5 Best Portable Propane Fire Pits for Camping and RVs [2021]

Whether you want to avoid the cold or roast some marshmallows without the hassle of building a campfire, our expert-reviewed guide to the best portable propane fire pits will help you make the right choice!

Sitting inside your van on a chilly night sounds like a good idea if you want to be super comfortable, but most of us enjoy the van lifestyle for spending time in the great outdoors.

And as cool winds force us to embrace sweater weather, nights are often best spent by a fireplace.

Once you enjoy one weekend with your own portable fire pit that fires up at the push of a button and provides even heat through the night, you’ll never look back, and you’ll never race against the sunset collecting kindling again.

A portable fire pit used to be an Olympic feat. But more and more companies are putting the torch in your hands.

These propane fire pits are potent enough to roast marshmallows, support ghost story iterations, and provide heat to any excursion.

And while you may be using a fantastic campervan heater to keep you warm inside, it’s always a good idea to have your own source of warmth outside too.

Best of all, you can bring a propane fire pit and your two roasting sticks to places where traditional wood fires are banned.

PRODUCT

WHAT WE LIKE

THINGS TO CONSIDER

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OUTLAND LIVING PREMIUM FIREBOWL

EDITOR'S CHOICE

  • Comes with natural lava rocks

  • Built-in carry kit

  • No tools necessarY

  • No foldable legs

  • Hose is pre-attached

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CAMCO LITTLE RED CAMPFIRE

  • Small size, hot heat output

  • Can be carried in one hand

  • Comes with fake logs

  • Less than a foot in diameter

  • Expensive option

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BOND MANUFACTURING AURORA

  • Real bronze finish

  • Lightweight and powerful

  • Included rocks heat up like real coals

  • Extensive assembly process

  • Not so easy to manoeuvre

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FLAME KNIG FIRE PIT BOWL

  • Most affordable fire pit

  • 24" diameter is one of the largest around

  • Weather-resistant carry bag and straps

  • Chunky

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OUTLAND LIVING MEGA OUTDOOR FIREBOWL

  • Can heat up a two-family campfire

  • Comes with a complete fire kit

  • Supports 6.6 lbs of natural lava rocks

  • Not the highest heat output

  • Hose is pre-attached

Modern propane pits include automatic ignition, natural-looking logs and lava rocks, and a stainless steel burner, all wrapped up in a lightweight carry bag to get to the campsite fast.

We know it sounds crazy to turn away from a traditional wood camping fire pit and use the power of a propane tank in the wilderness.

But chances are, you’re already using propane to heat your water, fuel your stove, or heat the air in your camper, so you can bring along this pit without an additional tank.

Think outside the wood and take a look at the best propane fire pits on the market. We’ll explore everything these powerful campfires can do so you can decide if the technology is worth adding to your camping arsenal.

The Best Portable Propane Fire Pits

We put a few industry-leading propane fire pits to the test, and roasted more than a few hot dogs, to find the best propane camping fire pit in the industry.

All of the pits on our list provide excellent heat output, safety, portability, and durability to stand apart from the crowd and rank as the best fire ban solutions on the market.

Lava Rocks Propane Fire Pit

Outland Living Premium Firebowl

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As the number one name in fire pits, Outland sure knows how to radiate heat. Their signature model pumps out the BTUs with style and without weighing half a ton.

The steel frame on this premium fire pit won’t just light up your night; it will also splash a bit of style into any evening out.

Whether you’re entertaining the neighbors in the backyard or headed out camping, this portable propane comes with a complete package of accessories built to last for years of roasting chestnuts.

Your kit includes a 10-foot hose and slip-on cover & carry kit.

BTU’s per hour58k
Weight (lbs)25

It’s so easy to set up, you can have a fire roaring before you’ve finished leveling the trailer.

There’s no doubt about it, Outland portable propane fire pits are the best in the business, and their premium line won’t leave you in the dark.

PROS

  • Comes with natural lava rocks
  • Built-in carry kit
  • No tools necessary

CONS

  • No foldable legs
  • Hose is pre-attached

Camco Little Red Campfire

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This beauty is the closest thing you can get to a pocket-sized portable fire pit unless you just bring a Bic.

That’s because this kit comes with a durable metal carrying case that you can easily handle in one hand, and the whole tray is less than a foot in diameter.

Small and mighty, this minute machine can churn out the BTUs well above its size and can easily outperform larger gas fire pits.

Natural gas slowly sends fire rings around natural-looking logs that will deliver any campsite ambiance.

Camco built a miniature propane fire pit that packs enough heat to roast hot dogs and plenty of safety features that ensure your gas burns clean.

