LavaBox is the original ammo can fire pit, and is quickly becoming a top-selling 2022 river trip item at CKS Online.
LavaBox is a patent-pending, award-winning propane campfire inside a new, authentic military ammo can. It's portable, safe, easy to use, and designed by Colorado paddlers.
This portable fire pit is fueled by propane and can be used during fire bans (check with authorities first), making it the perfect addition to any river runner's gear collection.
Why you may love LavaBox over other fire pans:
- No smoke
- No embers
- No wood to collect
- Can last all night
- Passes fire restrictions
Long story short, LavaBox offers simplified camping; the last thing you want to do after a long day of paddling is carry wood across unstable sand up to a fire pan, spend your precious time completing the necessary chore of building and stoking a fire, or stay up late waiting for coals to burn out evenly.
Designed tough by raft guides, the LavaBox prevents all of the complicated issues listed above. It is portable, easy, and safe to use during fire bans.
Want this on your next river trip? All you'll need is a heavy-duty cam strap. The LavaBox Tabletop is under 10 pounds and even fits inside the NRS Canyon Camping Dry Box.
The fire stays fully contained in the ammo can. Because there's no wood, there are no embers and no smoke. Propane burns clean and efficiently. It's a game changer.
Like we said - camping, simplified. All you have to do is turn on the gas and light it. There's nothing extra you need to bring or collect, and no clean up needed or ashes to pack out.
Want to see how easy it is? Skip down to the next section.
How to use your LavaBox
- Remove cap and lid from ammo can.
- Be sure the valve on the gas source and regulator are in the OFF position.
- Connect the regulator to the gas source. If using the adapter for a 1LB canister, connect the adapter to the regulator and then to 1LB tank.
- Connect the hose to campfire. Hand-tighten 3/8s connection until secure.
- If using any tank besides the 1LB tank, open the gas valve--NOT the regulator.
- Test gas flow by turning the regulator on and off. Listen for the sound of gas flow.
- Locate the first outlet hole in burner. It is the hole closest to the hose/can connection inside the can.
- Using a long lighter (like the one included with your campfire), light the first hole while slowly turning on the gas at the regulator.
- Adjust the height of fire at the regulator.
Do you need to clean or care for your LavaBox?
Little care is required for your LavaBox. With very heavy use, dump out your LavaBox occasionally to remove soot from the body of the box. You can also wipe out the inside of LavaBox if so desired.
Is a LavaBox Dangerous?
When used correctly, a LavaBox is one of the safest fire pit options available to paddlers today.
To use your LavaBox safely, ensure that you:
The Tabletop vs. Krakatoa
CKS Online currently offers two LavaBox models: the Tabletop and the Krakatoa.
Why We Love It
LavaBox products can provide light and warmth all night long (cue Lionel Richie song). They are made from brand new cans that are coated with a high heat paint that can withstand about 1200F... meaning this thing can last.
It's mostly water-tight, making it ideal for river trips. Even better? It'll float if you flip your rig. If your LavaBox does take a swim, simply dump out what minimal water collected inside of it and dry it out before use.
LavaBox products are safe to use during most fire-bans. Generally, the LavaBox meets or exceeds Stage 1 and Stage 2 fire restriction requirements. Be sure to check with your local authorities if you are concerned.
LavaBox is designed and run by fellow river enthusiasts. They are serious adventurists who realized that the fire situation at camp could just be done better.
We had the opportunity to interview Josh, the founder of Lavabox:
1. What was your inspiration behind the Lavabox?
Necessity was truly the mother of this invention.
We were on our last raft trip of the year in 2020. Stage II fire bans were in place. Not to mention, it was super cold. Weather in the Colorado high country in the Fall can be unpredictable at best.
Anyway, we had one of those big, clunky, round fire pits and we were all huddled around it to try to stay warm. Everyone agreed that it wasn’t very good. Someone was griping about how messy it was and how awkward it was to tie down on the raft. I mentioned that I could make a much better one.
Of course, another guide dared me to prove it. I said the whole thing will fit inside of a 50cal ammo can. Everyone thought that was a cool idea but no one had a whole lot of faith that I could pull it off.
After the trip, I went home and built seven prototypes in the next 72 hours. I used all sorts of materials and tried a lot of different techniques.
In the end, a simple steel pipe and an unaltered ammo can made for the best fire. I tried everything. Air mixers, copper pipes, cast-iron burners, you name it. The simple steel pipe with a specially configured burner configuration made a big yellow flame that really mimicked a Campfire.
I feel like I made something that was as close as I could get to the real thing and that came in a very slick, portable, and cool package. It turned out that no one had ever brought something like this to market so I went for it!
2. What issues did you see with the traditional river-friendly firepans that you wanted to change?
Not to state the obvious, but wood-burning fires are going away fast. And that may be ok. They create an enormous amount of pollution and are clearly dangerous in the west.
I LOVE a real campfire and hope we can have them occasionally but I'm also ok with having a safer, cleaner alternative.
Some current fire pans are brilliant designs. I love my Pop-up pit. I just think we won't be able to have fires in the summer months for much longer so I made something that would always work.
3. Tell us about your history with the outdoors
I have worked in the [outdoor] industry in some capacity since I was 15. I started out as a counselor at a Boy Scout camp in Virginia.
From there, I tried my hand at racing snowboards and expedition work including caving cartography work in Borneo with National Geographic.
I've guided rafts/climbing/caving in six states and have taught whitewater kayaking for the last 15 years or so. I was the Program Director for the National Sports Center for the Disabled right before I went full-time with LavaBox.
4. What makes Lavabox better than other fire pan options?
The FIRE!! Our burner produces double the fire with half the footprint of any other pit on the market.
Our small size really makes us different. The LavaBox is super portable and still blows the big round pits away with fire output.
5. It's no secret that longer fire bans have impacted what can and can't be brought on river trips...how does Lavabox address this?
The LavaBox conforms to all Stage Two fire restrictions. It has an ON/OFF switch and is enclosed making it the safest on the market. We have also developed a stand that lifts the LavaBox off the ground meeting LNT [Leave No Trace] and National Park requirements.
6. Besides river trips, where do you see Lavaboxes being used?
Oh man, they are used everywhere. Camping, RV, Vanlife, Tailgates, Overlanding, patios, and apartments. Everywhere! Their small size and big fire appeal to a very wide range of folks.
You’re right Ian we have had fire for over 1000 years and it’s hard to beat burning wood. But just in case you’ve been living under a rock we now have fire bands. So if you would like to have a fire anytime after May June 15th in the Rocky Mountains you’re probably gonna need a propane fire. We have a lava box we use once the band hits and we love it! It keeps the party going. and it’s pretty efficient When it comes to propane fires. most that I’ve used in the past have to be cranked up all the way in order to get any type of flame that compares to wood. But with a lava box you can have relatively tall flames even on low. And really tall flames on high.
We’ve had fire for 1,000’s of years; now it cost $300 plus propane? Shame shame, I know your name.