An innovative, cooking compatible and Bluetooth controllable portable fire pit
Sometimes tech and the outdoors just aren’t meant to go together. What’s so wrong with the good old-fashioned tried and tested ways of doing things? Try out the newly updated BioLite FirePit+ and you may have your answer. It’s an innovation that really is born to make your campfire experience better than ever. Not only is the fire pit incredibly well suited to cooking and grilling, but its removable power pack can also control the intensity of the burn, via your phone – if you like!
BioLite FirePit+: The stats
|Best for:||Car camping, grilling, backyard use|
|Weight:||19.8 lbs / 9 kg|
|Dimensions:||27 x 13 x 15.8in / 43 x 33 x 40cm|
|Included:||Powerpack, grill grate, fuel rack, charging cable|
|Eco-conscious:||BioLite are a Climate Neutral company|
Features of the BioLite FirePit+
Burn chamberThe main compartment of the fire pit is known as the burn chamber. This has X-Ray mesh sides that allow heat to radiate out of both of the long sides and one end of the chamber. Inside the chamber is a fuel rack that sits on short legs on the base. This can be raised up and hung from small side hooks when burning charcoal for grilling.
There’s also a small door on the base of the chamber that can be opened to empty ash out of.
Unique to the BioLite stoves and fire pits is the integration of a powerpack. The 12,800 mAh battery runs a fan that pumps oxygen into the burn chamber. A single charge can keep the fire going for up to 30 hours. The pack has a USB A output and a Micro USB input so that you can charge your device off it and recharge the pack after use. The powerpack can be removed easily using a button on top. Plus, it can be controlled using buttons on the pack or via Bluetooth!
To keep the fire burning optimally, the powerpack generates a fan that pumps air through three tubes in the burn chamber. These tubes have 51 small holes in them (airjets) that are placed in key locations on the tubes.
The removable grill has a raised bar around the edge which is useful to prevent food from falling off the sides. It’s also designed so that you can refuel or tend to the fire / charcoal as you cook. Either slide the grill along if there’s food already on it, or tip it up on one end if you’ve yet to fill it with food.
The legs fold out and are locked into place with push buttons. Once they’re up they’re super secure and raise the main body of the fire pit 6 inches off the ground.
There are two handles that are screwed into place to lift and move the fire pit. They are removable should you need to make the fire pit as compact as possible.
BioLite FirePit+ review
I have a family member with respiratory issues. She loves a good campfire but has to be really careful around them. She’s constantly moving her sitting position to remain upwind of the smoke. As you can imagine, blustery Cornish evenings around a campfire quickly turn into an extreme game of musical chairs, only with the changing wind direction dictating the movement! It’s changed the way we socialise a little (not the musical chairs bit, that’s just entertaining!). But having to approach what should be a relaxed and enjoyable setting with such caution. This was especially evident through lockdown when outdoor socialising through the winter was the only way to hang out and a source of warmth was essential.
So the idea of a smoke-free fire pit seemed like THE perfect solution, as life without campfires is, really, no life at all!
However, I’m always rather dubious about such wild and seemingly impossible claims. Fire, without smoke? Surely that depends largely on what you’re burning and how dry it is? Well, yes. But, having spent the last year using the Solo Stove Ranger and very much enjoying its low smoke output, I can see that low smoke fires are actually possible. Smoke-free? Not so sure.
Low smoke and burn control
The idea behind the powerpack is to inject air into the fire at key points to create a more uniform temperature. In turn, the mixing of gases inside the fire improves combustion which reduces the smoke output.
As mentioned, this science doesn’t work on wet wood or when burning things with high moisture content. However, I’ve had a few times when the wood / fire has been putting out more smoke than I’d rather, probably due to the wood being damp. I simply turned up the fan to the high setting via the app on my phone, and it took care of the smoke within seconds.
Yes, you did just read that right! I don’t even have to leave the comfort of my camping chair to adjust the fan. As well as the buttons on the powerpack, the fan can be turned on, off, up and down using the BioLite app which connects to the powerpack via Bluetooth. Bit gimmicky? Heck no! It’s great, if not a little lazy!
At 19.8 lbs / 9 kg, the FirePit+ is the heaviest fire pit I’ve used in the last couple years, and the lack of carry case makes it pretty unappealing to carry any further than a couple of minutes from the car. That said, it’s still not heavy and the weight certainly doesn’t shift it out of the portable fire pit category.
It’s best suited to car camping or to taking it places where you don’t have to carry it far from the car. Buying a carry case would make trekking across the beach with it much easier, and it would also protect the rest of the stuff packed in your car from getting sooty.
The regular shape of the pit (i.e. it’s not awkward shaped!) makes it easy to pack alongside other stuff in your boot or trunk. Plus, if you clean it out well enough, you can store other stuff inside it. My Helinox camping chairs fit inside it nicely, along with a few other things.
Without stating the obvious, most fire pits are designed to have a fire inside them with cooking compatibility being just an added extra, if it’s even possible. The design of the FirePit+, however, has been thought about carefully. Firstly, the fuel rack can be raised up so that the burning charcoal is closer to the grill grate. Secondly, the grill grate can slide along the top of the burn chamber to either add / tend to charcoal below or to move well cooked food off of the heat.
This is a really nice feature that takes a bit of the stress out of getting your grilling timings right. Just be sure to place something on the ground at the end of the fire pit to catch the dripping grease!
The grill grate has edges to it which are a very nice feature and prevent your sausages slipping off the sides! If you want to cook over the grill in a pan then the raised edge means you’ll need either a small pan to fit between the edges or a very large pan to sit on top of them.
In terms of location use, the FirePit+ isn’t as versatile as other fire pits I’ve used. As mentioned, it’s on the heavy side and cumbersome to carry far unless you buy the carry case.
However, where it falls short on the portability front, it skyrockets when it comes to usability once in situ. It’s easy to get going and to keep going, it’s a breeze to control, it puts out great heat, its regular shape makes it easy to store and transport (in a car), and it’s the most cooking compatible fire pit I’ve ever used.
What I love the most about the BioLite FirePit+
As mentioned, the cooking compatibility of the FirePit+ rocks! It’s also really hard not to love (though I did try) the ability to control the heat output by adjusting the fan. Doing so via my phone is a pretty great feature, though I suspect the novelty of this will fade with time?!
What I don’t love so much about the BioLite FirePit+
The lack of a carry case is a bit of a negative for me. It’s an already pricey product (that’s another negative!) so it’s a little frustrating that you have to spend extra on a case.
Aside from that, there really is little to dislike about it.
Though not completely smoke free (surely that’s just impossible?), the newly improved BioLite FirePit+ makes a pretty good play at reducing smoke output as much as possible. With a removable powerpack that controls air jets (via your phone, should you choose) for optimal burning and efficiency, this is outdoor technology at its very best. The FirePit+ is also brilliant to cook on and is portable enough to pack away in your car on many happy (low smoke) camping trips!
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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.