Gear

Review: Solo Stove Lite vs Solo Stove Bonfire

by Carissa Stanz

solo stove solo vs bonfire
Photo Courtesy of Solo Stove

Virtually smokeless and highly efficient, Solo Stove is revolutionizing how we think of wood burning stoves.

Gazing into the dancing flames of a fire pit is a relaxing, mesmerizing experience. That is, until the smoke comes wafting into your face.

A smokeless fire pit may sound too good to be true, but with Solo Stove, it’s a reality.

Solo Stove produces a unique line of innovative wood burning stoves that range from backcountry cooking to backyard bonfires, and they’re all practically smoke-free.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I’ve been fortunate enough to test both their Solo Stove Lite and their Solo Stove Bonfire, and I must admit, I’m pretty darn impressed.

If you’re in the market for a portable wood burning stove, you’ll want to take a look at what Solo Stoves has to offer.

About Solo Stove

Solo Stove came on the scene in 2010 with a focus on creating a unique cooking stove. Since then, they’ve expanded their product line and grown in popularity.

Their mission, however, still holds true. They produce innovative gear to enhance the lives of friends and families looking to reconnect with the natural world.

“It is what our products can do to the people that use them, that is most important.  Our products are simply the tools for those that want to reconnect to what matters in their lives.” — Solo Stove

How Solo Stoves Work

Each wood burning stove in the Solo Stove line up features the same sleek design and clever technology, featuring double walls and a stainless steel construction. 

Light your fire and the bottom air intake holes pull cool air in. The air is then either channeled upward to give life to the fire or sucked in between the double wall towards the top vent holes.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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As the fire burns, the ash pan collects any falling ash while the precision base plate separates the ash from the burning logs. The top vent holes then use the heated air to produce a secondary combustion. In turn, this creates a hotter fire and more complete burn that produces very little smoke.

The only difference you’ll notice between the stoves are the varying sizes to suit your needs.

Solo Stove Lite

Solo Stove Lite

The Solo Stove Lite is the most portable stove in the Solo Stove product lineup. At 10 inches tall and weighing a mere 9 ounces, its compact and lightweight design make it a suitable backpacking companion.

Fueled by twigs (that’s right, twigs) there’s no need to carry a hatchet or worry about running out of fuel. 

Start off with some tinder and add in a handful of dry twigs to fuel the fire. This stove lets you get to cooking instantaneously so there’s not a long lag time between fire building and campfire cooking.

Speaking of which, the heat-directing fire ring at the top is designed to hold a pot or pan while acting as a windscreen. Since the Solo Stove Lite is the smallest stove they offer, it’s best for feeding one to two hungry campers.

Although this fire is well contained, you do want to keep an eye on it. There’s been a time or two when my attention turned towards meal prepping and less on fire fueling. In order to keep a steady flame, you’ll need to constantly be adding fuel. Remember you’re working with twigs, not logs.

If you prefer to cook the all-natural way, the Solo Stove Lite is a viable option that leaves the smoke factor to the flavor of your food.

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Solo Stove Bonfire

My better-half and I have put quite a few miles on some tire tread searching forest roads for epic spots to bust a camp, and you better believe the Solo Stove Bonfire was there every bit of the way.

Solo Stove offers three sizes in fire pits — the Ranger, Bonfire, and Yukon. Not too big and not too small, the 20-pound Bonfire hits the sweet spot right in between. At 14-inches tall and roughly 20-inches wide, this portable fire pit can comfortably seat a group of four. In my case, it’s perfect for someone who likes to hog all the heat.

If you’ve ever tried to start a fire at a developed campsite, you’re fully aware those fire rings present some challenges. Getting a fire going in the Bonfire, however, is super easy thanks to the cleverly engineered airflow.

Once this sucker gets going, it’s hot — fire and pit in all. Which means until it cools back down, you’re staying put, so keep that in mind. Once it does cool down, I recommend utilizing the storage sack so any soot left inside won’t wind up in your vehicle during transport.

As for performance, the Bonfire is efficient, to say the least. This portable fire pit keeps a steady flame and maximizes the fuel you get out of the logs, essentially leaving you with biochar in the end.

It’s also incredibly mesmerizing to watch. Just take a look at how the flames react to the air vent holes.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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While keeping your group warm, you can also use the Bonfire to do some campfire cooking. The detachable 304 stainless steel fire ring on the top directs the heat while serving as a resting place for a circular grate. We took one from an old BBQ and found it works terrific for cooking up some dinner.

As for the smoke, it’s there but it’s minimal. We’ve found if you have dry wood, it’s practically non-existent. Which means you and your buddies don’t have to keep rotating around the fire due to smoke wafting in your eyes. Compared to your typical campground fire ring, you’ll find yourself a happy camper with the Bonfire.

Backyard bonfires or campground campfires, the Solo Stove Bonfire is an excellent choice for any outdoor setting where you would like to keep smoke to a minimum.

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When the campfire is calling your name, enhance your experience with the Best Firewood for Your Campfire Feast, 20 Easy Campfire Breakfast Ideas and Recipes, 7 Best Camping Hatchets, and 7 Versatile Ways to Start a Campfire Without Matches.

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