What is camping without a campfire?

To go camping and not to experience that primal pleasure of sitting around a glowing campfire. With that positively 'euphonious' sound of crackling fires and enjoying the cozy warmth and all, seemingly nothing can beat a campfire.

However, since you're here (to peruse our humble opinion on portable propane fire pits), it is safe to assume that you're already aware of the hazards associated with real campfires (no matter how much you love them!).

The wood is expensive; it is difficult to lug them around; starting a wood fire requires skill and experience; many campgrounds and national parks won't allow a real wood fire; latter can also cause potential accidents (from wildfires to that hole in your shirt!) and so on.

So, what is the alternative in such a scenario?

Well, there is one---A PORTABLE PROPANE FIRE PIT.

Benefits of Buying Portable Propane Fire Pits

Now that you're compromising on the positives of a 'real fire', let's have a brief look at the areas of gain.

  • Propane fire pits are easy to ignite and shut off (no more looking for water to put off the fire before you call it a night)
  • They are able to radiate heat better and you can regulate the temperature and flame with the adjustable regulator knobs of the propane firepit models
  • Markedly safer from real wood fires
  • No smoke or odor
  • Easy to carry and tote around; also filling your propane tank is much easier compared to scouting for good firewood
  • Perfect for camping, tailgating, etc. but also for use at home---think back porch evening parties and the like
  • Doubles up as an extra cooking option

Things to Consider Before Buying

Since we are discussing portable fire pits, you must make sure that the product you go for is:

  • Compact and lightweight---ideally 18- to 22-inch in diameter (for home use, some of the larger and heavier models would be OK)
  • Ideally CSA approved (though not all good models are) since a CSA approval means that you can light the pit at areas with a fire ban.
  • Equipped with a long hose, safety shut off valve and an insulated ant-heat base material that will help you move the fire pit without getting your fingers burned.
  • Made of decent quality material

Apart from the above, you may also want to check whether the model includes lava rocks (a majority of models do) or a one-piece fake log. The lava rocks are normally better able to radiate heat than the fake logs.
And as far as the aesthetics are concerned, whether you prefer a fake log pit or one with lava rocks is a subjective choice.

However, if you go for a lava rock model, we recommend that you choose one with a lid for the burner that will prevent the rocks from scattering all over the storage compartment of your RV.

Additionally, covers or carry bags for both the model and the propane tank would be ideal! So, now to our pick of best portable propane fire pits out for grab!

Top Portable Propane Firepits in 2020

Product

Price

Rating


Bond Manufacturing

$$

Camp Chef

(Sequoia)

$$

Camp Chef

(Redwood Port)

$$

Giantex

$$

Solo Stove

$$$

Camco

$$$

TACKLIFE

$$

Endless Summer

$$

Heininger

(5995)

$$

*Outland Firebowl

(Editor's Choice)

$$

10. Bond Manufacturing

If you want a smaller and handy portable fire pit, this model, with all its practical features, appears a really good choice. Budget-friendly, attractive design and ideal for small groups of campers.

Key Features: Sturdy locking lid; CSA approved; easy flame adjustment; tank seat holder; 10-foot long hose; 18.5 inches in diameter; equipped with lava rocks.

Pros

  • Smaller, compact design, so easy to carry around
  • Lengthy hose
  • Decent 54,000 BTU heat output

Cons

  • Certain users report difficulty with ignition
  • Not suitable for large camping groups

9. Camp Chef Sequoia

Another extremely small and portable propane-fueled fire pit in a 15-inch diameter. At 24 lbs, the weight looks a bit on the higher side but 12 lbs of them are the lava rocks (which you can always carry or store separately).

Key features: Heat-control and flame adjustment lever; great as an extra cooking option with 2 extendable roasting sticks included with the model; carry bag included; Not CSA approved but you can use the product at most fire ban restriction areas. 

Pros

  • Compatible with bulk propane tanks
  • 55,000 BTU burner
  • Includes, besides the roasting sticks and carry big, a fire ring
  • Extremely portable and cost-friendly

Cons

  • Smaller hose length of 5 feet
  • Not ideal for large groups
  • Some users suggest that fuel burns out quickly compared to other products of this class

8. Camp Chef Redwood Port

In many ways, this model, also from Camp Chef, is similar to the previous model described. However, the model comes with a larger 19-inch diameter ring which makes it a better choice if you want to use it as an extra cooking option.

Key features: Safety shut-off valve; matchless ignition; fully adjustable flame- and heat-control knob; 19-inch diameter ring with a 15-inch fire pit; propane fuelled and includes lava rocks

Pros

  • Includes a support stand for a propane tank and a carry bag
  • Smokeless flame with 55,000 BTU output
  • Includes 4 adjustable roasting sticks (smelling hotdogs and s'mores?) 

