Best Camping Propane Fire Pit: Enjoy Legal Burn Ban Campfires

We found the best camping propane fire pit that is clean and easy to use, convenient to transport and packs down into a tidy carry case for storage. It’s a great way to enjoy a fire when we’re camping during fire bans.

Best Camping Propane Fire Pit by CampingForFoodies features a black fire pit filled with lava rocks. Orange, yellow and red flames are shooting up into the air. A 20-pound propane tank is set in the background, a black hose connects the two pieces of equipment. The gear is set on a forest floor being gently lit by an early morning sunrise.

Psst we’re compensated…see our disclosures.


Why We Love Our Portable Propane Fire Pit

We think one of the best things about a camping trip is having a traditional wood fire, but, when using wood-burning fire pits are not permitted because of campfire bans, a propane pit is a great option.

Some public land camping locations in the United States seem to always be under restrictions that prohibit campers from having a traditional fire. If you do a lot of dispersed camping in national forests in the western part of the country, you know what I’m talking about.

An outdoor propane fire pit has safety features that meet the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions criteria of being able to quickly turn a knob to shut off the fuel source and extinguish the flame. So it is legal to use during times when a wood fire pit is restricted.

8 Reasons We LOVE Our Propane Pit

Outland Living Portable Propane Fire Pit, 19-inch, 58,000 BTUsOutland Living Portable Propane Fire Pit, 19-inch, 58,000 BTUsOutland Living Portable Propane Fire Pit, 19-inch, 58,000 BTUs

 

  1. A portable propane campfire does not produce sparks, smoke or ashes.
  2. It does not require gathering wood and using a fire starter like traditional wood fires.
  3. Propane’s smokeless burn prevents your hair, clothes and gear from smelling like a campfire. (If you do have stinky campfire hair, here’s tips on how to get campfire smell out of hair without washing it!)
  4. With the proper accessories, you can use it to cook camp stove recipes.
  5. Just like a wood fire, it produces mesmerizing dancing flames.
  6. The heat output is comparable to a small size wood burning fire.
  7. It is legal to use when Stage 1 campfire restrictions are activated.
  8. It’s great when we want to have a quick morning fire, then, leave our campsite for the day to go hiking or kayaking. We don’t have to worry about putting out a wood-burning fire, we just turn off the knob and we’re done.

How To Use A Propane Gas Fire Pit

The ease of use makes it really convenient to use the best portable fire pits.

  1. Set up the pit.
    • As with any flame, there is always a fire danger so you want to make sure to place your outdoor fire pit a safe distance from any flammable objects including, tents, awnings, trees etc.
  2. Set up the propane tank.
    • Place your propane tank as far away from the pit as possible. Make sure it is a safe distance from any type of flammable ignition source.
    • Make sure the valve is closed.
  3. Connect the hose.
    • Connect the hose to your propane tank.
    • If not already pre-attached, connect the other end of the hose to your fire pit.
  4. Open the valves.
    • Open the propane tank valve first.
    • Then, turn the fire pit regulator knob to the starting position.
  5. Light the flame.
    • Use a lighter to ignite the flame. Stand in a position so you can step back if the flame flashes upon ignition. (If your pit has an automatic starter, you can just push the starter button without needing a hand-held lighter.)
  6. Adjust the flame height.
    • Turn the knob to adjust the flame. I recommend a small size flame if you just want a little ambiance. If you want a lot of heat output from your pit, it is a good idea to start the flame on high, once the volcanic rocks get hot, they will retain heat even after you lower the flame to conserve on propane consumption.
  7. Turn off when finished.
    • First, close the valve on the fire pit, turn the knob to the “off” position.
    • Next, close the valve on the propane tank.
    • Disconnect the hose from the propane tank.
  8. Let it cool & store your kit.
    • Let the unit cool completely.
    • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the hose, bowl and stand/legs.
    • Place your pit in it’s carry kit (with straps) and the carry bag (with zippers) for transportation and storage.

How Much Heat Do Portable Propane Fire Pits Provide?

British Thermal Unit is a measurement of the quantity of heat.

The average BTU rating of most portable fire pits that use propane as a fuel type ranges from a total output of 50,000-60,000 BTU/HR.

By comparison, a wood-burning pit can have a total output between 30,000-100,000 BTUs.


How Much Propane Do They Use?

