Collapsible gas fire pit packs small to bring safe campfire anywhere
It's just not camping without the campfire, but seasonal burning restrictions can stamp out any hopes of building a fire outside, or even inside, an official campground. Gas fire pits are a good alternative, often allowed under wood-fire bans, but they tend to be large and cumbersome. The new Firestorm from startup Live Outdoor is the most portable gas fire pit we've seen, able to collapse into a series of components for easy packing before building up into a towering (but controlled) inferno in a matter of minutes.
Prior to a few years ago, every portable propane fire pit we saw was designed seemingly exclusively to be carried in a large RV or truck, not the smaller everyday cars or crossovers many use while car camping. Their large, round bodies didn't pack at all conveniently with the piles of other camping gear required for any given trip, all but requiring a roomier, more dedicated storage space like an RV locker. It was puzzling given how much more universally useful a rectangular, readily packable gas fire pit would be.
The industry has finally seemed to wise up, as wildfires gain more and more media attention each summer. We've seen a number of smaller, vehicle-friendly rectangular fire pits emerge over the past few years, including products from companies like Ignik and Ukiah. Live Outdoor takes it a step further with the Firestorm, which not only utilizes a semi-rectangular design (an inverted trapezoidal prism, really), it breaks down into four side panels and a burner for even more convenient, easy-to-store transport. Other rectangular fire pits store neatly next to boxes full of camping gear, but the Firestorm can store inside them.
Unlike collapsible wood fire pits that are still subject to wood fire bans, the Firestorm works around such bans so long as propane fires are still allowed. I've been using Ignik's original FireCan for this very purpose, and it's a great option for keeping the fire going during ban season. I even use it in my backyard, where open fires are banned in summertime due to proximity to public land.
In addition to providing a viable solution during bans, propane fire pits eliminate the heavy smoke of wood fire, offering a cleaner, less finicky flame that's easy to enjoy without the worry of changing winds blowing smoke into one's eyes, nose and mouth.
The Firestorm's four powder-coated steel walls are designed to secure together with integrated clips before the burner simply drops in through the top. The gas hose feeds in through the bottom and secures to the valve on the burner, supplying LPG from a connected tank.
The high-set location of the Firestorm burner allows the flame to rise up to 2 feet (61 cm) from the top, and users can easily adjust the intensity with the dial. The high flame looks like it should be warmer and more impressive than LPG designs that house the flame lower inside the fire pit body, and a tip-over sensor system extinguishes the flame should the Firestorm fall, helping to prevent home and wildfires.
Live Outdoor presented the Firestorm at this summer's Outdoor Retailer show and, according to its website, is planning a broader introduction next week. The video below shows how the Firestorm breaks down and builds up and previews three different sizes, ranging in price between US$799 and $1,159.
While we do like the idea of a collapsible body and promise of American manufacturing, those prices seem awfully high. For comparison, the Ignik FireCan starts at $200, and Ukiah's portable fire pits start at $229. The Firestorm does look to offer both a more impressive flame and more portable design than either of those, but that's an awful steep price difference.
Source: Live Outdoor