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The Very Best Portable Firepits

Photo-Illustration: Fire Sense / Amazon

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One of the best parts of spending time outdoors is ending the day by relaxing around a campfire. If you’re allowed to safely start a fire, using a portable firepit is both a fun and efficient way to enjoy a fire in nature. (Make sure to check for burn bans in your area by visiting your local park’s or state’s website — these rules will most likely be posted at camp if you’re at a campsite.) It not only serves as a heat source and social gathering spot but as a way to cook your food, too.

Firepit technology has become more advanced in the past decade. Now you can find pits that are smokeless, meaning that they have airflow features that keep the fire burning cleanly, while others are also Bluetooth-enabled and come with cooking accessories that convert them into bona fide grills. All of the firepits we’ve included in this article are portable, which means that the fire — and everything you burn — is contained within the structure, and you can pick up and carry the firepit once you’re finished. To find the best portable firepits, I spoke to outdoor-gear experts and writers to get their picks for the models they take camping and use at home. Plus, I’ve tested almost all of these models myself. Whether you’re looking for a simple backyard firepit to roast marshmallows or one to take on your annual camping trip, there’s a pit for you.

What we’re looking for

Fuel source

Most portable firepits are wood-burning, and building a fire in them is similar to how you’d build one in a fire ring at a campsite: You use tinder, kindling, and fuel, such as larger logs (some wood-burning models can also be fueled with wood pellets). Other models use gas, which usually requires a hookup to a propane tank or other gas source. The benefit of gas-powered firepits is that they’re extremely easy to start — you just turn it on like you would a gas-powered grill. Tiny, tabletop-size firepits will use isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, which you can pick up at the drug store, to create a small flame.

Portability

All of these firepits are designed to be used in a variety of outdoor scenarios, from the patio to a picnic. I’ve noted their weights and specific features that make them easier to carry and move around, like grab handles, foldable legs, and carrying cases.

Smoke control

Smoke is caused when particles of the fuel source, such as bits of wood, don’t burn all the way and are carried into the air by the flame. A “smokeless” firepit sounds like an oxymoron, but some wood-burning models are designed to provide air to the base of the flame, which makes it burn efficiently and cleanly, resulting in fewer particles being carried by the flame, and therefore less smoke. I’ve noted each wood-burning model’s ability to provide airflow below: low (little or no airflow features); medium (some airflow features); and high (efficient airflow features). Gas-powered or isopropyl-alcohol fueled models will have a “high” smoke control rating since they naturally won’t create smoke.

Best overall firepit

$301

Fuel source: Wood or pellets | Portability: 23.3 lbs; cover/carrying case, no grab handles on pit | Smoke control: High

The stainless steel Bonfire 2.0 is the firepit that we’d recommend to most people. It burns efficiently, is easy to use, and looks just as good as a backyard centerpiece as it does at camp. It looks like a simple steel can —which it is — but it’s built with a series of holes that provide airflow to the bottom of the flame. The result is an efficient fire that burns without the help of additional features like a fan (which is how the Biolite FirePit+, below, works). Its lack of bells and whistles makes this firepit extremely easy to use for anyone who’s made a campfire before. Outdoor-gear writer Jakob Schiller likes his Bonfire 2.0 because it gives him peace of mind when building fires in nature. “It contains the fire, so you’re not as worried about the fire spreading to the ground, and helps it breathe,” he says.

I’ve tested the Bonfire 2.0 myself for the past few months for backyard gatherings and s’mores sessions and was impressed with how little smoke it created. I also appreciated its deep, 14-inch height, which allowed me to stack logs both vertically and horizontally. The only downside I’ve found is that it’s hard to move the Solo Stove once the fire is burning. The stainless steel gets hot quickly, so I have to be cautious about touching it or adjusting its position while it’s roaring. You can buy additional accessories from Solo Stove, like a stand (which will help protect the ground it’s set on from getting singed), pellet adapter, or heat deflector, among others.

