A fire pit is the essential centerpiece to any campsite. But when you’re traveling to different campgrounds, parks, festivals, or even just out the back door, it’s difficult to lug around a heavy metal fire pit. Whether you need to cook food outdoors or just want a decorative addition to your patio that’s easy to move or pack up, these portable models are your best friends when it comes to building a contained fire.
Check out the quick reviews below of the five best portable fire pits, then scroll deeper for buying info and full reviews of these models plus other top-performing options.
Types of Fire Pits to Consider
The two main fuel sources for fire pits are propane and wood. Gas-powered pits are easy to connect to a propane tank, via a pre-attached hose, and turn on and off, so there’s no need to wait for your fire to burn down or find water to douse it out when it’s time for bed. A standard propane tank may weigh 20 pounds, though you won’t have to carry along bundles of firewood. Propane pits also allow you to make a fire during burn bans in certain areas (but you should still check for fire regulations where you plan to use one). Propane pits also generally emit less heat than a large wood-burning fire pit.
Many companies promise that both their wood and propane pits reduce smoke, so you won’t have to constantly move your chair around the pit when the breeze changes direction. And if you’re not the type who enjoys smelling like a campfire, that means less of the smoky scent that usually clings to your clothing and hair for days.
Portable fire pits vary quite drastically in design as well. Some look like traditional non-portable fire pits, but are lightweight, while others have folding legs and carrying bags. Options like the UCO Flatpack fold flat for backpackers or serious campers who need to keep their flames off the ground. In addition, some pits have more practical features for cooking food and grilling, such as included cooking grates. The BioLite even allows for charcoal, if that’s your preferred method of grilling. So keep in mind how you plan to use your fire pit when considering the options below.
How We Tested
The first thing we took stock of with these fire pits was how easy they are to assemble and set up. Then we lit fires in them using logs of hickory and oak or, in the case of the Camp Chef Redwood, a propane tank, gauging access to the center of each for setting and maintaining the fires. Once the flames were going, we walked toward each pit until we could feel noticeable heat, then circled them to see how even the distribution was and how much it was affected by wind. We also looked at them through a Flir infrared camera to see if there were any concerning hot spots on the fire pits’ bodies. Lastly, we let the fires burn down to ash so we could determine how easy clean up was after the blaze. Throughout testing, we took into account things like whether or not the pits were simple to carry and their weight and dimensions.
Dimensions: 27 in. long, 13 in. wide, 15.8 in. tall | Weight: 19.8 lb. | Fuel: Wood, charcoal
You’d have trouble finding a more feature-rich portable fire pit than BioLite’s. That battery pack you see on the side powers a four-speed fan, which pumps air through 51 jets, helping quicken the burn and cut down on smoke. (And it pops easily off the fire pit’s body, so don’t worry about lugging the whole thing into your house and plopping it down near an outlet when it needs a boost.) Plus, it has a USB output so you can charge your devices off of it—during our testing, it provided a full dose of juice to our dying infrared camera in a little over an hour.
Just be judicious when using the fan. We found that, when adding medium-size logs to the fire, it was better to leave it on one of the lower settings, otherwise the blasting air would whip the flame around and make it more difficult for the new log to catch. The fan also emits a constant high whine, a minor annoyance but one worth mentioning. All the perforations in the FirePit’s body had us concerned the flame would be susceptible to blowing out in the wind. But even on a blustery day, the fire didn’t suffer. After the flames wind down, the inner removable grate and the ash drain help with cleanup.
Watch the Biolite FirePit in action:
Dimensions: 13.5 in. long, 11 in. tall (when packed) | Weight: 3.2 lb. | Fuel: Wood, charcoal
In its handsome canvas carrying case, the Flatpack could pass for a laptop. It’s that slim when packed down. Though it was by far the smallest of the full fire pits we tested, the Flatpack is sturdy with the legs deployed. Keep in mind that, because the stainless-steel body is so thin, it can support only 10 pounds of wood or charcoal. This also means that the fire demands frequent attention if you light it with small wood since you can’t heap large logs on it. And the load sits fairly high off the ground for the pit’s size, so best to keep it on flat, even surfaces.
The included grill grate makes a nice platform for cooking up hot dogs or burgers at the camp site (or a local park that allows it if you’re an urban apartment dweller with limited storage). We found during testing that the Flatpack produced a surprising amount of smoke in spite of the small fire. But it does have one trait that none of the other fire pits here can claim: It’s dishwasher-safe.
―EASIEST TO USE―
Camp Chef Redwood
Dimensions: 19 in. wide, 13 in. tall | Weight: 35 lb. (with lava rocks) | Fuel: Propane
As with grilling, often the simplest option for cooking (or heating) with a fire pit is to use gas. Ergo, the 55,000-BTU Redwood was the easiest full-size model to set up and fire up. Instead of getting a fire started and then tending to it, all we had to do was hook up the propane tank, open the valve, and turn the dial on this Camp Chef to get a nice flame going. (Yes, it lacks the experiential fun of lighting your own fire, but sometimes all we want is immediate heat.) The thing you have to pay the most attention to is the location of the propane tank. Naturally you don’t want it too close to the flame, but the hose is long enough for peace-of-mind distance between the two. And Camp Chef includes a steel support ring in which to nest the tank—during our testing, it held the propane upright on slightly slanting pavement.
