We have the scoop on the best portable propane fire pit for your incredible RV camping trip.
Get ready for roasting marshmallows and soaking in those lovely nights outside by the campfire with family and friends.
If you asked me what one of my favorite accessories for RV camping in the great outdoors is, I would definitely say it’s our propane fire pit.
Some friends of ours in San Diego gave it to us as a gift while we were visiting them. After sitting in front of their fire pit night after night for patio time (as we liked to call it) we knew we needed one of these propane pits for our travels.
That’s one of the reasons why we mention this product in our gifts for RV owners guide. It was a gift we used time and time again.
Related Reading: Gifts for RV Owners
Why Campers Use Propane for a Campfire
Purchasing a propane fire pit never really crossed our minds as something we thought we needed before we started RVing. We thought we would (a) use the campgrounds’ fire pits and (b) prefer a traditional wood fire instead of a propane one.
There are a few reasons why our nights by the open fire dropped in frequency as we traveled north up to Canada and then down through Washington, Oregon and California:
The farther north and west we went, the more fire bans we encountered. We just so happened to be traveling north during a summer of frequent fires. It was one of the worst fire seasons the west coast had seen.
The smoke followed us from Banff National Park in Canada all the way through our travels to California. Needless to say, we didn’t spend many nights around the campfire. But we still got to smell plenty of smoke.
Even with campfire bans in place, some campgrounds allowed the use of a propane fire pit. You might be glad to have that option to enjoy the nights outside. It’s an excellent choice and many of them have safety features to give you peace of mind.
Avoid Tracking Down Firewood
Not all campgrounds sell firewood, so it’s up to you to track it down. I remember visiting many grocery stores asking about firewood and either they were out or they didn’t sell it.
Don’t Carry Firewood Across State Lines
Not only was tracking down firewood a pain sometimes, but there were the times we had a nice bundle of firewood and we weren’t allowed to bring it across state lines.
Regulations vary by state, so be sure to check what the laws are when crossing state lines. The organization, Don’t Move Firewood, offers a map that shares regulations for each state and tips for how to use firewood responsibly.
No Longer Smelling Like Campfire Smoke
I love the smell of campfires, but I don’t enjoy smelling like it all the time. I also don’t enjoy laundry piling up faster because we need to wash outer layers of clothing that have been around the campfire to get rid of that smoke smell.
After traveling for a bit, we quickly realized that everything we owned would soon smell like campfire smoke 24/7. Standing in front of a roaring fire night after night wasn’t the best thing when it came to convenience and ease.
Meet Other People
You might be saying ‘what?!’ to this one, but there’s something about starting up a fire and inviting people over that helps make the conversations flow easier. (Wine doesn’t hurt either.)
We met a lot of people on the road who became lifelong friends, just by simply inviting them (or they invited us) over for a campfire. It is simply a great way to connect with people, so the more fires the better!
I remember very vividly as a kid sitting in front of a campfire and listening to someone tell ghost stories. The fire, the story and a roaring fire always draws a crowd.
Key Benefits of Using a Propane Fire Pit
You might be asking yourself if investing in a portable propane fire pit is even worth it. We think it is and as you stay at more RV campgrounds, you’ll see it’s a popular option over wood fires.
Here are the benefits of using a propane fire pit:
Our RV lifestyle is enjoyed from a travel trailer with the heat and refrigeration that runs on propane. That means we always have a propane tank available to light up our fire pit.
I find the gas option to be much more convenient than a traditional wood campfire. Having that fuel source available all the time was perfect.
Does a Propane Fire Pit Last?
How long your propane fire pit can burn for depends on the btu/h of the burner. A 20lb tank (4.7 gallons) has approximately 430,000 btu/h worth of gas and can last up to 4 1/2 hours at a moderate gas output. We normally kept ours pretty low to conserve propane.
At an average price of $3.25 per gallon, you could easily have an hour of family time around the fire for under $3. That’s my kind of cheap entertainment!
You can also use this propane burn calculator to determine how long your propane tank will last.
What Features to Look for in a Portable Fire Pit
When it comes to choosing the best portable fire pits, there are several different factors to consider:
There are several different styles of propane fire pits and it really all boils down to your personal preference. Do you want a round or square fire bowl?
Do you want black, copper or steel color? Do you want it to have cut-out designs on the side and to be visually appealing or do you prefer a very simple design?
Some fire pits include extra features like a carrying case, locking lid, and roasting sticks, while others you’ll have to pay extra for those. Just like the style, it’s all about your personal preference.
If ease of use is important, be sure to make note of that when shopping around. Some are plug in and go and others take a little bit more effort.
If the price range is a factor in your decision making, you can get a good one for under $100, with most of the models averaging between $100 to $150 for truly portable versions.
Be on the lookout for sales early in the summer season, at the end of summer, and of course around Thanksgiving.
Weight and Size
If you’re RVing or camping, both weight and size will be a factor in the decision making process. Plus, you’ll need to consider how many people you expect to sit around the fire.
Our portable propane fire pit was the perfect size. It stores easily in the truck bed and is the right size for our family of five. It’s big enough that we can invite a couple more people to join us in our outdoor space at the campsite.
Propane Fire Pit Safety Tips
Before we move on to the different models and choices of propane fire pits, we have to talk about safety.
Key Tips for Using a Propane Fire Pit
SELECT A SAFE PLACE
Most camping spots are fairly small, but the farther away from your RV or tent you can place the fire pit, the better. You should also keep it away from an area with trees, foliage, and tall grass.