Best firepit for camping

BioLite FirePit+
$250

Fuel source: Wood or pellets | Portability: 19.8 lbs; Cover/carrying bag, foldable legs, two carrying handles | Smoke control: High

The BioLite FirePit+ uses the same “smokeless” technology that the Solo Stove does, but takes it up a notch: it has a rechargeable, USB-compatible, battery-powered fan that feeds the flame with air through a network of tubes that surround the burn chamber (like a central air system) to create an ultraclean, smoke-free fire. Strategist contributor James Lynch gave it two thumbs up: “I spent many years as a Boy Scout and a few as a backpacking and canoeing guide, bending over to blow on smoldering twigs, working hard to get the logs to catch, huffing and puffing until I was light-headed. You don’t need to do any of that with the FirePit,” he writes, noting how the fan helps you start — and keep — the fire going. “Other than finding your grandpa or a nearby Eagle Scout, I don’t think I’ve seen anything that makes building and maintaining a fire easier.”

Because of its ease of use (and the help from the fan), it’s the firepit we recommend for camping: It makes starting fires a breeze (which I find especially welcome after a long day of being outside), it comes with a grate to roast or cook food on top of it, like a hibachi grill, and its two large handles make it easy to carry from your car to wherever you’re setting up. Outdoor writer Ebony Roberts says there’s a slight learning curve to mastering the airflow (which you can control with your phone via a Bluetooth connection to the fan), but she likes its overall design. “The mesh paneling on the sides becomes nearly transparent as the fire burns hot, so you get a nice view of the dancing flames,” she says.

One downside of the BioLite is that it’s almost too efficient at burning fuel. After a few months of testing, I found that I was burning through logs fast — even on the fan’s lowest setting. Schiller agrees: “You burn through a lot of wood, but you never really have to worry about not having a solid fire,” he says. And at 10 inches, its burn chamber is shallow, so you mostly have to burn logs horizontally.

Most compact firepit

Fuel source: Wood or pellets | Portability: 8 lbs; collapsible structure, carrying bag | Smoke control: Medium

If you’re looking for a less bulky firepit, consider this pop-up pit from Fireside Outdoor. It weighs just eight pounds, making it the lightest model on this list (besides the smaller, tabletop-size FLIKR below). I’ve been using the Pop-Up for the past three years and found that its design provides ample airflow to the flame. You rest logs on top of a stainless-steel mesh sheet, which allows air to flow beneath it, up into the base of the fire. Other than the mesh sheet, it doesn’t have any other features that help control smoke; it burns like a normal campfire. I also like how its aluminum walls kept the fire contained — I don’t have to worry about loose ash or bits of charred wood escaping the pit. It collapses into a two-foot-long carrying bag, like a tent. (Because of its slim shape, I keep it stashed in my trunk in case I need to bust it out during a car-camping trip.)

Best gas-powered firepit

Fuel source: Propane | Portability: 11 lbs; cover/carrying bag, foldable legs, carrying handle | Smoke control: High

Outdoor-gear reviewer Graham Averill has tested many different firepits including the Solo Stove and BioLite models, but the Ignik FireCan is his current favorite because of its efficiency. It’s gas-powered, so you only have to hook up a propane tank to get your fire started — no need to find kindling or fuss with fire starters. That also means there will be zero smoke since no wood is being burned. “It’s small, puts out enough heat to keep you warm, and is safe to use even if there’s a fire ban,” Averill says. “I use it for tailgating in the fall and winter, like after a day of skiing. It takes aprés ski up a notch, for sure.” Averill also likes how easy it is to load into the back of his truck. It has the look of a retro steel ammunition can but with grates that allow the flame to poke through. The brand also sells rocks that can be added to the can to create a more natural-looking flame, although the rocks are purely aesthetic.

Best mini firepit

Fuel source: Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol | Portability: 7.45 lbs | Smoke control: High

This tiny, concrete firepit is perfect for creating a flame indoors or outdoors, without having to burn wood or hook up a propane source. It’s fueled by isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol, which you pour (about five ounces) into the pit’s center. Since it doesn’t create any smoke (only a small amount of soot in the center hole), I’ve used it both indoors and outside, but mainly for creating a tiny mood-setting fire on picnic tables and providing ambiance during outdoor dinners. The brand says it’s safe to use indoors in well-ventilated areas, but having lived in smaller apartments for the past few years, I’ve found it too risky to light indoors on a frequent basis. I think its small size makes this a great gift for anyone who’s looking for a nice way to light their outdoor area — and even toast some marshmallows.

Our experts

Graham Averill, outdoor-gear writer
James Lynch, Strategist contributor
Ebony Roberts, freelance outdoors writer
Jakob Schiller, Outside magazine gear columnist

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The Very Best Portable Firepits