Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit

Gearflogger reviews the Solo Bonfire fire pitSolo Stove has been around a while, and we finally got around to buying one of their fire pits for Gearflogger HQ. The bottom line up top: it's not smokeless, but once it's up and running hot it's a lot better than traditional pits, and we like it.

We chose the 14" high by 20" wide Bonfire, their mid-size model between the smaller 12×15 Ranger and the much larger 16×27 Yukon. A friend has the original 30-inch wide Yukon, and that thing just swallows logs and spits them out, it's just too big for anything but the largest space and the biggest pile of split wood. We haven't looked at the Ranger, but it looks like it would be a good choice if portability and smaller groups are your bag.

The Bonfire comes with a carrying bag that could be better designed. It's a bit tight, and after loosening the drawcord it's a bit of a chore to get the slick, handle-less fire pit out. A better design would have a zipper down the side or something to make storing and extracting the Bonfire from the bag easier. At 20 pounds the Bonfire is easy enough to move around.

The only moving part on the Bonfire is the ring around the top, which sits in the pit upside down for storage (or right side up, it doesn't really matter…). It's easy to load standard size logs into the Bonfire, and then just light it up and throw the ring on. Once in operation the stainless steel Bonfire gets up to a hot temperature pretty fast, and although you'll encounter the usual amount of smoke at the beginning once it's hot this thing does a good job of sucking air in through the bottom vent holes to fuel a very hot fire that vaporizes most of your wood during combustion. The result is much less smoke than a traditional fire pit that only gets its air from the top. Keep in mind that it gets hotter than a traditional fire pit, so hot dogs and s'mores should be held a little higher off the pit and will cook a little faster.

We also got a base for it, which raises it up a few inches to protect decks and grass. After running the Bonfire for a couple hours on the lawn to burn up a bunch of small branches and other wood waste, we can confirm that there was no crop circle left on the grass afterwards. It's also nice to have it a bit higher for aesthetics, we feel. One thing to resign yourself to: that beautiful shiny stainless steel finish will discolor quickly, so don't expect it to look like the floor model for long.

The Bonfire does go through wood faster than normal pits because it's running so hot, but it also generates very little ash, much less than normal. It also burns out and cools down faster once you're done, and the ash is easily emptied just by turning it over and shaking it. Overall we really like the Bonfire. It's a great size for the fire pit we built in front of our home, and it's provided many fun nights of social-distancing socializing with friends and neighbors as the temps have started dropping.

$300.00 at REI



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