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Smokeless Fire Pit For Hiking and Survival 

 November 10, 2020

By  Mike Millerson

A smokeless fire pit is a great idea for those who feel fed up with fire smoke that gets into their eyes and interferes with breathing. The flame of a bonfire will heat you and your wilderness dwelling and is a must for cooking. However, making it produce less smoke is a great idea. To learn how to do it, read the following article.

Most of us love gathering around a fire to watch the flame dance, have a chat, sing songs, or just keep quiet and enjoy the moment.

For those deeply into hiking and prepping, building and keeping a fire going is not just a pleasant outdoor pastime – it is a survival routine. A campfire is the heat source, a cooking tool, and a means of protection.

But there is one thing that will annoy at all times – the smoke.

Somehow it seems that the smoke will always find a way to get you. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, it’s just always there – in your eyes and your nose. You may circle the fire searching for a better spot, but it’s just no use.

And it gets even worse when you have no opportunity to step further away from the fire. You may be cooking, drying clothes, or keeping your hands warm. In this case, there’s just no choice but to bear with the smoke. Or is there?

Here’s the idea:

  • Why not get yourself a smokeless fire pit?

In this guide, you will learn:

  • What a smokeless fire pit is and why you should get one;
  • How to dig smokeless fire pits;
  • How to make a DIY smokeless rocket stove;
  • And what the best smokeless fire pits the market offers.

Want to know about the best camping gear you will ever need? Follow the link and bookmark the page with our 21 item camping checklist!

What is a Smokeless Fire Pit?

bonefire-fire-pit-with-smoke

An original smokeless fire pit is a type of bonfire that utilizes not one but two holes in the ground, which makes for air ventilation allowing the fire to produce less smoke, hence the term “smokeless.”

Modern-day smokeless fire pits, however, differ from their traditional predecessors and are more technologically advanced. Although, the principle they utilize has fairly stayed the same: it’s using airstreams that allow the fire to produce more heat while minimizing the amount of smoke.

Another advantage of smokeless fire pits is fuel source economy – when using wood, and such pits would require less combustible material to burn hotter and last longer than a regular bonfire.

As of today, hikers, camping enthusiasts, preppers, and regular customers can choose one of the three types of smokeless fire pits.

Dakota Fire Pit

Dakota Fire Pit

Dakota firepit is the most famous example of a traditional type of smokeless firepits. Its principle is based on using two holes in the ground connected by a ground tunnel. One of the pits if for the fire, another one is for fresh air.

Dakota firepit has been around for many centuries. Ancestors used it when there was not enough fuel. Another purpose was conservation.

What is basic about the Dakota fire pit is that the fire burns underground. Such a covert design is also great for staying unexposed since there is no visible flame. It was especially crucial ages ago when nomads sought safe places and had to keep their camps undiscovered.

Today, the Dakota fire pit is utilized not only by preppers and survivors worldwide but also in the training plan of the US military forces.

Dakota firepit is perfect when you need a fire that will burn hot, waste too much fuel, and be hard to spot from a distance.

To get a grasp on the concept of Dakota smoke-free firepit, watch the video review below:

Backyard Fire Pit

Somewhat in between the Dakota fire pit option and a more technologically advanced fire pit model below comes a backyard fire pit. What is it? Basically, it is just what it sounds like – a backyard bonfire burning in a pit.

This is the low smoke firepit option for a private household or a camping cottage. Backyard firepit design is a straight evolution of the Dakota fire pit – it uses just the same technique of air-feeding the fire to produce a high amount of heat and ensure complete burn.

Backyard firepits sit around them with your family and friends to roast marshmallows or even make some coffee. There are open-air options or built-in patio models.

As far as price goes, backyard firepits may not be the cheapest of options. The price range starts at three hundred dollars and may reach fifteen hundred bucks.

Rocket Stove

However, a self-made smoke-free firepit like the Dakota fire pit is not the only option. Let us introduce to you a rocket stove.

A Rocket Stove: How It Works What is a rocket stove? Well, first of all, we should state what it is not. A rocket stove is not something you can easily make with your own hands out on a camping site. It’s because a rocket stove will require building materials (stainless steel) and skills. So yeah, if you decide to get a rocket stove, you will have to buy it unless you’re an experienced blacksmith.

Rocket stoves differ in size options. There are portable models, the ones you can take outside and go hiking with them. And there are larger options that are powerful enough to heat up a cabin. For instance, like this massive indoor heater from the video below:

However, a rocket stove construction utilized just the same basic smokeless firepit concept – the use of a fresh air stream to feed the combustion process.

  • Have you bookmarked our guide on the 21 Essential Camping Items? Not yet? Do it right now – follow the link and bookmark the page to come back to it right after you have finished this post.

