Flame Genie vs. 8 Solo Stove Alternatives

by Carissa Stanz

portable fire pits
Photo: Solo Stove

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No campfire ring? No problem. Thanks to portable fire pits, you can bring the campfire with you.

Every outdoor setting is better with a toasty fire to gather around. From cooking to keeping warm, there’s something about the relaxing crackle of a fire that instantly makes the experience more enjoyable. Backyard barbeques, beach bonfires, and the quintessential campfire cookout are best matched by an open flame.

The problem is, there isn’t always a campfire ring around.

Enter: the portable fire pit.

Portable fire pits are just that — portable. These fire pits are fully packable, meaning you can easily transport them with the rest of your gear. Keeping in line with the motto pack it in, pack it out, they can also help you leave no trace.

Ready to bring the heat? Here’s a look at our top picks for the best portable fire pits.

Editor’s Choice: Solo Stove Bonfire


If you read our review of the Solo Stove Bonfire, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is our top pick for a portable fire pit. From peak performance to intelligent design, the Solo Stove Bonfire really is the complete package.

The Solo Stove Bonfire utilizes an innovative design and double-wall construction to produce a more-complete burn that’s unmatched by its competitors.

Efficient and piping hot, this portable fire pit delivers a steady flame with virtually no smoke at all thanks to the cleverly engineered air intake holes that allow for secondary combustion.

Constructed from stainless steel, this sturdy 20-pound fire pit is easy to transport and makes fire-starting a breeze. At 19.5-inches in diameter, it’s just the right size for a group of four to kick back and stay warm.

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Best For Wood Pellets: Flame Genie

While the Solo Stove reigns supreme, the premium price isn’t for everyone. For a more affordable option, we’re digging what the Flame Genie has to offer. A similar concept to the Solo Stove Bonfire, this portable fire pit comes at a fraction of the cost.

The patent-pending Flame Genie consists of a two-cylinder design that optimizes air intake and utilizes secondary combustion much like the Solo Stove. This in turn produces a clean, practically spark- and smoke-free fire.

Unlike the Solo Stove, the Flame Genie is fueled by wood pellets rather than firewood. Toss in 17-pounds worth of pellets and this 19-inch diameter stove will burn for up to 3-hours.

Weighing in at about 27 pounds, the Flame Genie is available in a black galvanized finish or stainless steel.

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Most Versatile: BioLite FirePit

Funded by Kickstarter, the BioLite FirePit has caused quite the commotion since its first introduction — and rightfully so. Part fire pit, part grill, part phone charger, this is far more than your average fire ring.

At first glance, the BioLite FirePit resembles something akin to a robotic pig. Resting on four foldable legs, the x-ray mesh body can house up to four pieces of firewood (or charcoal if you choose) with a removable grill grate on top for Hibachi-style cooking and airflow control pack on the side.

Crank up the fire and adjust the four fan speeds to dial in the flame to your liking via Bluetooth. Depending upon the speed you choose, your fire can last 5-24 hours. When you’re ready to call it a night, simply plug it in via USB to recharge the airflow control.

Burning efficiently and almost smoke-free, the BioLite FirePit is best for the car camper or beach-goer who appreciates a good meal and techy features to go along with their fire.

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Best Propane Pit: Outland Firebowl


If burning firewood isn’t an option, you can still sit around a warming fire with the Outland Firebowl. Unlike the other fire pits on this list, this one runs solely on propane, so there’s no need to worry about sparks or leftover ash.

While it may not produce the same effects of a real fire, the Firebowl still looks like one. The stainless steel fire pit comes with about four pounds of lava rocks that make the flames to dance as the stainless steel burner produces a flame.

To power up the Firebowl, attach a standard propane tank (not included) to the attached 10-foot hose and light it up. There’s an adjustable chrome valve attached to the front so you can go for the full bonfire effect or smoldering embers ambiance.

By leaving the wood out of the equation, there’s a good chance you can still have a fire even during a burn ban. Just be sure to check what the restrictions are in place before turning up the heat.

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Budget Pick: UCO Flatpack

UCO Gear has called Seattle home since it came on the scene in 1971. Standing for “Utility, Comfort, and Originality,” they create useful outdoor, home, and emergency preparedness goods.

The UCO Flatpack is a 2-in-1 portable grill and fire pit that’s packable in every sense of the word. At 3.2 pounds it’s exceptionally lightweight and folds up to less than 1.5-inches thick.

The UCO Flatpack is built with quality stainless steel, so you won’t find it rusting or corroding after repeated use.

Taking a mere 30-seconds to set up, you can toss the grill on top and get cooking. The sides act as a windbreak while the base keeps the whole set sturdy.

