The Best Portable Fire Pits for Your Backyard or Campsite

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A fire pit is the essential centerpiece to any campsite. But when you’re traveling to different campgrounds, parks, or festivals, it’s onerous to lug around one made of heavy metal. Plus, some portable fire pits look good enough to live in your backyard full-time when you’re not traveling. 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 fire pits are your best friends when it comes to building a contained blaze.

The Best Portable Fire Pits

Types of Fire Pits to Consider

The two main fuel sources for fire pits are propane and wood. Gas-powered pits have their advantages, in that they’re easy to connect to a tank and start up—and they’re just as easy to turn off, so there’s no need to wait for your fire to burn down or try to put it out when it’s time for bed. A standard full propane tank may weigh nearly 40 pounds, but you won’t have to deal with carrying 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). The other benefit of using a propane fire pit is that they burn cleanly, with no smoke, so you won’t smell like a campfire when you go inside. The downside is that these models don’t create large, picturesque flames, and generally emit less heat than a wood-burning fire pit of similar size.

Portable fire pits vary quite drastically in design as well. Some look like the traditional permanent kind but are lightweight, while others have folding legs and carrying bags. Options like the UCO Flatpack fold for hikers 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 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.

Smokeless Models

You'll need to manage your expectations regarding smokeless fire pits because, while good ones do produce almost no visual smoke, they do still spit out exhaust gasses. Ergo, you’ll still get some of that campfire smell, particularly when it’s breezy. For the same reason, you might occasionally get a face full of invisible smoke when the wind shifts. Additionally, the physical design of smokeless models typically make them more bulky and significantly less portable because they don’t fold-up or collapse to a packable size.

How We Test

The first thing we take stock of with fire pits is how easy they are to assemble and set up. Then we light fires in them using logs of hickory and oak, gauging access to the center of each for setting and maintaining the fires. Once the flames are going, we walk toward each pit until we can feel noticeable heat, then circle them to see how even the distribution is and how much it’s affected by wind. We also look at them through a Flir infrared camera to see if there are any concerning hot spots on the fire pits’ bodies. Lastly, we let the fires burn down to ash so we can determine how easy clean up is after the blaze. Throughout testing, we condider things like their weight, dimensions, and how convenient it is to carry, transport, or store them.

Dimensions: 27 in. long, 13 in. wide, 15.8 in. tall | Weight: 19.8 lb | Fuel: Wood, charcoal

BioLite turned to technology in making its FirePit+, using a lithium-ion battery, a fan, Bluetooth, and an app to create the combustion conditions needed for a smokeless fire. Admittedly, we were skeptical about relying on a battery to be able to use the FirePit+, but we never came close to running it down completely during any one fire. In fact, we were able to use it up to three time on one charge. The fan has four speed speeds—max, high, medium, and low—with a claimed maximum run-time of up to 30 hours on low.

The size, weight, and folding legs easily make the FirePit+ convenient to move, transport, and store, although it is too big for backpacking. Due to its size, we found it worked best when we split our normal firewood into smaller sizes, about 2-3 inches in diameter. The rectangular shape fit about four of these 12-14-inch long logs perfectly. When we used the FirePit+ with the fan in the low or medium setting, we did notice an occasional wisp of smoke from the fire, mostly when it was breezy. With the fan set to high, the occasional wisps almost completely disappeared.

Unlike most smokeless fire pits, the FirePit+ body has mesh sides instead of solid, double-wall ones. This allows you to feel the heat radiating through them onto your lower legs when you’re sitting near it. Its shape and design, though, means we clearly felt warmer zones on both long sides of the fire pit—less so at the short ends.

The FirePit+ can also burn charcoal, and you can grill on it using the included grate that fits on top. For technophiles, BioLite has a free app for controlling the fan speed and monitoring the battery. We found it extremely quick and easy to set up, and using it helped us keep a close eye on the estimated run-time.