Why You Might Need a Smokeless Fire Pit

This section will give you our thoughts on why you might want to get a low-smoke fire pit.

Low Amount of Smoke

This is obvious. A smokeless fire pit is good because it produces far less smoke during the combustion process. It also makes for less smell as the fire burns. And this is the point that we feel should be cleared:

  • You should not take the term “smokeless” literally. Since there is no smoke without fire, there can be no fire without smoke. It’s plain physics – when wood burns, it leaves traces of burning. The trick about firepits is that thanks to their design, they reduce the amount of smoke. So should you purchase any of the firepit models listed in the Best Smokeless Fire Pit section below, don’t expect it to be completely smokeless.

Higher Effectiveness

Smokeless firepits are highly efficient. The design allows them to burn hotter on the lower amount of fuel. Whether you’re using wood or wood pellets, you may rest assured that a smokeless firepit will require less burning fuel than regular fires will. Go online and watch some smokeless fire pit reviews to make sure how effective they are.

This point is especially important for those customers who would like to purchase a smokeless firepit as a piece of survival gear for their emergency storage. Such a fire pit will let a prepper successfully manage their long-term firewood supplies.

The bottom line is a smokeless firepit makes for both – effective burn and economy.

Hard to Spot

The last point comes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned survival aspect to smokeless fire pits:

  • They are difficult to spot from a distance.

Producing a very low amount of smoke, a smokeless fire pit is a perfect covert option. But the main idea is that no one will see the fire. The flame burns whether under the ground surface or inside a steel chamber). So no one will spot your location unless you want them to. This feature makes smokeless firepits a perfect piece of survival equipment for untrackable hideouts or bugging out.

  • Want to know more about the most necessary survival items? Check out our Ultimate Guide on 78 items every emergency storage must include.

Making a Dakota Fire Pit

Below is the step-by-step instruction on how to dig a traditional Dakota fire pit.

The Dakota fire pit design, as you already know, is a combination of two ground holes of different sizes (a bigger and a smaller one) connected with each other with an underground tunnel. The large hole will serve as a burning cavity. The smaller hole will serve as an airstream entrance.

Step 1 -Dig a hole for a fire.

Traditionally, people choose to dig a hole of somewhat twelve inches in diameter. Go down through the ground for about twelve inches deep. Then, make the hole a few inches wider at its bottom. This is good for the bigger pieces of wood you may be using. Roughly, the bottom of the firepit should be 14 to 18 inches in diameter.

Step 2 – Dig an airflow hole.

The next step will require you to do fairly the same thing. But this time, the hole should be narrower – about six-seven inches in diameter. The whole should be about eight to ten inches away from the bonfire pit. This hole will be an airstream entrance for your firepit. The air, as you know it, will make for hotter wood-burning and cleaner smoke. It will also feed the flame with oxygen to keep the fire going.

Step 3 – Connect the holes.

Connect the two holes with a tunnel. To do it, start digging the ground from the airflow hole towards the fire pit. Keep in mind that while connecting the two holes, you should do it under an angle.

Step 4 – Build a fire.

When the job’s done, it’s time to build a fire inside a fire pit. To do it the right way and ensure faster fire-starting, use smaller pieces of dry wood (or wood pellets if you have some), paper, or another kind of kindling.

For more details, watch the video below on how to make a proper Dakota fire pit:

  • When digging a Dakota fire pit, you will need a set of necessary tools like a tactical shovel, a survival knife or a hatchet, a firestarter, or a lighter. All of these are part of the 78-piece Survival Checklist every prepper should follow when building a personal emergency stash. Follow the link to know more about what items would help you stay alive.

Making a DIY Smokeless Rocket Stove

Before we get down with our Best Smokeless FirePit list, let’s consider the option of not buying a rocket stove but building it.

Unfortunately, not all customers can afford to purchase a rocket stove. Those things may get pretty costly. So if you’re unlucky to have limited financial possibilities but lucky enough to be good at working with steel, there is nothing that can stop you from building a rocket stove of your own.

The good thing is that constructing a rocket stove may actually take you no more than just two or three hours. That is if you know how to do it properly, of course.

That is why we encourage you to watch the videos below and pick the option you liked the most. But keep in mind that there is a lot of related content there. So feel free to do your own research and find more information on building DIY rocket stoves, whether it is portable or indoor design.

  • Don’t forget to follow the link and read our Camping Essentials Checklist guide. It has everything you will ever need for the best camping experience possible.

The Best Smokeless Fire Pit Options

So now it’s high time to see what the market has to offer when it comes to choosing a reliable heavy-duty smokeless fire pit.

