Campfires are like magnets, and bring friends, family and even strangers together. The mesmerizing flicker and crack of every log, the smell of the wavering smoke and the sizzle of smoldering embers are among the many reasons we escape outdoors.
Fire pits have come a long way since their primitive roots of collecting some rocks and creating a circle. Walk around any campground and you’ll see all types of portable fire pits. But if you begin to research the options, you may feel overloaded with information, specs and features to consider.
Whether you want one for cooking, heat or ambiance and want to use wood, charcoal or propane, allow me to highlight my favorite options.
Best Portable Fire Pit Overall: Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
I’ve owned the original Solo Stove Bonfire since 2014, and it’s traveled all over the country with me. Mine has some bumps and scrapes but still performs as good as it did from the first day I received it. I’ve also owned the new 2.0 stove since it debuted in August 2022, and I appreciate the upgraded design of the removable ash pan. I used to have to lift and shake the older model to get the ash out, which created a mess. The new design is a game-changer, and what solidifies the Bonfire 2.0 for our best overall portable fire pit.
The Solo Stove base is made of durable double-walled stainless steel that allows air to travel from the bottom to the top. The extra oxygen from the vent holes keeps the flame burning but eliminates the annoying smoke that gets you playing musical chairs around the circle.
The bonus accessories are worthwhile (sold separately), like the stand that allows me to use it on a wood deck and the heat deflector that sits on top and deflects the heat downward to your cold feet and legs. It also comes with a carrying/storage bag to transport the 23-pound stove from home to campsite. I will admit that my original storage bag deteriorated over time, though.
To my mind, tthe Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 isn’t the best option for cooking, although you can buy a cast iron cooktop for it, which improves matters. I enjoy roasting marshmallows over it, but there are some better options for a portable kitchen, which you can read about below. In addition, even with the carrying bag, the package is still very bulky and takes up a lot of room in the car. There are some more portable pits I recommend instead, including a smaller option from Solo Stove (also below).
Buy the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
Best Propane Portable Fire Pit: Ignik Firecan Deluxe
The Firecan Deluxe is an upgrade to the original Firecan. This stainless steel 13.8-pound fire pit looks and carries just like an ammo can. The lid clamps down and removes easily to expose the actual fire pit. Because it runs only on propane, this is perfect for those who do not want the smell of campfire on your clothes or for times when you need to cook and there’s a fire ban.
The Ignik Firecan has two quick connect intake valves: one for grill mode and one for fire pit mode. The grill mode emits smaller flames so you can adjust the heat levels while adding the removable grill insert to cook up your meal. The grill tray can also be removed via a handle with your food in it. The fire pit mode puts out larger flames, which is better for heating and creating a better campfire experience. The whole box has collapsible legs that elevated it off the ground, so no worries about catching your deck or the forest floor on fire.
It comes with a 5-foot-long, quick-release hose and can be hooked to any propane tank, such as the traditional 20-pound tank you’d use for your grill. Better yet, buy the Ignik Gas Growler Deluxe, a 5-pound version of the big tank normally on your backyard grill. Add the Fire Rocks for more of a natural-looking fire ambience.
Buy the Ignik Firecan Deluxe Fire Pit & Grill
Best Tabletop Portable Fire Pit: Solo Stove Mesa
I have owned the Solo Stove Titan for many years, and use it on my deck table at home as well as on picnic tables while camping. Suited for portability and small fires, the updated Mesa is made for tabletops with an included stand that keeps it elevated off of flammable surfaces, as well as rubber tips on the base, so it will not slide around. It’s basically a mini version of the beloved Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 above, but only weighs in at 1.4 pounds to that fire pit’s 23 pounds.
The Mesa comes with a pellet adapter for burning pellets, or you can burn small pieces of firewood or use downed branches. It’s so small, it can even be packed in your pack for a backpacking trip, though it comes with its own nylon carrying bag.
