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BioLite FirePit+ Review – The Perfect Road Trip Fire Pit

Enjoy crackling fires and savory meals with this portable and (mostly) smokeless fire pit perfect for road trips.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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I never considered packing a fire pit for a road trip adventure. Why would I need to take one with me when most campsites have fire rings and charcoal grills? It was just one of those things that seemed too silly to pack.  

Then I tested the BioLite FirePit+.

When I was offered a chance to get my hands on one of BioLite’s supposedly smokeless fire pits, I immediately wondered if this could be a road trip-worthy item to pack. But I know I would have to find a very good reason to carve out a niche in my SUV for packing it.  

After waiting weeks for the right opportunity, I finally had a chance to test it. Setting it up was effortless. Building a roaring fire was easy. And cooking dinner on it was interesting. The following day, I cooked breakfast on the cast iron griddle, and I knew I needed to carve out a niche so I could pack this fire pit.

I can’t classify the FirePit+ as a road trip essential item to pack because I’ll never use this while staying at hotels, inns, or B&Bs. But if you enjoy spending nights at campgrounds during a road trip, you need to read the rest of this review.

The BioLite FirePit+ featuring a lithium-ion battery for powering a fan that produces larger flames.

What is the BioLite FirePit+?

In 2012, Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond debuted the CampStove, a smokeless stove with thermoelectric generators for converting excess heat from burning biomass into energy. The novel concept was perfect for off-grid use in countries without stable electricity or during the aftermath of natural disasters. But the CampStove gained an enthusiastic following from backpackers eager to keep their smartphones charged on the trail.

In 2017, the intrepid inventors launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop a smokeless wood-burning fire pit. After raising an impressive $2.5 million, the company debuted the BioLite FirePit. In 2021, they unveiled the FirePit+ with modest improvements.

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The BioLite FirePit+ is a portable fire pit with a hibachi-style grill grate, adjustable fuel rack for burning wood or charcoal, and a 12,800 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery that powers a fan for the forced air system. Air is pushed through 51 jets surrounding the burn chamber, adding extra oxygen to the fire and creating greater heat that burns off most of the smoke.

Additional accessories include a cast iron griddle, solid metal lid, and canvas carrying bag.

Surprisingly, the FirePit+ does not feature BioLite’s innovative thermoelectric generators. The lithium-ion battery cannot charge itself. The designers pointed out that the purpose of a fire pit was to radiant heat outward, making any thermoelectric generators useless. But don’t worry – the battery can last all night and charges in just two hours.

READ MORE: 10 Best Coolers for Road Trips

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The BioLite FirePit+ will be a conversation starter and the centerpiece for long nights of fellowship around a crackling fire.

BioLite Firepit+ Product Ratings

Overall Rating:
8.1/10
Materials
Design
Durability
Features
Battery Life
Ease of Use
Portability
Support
Price

Pros

  • Portable
  • Durable carry bag
  • Easy to clean
  • Option to burn wood or charcoal\
  • (Mostly) Smokeless
  • Battery is removable for easy recharging

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Low heat output
  • Grill can accidentally detach
  • Battery uses a micro-USB cable (included) for recharging instead of the more common USB-C
  • Does not include charging block
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Buying Options

Full Review

It’s not just a fire pit. And it’s not just a charcoal grill. The BioLite FirePit+ is a portable fire pit with a hibachi-style grill, an adjustable fuel rack that can burn wood or charcoal, and a battery-powered fan for a mostly smokeless experience.

But it becomes more with a few additional items. The lid improves the cooking experience. The cast iron griddle opens the door to more meals cooked over charcoal. And the durable canvas carry bag makes it easy to pack and keep everything together.  

The BioLite FirePit+ is the perfect road trip fire pit. But with the optional lid, griddle, and bag, it’s the only fire pit you’ll ever need on a road trip. It will be a conversation starter and the centerpiece for long nights of fellowship around a crackling fire.

The BioLite FirePit+ with optional lid and durable canvas carry bag, making it easy to travel with the fire pit.

It’s a Portable Fire Pit

My favorite feature of the BioLite FirePit+ is the portability. The fire pit features folding legs that effortlessly lock into place when you’re ready to light a fire. Folded and stored in the optional carrying bag, the FirePit+ measures just 27” long, 13” wide, and 17” tall with the optional lid – smaller than most rolling suitcases.

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The only downside to portability is the weight. The FirePit+ weighs just 20 pounds, but after adding the cast iron griddle and lid, the weight jumps to 33 pounds. Fortunately, if you’re car camping, you won’t have to carry the fire pit very far.