Compact and extremely portable, this fire pit is an affordable option for the outdoorsy couple in need of a little heat.

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Best For Cooking: Primus Kamoto Open Fire Pit

Having been on the block since 1892, the folks over at Primus know a thing or two about outdoor cooking. If you’re looking for some heat as well as an open flame to cook over, take a look at the Primus Kamoto Open Fire Pit.

This fire pit operates on wood and charcoal, so it’s easy to load it up, get the fire started, and cook over an open flame. The Kamoto comes equipped with a cooking grate, while the powder-coated steel bottom plate serves as an ash collector so you can clean up the mess without leaving a trace.

As for the fire pit itself, it weighs at just under 14 pounds and folds up for easy transport. It also comes with built-in handles for convenience.

Constructed from stainless steel, the fire pit offers side wind protection as well as an elevated base for proper airflow to better fuel the fire.

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Easiest Setup: Snow Peak Pack and Carry Fireplace

Known for producing lightweight outdoor cookware, Snow Peak offers one of the most packable fire pits around with the Pack and Carry Fireplace. Leaving the bulk to the wood, the Pack and Carry Fireplace features a slim construction that’s just begging to be brought along for every adventure.

Folding down flat, the Pack and Carry Fireplace is incredibly compact in comparison to its competitors. Pack it in with the rest of your camping gear and you won’t have to think twice.

Made with stainless steel, this portable fire pit is as easy to set up as it is to carry. Simply unfold, load up the wood, and start burning. There are also a variety of grilling accessories should you choose to fire up this bad boy for your dinner.

Available in small, medium, and large, the weight will range from roughly 4- to 12-pounds, making it perfect for practically all of your outdoor activities. While we wouldn’t typically carry a fire pit on a backpacking trip, it’s worth considering the small 4 pound option for casual, short-distance trips.

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Best For Car Camping: Fireside Outdoor Pop-Up Pit

Lightweight and packable, the Campfire Defender Pop-Up Pit from Fireside Outdoor is an excellent option for the car camping family looking to roast some s’mores and get in some quality bonding time. From setup to tear-down, this portable fire pit delivers at an affordable price.

At a glance this stainless steel fire pit may not look like much, but don’t be fooled. Clocking in at eight pounds, the fire pit is remarkably strong and can hold up to 15 times its weight — 125 pounds to be exact. Take it out of the carrying case and you can have it set up and ready to go in 60 seconds flat.

Once lit, the proprietary Fire Mesh allows air to flow through the fire, increasing burn efficiency while decreasing the smoke factor.

One of the features we particularly enjoy about this fire pit is its exceptionally fast cool-off time. In a mere 90-seconds, this portable fire pit can go from burning hot to completely cool. That means there’s no need to hang around camp when you’re ready to go.

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Best For Containment: Pyro Cage Mini

With a name like Proud Pyro, you know you’re in for some heat. This family-run business operating out of Pittsburg, Kansas, specializes in steel-made products. From concept to shipment, they take part in every part of the process for the products they sell.

If you want fire, Proud Pyro has you covered. Their Pyro Cage Mini is one of the most intriguing portable fire pits we’ve seen. Featuring a unique boxed design, this fire pit fully contains the burning contents inside.

Folding down flat, it’s comprised of four slotted panels that piece together like a puzzle to construct the 3D design. Once assembled the box measures 13.75″ x 13.75″, so it can burn logs up to 13 inches long. This fire pit is also constructed from 14-gauge stainless steel so it can withstand a beating.

Keeping all the wood, embers, and ash inside, this fire pit is an excellent option for the fire starter who wants to optimize packability while also ensuring the fire is secure.

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Best Style: Stahl Camper

Based out of Portland, Oregon, Stahl Fire Pit has found a niche in the market with their “modern, clean, and simple” metal firepits. In particular, it’s their Camper that beckons us like a moth to the flame. One look and you’ll agree this fire pit has got style.

Adding flare to the ambiance, the Stahl Camper has a sleek modern look with a portable design. It’s constructed from five lightweight aluminum plates that slide together for easy setup — no screws required.

At 8″ x 20″ x 20″, the Camper is Stahl’s smallest portable fire pit and just the right size for the couple looking to stay warm. You can also opt for the additional Grill Plate to cook up some grub.

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Toss on a few logs and enjoy the fire with these hot tips: 7 Versatile Ways to Start a Fire Without Matches, The Ultimate Guide to Making Camping Coffee, and 45 Fun Camping Activities for Adults.

Seen in: Camping, Gear, Lifestyle

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