Best Portable Fire Pit for Flame Control: BioLite FirePit+
The ingenious design of the BioLite FirePit+ allows you to control the temperature and flame size for cooking or warmth via a phone app with Bluetooth capability, so you never need to leave your camp chair. A rechargeable power pack powers the 51 internal air jets, and a fan on the side of the fire pit adjusts the flame size. When on low, the power pack will run your fire for 30 hours. The power pack also has a USB port if you need to recharge your phone.
You can burn either wood or charcoal in this BioLite. I’ve never seen a charcoal grill heat up in less than 15 minutes, but this one does just that, thanks to an adjustable rack which keeps the charcoal elevated off the bottom and the fan. The additional grill grate slides in place and allows you to cook a larger meal.
The final highlight is the X-ray black metal mesh that surrounds the stove, giving you a 360-degree view of the embers and flames in the stove, as well as a view of how much wood is left. A trap door on the bottom allows for easy emptying of the ash or coals.
The legs fold into itself and you can also buy the Carry Bag Accessory, sold separately. Weighing only 20 pounds, it’s easy to carry with the two large side handles.
Best Portable Fire Pit for Cooking: Breeo Y Series Portable Smokeless Fire Pit
This Breeo fire pit has similar air technology as the Solo Bonfire, but it’s beefier, weighing in at 31 pounds. The difference is its metal flat ring around the circumference of the top that’s built for cooking—you can lay burgers, chicken, steak, veggies and more directly on it. You can use wood, charcoal or pellets for burning and cooking.
If you need even more cooking surface, the company makes two worthwhile accessories you can add on. The searplate griddle allows you to cook even more food, and the outpost grill fits into the fire ring and hangs above the pit with an adjustable metal mesh grate for more grilling space.
This Y series allows you to transport the fire pit around, thanks to the built-in carrying handle and collapsible legs. The legs have three levels of height adjustment: stow (all the way in), burning (halfway out) and cooking (fully extended). When cooled, you can just lift it up by the handle and dump the ashes. The functionality and durable design make it worth the extra cost for avid camp chefs. Bonus: The carrying handle doubles as a bottle opener!
Buy the Breeo Y Series Portable Smokeless Fire Pit
What to Look For in a Portable Fire Pit
This really depends on your personal preference, where you plan on using it and what fuel source you’re looking to use. I tried to lay out the best options for the various fuel sources, and for me personally, the versatile pits that utilize multiple types of fuel are most appealing. I also live in Alaska, where fire bans happen often, so having a propane option like the Ignik Firecan Deluxe Fire Pit & Grill is essential for those circumstances.
Regardless, you’ll want to make sure you find a portable fire pit that can withstand the elements, like rain. I’ve found that stainless steel is a great option, as I often forget to cover ours up in time before the storms. Ideally you do not want to replace your fire pit ever, particularly for something preventable, like rust.
Our Expert Guide
My name is Justin La Vigne, and I’ve been exploring the outdoors for more than half of my life. I estimate I’ve slept outside 1,000-plus nights, whether it was during my 10-plus years living on the road or while backpacking more than 7,000 miles.
I practice Leave No Trace, and minimizing campfire impacts is one of the seven principles. I love fires as much as the next camper, but creating a new fire circle can cause damage to the ground, disturb the surrounding environment and wildlife habitat, and could even be illegal. By bringing a portable wood, charcoal, or a propane fire pit, I can control my surrounding conditions.
As for these recommendations, I personally own around 10 fire pits, and some for many years. Most of the time, the Solo Stove sits on the back deck of our cabin and the Breeo at our yurt for our guests. The Ignik and BioLite are both fairly new to me, but I’ve grown to love aspects of them both and because they’re more portable, I’ll pack them up for future camping trips. And when there isn’t a fire ban, we have a fire pit going on our cabin deck or at our yurt almost every night. Not that we need the light—it helps keep the mosquitos away.
This article was originally published by 50campfires.com. Read the original article here.