We just got back from some winter camping over our holiday break and boy was it cold, luckily for us we brought along our Solo Stove Bonfire. What is a Solo Stove Bonfire you might ask… well it is a unique fire pit that uses their patented design to efficiently burn wood which keeps you warm and keeps more money in your pocket. This is a pretty neat product we were introduced to last year on our way through Joshua Tree and the Mojave National Preserve.
Now this Stove runs about $349.99 MSRP, I know right sounds expensive (they do run some good deals though) and if you are a once or twice a year camper it is or is it… I know I had to be all dramatic but there are some really good reasons to look into the Bonfire. First off, it is efficient, like really efficient. Basically these stoves are gasifiers, when you burn wood gas and smoke that are still flammable escape from traditional pits. Another drawback of traditional pits is the lack of airflow especially to the bottom and the hot coals that could be doing more to efficiently burn your wood. This stove addresses and fixed these problems by using a patented airflow system.
Second, there are a lot of places that allow dispersed camping but require metal containers to reduce the impact on the environment. One of these places that is local for us in Anzo Borrego state park California’s largest state park. No one wants s burn marks all over our parks and this stove is one way to combat that. Now you are probably still like “but it’s not free and other than camping when will I use this”? Upside you can use this in your backyard they make a stand to lift it a little further off the ground to avoid heat damage to decks and such.
Third, I said it before but efficiency. Buying fire wood is not cheap, when I grew up the idea of buying firewood seemed crazy but here I am. Personally it seems the closer you get to your destination the more expensive the bundles get, if I remember correctly they were like seven dollars a bundle in the Grand Canyon. Now before it comes off like in complaining I’m not, we believe in the “buy it where you burn” it mentality, this important especially when you are driving all over everywhere which could be spreading invasive species at every stop. So we are being responsible stewards of the environment but seven bucks a bundle is a little much especially when it is freezing. Well I am here to report that the Bonfire did an excellent job and based off of our fire I only need half of what we usually would need. This is not scientific but I didn’t need half as much as we usually would and I have built one or two campfires in my time.
(Photo Solo Stove)
Fourth, “Pack it in, Pack it out”. The Bonfire is not small by any means, the mane a lone should be a clue but it is not that heavy and comes in a carrying bag that makes it easy to move around by yourself or with a partner if you load it down. The Bonfire is roughly the size of a washing machine tube and if you have camped for a while the resemblance is uncanny. The upside in packing it in I can fit about two average supermarket t wood bundles in it so it is ready to go. As for packing it out, it did a great job of leaving no trace and little remanence of wood/charcoal left from the previous night packed out easily to be burned again the next night.
I was really happy with the Bonfires performance of a multi night car camping trip and while I was initially pushed away by the price I’m glad we got it. It is a great car camping piece of kit, warm and efficient with a lot less smoke which is awesome for me since “smoke follows the ugly one”, ha-ha. I don’t think this is necessarily a need for novice campers but if you find yourself out side as much as we do it is well worth the investment. Now if the bonfire seems to big no problem they have a bunch of sizes down to back packable variants (to be reviewed in the near future) and the Ranger which they are go funding right now and looks like a better size for smaller cars/jeeps and smaller backwards and decks. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and look forward to the next review… I enjoyed researching and writing this and hope it helped. As always thank you and maybe one of these days you’ll come across us around the Bonfire, Getting the Fox Out There!
BONUS: Life Hack, UCO Sweatfire strike-able fire starters and telescoping fire bellows are awesome for this stove and help get the fire going quick.