Watch the Biolite FirePit in action:

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.

Dimensions: 21 in. long, 15 in. wide, 17 in. tall | Weight: 31 lb | Fuel: Wood, wood pellets, charcoal

The brand new Breeo Y-Series is the latest model from the folks who introduced the first smokeless fire pit. They’ve made it smaller and lighter than previous models, and added a handle on the body, positioned to balance the fire pit when carried in one hand at your side. We found it to be the easiest full-sized, non-collapsible fire pit to carry. The addition of the handle also makes the Y-Series easy to flip over to dump out the ashes. At 31 pounds, the Y-Series is a bit heavier than any of the other portable fire pits we’ve tested. That’s due to its construction with thicker-gauge metal, which also means it resists denting while hauling it around. With regard to portability, it’s not a model you’re going to hike with or carry far. It’s made for RV camping, tailgating, barbecuing, or firing up in the backyard.

In testing, the Y-series lit up fairly quickly using dry firewood and kindling, generally reaching smokeless operation in between five and ten minutes. It fits up to 16-inch logs, a relatively standard size—but it is also designed to burn wood pellets and charcoal. The use of charcoal, along with the optional Outpost Grill attachment, makes the Y-series a competent barbecue. Of course, you can cook over wood as well, and the height of the grill surface is adjustable so you can keep clear of the flames. When it comes to grilling, we appreciated the adjustable legs which, when extended, raised the top of the fire pit up to 20 inches and made the grill surface easier to reach.

Heat radiates well from the Y-Series when loaded up with logs. We noted the low, 15-inch body height allowed for more heat to be felt on our lower extremities. It also appeared to us that while there was a robust secondary, smokeless combustion, it wasn’t as vigorous as some other smokeless models. Our evidence is that it took a bit longer to burn through wood.

Breeo’s Y-Series are made by hand, in Lancaster Pennsylvania, from thicker, more durable materials, and come with a lifetime warranty.

Dimensions: 16.5 in. wide, 16.5 in. long, 8.9 in. tall | Weight: 9.1 lb | Fuel: Wood, charcoal

We were captivated when we first saw the minimalist design of Winnerwell’s Flatfold, and it didn’t disappoint when we got hands on it. With no locks or latches, the two-piece fire pit seemed unstable, even rickety, at first. But flipping the two parts open and nesting the bowl in the stand took under a minute—and they fit together very securely. We also tested an accessory table that raises the fire pit off the ground, protecting whatever surface it’s sitting on—that means no dead spots in the grass or burnt spots on the deck. The accessory table folds flat as well, and both pieces of the fire pit nest nicely in the top of it, making for convenient storage and transport.

We used small oak logs to burn a modest-size fire in the Flatfold, with foot-long logs fitting easily within its 16.5 by 16.5-inch rim. (When we tried to use regular firewood, we had to cut it down to fit.) Sitting around the fire pit, we felt heat radiated best with wood loaded just above the rim and flames reaching up to about two feet. While it’s available in sizes from small to extra large, the version we tested was size large, which is good for providing heat for groups of four or five people.

Like with some of the other portable fire pits, there’s an accessory grate that turns the Flatfold into a grill. Also like others, we noted that we only needed a small amount of hot coals in the bottom of the fire pit to provide enough heat to cook over. So the fire either needed to burn way down or we needed to start with just some charcoal in the bottom. The simplicity, versatility, and ease of storage make the Winnerwell Flatfold a great option for car or RV camping as well as use in the backyard.

Dimensions: 11 in. long, 11.25 in. wide, 3.7 in. tall | Weight: 4.4 lb | Fuel: Wood, charcoal

It might be a bit limiting, referring to the Campfire Trio as a fire pit. It includes three parts, naturally: a Fire Safe, a Grill, and a Fire Set. What’s more, the Campfire Trio breaks down into two small cases, capable of fitting in a backpack—conducive to hikes into remote locations.

