What is a Fire Pit?
Fire pits are open vessels that are used for warmth, beauty, atmosphere, and cooking. Normally, one outdoor fire pit won’t serve all these functions.
In its most basic form, a fire pit can simply be something you’d find at a rustic campground — a hole in the ground ringed with rocks. Most people, even those with vacation homes in the woods, don’t want an unsightly – and dangerous outdoor fire pit.
That’s why even owners of large campgrounds turn to something as simple as a steel fire pit ring. You can get something as simple fire pit rings – accented with cut out silhouettes of animals or trees — or you can get an “outdoor fireplace” enclosed with steel mesh or glass. It all depends on what function you want your fire pit to fulfill.
A Fire Ring: These are great for vacation homes or in areas where the open burning of wood is allowed by city ordinances. You can create a true “campfire” ambiance, and they come in a variety of sizes.
A Fire Pit: More sophisticated than fire rings, these come in a wide range of materials and sizes. Most allow you to contain the fire within steel mesh or glass. They are set up on the ground and are becoming increasingly demanding for people who love to bring along when they go for outdoor activities like camping.
A Chiminea: The outlook of chiminea is like fire pits or small fireplaces. They featured an opening in the front and a short “chimney” for the smoke. Chimineas are normally made from clay but are also available in copper and cast iron.
Whichever style you choose, you’re certain to love the crackling warmth, cozy ambiance and charming beauty a fire pit, fire ring or chiminea bring to your home.
The History of Outdoor Fire Pits
Outdoor fire pits are a modern-day means for recreation. But history shows they played an integral role in the development of heating systems as the first fire vessel known to man.
Ancient civilizations faced with harsh, cold weather developed indoor fire pits for cooking and warmth. These fire pits served their purpose but were accompanied by serious drawbacks for early man.
People had developed only rudimentary ventilation systems in their dwellings, so the dangers of smoke inhalation were ever present. A hole cut into the roof was the ancient answer to the modern-day chimney.
Though this provided an exit for smoke, there was also a constant risk that flames from the fire pits would spark a fire and burn dwellings down. Imagine all the calls to the Fire Department this would have generated, had Fire Departments existed!
More Complex Heating System Created By Roman Empire
Eventually, the Roman Empire gave birth to a more complex heating system, known as the hypocaust. The aqueduct may be their claim to fame, but the hypocaust also played a vital role in Roman infrastructure.
These systems consisted of flue chambers powered by fire pits, which were an offshoot of the indoor fire pit earlier civilizations relied on to survive. Heat generated from a fire pit-style furnace was pumped through chambers beneath the floor and walls of Roman buildings and radiated warmth.
In larger buildings, like public bathhouses, keeping fire pits burning as people bathed required the work of many men. They stoked the fire pits with wood, favoring twigs over logs, as logs burned too slowly to keep up with the demand. Workers also sought to keep the flames no higher than half the height of the fire pit chamber, to allow for optimal airflow.
Ancient Fire Pit Still In Used in Today’s World
Though a modern version of this ancient, fire pit-powered hypocaust is still used in some parts of the world today, it gave way to the open hearth during the middle ages. The open hearth was an indoor structure optimal for cooking. Its heating power, however, was limited. Only rooms closest to the heartfelt its effects. Smoke rose out a louver attached to the roof, but there was still residual smoke that posed health risks.
In the latter part of the Middle Ages, the open fireplace developed, offering better warmth through a combination of direct and radiating heat. These systems remained the ruling heating methods through the centuries and eventually followed European settlers across the Atlantic to America.
Cast-Iron Stove in 19th Century
In the 19th century, the advent of coal spawned the development of the cast-iron stove, which became especially popular as wood was scarce in urban centers. Larger coal-burning furnaces were being built to heat the homes of wealthy Americans by the second half of the 19th century.
These furnaces eventually became obsolete in the mid-20th century when forced air systems powered by oil, electricity, and natural gas took their place. Energy consumption rose steadily until the energy crisis of the 1970s, when people realized fuel was finite and began to take interest in renewable energy sources, like solar power.