BTU’s per hour65K
Weight (lbs)15

If space is your number one priority when narrowing down your gear list, these camping fire pits will allow you a splash of luxury without overpacking.

PROS

  • Small size, hot heat output
  • Can be carried in one hand
  • Comes with fake logs

CONS

  • Less than a foot in diameter
  • Expensive option

Bond Manufacturing Aurora

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The name’s Bond, flames Bond. Local regulations never stopped 007, and campfire bans won’t stop you from having fires either.

You can bring this portable propane fire anywhere, thanks to the locking lid and carrying handles.

Bond cranked out an incredibly lightweight fire pit that doesn’t sacrifice a high heat output. It churns out warmth with a wide diameter, perfect for roasting marshmallows.

This fire pit is also big enough to work as a permanent instalment on your backyard patio that doesn’t break the bank.

BTU’s per hour54K
Weight (lbs)18

While affordable, the Aurora has plenty of great features, like auto-ignition, that make fire building fun.

Regulations vary from state to state, so always check on the current fire metrics, but no matter where your next camping adventure takes you, this fire pit can come along for the ride.

PROS

  • Real bronze finish
  • Lightweight and powerful
  • Included rocks heat up like real coals

CONS

  • Extensive assembly process
  • Not so easy to manoeuvre

Flame King Fire Pit Bowl

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Well, mate, if you’re going to call for a portable propane fire pit, you might as well ask the king.

Flame King has built an entire kingdom on propane and propane accessories, and the court is heading on the road!

Luckily, the king travels by RV, so this product has been designed explicitly with the van life in mind.

The spark-free automatic ignition is easy to set up and safe to use in many fire-free zones. Natural lava rock glows when the small fire pit starts pumping to brighten up any atmosphere.

There are a few things we’d love to see made more portable about this fire pit, as the large circular base makes the tank more difficult to store.

BTU’s per hour58K
Weight (lbs)18

If you’ve got plenty of room to spare, trust in the king of propane fire pits on your next night under the stars.

PROS

  • Most affordable fire pit
  • 24″ diameter is one of the largest around
  • Weather-resistant carry bag and straps

CONS

  • Chunky

Outland Living Mega Outdoor Firebowl

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No list of the best propane camping fire pits is complete without one supersized option.

This behemoth churns out a smooth propane fire over natural lava rock, perfect for sing-a-longs and larger campfires.

You can keep the fire going long into the night with a 20 lb propane tank, and you won’t have to worry about any embers fowling up a good night’s sleep.

This may be a mega-sized portable propane fire pit, but its maximum BTU is similar to smaller fire pits. That means your fire pit will give warmth to a larger area without using up more propane.

If you plan on doing most of your camping out of the car or in the backyard, it’s worth shedding some portability for more potency.

BTU’s per hour58K
Weight (lbs)34

You won’t find a more potent propane fire than this mega option from Outbound Living.

Add on a carrying bag to make your fire pit even more portable, and don’t forget to pack the marshmallows.

PROS

  • Can heat up a two-family campfire
  • Comes with a complete fire kit
  • Supports 6.6 lbs of natural lava rocks

CONS

  • Not the highest heat output
  • Hose is pre-attached

Why Use Portable Propane Fire Pits?

Before you can choose which propane campfire pits are best for you, you’ll have to get used to the idea of an unnatural fire.

For many campers, the idea of portable fire seems a bit like blasphemy. And certainly, it is not on everyone’s list of most essential campervan accessories.

But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to start a regular wood fire while camping.

Increased regulations and outright fire bans make many campers hesitant. But no one wants to spend the night in the dark.

Propane pits are safer, cleaner, and more accessible than a real fire. The best portable propane fire can provide instant heat and be ready for roasting in less than 5 minutes.

No more clambering around in the darkness, desperately searching for wet wood.

Once lit, the lack of sparks and embers eliminates the risk of a bad gust of wind turning your campground into an open fire.

Plus, you’ll finally have a camping trip without all of your clothes stinking like a traditional wood fire.

We could go on and on… and we will!

You won’t have to clean up ashes, you have complete control of how much heat output and flame you’re giving out, and you can instantly turn off your fire when it’s time for bed.

There’s a time and place for everything, and while there is a certain beauty an unnatural fire can’t replicate, you can count on consistent warmth from your backyard to deep into the heart of national parks.

Roasting Marshmallows Best Portable Propane Fire Pit
Nothing beats roasting marshmallows on your fire pit with your mates.

Choosing the Best Portable Propane Fire Pit

Hopefully, you’re starting to see the light provided by a portable propane campfire. While nothing beats a real wood campfire, investing in a portable propane fire pit has a lot more pros than cons.