Fire Safe really says it all; it’s a safe way to contain a fire when camping. We set up the Fire Safe itself in under two minutes. It’s incredibly simple. The grill took only slightly longer. The Fire Set is for getting a blaze going without matches, and it includes two metal bars that, when rubbed together, produce sparks. We were impressed with both the quantity of sparks and how long they lingered. With a little practice and the right materials, it was relatively easy to get a fire started. Though the Fire Safe footprint is only 11 square inches, limiting how big of a fire we could create and therefore how much heat we could get off it. Huddling up close, we could warm our hands, and while sitting back, we could warm our feet.

Once we let the fire burn down to embers, we put the grill over the Fire Safe and cooked some burgers. We were able to easily adjust the grill height to get the food in the right heat zone over the coals, producing delicious results. While the Campfire Trio doesn’t make a great fire pit, it’s a fine piece of camping gear that will pack easily, safely contain a fire, and work as a grill.

Dimensions: 19.5 in. wide, 14 in. tall | Weight: 25.1 lb | Fuel: Wood

Solo Stove’s Bonfire 2.0 is an update to the Bonfire we previously tested, now including a removeable ash pan. While its smokeless performance remains unchanged, the ash pan does add about five pounds to the overall weight—a 20 percent increase. As with the last Bonfire, the 2.0 includes a carrying case with a drawstring closure at the top, which we loved. The case is essentially a big bag with handles, which definitely makes it easier to transport, as well as preventing ashes from falling out in our car, house, or anywhere we stored it.

We’ve come to appreciate Solo Stove’s smokeless fire pit technology, which really does work. The fire pit is a double-walled, stainless-steel cylinder with holes ringing the base on the outside and around the top on the inside. As heat from the fire rises, it pulls air through the inside holes, drawing in air from the bottom outside holes, which creates a secondary combustion that cuts down on smoke and speeds up the burn. This robust, smokeless burn does come at a cost though, as the Bonfire 2.0 positively tore through logs. It’s fair to note that we went through logs relatively quicker than we would with an open fire. With the constant air supply flowing to the fire, it burned hot and fast, leaving very little ash to clean up afterward.

With regard to clean-up, the ash pan on the 2.0 is a welcome improvement. Picking up the Bonfire to turn over and dump could be a little awkward—and if you were trying to knock out the ashes, you risked denting the body. To empty the ash pan, we had to reach in and remove the perforated bottom grate and tip it to dump any ash off and into the pan below. You’ll have to wait for the fire pit to completely cool to do this, and you’ll want to wear gloves because it’ll be dirty. After removing the grate, we could remove and dump the pan. Note that the pan is smaller than the grate, so some ash is going to fall around the outside edge. So, we still had to occasionally tip the stove ever to dump out the stray ashes.

The Bonfire projects heat—a lot of it—in an even circle, but mostly from the rim and up. If we had the fire roaring, with flames extending two feet out the top, the heat radiated more evenly but didn’t really reach our feet on a cool day. The rest of our bodies were perfectly toasty, though. Solo Stove has an optional heat deflector that will help distribute heat more evenly around the fire pit. About that heat: It can be intense, so we used welding gloves while tending the fire and adding logs. If you want a smokeless fire pit that lives up to the hype, looks great, and fits in at home or on an occasional weekend of car camping, then the Bonfire is a solid option.

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 4-square-foot, stainless-steel mesh surface can hold up to 125 pounds of logs (according to Fireside Outdoor), and the 3.5-inch-high 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 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).

Dimensions: 12 in. long, 11 in. tall | Weight: 3.2 lb | Fuel: Wood, charcoal

Like its larger sibling, the Pop-Up above, 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, that heat shield did its job. When we placed a hand below it, we couldn’t feel any warmth from the fire (though Fireside warns that you need to keep the shield at least 4 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.

Dimensions: 13.5 in. long, 11 in. tall | 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, it’s 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.

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