Having to lug the tank around somewhat limits the Redwood’s portability, making it better for tailgating and car camping, but, to be fair, unless there’s dry wood readily available wherever you’re setting it up, you’d have to bring along some logs or charcoal for most of the other pits we tested, too. And though the Redwood stayed lit on the low setting amid light gusts, the rim is low and there isn’t much to guard the flame, so the field of heat can be especially fickle on windy days. Another thing to note: Even if the Redwood doesn’t produce any smoke, we got hit with the faint odor of propane whenever we were downwind.
Radiate Portable Campfire
Dimensions: 8 in. diameter, 3.2 in. tall | Weight: 4.8 lb. | Fuel: Recycled soy wax and paper briquettes
By far the most interesting fire pit we tested, the Radiate is akin to a big, fat scented candle. As such, it smells great. Because the tin doesn’t extend above the wax and provide any wind protection, the Radiate was hard to light the first time in a steady breeze. (Once you burn some of the wax down, it gets a bit easier with slightly more of a barrier against blowing out.) But once we got one of the paper briquettes to catch, the rest of them caught quickly, resulting in a nice steady flame. The field of heat was pretty small given the Radiate’s size, and, with the lack of wind protection, more susceptible to shifting from one direction to another. Though for what it is, this disposable fire pit is handy, good for a few uses if you don’t want to commit to a permanent model or have limited storage. Plus, tamping the fire out was easy; we simply threw the lid on top and stepped on it until the flame died, no waiting around for coals to burn down required.
Solo Stove Yukon
Dimensions: 30 in. wide, 16 in. tall | Weight: 45 lb. | Fuel: Wood
The Yukon is sleek. It’s a fire pit worthy of spending most of its time parked on a patio or in the backyard amid good-looking deck furniture and a grill. That’s also due to its large size, which makes it slightly less portable than other pits here. And though we found it awkward to move given the lack of handles, it is relatively light for its dimensions. The stainless-steel cylinder has holes ringing the base, which draw in air to help cut down on smoke and speed up the burn. The Yukon positively tore through logs—we burned roughly 15 in three hours, what we’d normally use over an entire winter day, with very little ash clean up afterward given how completely the Yukon torched the wood. Plus, we didn’t observe any smoke, but there was some eye irritation when the breeze shifted the direction of the heat.
Speaking of the heat, the Yukon projects it—a lot of it—in an even circle, but only from the rim and up, which may leave you with cold feet. The rest of our bodies were perfectly toasty. Our kindling tended to slide off of the domed floor when we were trying to get the fire going, and tending the flame takes some bending or a fire poker considering how deep this Solo Stove is. If you’ve got the (considerable) cash and want a fire pit that looks great at home and isn’t onerous to throw in the trunk or pickup bed for the occasional weekend of car camping, turn to the Yukon.
―BEST FOR BIG FIRES―
Fireside Outdoor Pop-Up
Dimensions: 24 in. long, 24 in. wide, 15 in. tall | Weight: 7.5 lb. | Fuel: Wood
When packed down, the Pop-Up is about the size of a folded camp chair. But bust it out and you’ve got a platform for creating a nice big blaze. The four-square-foot, stainless steel mesh surface can hold up to 125 pounds of logs, according to Fireside Outdoor, and the 3.5-inch walls struck a nice balance of protecting the fire from the wind while not stifling the wide field of heat. Plus, that mesh promoted airflow, cutting down on smoke. Given that the top is completely open, too, tending to the fire and adding more logs was simple. Not so simple: setting the thing up. The legs folded out easily enough, but then we had to rig up the heat shield on the bottom with the Velcro straps, drop the four walls individually onto the stanchions, then slide the mesh on. That’s a lot of parts to keep track of, but the Pop-Up’s great if you want to post up by a roaring campfire for a few hours (or grill up a mess of food on the optional tri-fold grate).
―BEST MIX OF SIZE AND EASE OF SETUP―
Primus Kamoto OpenFire Large
Dimensions: 18.5 in. long, 25.6 in. tall | Weight: 15.4 lb. | Fuel: Wood, charcoal
Leave it to the Swedes to design a fire pit with a modern, minimalist look. With that comes easy setup, too; all we had to do was lift the ends up so that they formed the stable X shape, set the free leg side in the grooves, drop in the stainless steel platform and side wind shields, and get to work lighting the fire. Speaking of the wind shields, they provided good protection from gusts but were thin enough that they didn’t impede the spread of the heat. The large ash tray makes for simple cleanup, but the wide base is best set on a flat patch of ground free of debris, lest it wobble, potentially kicking up sparks. Our biggest hang-up, though, was how sharp the edges of the stainless steel were: As we were prepping the Kamoto, we sliced a finger open on one of the triangular cutouts. So be careful during setup. Flesh wounds aside, this fire pit won us over for the aforementioned ease of use and the ample grill space when you throw on the included grate.
Fireside Outdoor Trailblazer
Dimensions: 12 in. long, 11 in. tall | Weight: 3.2 lb. | Fuel: Wood, charcoal
Like its larger sibling, the Pop-Up, the Trailblazer has tall walls, which did a good job of protecting the flame from the wind on a gusty day once we got the fire going. Set up is the same as the larger version: a bit more involved than some of the other pits on this list, and with the somewhat tricky task of rigging up the heat shield on the frame. Still, the heat shield did its job. When we placed a hand below it, we couldn’t feel any heat from the fire (though Fireside warns that you need to keep the shield at least four inches beneath the flame so that it doesn’t delaminate). We were concerned with the ease of feeding the fire with the tri-fold grate over the top, but it rests high enough that we could easily slot smaller sticks through the gap to keep the flame going. And there’s little chance you’ll overload the 45-pound weight limit given the available space for a fire.
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