The amount of propane your pit burns depends on how many hours you are using it and how high you have the flame. If it’s cold outside and you want to get really high temperatures from the flames, you will go through a significant amount of propane during a Friday-Sunday camp trip.

We get plenty of heat from ours when we run it on a low-middle setting when the outside air temperature is in the 35-45 F degree range. We’ll start on a high setting to get the rocks heated through, then, lower the flame to maintain the heat and conserve on fuel consumption.

On our outdoor adventures we use a 20-pound propane tank for our pit.

  • If we run it continuously on the low setting, we get about 10 hours out of the tank.
  • If we run it on the high setting we only get about 7 hours out of it.

On a typical weekend trip, we’ll use the pit for about 3 hours each night on the low-mid setting so a full 20 lb propane tank will be more than enough to get us through the entire weekend.

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Don’t think you’ll be able to power a standard portable gas fire pit with a standard camping 1 lb propane tank. It will run dry very quickly. Instead, you may want to get a Fire Ring to be used with a 1 pound propane cylinder.

Useful tool to empty propane tanks

If you ever need to empty a propane tank, it is a good option to burn it with a propane fire pit. When set to the highest setting, it will burn the maximum amount of fuel in the shortest period of time. It is safer to burn the propane rather than just letting it drain out of a tank. You may need to do this to:

  • dispose of a damaged tank,
  • empty tanks on an RV that is going in for service,
  • traveling/transporting your RV on a ferry or in another situation that prohibits carrying propane,
  • you can learn more about this and how to empty propane tanks.

Buying Decisions

The best fire pits come with a fire bowl, regulator, hose and natural lava rocks. They usually have some sort of handles, but, carry bags are usually sold separately.

Size

Consider the number of people who will be gathering around the pit.

  • A smaller size, like 14-inch, is one of the best options for couples or small families, but, there is a range of sizes for larger groups.
  • A 24-inch model is still a compact size but comfortably accommodates about 6-8 people.

We decided a 19-inch pit was large enough for our typical group size while still small enough to manage in our storage space.

Weight

Most smaller units weigh approximately 22 pounds, the larger bowls weigh approximately 35 pounds.

With durability in mind, you want equipment that is lightweight. But, if it gets too light, it will be flimsy and won’t withstand the rigors of packing and unpacking in outdoor conditions.

We purchased a 23 pound kit which is a very easy weight to manage for the way we camp and pack our gear.

BTUs

One of the reasons we settled on the Outland brand is because of their standard 58,000 BTU output. Less expensive brands may suffer a bit here.

Hose Length

You’ll find attached hoses typically range from 5-10 feet, depending on the brand. You want to maintain a safe distance between the propane tank and the fire ring.

We like the added safety that comes with a longer propane hose so we purchased a model with a 10-foot hose.

Automatic Ignition

You won’t find many options with push-button ignition. Most units require the use of a lighter. The BLUU Deluxe Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit With Auto Ignition does have a built-in igniter, but, like all camping gear, it works intermittently. So, you need to bring a handheld lighter as a backup.

We decided we did not want a model with a built-in ignitor.

Accessories

I would never try to grill meats or any other foods directly over the flames. I don’t want grease or food to be falling into the pit. For these types of recipes, I would cook with my propane camp grill.

But, some campfire cooking equipment accessories allow you to do more cooking than you might imagine. You can place a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet on a grill grate to cook above the flames. This Campfire Swivel Grill can be used over hot coals, open flame fire, or on top of the fire pit. This is great for making things like campfire corn on the cob over your fire pit.

Extendable roasting sticks are great for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs directly over the open flames.

Price Range

Low-end units start around $100 and the higher-end units are usually priced just under $200.


Best Propane Fire Pit Brands

Outland Living is one of the most popular brands in portable camping fire pits. They come in different sizes.

For example, the Outland Living Firecube has a modern design that is square shaped. This super-portable 14-inch model puts out an impressive amount of heat with 58,000 BTU!

Outland Living Firecube 805 Portable 14-Inch Square Propane Gas Fire Pit for Camping with Cover, Carry Kit and Lava Rock Stones, 58,000 BTUOutland Living Firecube 805 Portable 14-Inch Square Propane Gas Fire Pit for Camping with Cover, Carry Kit and Lava Rock Stones, 58,000 BTUOutland Living Firecube 805 Portable 14-Inch Square Propane Gas Fire Pit for Camping with Cover, Carry Kit and Lava Rock Stones, 58,000 BTU

 

The material is an enamel coated high-quality steel, it weighs 22.5 pounds and measures 14″D x 14″W x 9″H. It’s an excellent choice for space and weight conscious campers.

