Camping and campfires go hand in hand, but fire pits at campgrounds aren’t always ideal for enjoying this relaxing outdoor pastime. Shared fire pits can be filled with debris like cans, wrappers, and other trash left by previous campers. You also never know what someone last burned in a shared fire pit, and they can make for a smoky campfire as they are typically lower and recessed in the ground. Plus, if you’re camping out West during wildfire season, traditional campfires can be restricted by the U.S. Forest Service altogether.
For these reasons and more, portable fire pits are becoming a popular option for campers and RVers. Having a fire pit you can use wherever you go is convenient—especially if you’re boondocking or overlanding with your rig.
You can now have a nearly smokeless fire with a portable fire pit—even while using wood as your fuel source. And propane-fueled fire pits are allowed on federal lands even when Stage 1 and Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place.
Top Benefits of Portable Fire Pits
- Less smoke than traditional campfires
- Access to an instant fire pit wherever you’re camping
- Can double as a cooktop
- No unexpected debris left behind by previous campers
- Some propane fire pits can be used during fire bans
Types of Portable Fire Pits
If you’re shopping for a portable fire pit for RVing, you’ll quickly find numerous options online with price points ranging from $35 to $600. Knowing your budget, fuel type, and storage space can help you find the right fire pit for your camping needs.
First, decide which fuel source you prefer. The most common portable fire pit fuel options are wood (or wood pellet) or propane.
If you prefer to use wood or wood pellets, you’ll want to look for a portable fire pit like the popular smokeless Solo Stove Ranger or a wood pellet burning fire pit like the Innostage smokeless fire pit bowl. Wood-fueled fire pits typically generate more heat than propane pits, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of refilling LP tanks to keep your fire going.
Propane users will want to look for fire pits like the Outland Living (Model 823) or Ukiah Co. Tailgater II. Both of these are lightweight, totally smokeless, and easy to use—which is the appeal of most propane fire pits.
Depending on the camping trip we’re taking, my husband and I will switch between our wood and propane fire pits. For slower paced trips with just the two of us, we love our smaller portable wood-fueled Solo Stove Ranger.
“With a Solo Stove fire pit, you will always have a clean burn,” says Corinne Baud, a Rygr account manager for Solo Stove. “Setup is extremely simple. Set it on the ground, put some fire starters in there, and light it up.”
Smokeless fire pits like the Solo Stove can also be more enjoyable for those at your campsite and nearby. “When you do get your fire going, you are not going to smoke out your neighbors,” Baud says.
For trips with friends and family, we use our Ukiah Tailgater II as it lights instantly with the turn of a knob. It also has a built-in Bluetooth radio that syncs the flames with the beat of your music, making it a great option for entertaining.
Jenna Young with Ukiah Co. says that the Beat to Music (BTM) mode is what really makes their portable fire pit stand out from others. “We wanted to create a portable fire pit that was unique and could elevate any outdoor experience,” she says.
Both the Solo Stove Ranger and the Ukiah Co. Tailgater II include cast iron skillet add-ons, which make them great options for cooking campfire meals. They also both fit in the back of our truck bed when we’re towing our travel trailer.
Tips for Buying a Portable Fire Pit
Know Your Preferred Fuel Source
While wood-fueled fire pits tend to provide a longer-lasting and more authentic campfire, propane pits are more hassle-free and can be used during certain fire restrictions. Where and how you plan on camping can help you decide which fuel option is right for you. Once you know your preference, you can easily start narrowing down the best fire pit for your RVing needs.
Set a Budget
Size, fuel type, and add-on features like sound systems and cooktops all affect portable fire pit prices. Setting your budget beforehand can help you begin your search in the right price range. Whether you’re wanting a less expensive option or a higher-end version, there’s no doubt that you’ll find a fire pit that meets your budget and your needs.
No matter your RV type, there are portable fire pits to accommodate all rig sizes and camping styles. Not only can these pits make it easier to get a fire going, they can also help give you a cleaner and safer campfire that’s enjoyable for everyone, including the campers around you.