You’d be surprised at everything this particular camping gear can pull off.

Take a look at what makes up a propane fire so you can get an idea of what makes up the best portable propane fire for your needs.

Heat Output

If your gas fire pit is going to replace a wood fire, it has to keep you warm. While nothing powered by natural gas can reach the heat heights of wood fires, the best portable propane fire pits put out serious heat.

Heat output of propane fire pits is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Each Unit indicates the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of water by one degree.

Basically, the higher the BTU’s, the more warmth your propane fire gives out. Permanently installed propane fire pits can reach heat above 150,000 BTUs, but portable fire pits keep things a bit more calm.

All the portable propane fire pits on our list give out somewhere between 54-65k BTUs.

58,000 is a great number to reach for when deciding between fire pits. Adding burn media, like fake wood or lava rocks, will help your stainless steel burner maintain a high heat output more efficiently.

Group Sitting Around Camp Fire
A good quality propane fire pit will put out a whole bunch of heat – perfect for those chilly nights.

Safety

Every portable fire manufacturer promises safety, but only the best in the business put safety first at every step of the production.

The good news is, every propane fire pit is less likely to start an out-of-control forest fire than a wood fire. The bad news is, propane fire will give off carbon monoxide at a higher clip than a wood fire pit.

Just make sure to only use your camping fire pit in well-ventilated areas, and stick to one of the portable propane fire pits on our list, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Here are a few additional safety reminders:

  • Anytime your portable fire has sat in a closet for a few months, be sure to check for leaks and faulty auto-ignition before you fire it up again.
  • Let your fire pit and lava rocks sufficiently cool down before you try moving your portable fire. Even if the outer edges of your pit have cooled off, natural burn media could shift in transport and leave an unfortunate surprise.
  • Don’t leave your portable fire pit out in the rain. No matter what material your gear is made out of, rain will deteriorate its outer shell and components leading to malfunction in the safety features of your propane fire.

Features

As you can see from our diverse list, there are portable fire pits of all shapes and sizes. That works in your favor by allowing you to match up your propane fire with the rest of your camping style.

You can choose between a round or square bowl, black, natural, or metallic color schemes, and decide between loads of visually appealing sidewalls and legs.

All of these features are purely cosmetic choices that won’t make a massive difference in how your portable propane fire pit functions.

There are some features that go more than skin deep, like the materials your fire pit is made out of or the carrying choices with which your pit ships.

Materials

Materials define how long you can expect your portable fire pit to last. Good designers seek to use the most powerful materials out there, like stainless steel, which guarantees your propane fire will be working for decades with the proper care.

These companies also understand these fires are made to work anywhere, which means they can’t weigh too much.

The finest quality fire pits will be made out of a copper shell that is lightweight and ding resistant. Some more affordable models stick with cast iron to get the job done.

We’d recommend springing for a model with lava rocks or other burn media that mimics a real fire, both for the ambiance and the increased heat output.

Portability

Depending on your needs, the portability of your propane fire pit may ultimately be the deciding factor. After all, the whole point of these fire pits is their ability to work anywhere, which won’t do you much good if you can’t lift it out of the box.

Some of our list’s heaviest portable fire pits weigh around 34 pounds, while the lightest model weighs just over 15 pounds. Not exactly as light as a lighter, but not that much heavier than a few pieces of wet wood.

The best in propane fire pits are committed to providing a genuinely portable propane fire, meaning the heaviest thing you can expect to carry will be the propane tank.

These companies make things even easier by offering lids that double as a carry kit or an additional carrying bag.

If you don’t plan on taking your portable propane fire pit a few miles away from your car, you won’t need anything more than a simple canvas bag to get your fire pit to the campsite.

Conclusion

It’s about time to splash some water on this subject and call it a night. Hopefully, you’ve learned what you can expect out of the best in portable propane fire pits. 

All that’s left to do now is to remember to pack a few roasting sticks. 

We love every pit on our list, but our editor’s choice for propane fire is the Outland Living Premium Firebowl, which has the safety, features, and style unlike any other option on the market.

Outbound Living Premium Firebowl

EDITOR’S CHOICE:

Outland Living Premium Firebowl

Complete with a natural lava rock set and everything you need to get a roaring fire going without all the hassle, we love this gas fire pit.

Outland provides loads of great portable propane fire pits, and this premium model is built out of high-quality materials that are easy to transport and will instantly spruce up your next camping trip.

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About the Author - Alesha and Jarryd - Van Life Theory

Hi! We're Alesha and Jarryd, the founders of Van Life Theory! We're currently travelling around Australia in our 2008 Mercedes Sprinter campervan and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow along on our Instagram and YouTube!

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