Articles Documents Equipment Events Links Membership Miscellaneous Scrapbook Targets What's New

Gear Review
BioLite FirePit
January 2019
Dan Martinez  

Over the summer of 2018, I learned that BioLite had brought another new product to the market. I’ve written enthusiastically before in these pages about the BioLite Camp Stove, Cook Stove, and grill attachment. These are small wood burning stoves that work great for camping, but I also use them at home to grill burgers and dogs.

The BioLite stoves use a small fire pot that is surrounded by ventilation holes. A small variable speed fan attached to the outside of the stoves drives air through these holes into the combustion chamber to recirculate the smoke that is normally generated by the process of burning wood, back into the flame. Wood smoke is basically made up of incompletely-burned wood products, both solids and gases. By recirculating the smoke back into the combustion chamber, a more complete, cleaner burn of the wood is accomplished.

And that is also the basic idea behind BioLite’s newest fire toy, the BioLite FirePit. The classic campfire consists of a shallow pit dug into the ground surrounded by a ring of rocks. We have all had the experience of sitting around a campfire and having the smoke seemingly follow us around as we move ourselves around the ring trying to figure out where the smoke-free side of the fire is. Somehow, it is always wherever you happen to be sitting!

The real problem is that a fire sitting in a hole in the ground cannot get adequate air flow for a clean burn. The classic campfire is smoky because it is starved for one of three basic needs of fire: oxygen (the other two being heat and fuel).

With the FirePit, BioLite solves this basic problem of the campfire in a number of ways. First, the fire within the FirePit is contained by a fine screen mesh. Three sides of the FirePit are made with this mesh construction. The BioLite marketers refer to the FirePit as having an “X-Ray Mesh body”.

Second, the burning logs are kept suspended above the solid steel floor of the FirePit by a grate. With the mesh sides, this allows air to circulate freely all around the burning wood. BioLite advertises that this creates the appearance that the fire is floating in the air.

Finally, the FirePit has a forced air circulation system, similar to the BioLite Camp and Cook Stoves. There is a large blower pack that attaches to one end of the FirePit. This blower pack contains a fan, a 10,400 mAh battery, and an electronic control board.

One perforated air injection tube travels the length of the FirePit underneath the steel grate at the bottom of the FirePit, and two more air injection tubes are located on the sides toward the top of the FirePit.

When I first learned of this new fire toy, and then learned the cost, about $200, I was not particularly enthused. But as my deer hunt started getting closer, the thought of having one at deer camp started to grow on me. I mentioned to my family that this might make a very nice birthday present .

Why did it start sounding like such a good idea? I like to have a nice campfire at camp, but I hate the pre-fire prep work -- digging out the fire pit left by the last campers, with their melted or broken beer bottles and aluminum cans and other trash. Then there is the dirty after-fire dowsing and ember burial chore.

And usually, the existing fire pit at a camp that I’m occupying will not be in the best place with relation to the center of my camp – where I’ve placed my camping trailer, my kitchen canopy, where I’ve parked my truck. With the FirePit, I can place my campfire exactly in the best place for my camp setup. I don’t have to create a new fire ring where I would want my campfire. This also absolves me of any guilt over the environmental impact of the creation of a new fire ring. The promise of a smoke-free, or at least greatly smoke-reduced campfire was also very appealing.

The BioLite FirePit still has a number of other features that I have not yet mentioned. The log rack has two positions. You set it at the lower position for burning common 16” long cord wood. It is advertised to hold up to four chunks of the type of wood that you find bundled at stores or at campgrounds.

The log rack has a higher position for use with charcoal briquettes. The FirePit comes with a removable second grill for cooking that sits at the top of the FirePit so that you can grill over charcoal. Users report that the briquettes ash-over, ready for cooking, about twice as fast as typical charcoal grills, due to the forced air. I have not yet tried cooking over charcoal on mine.

The legs on the FirePit fold for transport. In use with the legs extended, the heat of the fire is far enough off the ground to prevent the environmental impact of “sterilizing” the soil underneath. Overall dimensions when the legs are folded for transport are 10” high, 27” long, and 19 pounds heavy. It comes with a nylon weather cover for storage outside, though I do not store mine outdoors. I use the weather cover as a carrying bag with the addition of two nylon straps. A carrying bag is available for separate purchase that contains a solar panel to charge the blower pack. That seems like a gimmick to me, because the panel is too small for effective charging, so I did not opt for that.

The blower pack is easily removable and charges through a USB cord to a power input port. There is also a separate USB power output port so that you can take advantage of the significant battery storage capacity to charge small devices such as cell phones and such.

There is a single button on the side of the power pack to cycle through the fan speeds (4 speeds, hold for OFF) and to display battery state of charge (4-LED battery meter).

It seems like everything today has a smart phone app. Yes, the BioLite FirePit can be controlled through Bluetooth from your phone. It’s actually a pretty simple app. It can remotely take the blower through the 5 fan speeds, and also control the USB power output port for On/Off. BioLite also sells USB powered LED camp lights, so control of these lights for your camp is the usage they envisioned for this feature.

The one annoying thing about the app to me is that it won’t work unless the app has access to your location data through your phone (!!). Now why the hell does BioLite want to know where you are using your FirePit? Bluetooth just needs to be in-range. It doesn’t need your location data. This irks me to no end.

After you stop feeding the fire, the forced air ensures a complete burn of the fuel. You don’t have long-lingering embers like you do in a regular campfire. In the bottom of the FirePit, there is a sliding trap door. When the fuel is completely consumed and the FirePit has cooled, you open the trap door, and using an owner-supplied 3” wide paint brush, sweep all the ashes out the bottom through the door.

Yes, it is a little on the expensive side, but after weighing the advantages of owning one, it seemed worth it to me.

BioLite FirePit video:

© Honeywell Sportsman Club. All rights reserved.

The Honeywell Sportsman Club is a small group of shooting and outdoor enthusiasts in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Our website is ad-free and completely free to use for everyone. But we do have expenses that we need to cover, such as the web hosting fee and our liability insurance. If you enjoyed visiting our website, found it useful in some way, or if you enjoyed reading this story, please consider tipping us through our PayPal donation jar below. Thanks for visiting, and come back soon.

Back to Articles
  Articles     Docs     Eqpt   Events     Join
   Links     Misc     New     Pix   Targets