BioLite’s Outdoor Fire Pit & Grill

BioLite FirePit We decided to begin our list with something quite original. If you’re not new to survival equipment, BioLite may sound familiar to you thanks to the brand’s BioStove, a portable furnace with a mini power station attached to it. So while you’re out camping, you can burn wood and have an opportunity to charge your smartphone or another portable electronic device with a USB port in it.

The BioLite Outdoor Fire Pit Grill takes this concept to a larger level. While not at all as portable as BioStove, this device is also equipped with a built-in USB power station that you can use you charge your devices.

The fire pit itself uses wood and coal as a fuel source and feeds the flame with an integrated fan system—a 12,800 mAh battery powers the fans.

The whole construction weighs about 20 pounds and is basically fit for transportation if there is a need. For instance, BioLite offers a carry case as an extra accessory to go with the product.

BioLite Outdoor Fire Pit will definitely make for a great purchase for an avid BBQ party lover.

Zentro Fire Pit Insert by Breeo

Zentro Fire Pit Insert Our next choice is the Zentro Fire Pit Insert by Breeo.

Made of 304 stainless steel and fortified with the double-wall design, this coal/wood-burning fire pit is easily installed and will fit a thirty to thirty-two inches brick pit at the back of your house or inside a patio. Just like the aforementioned product, Zentro Fire Pit is also great for grilling.

Watch the video below for more details on the product:

Double Flame by Breeo

Double Flame BREEO The next product is Double Flame Fire Pit by Breeo.

This 19 5 inches wide Breeo fire pit is made of durable 304 stainless steel and has two walls for better burning and more efficient smoke reduction.

The product is not too small but is still portable. So you might want to look for a carrying case to be able to take this fire pit with you.

Watch the video below to see this stainless steel campfire in action:

Bonfire by Solo Stove

Bonfire by Solo Stove The final product option on our list is a portable wood-burning fire pit by Solo Stove.

This 17&5 inches wide stainless steel fire pit from one of the market’s leaders is a perfect option for a campfire, making it a must-have for a camping gear set. Solo Stove’s bonfire comes in a double-wall construction, resulting in higher burning effectiveness since the flame is constantly fed with constant airflow. Another great feature is that having two walls means that the surface of the bonfire stove remains cooler for safer use of the product.

The Solo Stove Bonfire also comes with a carrying case.

Stainless steel Bonfire by Solo Stove is a great product for the price.

For more details on Solo Stove Bonfire, watch the videos below:

We also recommend you to check out the entire Solo Stove product line on the www.solostove.com website. The line includes models of different sizes, a variety of bundle offers, and separate accessories.

Conclusion

You know what they say, there is no smoke without fire. But can there be fire with no smoke? The answer is: it’s pretty much possible. That’s what smokeless fire pits are for. They have been around for ages since smoke is an annoying thing to bear with. It gets in your eyes. It gets in your nose. It stays on our clothes. And while smokeless fire pits do not make some vanish completely, they do a great amount of job to reduce it drastically. And that way, sitting around a campfire becomes more joyful.

There are lots of smokeless fire pit models out there. So we encourage you to not limit yourselves on just what we’ve shown you in our article. Do your own research on the related content. Find out more about different options of smokeless firepits and rocket stoves to make your own choice.

FAQs

How Do Smokeless Fire Pits Work?

Smokeless fire pits are coal or wood-burning chambers that produce a low amount of smoke due to their construction that utilizes constant airflow providing oxygen feed for the flame. Thanks to it, the flame burns hotter, and the smoke gets clearer and less toxic. Another feature of such fire pits is that they allow saving combustible material such as wood pellets, tree branches, and such.

Are Smokeless Fire Pits Smokeless?

Not quite. In reality, smokeless fire pits only reduce the amount of smoke. The smoke from such fire pits is also not that dense compared to the smoke from regular fires. The word “smokeless” is only used for the lack of a better term.

Are Breeo Firepits Worth It?

Breeo fire pits are among the most popular products on the market. They are build using high-class stainless steel. They are durable and quite affordable.

What Buyers Like Most

Traditionally, customers like the sizes and portability options many fire pits offer. Another feature buyers like an ash pan that would collect embers and ashes and make it easier to dispose of them after the fire dies out. Also, customers would prefer a fire pit with a carrying case over the product that has none.

What Some Buyers Didn’t Like

There are customers who neglected precautions and burned themselves on their fire pits. Some buyers poorly installed their smokeless fire pits, which resulted in their property damage. When using a fire pit, it is crucial to keep in mind that those devices can be extremely dangerous. Following safety rules and precautions when using smokeless fire pits is a must.

Mike Millerson

A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively. In the core of his principal mission is a desire to be a helpful guide into the world of survival for all those who seek practical advice in the rapidly changing world.

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