A wood-burning smokeless fire pit: Hands-on REVIEW

 A wood-burning smokeless fire pit: Hands-on REVIEW

Looking for a smokeless fire pit that burns real wood and is portable? We found one that is perfect for boondockers and off the grid campers who want the warmth and ambiance of a campfire but without the hassle.

It's called the Pyroad.

The Pyroad is marketed as “the world's most portable fire pit.”

The Pyroad portable and smokeless fire pit
The assembled Pyroad portable and smokeless fire pit

That, I don't know about.

And while it indeed is portable, super easy to set up and take down and carry with you in the RV, that was not the main reason the Pyroad caught our attention.

But before I go any further, maybe it's best to direct your attention to the video we did on our experience with the Pyroad. We show the unboxing, the assembly, the starting of a fire and the clean-up and storage.

After you watch that, come back and read the rest of this post for the details.

Is the Pyroad really a smokeless fire pit?

picture of fire burning in smokeless fire pit
We were amazed that it really did seem to be a smokeless fire pit

The claim that it is smokeless was what most interested us.

Jennifer and I have always had a love/hate relationship with campfires.

We love open flames. We like burning wood and having real coals to warm us and to cook with.

But we hate the smoke that comes from most of the other portable fire pits we've seen and considered for our RV.

We've written about this need for a smokeless fire pit before and even considered a portable propane fire bowl. But we really prefer to burn wood. The propane fire just didn't offer the same campfire feel we were used to.

Why would an RVer need a portable and smokeless fire pit?

If you are in a campground, which almost always has a permanent fire pit or fire ring of some sort and the smoke from your campfire is no big deal, then I see no need for this.

But if the smoke from burning wood sets of allergies – as it often does with Jennifer – then a smokeless fire pit would have major appeal.

We were very skeptical when we started the fire on our new Pyroad. When the first flames started to show as the crumpled paper I used as a starter began to burn, there was some smoke. Not a lot. And what there was seemed to go straight up instead of dispersing as a cloud all around the fire.

But then the kindling wood caught and the smoke all but disappeared.

Really. We were amazed. Jennifer said it was the first campfire she has enjoyed close up in a long time.

A portable and smokeless fire pit is particularly useful when boondocking

picture of portable fire pit on the ground
The Pyroad is great for boondocking and is safer than a ground campfire

Most of our camping is in state and national forests or Bureau of Land Management lands where there are no organized campsites and no fire pits. We're mostly boondockers and prefer dispersed camping where we are often the only people around.

But when boondocking, starting a campfire always takes some work. Usually we scour up a bunch of rocks and make a crude circle that keeps the campfire and its coals from igniting brush or grass.

Since we're big believers in the Leave No Trace movement, building a firepit and then removing the rocks and cleaning upon the campfire mess is always a hassle.

Now, we will use the Pyroad. It is a totally self-contained fire pit. The wood really burns down to just ashes. It's very easy to dig a small hole and bury the ashes.

A portable fire pit is safer than most campfire rings

We've all seen the dangers of wildfires over the past few years.

So many of them are caused by campfires that got out of hand.

What Jennifer and I noted about the fire we had in our Pyroad is that there were no sparks or burning embers coming off our fire.

The Pyroad was invented by an airflow engineer.

It has numerous slits and holes and is built in the classic campfire pyramid shape. As the wood is consumed in the fire, it drops down on a plate that makes up a sort of basement floor for the device.

The coals don't come in contact with the ground and the metal of the unit itself reflects back on the fire, burning the wood completely.

The Pyroad portable and smokeless fire pit is expensive

The Pyroad comes in two styles. A 16 gauge cast iron model lists for $107.

A stainless steel deluxe model is more lightweight and sells for $189. That's the one we have.

No matter which model you choose, that's a pretty steep price for four pieces of metal and a cloth storage bag.

But for us, we feel it's worth paying because it really does provide as much as is possible a smokeless campfire. And it will make having a wood campfire while boondocking much easier.

My one concern: Cleaning the Pyroad

the Pyroad portable and smokeless fire pit stores away in a bag
The fire pit easily stores in a drawstring bag that can be carried over your shoulder

I expected to have quite a mess on my hands when it was time to clean the Pyroad and put it in its drawstring storage bag,

But when I picked it up the next morning after our campfire, I was surprised there were no big chicks of unburned wood in the unit. It was pretty much all ashes.

I disassembed it and looked at my hands.

They were filthy with soot. I should have worn gloves. The three sides and the plate nest into each other and easily go into the storage bag, which I keep in an outside storage compartment.

I had let the fire burn itself out the night before. But I wonder what the mess would have been like had I put it out with water. I'm also not sure how the cast iron will hold up to rust.

Or whether there will be odors.

Ask me that in a few months as we use the Pyroad during our travels.

Other smokeless fire pits

There are some other fire pits billed as smokeless. Here are three you may also want to consider:

  • The Innostage Smokeless Fire Pit burns wood pellets and is advertised as smokeless. It's about 15 inches around and comes with a carrying case, starting in price at under $100, depending on the finish you order.
  • Weighing in at a hefty 54 pounds, the Blue Sky Outdoor Living Fire Pit is about 24-inches across and burns wood pellets or logs. I like the removable pan for ashes at the bottom. But it's too heavy to be a viable contender for us. Price is about $230.
  • The Breeo company makes a line of high-quality wood-burning backyard fire pits, starting at about $349 and going to over $1,500. These all seem way to big for RV'ers, though, and appear to be designed for more permanent installations.

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A wood-burning smokeless fire pit: Hands-on REVIEW

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

3 Comments

  • What a great store of information you have provided to us. I always look forward to receiving your fact-filled insightful emails. Keep them coming please. You two are the best of the best…Happy Boondocking, Daina

  • Good article on smokeless firepit system. Having tent camped in the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness area for over 60 weeks, with various groups from family, co-workers, Boy Scouts, and others, besides having many camp/bonfires/etc. at home, I found that having dry wood is most important to have smokeless fires. Even partly wet wood will cause excessive amounts of smoke. Buying your wood from a reputable source, or if your are allowed to pick up fallen limbs and sticks for your fire, if your smack two pieces together an get a ringing type sound from the wood it will generally be smoke free when burning. If your get a thud type sound, too wet for firepit burning.

  • I was wondering if the ground under the Pyroad fire pit was scorched?

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