Last weekend I impulse purchased a Solo Stove Bonfire fire pit because it looked awesome and was highly reviewed, we’ve wanted a fire pit or outdoor heater, there was a 10% discount for Earth Day weekend, and the mobile website accepted Apple Pay which made checkout super easy.
It arrived today and I was super eager to test it out. I had already purchased some 2″ paver stones to set it on (to protect our wood deck), firewood, and marshmallows.
What follows is my first impression mini-review after using it for the first time:
- It lights quickly and easily. I used some straw, a few pieces, of kindling, and then straight to logs. There was no need for lighter fluid or fire starters or extra feeding of paper. I made a small bed of straw, put 6 pieces of kindling and 1 log on top and then lit it. Once the fire was going each additional log ignited quickly.
- Once it heats up, it does produce less smoke than a normal campfire / fire pit. It takes a good 10-15 minutes to reach this point though.
- The fire pit needs to be both pre-heated and full of logs in order to get the secondary combustion where pre-heated air flows into through holes around the upper rim to form flame jets that burn the smoke emitted from the main fire.
- It seems to burn through wood pretty quickly.
- Once the flames die down, it forms a great bed of embers for roasting marshmallows.
- It burns the wood almost down to nothing. I had a few golf ball sized chunks of charcoal but mostly fine ash left over.
- The fire pit cools down quickly. I was surprised how quickly it cools down. Because it burns so efficiently, I think it burns everything it can down to ash and then when there’s nothing left it quickly cools. I imagine the same airflow that allows it to burn so efficiently also contributes to the rapid cooling afterwards.
Secondary combustion: Look for the jets of flame periodically forming around the rim