The Solo Stove Bonfire is a masterpiece of simplicity: a take (almost) anywhere safe, controlled, efficient, and almost smokeless campfire with included carrying case.
The Solo Bonfire only has one removable part: the ring at the top, so it’s not packable, and at twenty pounds, it’s definitely not ultralight. While you can certainly roast some marshmallows over it, it’s also not a grill.
Solo’s double-walled airflow control seeks the same efficient, low-smoke ends as BioLite, but takes the analog road to get there. You won’t be charging your phone or powering USB lights using Solo’s products, but the tradeoff is no electronics and no moving parts.
So does it work? Absolutely. In my concrete and glass testing environment, with a questionable amount of clearance, the Solo Bonfire produced a negligible amount of smoke from a significant but controlled fire, from just three pieces of firewood. Remember to check your local laws before lighting up- having a balcony, roof deck, or backyard doesn’t necessarily entitle you to use that space as you see fit. In a “normal” outdoor environment, Solo’s design inspires complete confidence.
BioLite’s upcoming FirePit doubles as a grill, works with wood or charcoal, has an app, and has a preorder price of $200 (without a carrying case). I played with it briefly before covering its Kickstarter, and needless to say I’ll be... pitting it against the Solo Bonfire as soon as I can.