Cons

  • Shorter hose length (5 feet)
  • The included lava rocks need to be 'cured' before using

7. Giantex

This 19inch diameter portable firepit is a great center piece for any RV travel or outdoor activity. Built with longevity in mind, its solid iron base makes it very stable when being used.

Even though it is made with iron, it is still lightweight and compact for easy storage when not in use. Another plus is the 10FT long hose that comes with the package. This allows you with plenty of room to attach your propane gas tank.

Pros

  • Comes with cover & carry kit
  • CSA certified
  • Outputs a decent amount of heat (58,000BTU)
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons

  • Some have reported that it does not come with enough lava rocks

6. Solo Stove

This model does not fall in the category of propane fire pits. All the same, you may consider this if you are too strung on a natural wood fire but still want to avoid the hazards and difficulties associated with creating one. 

Key features: Uses natural wood as fuel but still provides smokeless or low-smoke fire; made of extremely durable 304 stainless steel; weighs 20 lbs with a diameter of 19.5 inches

Pros

  • Beautiful and sturdy design
  • An acceptable alternative between a real campfire and 'fire in a tank'
  • Made of premium, heavy-duty materials 
  • No setup required

Cons

  • A wood burner, so you'll need to find at local ranger station whether you can use it at any given area (although same is true of all non-CSA approved propane fire pits)
  • Some users report rust issues with the model

5. Camco

This open-air model is ideal for camping. It can be also for back porches, decks, patios, etc. We especially recommend it for its simple but elegant copper and black design and extremely high heat output.

Key features: 18.4-inches in diameter, 12-inch tall with a spacious base of 18 inches as well; specially-designed lava rocks for additional heat emission; secure and hassle-free ignition with the model's patented Piezo igniter; CSA approved.

Pros

  • Produces 65,000 BTU of heat
  • 10-foot propane hose
  • Attractive design with special lava racks included
  • Elevated copper-colored fire tray

Cons

  • No lids or carry bags
  • The sound of the fuel can be somewhat loud at times

4. TACKLIFE

This portable fire pit is great for any RVer. Its all stainless steel base makes it stable and durable to withstand the test of time. The most important thing that we like about this product is that it comes with an auto-ignition feature making it easier to operate for anyone. It also come CSA certified as well as a 24-hour contact service card which is a plus for us.

Key features: Premium bronze finish; equipped with most up-to-date safety features; CSA-certified; easy to assemble and easy use functions; great looking lava rocks included

Pros

  • Stainless steel
  • Exquisite looks and great durability
  • Outputs a decent amount of heat
  • Adjustable flames

Cons

  • The instructions are not the best

3. Endless Summer

If you ever wanted a tastefully designed propane pit, this Endless Summer model with its latticed antique copper finish should be it. Also, at 21 inches, it is equally suitable for camping trips and for outdoor home use.

Key features: Up-to-date safety features; screw-on lid for easy transportability; adjustable heat and flame regulator; quality lava rocks especially good at retaining heat; 10-foot propane tank hose

Pros

  • Attractive copper finish design
  • Stainless steel burner giving off 58,000 BTU of heat
  • Special pumice/lava rocks 

Cons

  • Some users feel that the included lava rocks do not quite fill up the burner
  • Some have also reported facing issues with the automatic ignition feature

2. Heininger 5995

This open bowl design propane pit will provide great satisfaction to all buyers. The model is loaded with useful features such as:

Key features: Fast hassle-free ignition; safety features; 10-foot long propane hose; lightweight and easy portability; CSA approved; 19-inch diameter burner

Pros

  • Gives off 58,000 BTU of heat
  • Runs 8 hours on a 20lb propane tank
  • Packed with useful features

Cons

  • The base of the model sits somewhat low to the ground
  • The included rocks need to be cured before use

1. Outland Firebowl 870

If the performance of the model is what you prize most, this is the one to buy. Apart from all the usual features (10-foot hose, matchless auto-ignition, CSA-approved), the model is said to be extremely durable and produces an impressive 58,000 BTU.hr.

What is more, the Premium model will run anywhere between 9-11 hours on a full 20 lbs propane tank---the best performance in the portable propane pit category.

Pros

  • Overall excellent performance
  • Lid and carrying straps included
  • Powder-coated premium steel construction
  • Extremely cost-friendly for the performance it provides

Cons

  • Carry bag needs to be bought separately
  • Auto-ignition sometimes may not work properly (however, this may be due to faulty models)

Final Thoughts

So, you see you can have some great campfire experience without having to burn wood at all.

As for the models, we recommend the Outland Firebowl model, but other Outland models (such as the 'standard' and 'mega' ones) are equally good. So, settle for the one that best fits your requirements.