The FirePit Carry Bag is the key to portability – but you’ll have to pay extra to get it. The durable, water-resistant canvas bag features thick carry straps and a padded handle. The bag is adjustable for carrying just the fire pit or the option lid attached. Cinch straps secure the fire pit inside the bag, making it easy to load and unload.

READ MORE: Choosing the Best Garmin Automotive GPS for Your Next Road Trip

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51 air jets throughout the burn chamber inject oxygen into the fire, producing larger flames and burning off excess smoke.

It’s a (Mostly) Smokeless Fire Pit

Smokeless fire pits are having a moment. After decades of smoke-tinged clothing from a night around a campfire, we finally have a solution. The concept behind smokeless fire pits is simple enough: build an air recirculation system that allows the fire to burn hotter and burn off the smoke.

But creating a smokeless fire is as much about building a fire as it is about the fire pit. Green firewood produces a tremendous amount of smoke as the excess water is evaporated from the wood as it burns. Similarly, damp, seasoned firewood will also create a lot of smoke. But a lack of air is the most significant culprit in a smoky fire.

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The BioLite FirePit+ uses an innovative system of 51 air jets to inject oxygen into the fire. The system is powered by a 12,800 mAh lithium-ion battery with a built-in fan pushing air through the pipes. The system improves combustion and burns off most of the smoke.

The fan features four control settings, but the maximum fan speed is not always better. The lowest setting is good for keeping embers alive just a little longer. The highest setting is only good for providing a brief burst of oxygen to reignite a fading fire. The middle settings are where you want to keep the fan most of the time – just enough airflow to keep the fire roaring and most of the smoke burned away.

READ MORE: Plan Your Next Adventure at One of These West Coast National Parks

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The BioLite FirePit+ has the capacity for three small pieces of firewood up to 16 inches in length.

How to Use the Wood Burning Fire Pit

At some point, a “standard” firewood length was developed – about 16 inches long. And the BioLite FirePit+ has the capacity for that size of wood.

The FirePit+ features a fuel rack – a wire metal rack with an adjustable height. When burning firewood, the rack adjusts to the lowest position at the bottom of the fire pit. This provides enough room for about a 12” diameter log – but of course, you don’t use a full log in a fire pit!

Pro Tip You should never pack firewood at home and carry it into a campground. Insects can travel on the firewood and may lead to an environmental problem when introduced to a new location. Instead, always buy firewood locally at the camp store or hardware store in town.

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The best fires in fire pits start small with a few pieces of kindling – pack a hatchet to break down some firewood – and a fire starter. One of my favorites while traveling is Superior Trading Co.’s All Natural Fire Starters. Once the fire catches on, you can add additional firewood.

But the key to the smokeless fire pit is not to add too much firewood at once. It might be tempting to stack the wood as high as the sides of the fire pit, but that will result in more smoke. For the best results with a smokeless fire pit, keep the wood below the air jets.

And that is how my favorite feature of the FirePit+ works against it. It’s portable and easy to travel with, but the small size also means it can hold very little firewood. Loaded with as much firewood as possible produced only a moderate amount of heat that I could feel about two feet away. If camping on a chilly night, you might want to bring a Rumpl blanket.

The X-ray mesh sides are one of the most fascinating features of the updated FirePit+ . The perforated sides allow a pleasing glimpse into the heart of the pulsing fire – a unique view and my second favorite FirePit+ feature.

READ MORE: 7 East Coast National Parks You Need to Explore + 113 Additional National Park Units

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Raise the fuel rack to the upper position to cook meals or roast marshmallows over charcoal.

Cooking Over Charcoal in the Fire Pit

Fire pits doing double duty as cooking surfaces are not new, but the BioLite FirePit+ does it better than any others. With an adjustable fuel rack, you can cook over the embers of a wood fire or raise the rack to cook over charcoal. When locked into the upper position, the fuel rack is just a few inches below the grill grate – the perfect distance for a good charcoal dinner.

In this configuration, the FirePit+ performs just like any tabletop charcoal grill. The grill grate has two tabs that slide into a channel along the length of the fire pit. While this prevents the grill from accidentally falling off, it is possible to accidentally slide it off the end.

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The grill grate is included with the FirePit+, but the additional FirePit Griddle will change how you cook on a fire. The seasoned, non-stick griddle is perfect for cooking eggs, pancakes, and roasted vegetables – all those things you can’t do on a grill.

