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Is the Solo Stove Bonfire the Best Fire Pit Ever Made?

The fire pit hasn’t changed much in, well… forever. Sure you might see different designs cut into the side or fancy legs, but the actual design of the pit itself has remained the same. But in 2013, a company called Solo Stove filed a patent for a tiny wood-burning stove that looked a little different.

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Solo Stove put holes in the bottom of the outside and around the top of the inside. What made it so different, though, was that it was double-walled. The idea was that you’d get a huge air draw on the bottom, and then as the air in the walls heated up, you’d get a secondary burn on the top, producing a near-smokeless fire that was incredibly efficient. The company sent us one and it worked like a charm. I gathered every piece of biomass from the forest I could find and it reduced everything to a dusting of white ash. Check out my review of the Solo Stove Lite.

It seemed like every single year Solo Stove would keep making this design bigger and bigger. They made the Titan, the Campfire, (which I reviewed here), and finally the Bonfire! After seeing the efficiency of the smaller versions, I was excited at the thought of throwing regular firewood into a larger version. There was never a need to stoke the smaller versions because they were so efficient, and the near smokeless design would be a dream come true in the backyard.

The claim is that the Solo Stove Bonfire can reduce 20 pounds of firewood to 5 ounces of ash. I decided to put this to the test, so I rounded up 25 pounds of wood (kindling included) and nestled into my Adirondack for a lovely evening of field testing (currently my favorite firestarters). Within only a few minutes, it was kicking out far more heat than I would have guessed. After the kindling was well underway, I threw a few logs in, and before long the secondary burn was eliminating almost all of the smoke. Sure, there was a wisp here and there, but it was night and day compared to a regular fire pit.

solo stove bonfire
A couple enjoying a warm mug of something besides a Solo Stove Bonfire.

Watching that secondary burn across the top of the pit never gets old. The 25 pounds of firewood lasted about three hours and what was left? Not much. There was a small amount of rain early morning, hence the moisture. As you can see, there is very little unburned wood left. On that note, I’d say that the only con I can think of for the Solo Stove Bonfire is that it’s not meant to be left out in the elements uncovered. If you want it to maintain its great look, you’ll need to set it in the garage after you use it. It comes with a nice carrying case, which makes it easier to store.

If you have backyard fires several times a week, or go on camping trips often, it’s definitely worth the price. Not having to move around and avoid the smoke is something that you won’t even realize is happening until someone mentions it. It makes for a far more pleasurable experience. If you’re only out there once a month, then you’re probably better off getting a cheaper version from a big box store. Personally, I’ll never go back to the smoke monster. I’m sold on the double-walled design.

Of course, there are some cons. The fire pit is not designed to be left out in the rain, so if it’s going to rain overnight you have to toss it in the garden shed or garage. The reason I don’t find this to be a big deal is that, due to its efficiency, it burns out faster than other fire pits. This brings me to the only other con I can think of: it burns wood faster than a regular fire pit. Because the airflow is so efficient, you’ll go through more wood than a traditional fire pit will. This is absolutely worth the near-smokeless experience, in my opinion. Almost everyone that comes over for a bonfire comments on the fact that there’s almost no smoke. It’s so efficient that even people with smoke allergies have been able to start enjoying bonfires again. I think that’s pretty incredible.

What do you think of the Solo Stove? Tells us in the comments below. 

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