Fire pits may have given way to other more efficient means of home heating over thousands of years, but today they are the preferred method for heating and cooking on the backyard patio or camping.
Benefits of having a Fire Pit for Camping
If you bring a fire pit to go camping together with you, during the night time when the temperature starts turning to cold, you can light up your fire pit and you will immediately have a warm and cozy environment.
These are increasingly popular choices for casual get-togethers outdoors. They are practical gear for your camping and will become the focal point for conversation and laughter after the grill is rolled aside and the evening progresses.
Secondly, both outdoor fire pits and cast iron chimineas contain the flame, much like a fireplace inside your home. Fire pit tables are above ground vessels that use steel mesh or glass to let you view the flame while controlling sparks. They also allow 360-degree viewing of the fire.
Chimineas are usually made of clay, but also come in cast iron chimineas and copper chimineas. They have an opening through which you add your wood and view the fire. Smoke is directed up through a short chimney. Both offer inviting warmth, style, and usability.
So go ahead and warm up your nights – and get the most out of your outdoor living and entertaining spaces. The fire pits and chimineas can promote good times and great memories for your camping.
How to Build a Fire Pit
Fire Pits are campsite-like locations where friends and family can gather to enjoy the warmth of the fire, good conversation, a drink or two – even roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the open fire — while savoring beautiful spring, summer, or fall days and evenings.
Location is important – fire pits must be placed away from trees, structures, and underground wires and cables. Level ground is best, but you can work fire pit designs into slopes.
There are a variety of fire pits that are easy to build. There are stone, bonfire-type fire pits, temporary cinderblock or brick fire pits, and permanent stone or brick fire pits. It’s easy to acquire the necessary materials — if you don’t mind a little dirt under your fingernails and sweat on your brow, your fire pit can be completed in as little as one day.
Basic building steps
- Begin by driving a stake in the ground at the center of the pit; attach one end of a 1ﾽ-foot string to the stake and the other end to a large nail.
- With the nail, mark a circle for the pit. Remove sod and dig 12 inches deep. At the center of this hole, dig a hole that is six to eight inches in diameter and 12 inches deep.
- Fill both holes with pea gravel for drainage – gravel in the large hole should be four inches deep. Add three inches of sand to contain fires.
- Place three rows of concrete blocks around the perimeter of the pit. Do not use adhesives or fillers to seal gaps – melting can cause dangerous fumes, and fillers decrease ventilation.
Fire pit safety
Some local codes prohibit open fires; check restrictions before building a fire pit. Only designated fire starters should be used in fire pits. Always pre-water surrounding grass, trees, and shrubs to keep flying sparks from starting fires. Have a garden hose, bucket of water, and/or fire extinguisher handy whenever using your fire pit. Stack wood securely to avoid shifting that can release sparks and start fires.
How to Create a Campsite Fire Pit for Pennies
There is no doubt in my mind that a campfire is an essential part of the camping experience. Many campsites ban campfires (and sometimes for good reasons) but to campaign for more campfire-friendly campsites, I want to share our campsite fire pit idea with modifications.
A Campsite fire pit needs to do the following:
- Allow air in–fire requires air
- Stop the ground from burning
- Keep the mess and ashes retained
- Be portable
- Be sturdy and as child safe as possible
- Not rust
- Be cheap!
Although many commercial fire pits fit some requirements they have never worked for us since they are expensive and they rapidly lose their new black look before rusting and falling apart. So after much hunting around we found and developed a solution which meets all the above campsite fire pit requirements.
The Campsite Fire Pit Solution
Our campsite fire pit solution is a modified recycled washing machine drum. They work because they are:
- Made of stainless steel so they don’t rust.
- They are free or cheap if you can find one–ask a washing machine repairer.
- They have holes all over them (to allow water in and out) which is great for allowing the fire to breathe.
- If you find around grate you have a BBQ too.
