The Solo Stove is not just another stainless steel fire pit by any measure. Hands down, this has to be the best on the market that I’ve come across.
It ranks as my top pick based on some critical factors when camping in the great outdoors. These include it being:
- Light weight
- Sturdy build
- Easy to clean
- Compact, and
- Designed with the Camper in mind
Where there’s Smoke, it’s not a Solo Stove
One of the things that I have found challenging with other fire pits is that they don’t deal with the problem that you inherently get with any fire. Smoke!
After a day of fishing or hiking my wife isn’t exactly excited about heading off to bed with stinging eyes and smelling like a bonfire. This is what got me onto the hunt for a solution to the smoking fire pit problem.
I had tried all sorts of things from building the fire with strategically placed rocks in a horseshoe shape. this was done to allow for better oxygen flow.
I even went to what she described as extreme measures in having the driest timber I could find. I used firewood that I had collected and stored in the garage for weeks on one trip.
I didn’t think this was particularly extreme. After all, you know what they say; happy wife, happy camping!
It seemed that no matter what campfire science I applied in what I did, the smoke just had to follow her. The one person in the group who struggles the most with smoke.
So you can see, this didn’t make for a fun time at the end of the day for her. All she wanted to do was enjoy a wine by the light of the campfire with friends.
A buddy of mine laughed as she moved to another seat for the umpteenth time and joked about me being too tight to get a Solo Stove. Up until then they hadn’t popped up on my radar.
How the Solo Stove works
This couldn’t get any easier! Make sure you setup on a level surface that isn’t in direct wind.
Make sure you use some of what my Dad called “campfire commonsense” and clear away any flammable debris. You know I’m all about safety, right?
Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is kick off with some dry kindling. I would go for a bunch of dry twigs about 3 inches long (you don’t need to be precise), and build a starting base inside the drum.
With a few slightly thicker branches cut down to fit inside the drum, stack these in a normal tee-pee fashion and ignite.
I’ve found that within about 5 to 10 minutes I’m ready to carefully add a few larger pieces of timber, before moving on to chunks of logs that offer a longer burning time.
The way this unit functions as a smokeless fire pit is through the holes on the base. The oxygen is drawn into the inner walls, heated up, and then fed through openings at the top.
This allows for a cleaner burn, and diminishes the smoke to what my wife has described as being nonexistent.
What sold me on this Smokeless Fire Pit
As I mentioned in the opening, the things that nailed it for me with this brilliant little addition to my camping kit was that it ticked all the right boxes.
It’s light weight.
Coming in a an easy to carry 20lb (approx. 9kg), this is super easy to get from point A to B. There are various sizes you can get with the Solo Stove Bonfire, so if this is a little too big there’s an option for your needs.
I much rather this than some of the cheaper cast iron options that are out there. They are just too heavy, and when the fire has gone out they can take a much loger time to cool down.
The fabrication is made using 304 stainless-steel which has a high chromium and nickel content. This is important because it is what gives this unit a high degree of corrosion resistance.
304 stainless-steel is the ‘go to’ material for equipment of this type. So you can see, no corners have been cut here with inferior quality materials.
It’s easy to clean.
The stainless-steel fabrication not only makes it strong, but it also makes it easy to clean.
Any decent quality cleaner that is suitable for use on these types of surfaces will take care of removing any dirt or grime your bonfire might be exposed to.
The way this has been built you don’t have to worry about parts shifting when you tip out the ashes. Just make sure you wait until it has completely cooled down before you do this.
The flame ring will come off, but this is normal. Again, make sure your bonfire is out first, and the Solo Stove has been allowed to completely cool naturally.
Don’t use water to put the fire out, and don’t try to clean the unit while it is hot. The instructions that come with the unit are detailed, and they will help you get the most out of your purchase.
This little beauty isn’t going to take up any more space than your average cooler box.
The 20lb unit measures 14 inches high by 19.5 inches in diameter. The lighter units come in at slightly smaller sizes. This make it really easy to find the right fit for the setup you have.
It’s designed with the Camper in mind.
Toasting marshmallows over the open fire with this is a lot of fun for the kids.
There is a grilling version of the Solo Stove available, but I’ve found that cooking using my FireDisc is much easier. Particularly when I’m in the mood for cooking up a batch of paella!
That reminds me, I need to jot down the recipe and add it to the list of gourmet camping cooking ideas.
Now that we’ve transitioned to the Solo Stove instead of messing about with other ways to enjoy our campfire time, we are staying up later, and enjoying more time chatting around the bonfire.
I don’t have to worry about logs rolling off and causing problems, or kids being spat at by a sparking fire. I feel like the time is ours more, and that I don’t need to manage am uncooperative fire.