Larger Sizes

They also have round bowls in sizes of 19-inch, 21-inch, 24-inch.

 19-inch, 58,000 BTU19-inch, 58,000 BTU 21-inch, 58,000 BTU21-inch, 58,000 BTU 28-Inch Square Fire Pit Table28-Inch Square Fire Pit Table

 

We know people who really use their toy hauler’s outside patio like a fancy backyard. This 28-inch compact Outland Living Square Fire Pit Table is a great option for that type of style.

The Camp Chef Compact Fire Ring is a little more affordable and compact because the legs fold in for storage. It has a more utility look but will do the job.

Camp Chef Compact Fire Ring Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit with Carry Kit, 15-Inch Diameter, 55,000 BTUCamp Chef Compact Fire Ring Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit with Carry Kit, 15-Inch Diameter, 55,000 BTUCamp Chef Compact Fire Ring Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit with Carry Kit, 15-Inch Diameter, 55,000 BTU

 

A smokeless fire pit, like the Solo Stove Ranger, is NOT a propane pit. It is a low-smoke wood burning pit. The open fire design produces much less smoke but it’s not a great choice for fire bans because it does not run on propane, it only burns wood. That’s why it’s commonly called the Solo Stove Bonfire.


Our Top Pick

We decided the best portable propane fire pit for our family was a 19-inch Outland firebowl. It does provide warmth for our small family.

I’ve included a link to the standard version, but, we actually purchased the Deluxe version because we wanted the lid cover and carry kit. The lid and straps make it easy to carry.

Outland Living Portable Propane Fire Pit, 19-inch, 58,000 BTU Smokeless Gas Firebowl | Perfect for Camping, Patio, Backyard, Tailgating, Deck, RV| Black 823 StandardOutland Living Portable Propane Fire Pit, 19-inch, 58,000 BTU Smokeless Gas Firebowl | Perfect for Camping, Patio, Backyard, Tailgating, Deck, RV| Black 823 StandardOutland Living Portable Propane Fire Pit, 19-inch, 58,000 BTU Smokeless Gas Firebowl | Perfect for Camping, Patio, Backyard, Tailgating, Deck, RV| Black 823 Standard

 

We also decided to purchase a carrying case bag for transportation and storage.

 Outland Living Firebowl UV and Weather Resistant 760 Standard Carry Bag, Fits 19-Inch Diameter Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire PitOutland Living Firebowl UV and Weather Resistant 760 Standard Carry Bag, Fits 19-Inch Diameter Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit SAMDEW 19-In Fire Pit Bag Compatible With Outland Firebowl 893 870 823, Fire Pit Storage Case Bag OnlySAMDEW 19-In Fire Pit Bag Compatible With Outland Firebowl 893 870 823, Fire Pit Storage Case Bag Only

 

The Outland Living carry bag that fits our 19-inch diameter pit was unavailable when we made our Amazon purchase so we ended up buying a SAMDEW brand bag which we really like because the outside zipper pocket is great for holding our lighter.

Use It At Home

At home, our outdoor living space has a wood-burning fire pit.

When we want a cozy fire in our backyard but we don’t want to deal with a wood-burning fire, this is a great fire pit to pull out of our best camping gear box and use on our patio. We love that we can easily move it around and basically it’s ready for outdoor use anywhere.


More Propane Camping Gear

Camping propane is one of the most efficient fuels you can use. Whether you want to use it for lighting, cooking or heating, it can make trips fun, safe and comfortable. Check out our picks for the best propane camping gear on the market today.

If you are a member, make sure you take advantage of the Costco propane refill service because it will save you a lot of money on your fuel.

Also, if you like using the little cylinders, see how to refill 1lb propane tank using a refill adapter.


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Camping Trip Planner Template Free Printable by CampingForFoodies is a whimsical illustration of a cute old orange car towing a blue and white vintage camper trailer down a road in a landscape of green trees, light green grass and brown mountains with fluffy clouds in a blue sky; thumbnail images of multiple pages of a camping trip planner under the text that reads camping free trip planner.

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2 Comments

  1. We have a similar unit, slightly larger, and love it!

    1. Kim Hanna says:

      Hi Bruce! I keep hearing the same from everyone … campers love these things! Happy Camping, Kim