CHECK FOR LEAKS BEFORE USE
Always check your hoses and fittings for cracks or damage before hooking up the propane tank. Regular maintenance checks are necessary for both the care of your fire pit and the safety of those using it.
BE CAREFUL WHEN MOVING IT
Propane fire pits can get incredibly hot, so be careful not to burn yourself if you move it shortly after use. It’s best to let it cool down completely for 30-60 minutes if possible to avoid any risk of injury.
SUPERVISE CHILDREN AND PETS
Make sure the kids don’t get too close or throw sticks or other objects into the fire to accelerate the flames. Let them know they can’t throw paper or anything into the fire pit like we all tend to do with a real campfire. (That may be the only drawback compared to a real fire…at least from the kids’ perspective.)
KEEP IT OUT OF THE RAIN
If it starts to rain, make sure you have a dry place to safely move it to. Leaving it exposed to the elements can quickly deteriorate its components and compromise your safety.
FOLLOW MANUFACTURER’S INSTRUCTIONS
Read the owner’s manual. Those instructions were written for the safety of you and others! They really are there for a reason (at least that’s what Todd tells me).
Related Reading: Essential Safety Guide for Propane Systems
Short List of the Best Portable Fire Pits
Without further ado, here are some of the best portable propane fire pits, starting with our top pick.
#1 Pick: Camp Chef Compact Fire Ring
The Camp Chef Gad Compact Fire Ring is our top pick because it’s the one that was gifted to us, traveled with us all over North America, and gave us many good memories from around the campfire with family and friends.
Description: This fire pit is very compact with foldable legs, making it the perfect one for RV travel.
It’s small size doesn’t take up much space and it comes with a carrying bag for easy transport and storage.
It also includes two sticks for roasting marshmallows, a 12 lb. bag of lava rock, regulator, and 5 ft hose.
Also, the little tree cutouts were perfect for us, since we spent many nights camping amongst the trees, our personal preference.
Weight: 23 pounds
Dimensions: 15″ diameter, 7″ tall
#2 Pick: Outland Firebowl Premium
The Outland brand has quite a few different sizes to choose, from the 19″ Standard Firebowl to the 24″ Mega Firebowl.
These models are a bit more spendy but also have some features and style above and beyond the Camp Chef option. All sizes have 58,000 btu/hr.
Optional accessories, including a cover and carry kit as well as a carrying bag are sold separately.
Weight: Ranges from 22 lbs to 34 lbs
Dimensions: From 19 x 19 x 11 in. to 24 x 24 x 13 in.
#3 Pick: Flame King Smokeless Fire Pit
The Flame King Portable Firebowl is crafted from steel with a stainless-steel burner. It comes with a UV and weather-resistant cover with straps for ease of transporting to the campsite. There are two sizes available, a 19″ and a 24″. Another option available with either size fire pit is a propane grip scale.
Weight: 27.3 pounds
Dimensions: 24″ diameter x 12″ height
#4 Pick: Bond Manufacturing Steel Fire Pit
Lightweight and sturdy, you can use the Bond Manufacturing Propane Fire Pit on wood decks, take it tailgating, or enjoy while camping or at beach parties.
This portable propane fire pit includes a locking lid, stones, tank holder, hose, and regulator. Constructed of stainless steel and metal with a bronze finish. Compatible with 20 pound propane tank. Measurs 18.5" W x 14.7" H.
This portable propane campfire style fire pit cranks out 50,000 BTUs. It has a steel frame and a standard 10 foot hose that hooks up to a 20-pound external propane tank (sold separately). The kit includes a locking lid, which looks great and makes storage easy, but take the lid into account when thinking about the overall height.
A nice feature is the tank holder tray, which holds the propane tank so it won’t tip over.
Weight: 18 pounds
Dimensions: 18.5 x 18.5 x 14.65 inches
#5 Pick: Camco Little Red Campfire
The Little Red Campfire fire pit is a very lightweight and small propane fire pit that’s perfect for a couple who are RVing or camping. Its compact size makes it incredibly convenient and easy to bring along on your travels.
A compact portable propane campfire with a maximum output of 65,000 BTU per hour. Lid attaches for safe and easy storage and transport. 9.81" D x 13" W x 13" H.
Description: Features a realistic log set (instead of lava rocks), sturdy lid and security latches, 8′ propane hose for use with standard LP gas cylinders, and adjustable regulator with a maximum output of 65,000 BTU/HR.
Weight: 15.04 pounds
Dimensions: 9.8 x 13 x 13 inches
Check out this video review of the Little Red Campfire from Wanderlust or Bust. (P.S. We love his shirt! 🙂 )
We sincerely hope all of the information we shared with you on the best portable propane fire pits will help you make the right choice when it comes to a purchase.
I feel pretty confident you will find a great portable campfire. I hope you like the suggestions from our list, but if not, there are definitely quite a few other options on the market. I’m confident you can find the right one that works for your RV and camping lifestyle.
We loved having a fire pit ready and waiting for whenever we wanted a fire. It was the centerpiece of our camp nights when we relaxed and shared stories with friends and family. The mesmerizing fire always kept those gatherings going a little longer into the night and left us with some wonderful memories.
Above all, we hope you enjoy your travels! 🙂
Julie specializes in helping you whip up delicious meals in your tiny RV kitchen, as well as RV organization tips and helping fellow RVers make their RV feel like home. Her favorite RVing spot is in Banff National Park in Canada where yes, the water really is that blue and the people really are that nice.