Given the hassle of transporting, storing, and finding firewood when traveling in your RV, you might wonder if there’s an easier way to enjoy a campfire.
Some locations have burn bans and fire restrictions preventing you from starting a wood-fueled fire in the first place.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to both of these problems.
Enjoy a Campfire With a Portable Propane Fire Pit
A propane fire pit can be used for camping, boondocking, or even in an RV park or resort.
These devices use standard liquid propane gas to produce flames similar to those of a real wood-burning fire.
Some of the benefits of using a propane fire pit over starting a normal fire include,
- save your back – these units usually weigh around 15-20 pounds and you won’t have to bend over to stack wood or stoke the fire all the time
- save your lungs – propane eliminates hazardous fumes and embers produced by a normal wood-fueled fire
- no more waiting – no need to worry about finding dry firewood or waiting to have your campfire the next day
- stay out of trouble – these fire pits are “burn ban approved” meaning in most cases they’re safe to use when normal fires are outlawed by local conditions
The Campfire In A Can, one of several popular models.
Not only do these portable propane fire pits make starting a campfire easy, they are also a lot safer than traditional wood fires.
During fire bans, it’s often OK to use propane-based fires because they have a means of turning off the flame.
This way, even during droughts, you can still roast your marshmallows and make s’mores.
See also: Campfires Make You Feel Good. Learn How to Make One Better Than Your Neighbors.
Several popular units include:
The Little Red Campfire by Camco is another popular model.
Compact and lightweight, these units will fit in most any camper or RV.
The Campfire In A Can and the Little Red Campfire even come with a cooking grate that fits over the top of the logs.
You could use the grate to hold a coffee pot or skillet while making your morning breakfast.
3 Popular Propane Fire Pit Models
The chart below shows three of the most popular models. Although the Campfire In A Can is the most expensive, it has the most realistic-looking logs according to many reviewers.
The two other models, from Camco and Heininger, are a bit smaller – but a lot cheaper.
All three put out about the same amount of heat. Click on the picture of each model to read more details.
10 1/2" x 15"
Standard LP fitting
Standard LP fitting
LP or Nat Gas
|Fire Ban Approved|
Both the Campfire In A Can and the Little Red Campfire come with a lid that doubles as a carrying case.
The Heininger model doesn’t have a case, but you could use the ring on the bottom of the unit as a convenient handle.
How to Operate a Portable Propane Fire Pit
Setup and operation for any of the popular propane fire pit models is straightforward.
Although each looks a bit different, they all operate virtually in the same way. You’ll simply need to take the lid or cover off of the unit, place the base in a location away from flammable debris, and connect your propane bottle.
Turn on the propane and use a lighter or match to start the flame. There’s an adjustable knob that allows you to select how high the flames burn.
You can usually expect to get between twelve and fifteen hours of enjoyment from a single 30 lb liquid propane cylinder.
How to Fix the Hissing Sound
Some users have noticed that these propane fire pits produce a hissing sound on higher flow settings.
Amazon user Dev Laur shared a simple DIY solution to eliminate this hissing sound in your unit.
One trick is to tape over the air intake holes above the 90 fitting (or replace this drilled 1/4″ coupler with a new one).
This stops the loud hissing many complain about when on high, makes the flame more calm, natural, seem bigger and ironically it feels hotter too.
This could create some mild soot over time because the flame is “dirty” without a lot of air, but I dont care. I dont need to touch anything.
You let it cool, wrap the hose, put the top on, and go.
Dev also said that it’s possible to increase the height of the flames by removing a restrictor in the propane line.
…remove the 90″ 1/4″ elbow and using a hex wrench, screw out the restrictor. This will make a HUGE difference and your flame will be as big or bigger than you actually want.
Just be careful, you don’t want your flames to get too out of control!
Each of these three popular propane fire pits have similar features, and all operate using liquid propane.
There are several reasons why you might want your next campfire to be propane-powered:
- you’ll save time by not having to gather wood
- a propane fire pit will work in all weather conditions
- you’ll still be able to have a campfire during ‘burn bans’
- burning propane outdoors doesn’t create smoke and particulates like a wood-fueled fire does
- you can turn it off when you want to – no more waiting around for burning embers to cool
Here’s a video review of Camco’s Little Red Campfire.