Best Portable Propane Fire Pit for Camping in 2021
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
You're going camping!
Nothing says 'camping' like a good old-fashioned campfire.
The smells, the sounds of the logs popping in the flame, and watching to coals glow.
However, not everyone cares for real wood fires.
Take the founders of this website, Kelly and Marshall. Kelly loves real wood campfires.
Marshall, not so much (Spoilsport!) What Marshall needs is a fake campfire.
And guess what? Portable, wood-less camping fire pits exist!
Here, we help you understand more about portable pits, their options, and more.
Already know all about this subject? Just looking for the reviews? Click the button below to jump down to the product reviews.
Guide to Portable Propane Fire Pits
For many people, there is nothing like a camping fire pit full of flames when you are out camping.
Campfires are a great place to gather and be social with your family, or get to know new friends.
However, sometimes, real campfires are not ideal for a variety of reasons:
There is one perfect solution for each of these scenarios:
A portable fire pit for camping!
A campfire in a can, so to speak.
But it isn't always practical to have a real fire (no wood, fire ban, don't like getting covered in smoke, etc.).
This makes a small portable fire pit a great item to bring along with you to the campground.
The Benefits of a Portable Fire Pit for Camping
THERE'S MORE?? (Yep!)
Need we say more?
Propane Fire Pit Safety
Don't use indoors. Seriously, don't! A propane fire pit puts off carbon monoxide when burning.
In case you slept through that part of school, carbon monoxide will put you in a deep sleep that you won't recover from. (You could die) Use only in a well-ventilated outdoor area.
Keep the propane gas cylinder as far away from the unit as possible. The outdoor propane fire pit comes with a 10-foot hose. Use it!
Portable Propane Fire Pit Designs and Features
Most of the propane fake campfire pits we have seen are circular in design.
Some, like the Outland Firebowl Premium have a lid that doubles as a carrying case and as a stand to put the campfire on top of to raise its height.
Most of the camping fire pits come with an 8-10 foot propane hose that you can attach to a small portable propane tank.
If they are easily accessible, you can connect your camping fire pit to your RV's tanks, or connect it to your propane outlet for a barbecue pit, but you might need an adapter.
Also, keep in mind that this will limit where you can use the pit due to the length of your hose.
The payoff is that you don't need an extra portable propane tank for your camping fire pit.
The bummer is that you are now limited to where you can put your portable fire pit.
How Long Does A Portable Gas Fire Pit Run?
According to Outland, their Firebowl will run between 7 and 11 hours off one 20-pound propane tank.
This depends on what flame settings you are running it on.
The higher the flame, the more propane being used, the faster the propane will run out.
Do you need a propane tank for your shiny new fire pit? Below you can purchase a 20-pound steel propane tank.
(20 pounds is the standard BBQ size and is recommended by the fire pit manufacturers)
Worthington makes two 20 pound tanks.
One with a gas gauge and one without.
(NOTE: These tanks come empty so you will need to fill them after you receive them.)
Tank with Gauge
Now you know the difference between having a regular wood fire and a propane fire pit.
If these are for you and you are in the market, read our reviews below.
We picked out the best overall, runner-up, and best on a budget.
Portable Fire Pit Reviews
There are lots of good choices for camping fire pits out there!
Some are better than others for certain needs so we reviewed for best overall, runner-up, and best on a budget camping fire pit.
Here you go:
Fake Logs or Lava Rocks?
The below reviewed portable camping fire pits come with either fake logs (made from a ceramic material) or lava rocks (made from, well, lava).
Which is best?
There is (obviously) a bit of personal preference in play here, as well as a few items of practicality to consider.
- Fake Logs - The fake logs that come with some portable propane fire pits give the illusion of a real fire. Logs. Flame. Campfire! They also are often one-piece which means you don't have the possibility of lava rocks spilling out everywhere if you don't have a cover, or if the fake campfire ends up on its side.
- Lava Rocks - Lava rocks are fairly common accessory with propane fire pits. They are inexpensive, they help to disperse the flame, and they radiate heat well. Their main drawback is that they sit loosely in the fire pit and there is a chance that they will end up everywhere if the pit ends up on its side or gets tossed around during transport. Consider purchasing a portable fire pit with a cover to keep the lava rocks under control.
So, which is better?
That depends on what you are looking for.
Some think lava rocks radiate heat better and are the most common style available.
Go with a fake log if you need that look.
Choose what you want, but if you go with the lava rocks, we highly recommend you get the Outland Firebowl Premium which comes with a case.
It will keep the lava rocks from going everywhere in case a 'whoops' happens.
Outland Firebowl Premium
There are three different models of the Firebowl, two of which we have reviewed on this page.
They all use the same bowl and burner (they look identical).
The only difference is in how well equipped each camping fire pit is.
Runner-Up Portable Fire Pit
Outland Firebowl Standard
This model has the least amount of included features.
This means it has manual flame ignition and no cover.
If you want these features, then the Outland Firebowl Premium camping fire pit is what you want.
Continue Reading Outland Firebowl Standard Review
Best Budget Portable Fire Pit
Camp Chef Propane Fire Ring
The Camp Chef portable campfire is the perfect fire pit for the budget-minded camper.
It may not look quite as fancy-pants as the other two reviewed pits, but that's not why we are buying it, right?
Continue Reading Camp Chef Portable Propane Fire Pit Review
Now there are no 'no-fire' excuses.
You now know that the next time you have an outing, you can have a portable propane fire pit or a 'fake campfire' if you will, to gather around when 'real' campfire options don't exist or are not your first pick.
Nothing says camping like a good fire.
You will never miss out when you have your own portable fire pit.
If you have any questions about portable propane fire pits, please read the comments below. If your question isn't answered there, drop yours in the comments! We will be happy to answer reasonable questions that will help you out.
Camp on, Addicts!
He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.