The Best Fire Pit for a River Trip

Choosing the right fire pit can make a big difference on an overnight or multi-day river trip by cultivating warmth, light, and all the right vibes after a great day on the river. After a few test rounds, we discovered that Fire Pits from Fireside Outdoors are the Best Fire Pits for any River Trip.

Traditional river trip fire pans are

    • Heavy
    • Awkwardly shaped
    • Difficult to carry
    • Often get the fire duty crew dirty when cleaning out ash from the night before 

If you've ever been personally victimized by a river trip fire pan, have no fear – there is a new product on the scene.

Fire Pits + Accessories from Fireside Outdoor
Fireside Outdoors Fire Pits

Fireside Outdoor fire pan advantages

  • Folds down lighter and smaller

  • Easier to transport + unload

  • Increased airflow allows for better and more consistent burns

  • Simple clean up

  • Lower environmental impact

  • Replacement parts are readily available

  • Economical + competitively priced 

fireside pop up fire pan

Compact Size

The first thing you will notice about your Fireside Outdoor fire pit is it's small packing size.

Fireside Outdoor offers two fire pan sizes:

Fireside Outdoors Pop Up Fire PanFireside Outdoor Pop Up Pit
24" x 24" aluminum fire pan

Fireside Outdoors Trailblazer Fire PanFireside Outdoor Trailblazer
12" x 12" aluminum fire pan

The 24" fire pan is comparable to your traditional steel fire pan, however, when broken down, it's approximately the size of a folding camp chair. 

Both Fireside Outdoor fire pan sizes meet Bureau of Land Management River Use Stipulations, and will pass the check of a ranger. If you have further questions, please contact your local BLM office

CKS Online Hot Take: We recommend the Trailblazer fire pit for self-support kayak (or similar low-gear expedition) trips only. This fire pit also comes with a grill, making it the perfect all-around heating and fuel machine if you need it to be.

Lower Weight

At only 8 pounds, the full-size Fireside Outdoor Pop Up Pit is 20 pounds lighter than your commercial grade steel fire pan. 

The Fireside Outdoor Trailblazer Fire Pan and Grill is the smaller, 12" fire pit model. Its packed size is only 14 inches long, and it weighs a grand total of 3.8 pounds. Wow!  

Easier to Carry

Raise your hand if you've ever taken a commercial-grade steel fire pan straight to the shin. It's not a fun feeling, right?

Luckily, the Fireside Outdoor fire pits are ultra-portable and so much easier to carry than traditional fire pans. 

Both the 12" and the 24" fire pit come with a sturdy carrying case that is easy to hold or hand off to someone on your crew to carry it up to camp. 

Increased Airflow = More Efficient Burns

A huge advantage of these Fireside Outdoor fire pits is that starting and stoking the fire is easier, because these pits have a mesh base that allows for increased airflow. Traditional fire pans have a steel base, which does well to entirely contain fires but isn't helpful when airflow is needed to start or stoke a fire. Increased airflow also means that wood will burn more consistently.  

No more half-burned wood pieces or large bits of ash to throw into the ash can when fire crew begins their morning duties. Over time, this will reduce the volume and weight of ash carried downstream with you as well.

Fireside Outdoors Pop Up Pit

Simple clean up

Let's admit it: Fire duty can be a messy process.

    • Ash everywhere
    • Buildup in the corners of the steel pan
    • Physically dumping the ash into your ash receptacle can be a 3 or 4 man job

Because the mesh base rolls up, cleaning out the fire pan becomes one of the easiest jobs at camp. 

Here are the steps for emptying your Fireside Outdoor Fire Pan
    1. Pull the mesh base out of the fire pit
    2. Fold the mesh base in half
    3. Point the folded mesh base towards your ash receptacle
    4. Pour your ash into your ash receptacle

That's really it! No scooping, no dirty hands, no making a mess. It's the easy button for fire pans ... seriously!

Lower environmental impact

Underneath each fire pit from Fireside Outdoor is a silver basket which contains a heat shield that prevents the heat generated by a fire from transferring into the ground.

In fragile eco-systems (most river trips) these fire pits are more environmentally friendly and won't scorch the ground under the fire pit.

Fire blankets are also highly recommended, if not required by law, to combat heat transfer. Fireside Outdoor offers compatible ember mats

Fireside Outdoors Fire Pit
Replacement parts are readily available

The mesh base we mentioned earlier is guaranteed for 50 fires, or for 1 year. Replacement mats cost between $10 and $20 and are available at CKS Online.

Economical + competitively priced

These Fireside Outdoor fire pits are everything you will ever need from a fire pan, without the cost of a commercial-grade steel pan. In fact, you could buy two 24" Fireside Outdoor pop-up fire pans for less than the cost of one traditional steel fire pan. 

Advantages Over a Traditional Fire Pan

  • Reduces total amount of weight in your boat
  • Less weight to transport + carry off the boat to camp
  • Smaller size will increase amount of room left for other gear in your boat
  • Increased airflow makes starting a fire easier
  • More efficient wood burning means less chunky ash bits to carry downstream
  • Mesh screen allows for easier ash clean up
  • Heat shield will prevent scarring the ground underneath
  • Any replacement parts are readily available
  • Costs less than a traditional fire pan

Disadvantages over a traditional fire pan

  • The mesh that you light the fire on will eventually need to be replaced (guaranteed for 50 fires or 1 year)

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

About Us

We're a group of whitewater kayak, raft, and stand up paddleboard enthusiasts committed to stocking the highest-quality gear and deliver it to you as quickly as possible.

Learn more about us

Don't Forget About These

What else are we up to?

View all
Down and Dirty: 9 Items You Need for Your Dry Suit Repair Kit

Down and Dirty: 9 Items You Need for Your Dry Suit Repair Kit

GearJonny Ortiz
Whitewater dry wear is the largest apparel investment any boater can make. For those who want to extend the life and use of their dry suit (or dry top), it's best to keep a dry suit repair kit on hand. Read our 9 recommendations for the best dry suit repair kit!
Whitewater Kayak Paddle Buying Guide

Whitewater Kayak Paddle Buying Guide

Jonny Ortiz
Choosing the right paddle for whitewater kayaking can be daunting with all the available paddle options to consider. We are here to help! ...
All Aboard the Love Boat!

All Aboard the Love Boat!

Benjamin Thornton

Have you ever had a tough time convincing your family that your black eye isn't that big of a deal? Or spent an hour explaining to your Tinder date the difference between "homeless" and "houseless," just so they would understand why you brought them back to a tent in the woods? 

If you answered yes to either of these things, hopefully this blog can help avoid some of those awkward conversations!