- Where the washing machine drum fails as a campsite fire pit is that they are still on the ground and some drums burn better than others. For the best campsite fire pit pick a shallow height drum with holes in the bottom (the bottom, as when used as a fire pit).
The main problem to overcome is that when placed on the ground directly the grass will burn. There is also a limited draw so the fire is slower burning. Our solution to this has been to weld three legs to the base and this small adaption had created a perfect campsite fire pit for our campsite.
Enjoy a Hassle-Free Camping with a Phenomenal Fire Pit
If you are planning to arrange camping in the cold weather and wish to keep it going till late night? Then you’ll need something to protect against the harsh weather and make you and your guests feel comfortable.
You could arrange for a stylish fire pit to give your backyard a classy look and make the environment pleasant and inviting. Unlike the yesteryears, where this experience was more a hassle, the modern day portable version is much more rewarding.
These come in an extensive variety with varying shapes, sizes, designs and materials suitable for diverse uses. You can see all fire pits to get a glimpse of our entire collection. You might even find a cheap fire pit.
The fire pits that you can get now have come in different heights so you can choose the one that is comfortable for you. They are made of metals like copper, bronze and even stainless steel. The diversity of material can result in diverse looks and varying longevity.
Metal Fire Pits are especially preferred for their lustrous surfaces that make them look extremely fabulous, even when they are not lit.
These are all available in several designs and patterns. If you have a limited budget, you can even search based on that. You would most surely find one that fits well into it, a product that you would call – Value for Money!
There are many fuel choices for the fire pit that you choose. Wood has been in use since ages, but the environmental hazards caused by it have made many people balk at using this valuable natural resource.
Gas pits are now the most popular choice of most buyers. Propane and natural gas are mainly used. They also provide a smoke-free atmosphere giving you a better feel. Most individuals even prefer the Propane Fire Pits, since they find them easy to use and maintain.
However, these don’t usually come in the fire pit bowl design. Moreover, this fuel is generally more efficient and may be allowed in areas where the burning of wood is prohibited.
Do check out the regulations in the campground regarding the type of pit and fuel permitted before you go and buy one.
Quick Tips for Buying Fire Pits
1. Having a fire pit for camping can make thing easy whenever you need a fire either to warm your body or for cooking. These types of fire pits are designed for small fires which can offer you with sufficient ambiance and warmth.
2. Use portable fire pits for quick and easy fires wherever you are. Enjoy the warmth all year long, whether you are at a campsite, the beach, a picnic, or even a winter outing.
3. Gas fire pits come in many shapes and sizes. Choose a copper fire pit that fits your needs and works with your outdoor decor.
4. Fire rings provide a decorative way to enclose an open fire such as a campfire. Fire rings are crafted from forged metal and have no bottom.
5. Make sure that you follow all manufacturers instructions when using an outdoor fireplace. Fire pit tables can also provide years of comfortable warmth if used and cared for properly.
COPPER FIRE PIT
There’s no doubt that fire pits provide warmth and enhance ambiances, but attractive copper fire pits provide more than that. Copper fire pits also add a touch of style to your campsite.
A Source of Beauty & Entertainment
The addition of a copper fire pit is an easy way to enhance your campsite. With a number of styles available you will have to decide if you want a simple copper fire pit or perhaps one that is equipped with more features such as a shelf to store wood.
Regardless of their style, copper fire pits supply hours of entertainment. You will quickly discover that friends and family will naturally congregate around your copper fire pit to get warm and share stories. In addition to being a great place to gather, most copper fire pits are capable of grilling food with the addition of a cooking grid.
Beyond the Attraction
A copper fire pit is more than just a stylish addition. Able to handle temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, a copper fire pit is incredibly durable and will last for years with minimum maintenance required.
A Small Fee
Depending on the size, a copper fire pit will cost anywhere from $100 to $300. For example, you can buy a 24-inch copper fire pit for about $100 or a 36-inch one for just under $200. You also might consider purchasing a safety screen and lid in addition to the copper fire pit. These items are generally sold separately may cost up to $100.
