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You're out in nature. Your campsite is all set up—tent and tarp are pitched, kitchen is set up, the camp grill is heating, tunes are playing. And you say, "You know what, time for a bonfire." Let's get some rocks, and find a nice spot to make a fire.
"Umm... Actually, we really shouldn't just start a bonfire on the ground, it's not good etiquette", your most annoying risk averse friend says. Alright, fucking Smokey the Bear over here.
But hey! They've actually got a really good point. First off, almost all forest fires are started by humans. And while some may be truly unavoidable, they pretty much all come down to poor decision making done by individuals. Bonfires on the ground are more likely to get oversized, out of hand, and problematic. Plus, they can just ruin what was previously a beautiful campsite.
So what's the safer, Leave No Trace compliant solution? A portable fire pit. They keep your fires more contained, keep campsites in shape, and often have nifty little attachments. It's not as cool as a teepee of logs and some rocks, but it's a lot safer and not much more complex. To help you, the Smokey the Bear, and the entire country out, we decided to put some portable fire pits to the test, looking for which are truly the best. This is what we came up with: The seven best portable fire pits you can buy to protect our nation's lands.
Takibi Fire Pit & Grill
You can buy this as just the fire pit... But the joy of a fire pit, we think, is everything else you can do with it. So, we will always say spring for the full Takibi grill with your Snow Peak fire pit. (It's only $100 extra.) You can go beyond the usual hotdogs on a stick and cook steaks, whole fish, and vegetables.
And strictly as a fire pit, this one really is superior to the rest. The triangular shape helps it pack flat into the included canvas bag, but the shape also helps the fire pit accommodate more wood with a smaller footprint. It's easy to set up, easy to pack away, and it's nice and sturdy when in use.
Pop-Up Fire Pit
Campfire Defender's fire pit is the best combination of size and packability. The aluminum fire pit weighs under eight pounds, and it makes up neatly into the provided carry case.
Set up takes a bit longer than on some of the other models, and because it's so lightweight it can be a bit flimsy. But the walls of the pit are a nice size, and the steel mesh the wood sits on provides your coals with plenty of air, kicking up the heat of your fire. So long as you have even ground to set up on, you won't have any issues.
Ranger 2.0 with Stand
If you want something smokeless, it's got to be a Solo Stove. The brand makes hands-down, the best smokeless fire pits out there. They look good, and they're incredible at redirecting smoke.
The Ranger is the smaller of the brand's midsized models, just a bit smaller than the Bonfire. The Bonfire is the ideal size for a backyard, but for a car camping or overlanding trip, The Ranger is easier to transport, pack, and move around.
Wood Pellet Smokeless Fire Pit
Wood pellets are the answer for when proper firewood is a bit too difficult to come by. If you're on a long trip and in a part of the country that doesn't allow burning found wood, packing enough firewood for a few days isn't really that feasible. Wood pellets pack down neater, and make a decent flame.
As far as pellet-burning fire pits go, Inno Stage makes the best we could find. The pit is affordable, easy to carry, and smokeless. It puts out plenty of heat, but the metal cools down relatively quickly, so you can dispose of the ashes and go. A surprisingly good fire pit all around.
Lite & Pot 900 Combo
At backpacking size you kind of lose the benefits of a fire pit, but technically... this is a fire pit. You don't get serious heat output, but this little Solo Stove burns real wood, so if you're you near it you get the benefit.
We'd suggest this as an easier alternative to a traditional backpacking stove. If you're in an area where found wood is plentiful, you don't have to worry about packing fuel. But thanks to Solo Stove's clever design, you get plenty of airflow and the same consistency of a gas-powered backpacking stove.
If you're in a part of the country where there are always going to be fire restriction seasons, you'll want a fire pit that can also burn charcoal. BioLite's FirePit+ was our favorite for that purpose.
Ignition is electric and incredibly simple, and once a flame is going an internal fan keeps air flowing onto the coals. The battery can last for up to 30 hours of run time, and it all makes the FirePit+ adapt at pumping out heat with wood or charcoal. There's a grill attachment for easy meals, and the mesh sides allow the heat to disperse straight to you.
This thing is an investment, but because of its versatility, we think it's a worthy one.
Stone Square Fire Pit
For some people "portable" means "I can move it around the backyard with ease." And for that purpose, Amazon makes a great standing fire pit.
First, we were pleasantly surprised by the design, as this thing looks a lot nicer than the price would suggest. Second, we loved the lip all the way around the pit. It makes for a nice place to set drinks, feet, and whatever else. And lastly, at only about 27 pounds, it's lightweight enough for one person to move.
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