Solo Stove Bonfire Review

Engineered for higher heat with less smoke, this is the fire pit of the future

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4

Solo Stove Bonfire

Solo Stove Bonfire
The Spruce / Deanna McCormack
What We Like
  • Easy to move around with a carrying case

  • Wood burns hotter

  • Mess is contained within the cylinder

  • Easy to light

What We Don't Like
  • Burns wood faster

  • Can’t touch or move it until the fire is out

  • Doesn’t radiate heat

Thanks to its expert airflow design, The Solo Stove Bonfire is a highly efficient and less smoky way to enjoy a recreational wood burning fire in your backyard or while car camping.

4

Solo Stove Bonfire

Solo Stove Bonfire
The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

We purchased the Solo Stove Bonfire so our writer could put it to the test in her own backyard. Keep reading for our full product review.

When you go camping, you expect to build a campfire. This can take hours from gathering wood and clearing away debris from the people who used the campfire pit before you, including the time to building up a bonfire and stoking the flames. Now you can eliminate extra time and hassle by bringing a portable pit with you to your next camping adventure. It is handy to set up in an instant in your backyard, too. Read on to find out if the Solo Stove Bonfire portable pit is worth it for you.

Design: Looks good, burns better

The Solo Stove Bonfire is a 19.5 inch-wide wood-burning fire pit made of highly durable, premium-grade stainless steel. The steel drum has a minimal design and polished finish that didn’t take away from the old-school campfire aesthetic we were looking for—and it looked just as good when it wasn’t burning. 

Solo Stove Bonfire
The Spruce / Deanna McCormack 

The pit itself is designed for the most efficient fire you’ve ever experienced. It’s a double-wall wood-burning firepit. The flames build from two spots. It has a base that allows oxygen to directly fuel the embers from the bottom and vent holes near the top of the canister that allow heated oxygen to fuel existing flames.

There is an ash pan at the bottom that catches loose ash and keeps the pit from burning the ground it’s on. Even if you’re as familiar with outdoor campfires as we are, using this fire pit will totally surprise you. The fire in our Solo Stove was higher and hotter than any fire we’ve ever built with hardly any effort. It was easy to ignite and we really could not believe how long the fire lasted.

One of the Solo Stove’s best features is that it claims to produce less smoke than your average fire. We felt we like we could sit closer to the fire without smoke in our face and also pitch our tents/park our car closer to the fire without having to worry about excess smoke drafting in. 

Solo Stove Bonfire
 The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

The only drawback to the design of this canister is the heat is mostly contained to above the firepit and doesn’t really radiate heat. We wouldn’t choose the Bonfire as a heat source while winter camping or for someone who gets cold feet. Also, like an oven, it burns through wood faster since it maintains a higher temperature.

Portability: Best for backyards and car camping

Setting up and putting away the Bonfire takes about a minute. Aside from the fire ring which helps focus the heat, the entire drum is one piece and altogether it only weighs about 20 lbs. The whole thing is easy to move since it’s fairly lightweight considering its size and burn power. Given its size, the best place for a Solo Stove Bonfire is in a backyard or for an overnight car camping trip. It can easily be used instead of a backyard chiminea (with less smoke).

Solo Stove Bonfire
 The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

We used our Bonfire while car camping instead of the pre-existing fire pit in order to avoid building a fire over other people's leftover garbage. We saved money on fire starters and we were able to "leave no trace" when we left. The Bonfire includes a black nylon carrying bag with a drawstring, handle, and Solo Stove logo.

Safety: Better to be safe

The walls of the Solo Stove get very hot while a fire is lit, so we had to be extra cautious with our young son near the fire. Also, as with any fire pit, you should get to know your local burn laws and no burn days before trying out your Solo Stove. Since we live in a desert climate, we called our local fire department to describe our bonfire and see where and when we were allowed to burn wood. If you’re camping, you can call the park service. Better to be safe than sorry (or get a hefty fine).

Ease of Cleaning: You probably already have what you need

On the first night we set up a wood-burning fire in Solo Stove Bonfire, a sudden heavy rain diminished our fire and soaked our canister. Since the Solo Stove instructions say not to use water to douse this fire pit, we reached out to Solo Stove customer service for guidance on how to clean it. 

Aside from the fire ring which helps focus the heat, the entire drum is one piece and altogether it only weighs about 20 lbs.

To get it clean, let the canister fully cool and flush out the wet ash with a hose. Set the entire canister out in direct sunlight to dry out. You can also use a scouring pad or Bar Keeper’s Friend. According to the manufacturer, it’s completely normal for your fire ring to turn gold and blue, and is caused by the intense heat generated by the design of the Solo Stove.

Price: High but worth it

The Solo Stove Bonfire costs around $300 which is high, but it is fairly average when you compare it to nice-looking propane-fueled pits. We think the Bonfire is worth its higher price because it’s durable, has a lifetime warranty, and can be easily stored away or used as a portable pit.

Competition: Solo Stove Bonfire vs. Biolite Firepit

Unlike the Solo stove, you can burn both firewood and charcoal in the slightly less expensive Biolite Firepit (view on Biolite). It has a similar hyper-efficient airflow technology and portability but also has a grill gate, see-through mesh, and gives you the power to control the size of your flames manually or remotely with the free Bluetooth app. 

We prefer the sleek look of the Solo Stove for a backyard staple but might opt for the Biolite if we needed a versatile firepit to keep us warm while camping.

Final Verdict

Enjoy backyard bliss.

All in all, we loved the Solo Stove Bonfire. It’s best if you’re looking for a traditional campfire ambiance in your backyard with no fire-building effort and hardly any smoke. The fire is powerful, efficient, and the whole thing is portable when you need it to be.

Specs

  • Product Name Bonfire
  • Product Brand Solo Stove
  • Price $300.00
  • Weight 20 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 19.5 x 14 in.
  • Material Stainless steel
  • Fuel Type Wood