Choosing the Right Fuel for Your Fire Pit
The different types of fuel used in outdoor fire pits are charcoal fire pits, propane fire pits, and wood burning fire pits. Read on to learn the characteristics of each type of fuel used in outdoor fire pits.
Charcoal Fire Pits
Charcoal will give off an intense, even heat, but little or no flame. Fittingly, charcoal is the fuel used in charcoal fire pits whose primary function is cooking and grilling. Charcoal is typically available in either briquette or lump form, lump charcoal being pure charcoal that contains none of the artificial binders that give briquettes their shape.
Wood-Burning Fire Pits
Wood is the most common fuel used in fire pits. It’s inexpensive, readily available, and best for achieving a traditional bonfire-type flame. Starting and keeping a wood fire burning takes some skill but once you have it going the flame is very warm and comforting.
Propane Fire Pits
Similar to natural gas fire pits, propane fire pits offer quick and easy lighting and a flame that will burn safely for hours. Propane fire pits use the same type of tank that fuels your propane barbecue grill. Propane tanks can be refilled at many gas stations and hardware stores. Keeping a second tank handy is a good idea in the event that the first one runs out in the middle of your evening.
Read also: Using a camping table
What to Look for in a Chiminea
Derived from the Spanish word for the fireplace, a chiminea is just that – an outdoor fireplace. The only difference is chimineas are portable fireplaces that are intended for outdoor use only.
How Does An Outdoor Chiminea Work?
It is really quite simple. A cast aluminum chiminea is designed with a single opening where the fire is located. The stack or chimney draws the air into the fire and pushes the smoke out the top.
Choosing An Outdoor Chiminea
There are more things to consider than just appearances when choosing a copper chiminea. While you want an attractive copper chiminea, it is also important to find one that is durable, efficient and safe.
Outdoor chimineas are made of a number of materials including clay chimineas, cast iron chimineas, and cast aluminum chimineas, but some of these are better than others. While a clay chiminea might be incredibly attractive they tend not to be very durable.
Furthermore, a clay chiminea requires a lot of constant care. You might consider buying a cast aluminum or a cast iron chiminea. With some minor maintenance, these outdoor chimineas will last much longer.
One way to find an outdoor chiminea that works well is to look at the size of the fire area. Not only is an outdoor chiminea with a small firebox not as efficient, but you also will discover that it is more difficult to work with and requires smaller wood.
The lack of durability or safety features may cause unnecessary accidents. Regardless of what type of outdoor chiminea you purchase always put safety first. Here are a couple of reminders.
- Always have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water on hand when the outdoor chiminea is in use.
- Consider what additional features might help ensure your family’s safety. Something as simple as buying a better-fitting mouth screen may drastically improve the safety of the outdoor chiminea.
- Make sure the adult operating the chiminea understands how it works and how to properly operate it.
It is rather an enjoyable experience for everyone to gather around a campfire to share stories and sing songs. A campfire ring enables campers to start a safe, controlled fire to enjoy these activities. Unfortunately, some campers fail to follow some basic safety rules and put themselves and others at risk.
Camp Fire Ring Safety
It never hurts to refresh the dos and don’ts of working with a campfire ring. Here are some helpful safety reminders.
- Follow assembly instructions carefully for your campfire ring. Make sure that anyone that plans to use the campfire ring understands how to properly assemble it as well as how to light a fire in it.
- If you have a campfire ring that has a detachable grill make sure that it also is properly installed.
- Use the wood that is recommended for your campfire ring. Most recommend the use of seasoned hardwood as opposed to softwoods like pine or cedar that are more likely to throw sparks.
- Do not use your campfire ring to burn leaves or trash.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water close by your campfire ring when in use.
- Avoid using gasoline, kerosene, alcohol and any other flammable fluid to light the fire in your campfire ring.
- Don’t leave a fire unattended and never let children get close to the campfire ring without parent supervision.
Remember to take the same precautions you would with any other fire. Common sense combined with these campfire ring safety tips can prevent unnecessary injuries and accidents.