The optional lid is a must-have for cooking on the FirePit+. The lid is made from the same materials as the fire pit and features a rubberized handle and vent. The lid sits on the rim of the fire pit and snugly around the carry handles – it’s not going anywhere.

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Cleaning the Fire Pit

Cleaning a campsite is one of the most tedious tasks after a thrilling weekend getaway. Fortunately, cleaning the BioLite FirePit+ is super easy – a consolation after cleaning everything else.

The fuel rack is removable, although it must be tilted sideways, so you’ll have to pick up any large debris left from the fire. A sliding trap door on the bottom of the FirePit+ makes it easy to dump ash into a bucket for disposal. A small brush is useful for getting all of the ash out of the fire pit.

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Usage History

It’s easy for me to accept a free product and write review. But it’s another story altogether when I continue to use the product. The BioLite Firepit+ was one of my favorite products to use for months and slowly review over time.

Check out the complete history below to see how I used the fire pit during my road trip adventures and how the fire pit held up to the rigors of road tripping.

Initial Usage

– Excellent condition after shipping
– Setting up was quick and easy
– Took one hour to fully charge the battery
– Firepit was 90% smokeless with battery powered fan turned on
– Cleanup was relatively easy

2 Weeks

– Durable canvas carrying bag makes it easy to pack for travel
– Folding legs are easy to setup
– Lots of noise from rattling pieces while traveling
– Still in great condition and easy to clean

1 Month

– No wear or tear on the bag after repeated trips
– All parts are still snug in place

6 Months

– Grill is becoming more difficult to fully clean after making burgers
– Some of the parts are starting to look tarnished

1 Year

– Travel bag is still in excellent condition
– The battery pack still holds a good charge and keeps the fan running for hours
– All parts on the grill are still snug
– Several pieces are now visibly tarnished, but that does not affect the functionality

2 Years

– Still my go-to travel fire pit when I’m road tripping to a cabin or campsite

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Why You Should Trust My Review

I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains in Southwest Virginia. Building bonfires was practically required year-round, even on summer nights. We never had a proper firepit at my childhood home – just an earthen pit surrounded by flimsy collapsible chairs.

My passion for building fires continued as an adult. After checking into a campsite, my first act was to buy a bundle of wood. I would frequently heat water in a kettle over the fire so I could have hot apple cider.

Eventually, my passion for bonfires extended to cooking over fires. I was much happier cooking breakfast and burgers over a fire than I was on a portable gas grill.

This is why I was thrilled when the public relations firm Purple Orange reached out to me about testing the BioLite Firepit+. I’d just finished my review of the Solo Stove Bonfire and was in the mindset for testing more firepits.

I know firepits, bonfires, and cooking on an open fire. But its more than just another piece of knowledge crammed into my head. This is something I truly enjoy doing.

How I Tested the BioLite Firepit+

When it came to testing the BioLite Firepit+, there were a few areas that were most important if I were to consider this as a piece of travel gear. Most reviews only look at the firepit in terms of setting it up in the backyard or taking it camping once a year. But I was looking at how this could become a permanent part of a thousand-mile road tripping adventure and be used nightly for two months.

Here’s how I tested the BioLite Firepit+.

Was it durable for long road trips? The first thing I did was assemble the firepit – that took about twenty minutes – and immediately stuff it into the durable carrying bag. I loaded it into the back of my Honda Pilot along with my 12V fridge, an empty suitcase, and a few other random bags. I kept the firepit in the car for two weeks while I drove around town for errands and doctor appointments. Every time I came home, I took the firepit out of the car, took it out of the bag, unfolded the legs, and then reversed the steps.

Would the moving parts continue working? There is an old saying: for every moving part in a product, there is a chance for it to fail. The only moving parts on the BioLite Firepit+ are the folding legs and the ash door. So I tested them. I unfolded the legs, locked them into place, folded them flat again, and repeated the process 50 times. They worked just as smoothly during the last test as the first – although my thumbs were seriously sore.

Was the firepit built from good materials? This was an easy one to test – I just needed to build a bonfire. I lit a bonfire in the firepit every night for two weeks and kept it burning for at least an hour. I did not clean it until this test was complete because I wanted to see how it held up to continuous use with soot building up.

Could it serve the dual purpose of a firepit and cook surface? The BioLite Firepit+ Essentials Kit comes with everything you need to cook almost any kind of meal – grate for grilling burgers and chicken and cast iron pan for eggs and pancakes. So, I made breakfast on the firepit three times and dinner five times. I thoroughly cleaned the cast iron pan after each use to keep it in prime condition.

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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
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