BioLite FirePit: Meet the Smokeless Campfire

Backpackers.com — What started with campfire musical chairs has turned into the BioLite FirePit, a smokeless campfire from the leader in unique tech-based stoves and outdoor gear. You can carry the BioLite FirePit with you, toast marshmallows on it, and, best of all, use it to grill. We got the inside scoop on this multi-functional marvel that is sure to warm your toes and your heart.

The BioLite FirePit comfortably holds four pieces of standard cord wood and has air jets that concentrate airflow around the wood for more burn and less smoke. Three speeds of air jets allow you to get a fire started on Low, increase heat output on Medium, and grill to your heart’s content on High. You can also control the airflow with a handy app on your iPhone or Android device.

Here’s the promo video:

 

The FirePit is only available through BioLite’s Kickstarter campaign until Friday, October 20, with delivery expected to begin in summer 2018. The starter pack comes in at $199 through the Kickstarter campaign, and includes a solar cover to recharge the battery (a $60 value, which may ultimately be sold separately). An innovative design that took two years to develop, we can’t wait to roast up dinner and share ghost stories without running from the smoke.

We know you love specs, so here are the important ones:

Dimensions

Legs Unfolded: 13 W x 27 L x 15.8 H in.

Legs Folded: 13 x 27 x 10.5 in.

Weight 19.8 lbs (8.98 kg)
Fuel Capacity Fits up to four pieces of standard cord wood. Raise fuel rack for charcoal cooking.
Airflow Runtime Low: 24 hours
Med: 10 hours
Max: 5 hours

Getting to Know the BioLite FirePit: Interview with the Design Team

We interviewed the BioLite design team to learn more about the FirePit, why it was designed, and who it’s really built for. See the interview below.

From beach to backyard. Image courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved

Backpackers.com: What was the inspiration behind the product?

BioLite: The FirePit was conceived on a company camping trip to the Adirondaks. At BioLite, we love fire, but we realized that sometimes the smoke from the fire gets in the way…and the rest of the night is usually playing “musical chairs” with your friends to avoid the smoke.

Backpackers.com: What was the biggest challenge during the design process?

BioLite: The most difficult decision was: how big the FirePit need to be. The CampStove combustion chamber has a very optimized system powering a relatively small volume of fuel. Our combustion team knew that a typical 36-inch diameter fire pit would require a vastly larger blower system to maintain clean combustion of randomly arranged, everyday firewood. It was not until we began early prototyping that we started to understand our optimal size for the best performance. A rectangular proportion forces an arrangement of the wood into in a predictable, parallel arrangement that we knew our air jets would fully penetrate the flames.

BioLite FirePit in use
The FirePit fits four pieces of wood, and the controls adjust the airflow from the motor. Image courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved

We were able to build the body of the FirePit with a metal mesh that enables users to see directly into the fire so you can see the combustion at work. A lot of the time people tend to overbuild their campfires because so much of it is obscured by sunken firepit designs ­– in our design you can get a hot, efficient fire with only four pieces of firewood and see every step of the process.

biolite firepit x-ray mesh
The FirePit has X-Ray Mesh that allows you to see the fire at night. GIF courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved.

With its compact size, the FirePit pulls its weight and then some. The dual-rack configuration means the FirePit can be filled up with firewood for a glowing s’mores session or stacked with charcoal for a portable grill. Bonus: you’re not wasting fuel for either setup.

BioLite FirePit fuel types
Coals and wood work for cooking and a campfire. Versatile. Image courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved.

Backpackers.com: How would you compare the FirePit to your other products?

BioLite: Our FirePit is our biggest fire to date, designed to deliver all the benefits of a classic campfire, but without any of the smoke. It’s designed to be experiential thanks to the X-Ray mesh as well as interactive with the FirePit doubling as a hibachi grill (it’s also our first fire product that can accommodate charcoal fuel).

Unlike our other stoves, this does NOT have a thermoelectric generator and that’s on purpose; the FirePit is designed to radiate heat outward (something you want from a campfire) which is not optimized for a TEG design. A TEG would have doubled the price of the FirePit, and we decided a solar carry case was a more valuable and practical energy solution for a self-reliant system.

biolite firepit solar case and legs
The Kickstarter FirePit comes with a case that has a solar panel, and has fold out legs. GIF courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved.

The FirePit recharges using the solar carry case, and can recharge on solar alone in a few days. With a battery life of 24 hours on the lowest setting and 5 hours on the highest, the battery is designed to last you through several of all-night s’mores sessions or through cooking a couple of meals. Pack it up and leave it out in the sun during the week and it will be recharged for your next weekend adventure. Got a time crunch? You can plug it in and recharge too, but we like the eco-friendly option. The motor pack also doubles as a power bank, so you can charge up a phone in a pinch or plug in one of BioLite’s outdoor lights.

BioLite FirePit design schematic
Design schematic, courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved.

Backpackers.com: We love Car Campers, and think they’ll use this the most. What are your thoughts?

BioLite: This will enable Car Campers, van lifers, and backyarders to enjoy the classic benefits of a campfire but with a much smaller footprint — you use less fuel, you don’t leave behind a ton of crap, and your clothes, tent, hair etc doesn’t reek of smoke (don’t worry to still get the crackle and smell of a fire, it’s just not overpowering).

Backpackers.com: What about other Backpacker Types?

BioLite: We’d love to see this become a staple at cabins everywhere, serving as a welcomed feature for thru-hikers, like Wilderness Backpackers and Ultralight Backpackers. Beyond backpackers we see this serving day-trippers looking to replace their beach bonfire with something more sustainable and folks who are looking for a better experience right in their own backyard. Day Hikers and Urban Hikers can get the campfire experience right at home.

biolite FirePit camp gathering
BioLite FirePit with attractive models! Image courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved.

Backpackers.com: What is your favorite recipe that you would recommend for the FirePit?

BioLite: We’re gonna go really simple on this one: beef satay skewers and some grilled limes to squeeze in your beer. Awesome shock of flavor.

hibachi grill BioLite FirePit.
The grill is included in the The FirePit, so you can cook over an open flame. Image courtesy BioLite, All Rights Reserved.

Backpackers.com: How might the FirePit reduce forest fires or other side effects of open fires in National Recreation Areas?

BioLite: We definitely took into account wanting to leave a smaller footprint [through using less fuel and leaving behind less waste], but it’s also important to note that you must check with your local ranger if you can use this product in your area. We want to be more efficient and safer than a typical fire, but we always defer to local regulations.

Backpackers.com: What is the return/repair/warranty process like, and what is the product life-time?

BioLite: We offer a 1 year warranty, as with all of our products. With proper care, this should last you years.

Backpackers.com: Is there anything you want our readers to know before they commit to supporting your Kickstarter?  

BioLite: Their support not only brings the FirePit to life, but it also helps us continue our work in emerging markets where household live in energy poverty. You can learn more about that here.

The FirePit may be your hottest friend ever. Sign up through BioLite’s Kickstarter campaign to stay updated and get on the list of first-run orders. We wouldn’t be surprised if the FirePit gets to sit shotgun on your next car camping adventure.

jen nelson backpackers.com bio pic

Jen Nelson

Jen hates dirt but loves hiking in Southern California. She has ticked 42 states, 5 continents and 28 countries off her bucket list. When she’s not checking grammar and coordinating gear drop offs for the Backpackers.com team, you can find her sailing the Channel Islands or taking her adorable dog Daphne to the beach. She believes chocolate is a food group and bungee jumping is better than sky diving. Check her out on Instagram.

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