When you think about camping and what kind of food you’re likely going to be enjoying, most immediately think of dry or trail foods, or something you eat by cooking on a campfire. Of course, nowadays, many of us are also looking to minimize ore footprints on the ecosystem while still enjoying the foods we remember having as kids on the campgrounds. What if you can still have one without sacrificing on the other?
Well, that’s what camping grills are for! They are portable, often easy to clean and make it so you don’t have to worry as much about the dangers of an open fire pit while enjoying your marshmallows or hot dogs. Some are even easily used to make steaks or hamburgers and other healthier alternatives. We are going to scour over the Biolite Firepit in this article, so tag along and see if what it offers is what you are looking for with your next camping trip.
Utilizes a battery
Charges USB devices
Takes only 4 hours to recharge
Requires practice to start
Requires kindling as well as wood/coal fuel
Its safety features mean there is less of a chance for a fire to go out of control, while at the same time being able to maintain a big enough workspace that everyone gets to enjoy it. With an easy-open latch on the bottom, cleaning up once the fire is out is easy. It even runs its fans off of a rechargeable battery system, and this gives it an even cooking/heating area while at the same time making it next to smokeless.
There are only two types of fuel this version is built for, like many of the others in the BioLite lines- wood and coal. Adding a liquid ignition is not only dangerous with it but is flatly stated as non-intended use which means it would void any sort of warranty. Instead, this is meant to be started by using kindling and a low setting of the fans to help get the fire going properly. The rectangular grill/firepit is larger than the standard sizes due to the fact that it is meant to be used for an entire family, and yet it still remains small enough that it can easily be transported.
As a grill this thing works wonderfully, cooking your food evenly and holding a great temp as it does so. The fans work perfectly as intended and for the most part, the grill is near smokeless and doesn’t require a lot of effort to maintain. It can take 4 hours to recharge the battery, however, so you may want to plan ahead for that and make sure you have it ready to go early.
One thing that it can do is not suggested, however, since unlike other items in the BioLite selection of grills this one does not self-recharge, is to try charging your devices off of it. Instead of recharging off of the heat, this one actually needs to have its battery charged by plugging it in using the recharging cord which is a micro USB cable, which means by charging other portable devices on it, your exchanging what it can do for whatever your device does.
Despite this small lacking in comparison, those who have tried this particular model found that it was the perfect answer to family camping trips. Unlike smaller grills it let them share that same “over the fire” feeling with their family that they had grown up with and enjoyed without feeling the need to be fearful for younger kids running around the area.
Because the battery itself is not recharged by heat and requires recharging by being plugged in, using it to recharge your devices seems counter-productive. You don’t just end up draining the battery, you end up losing out on your cooking, heating, and lighting from the firepit itself since the fans are what make this grill remain lit as easily and evenly as well as keeping it mostly smoke-free.
Add onto the lack of being a reliable source of energy, the fact that this grill still basically requires a lot of prep time. Between charging your battery and having to assure you clean up an area that is nonflammable for it to sit in, you basically have to think that this isn’t exactly going to be the best if you are hoping to use it outside of a weekend camping trip. If you are planning for longer, you may want to buy and charge extra batteries for it ahead of time- which means more packing weight to assure you have a constant fire.
The grill is made of durable steel and is completely open on the front and back as well as the top, so there is a need to pay attention to safety precautions when setting up, and given that it is a steel mesh you will still want to handle it with care so you do not cause accidental denting to the exterior. The only parts that may require maintenance and extra caution are the battery connections and fans.
All-in-all this grill is easily kept safe and there is even a cover offered to make sure it is easier to both carry and store. Carry it carefully, do not use liquid fuel and transport it where it won’t slide around easily and you’re likely to have a grill that will last years of family camping experiences easily.
Ease of Use
The first setting is to help you get the kindling going, bringing just enough air to help the sparks catch and spread over the fuel, whether its cut logs or coal. Set it to two or three to get the fire going to use it as a hibachi and cook your food to where you like. Four brings it up high so that you can use it for the heat and to enjoy a more camp-like fire in the pit.
With it open on all but the ends and bottom, this little grill can create an enjoyable fire that is not common with any grill. Most of the products you can get like this only give you fire on top, this one leaves it much more of a satisfying feel. Since there isn’t a lot of extra components and settings, its easy to use for just about any camper.
Once the fire is out, you can easily empty the cold ashes by opening the bottom slot and letting them slide out. Once you’ve emptied your portable camping grin it’s just a matter of folding up the legs, putting it in its case and moving it back in with your gear, Don’t forget to assure it isn’t going to slide around and you’ll have a nice portable campfire for years to come.
The firepit is 27 x 15.8 x 13 inches when set up for use and weighs about 19 lbs and 12.8 oz without fuel inside of it. It only sits about 5 inches off the ground when its legs are extended, and so it isn’t that much smaller when packed, but still good for shorter distances. With its carrying case, it is even easier to transport from vehicle to campsite.
However, since it uses coal and cut logs for its main source of fuel, taking it and its fuel make this a poor option in the end if you are thinking about taking it backpacking or hiking any amount of distance. If you are looking for such, you may want to check the Biolite Campstove 2 instead, which only weighs 2 pounds and uses the heat from its fire to recharge the battery as much as it does charging via USB.
Being able to enjoy the company of those you came with and not constantly hovering over the grill to keep it going means you can enjoy a great dinner and great company at the same time. This is what camping is all about, right? While technology being added to the mix seems to defeat escaping from civilization into nature, this particular use seems to make it safer and easier to relax.
-Rechargeable power source
-Great cooking surface
-1-year manufacturer warranty