its FirePit, taking a rectangular firebox and adding air jets that perpetually fan the flames. A rechargeable 10,400 mAh power pack runs the fans, and you can change their speed with either the BioLite Bluetooth app on your smartphone or a button on the power pack. The box and fans do a good job of reducing the amount of smoke coming out of the fire, and I dig the “X-Ray mesh” sidewalls, which give you a complete view of the entire body of flames.
Solo Stove Bonfire ($300)
(Courtesy Solo Stove)
Solo Stove takes the hobo trash can and gives it a sleek, modern aesthetic. Holes at the bottom and top of the stainless-steel stove provide oxygen to the flames, and because it’s a skinny, long tube, the logs burn hot and fall into themselves, constantly feeding the fire without your having to poke the bejeebus out of it. Just like the BioLite’s, the design of the stove helps cut down on smoke.
Snow Peak Pack and Carry Fireplace ($300)
(Courtesy Snow Peak)
Snow Peak’s Pack and Carry is as much a grill as it is a fire pit. The stainless-steel fireplace works with wood or charcoal and has an adjustable grill top so you can regulate the temperature on the grill surface. Pick your size (the large here is 17.75 by 17.75 by 13 inches), and you can get fancy by surrounding the grill with a Jikaro Table ($325). And the Pack and Carry is truly portable, folding flat and packing away in a carrying case.
Camp Chef Redwood Fire Pit ($160)
(Courtesy Camp Chef)
There’s a reason why so many of us use propane to power our grills: it’s convenient as hell. The same can be said of this propane fire pit from Camp Chef. Spread the lava rocks around the center of the pit, hook it up to a five-gallon propane tank, and turn the knob. The result is instant, constant, smokeless fire you never have to tend. You could argue that using propane is cheating, but you can’t argue with the convenience.
UCO Flatpack Portable Firepit ($40)
(Courtesy UCO Gear)
It might not be the most elegant option on this list, but it is the most affordable and the most portable, because it weighs in at a svelte 3.7 pounds. The UCO Flatpack is made from stainless steel with large holes in the side to promote airflow and has a removable grill top. Use it with wood or charcoal, and fold it flat when you’re done.
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