They say there is no fire without smoke. Well, I believe it is a lie.
For those who love hiking and prepping, building and keeping a fire burning is not an amusement-it is a survival routine. A bonfire/campfire is the heat source, a cooking tool, and means of protection.
Yet, somehow, there is one thing that will keep annoying you- the smoke.
Think of all the smoke that you had to put up with when lighting campfires. The stone shelters and the boothies were filled with irritating black acrid smoke when you tried to warm your body after a hectic day’s hiking and ended up gasping instead.
And the situation gets even worse when you have to stay close to the fire. Say, maybe you are cooking or drying clothes. In this case, you have no other option but to work with teary eyes.
So, the big question is- can you build a smokeless fire pit?
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How Does a Smokeless Fire Pit work?
A smokeless fire pit burns firewood with minimal smoke emission. It features a dual combustion process, where the first ignition lights the wood, and the secondary burns the surplus fuel left in the smoke.
The pit’s structural and mechanical features like the air holes control airflow and allow the combustion system to perform a complete burning process, eliminating the smoke.
What Causes Smoke in a Fire Pit?
An incomplete combustion system can make your fire pit produce a lot of smoke even if you use the best fuel (firewood or wood pallets).
Incomplete combustion occurs when the fuel does not burn completely. It happens because; there is insufficient oxygen in the fire pit to complete the combustion process, and the wood used is not dried- it has an excessive amount of moisture for burning.
When you use moisture-filled wood on a fire, it emits smoke. The visible smoke is the volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons) evaporating from the burning wood.
How Do You Build a Smokeless Fire Pit?
Modernized smokeless fire pits differ from their traditional predecessors because they are more industrial. Although, these pits exploit the same principle: using air holes allows the fire to produce more heat while emitting less smoke.
The steps listed below will guide you on how to build a smokeless fire pit from scratch.
The Charcoal Method
Many people prefer using charcoal because it is not bulky and it has a high combustion rate. You will need a fire starter, charcoal, newspaper, wood pallets, and bricks.
Begin by arranging your bricks in a dry place. You can set up three-four bricks with enough space to keep the wood and fire inside.
Place a piece of the newspaper centralized inside the bricks, followed by the wood. Ensure that you arrange the timber in a triangular, flat shape on the newspaper for quick-fire setting and longevity of firing.
Proceed to light your fire after arranging the wood inside the brick fence. Slowly add charcoal once the fire has begun to get bright.
The Upside-Down Campfire Method
If you are a camping fan, I am sure you have used this method for survival cooking in one of your adventures. Many people use this method in camping because it produces a lot of coal, perfect for a barbecue.
The upside-down campfire method is easy to set up. All you need is logs (different sizes), a piece of paper, and a firefighter.
Begin by stacking logs-larger logs at the bottom and smaller ones on top. It may sound absurd but trust me, it works.
Place the piece of paper at the top and top up your pile and light it up. Ideally, you couple your stack of wood with kindling for a quickfire setup.
The fire burns downwards, and so, it will produce less smoke.
The Dakota Fire Hole
The Dakota fire hole is an ancient type of smokeless firepit. If you want a concealed and a smokeless flame, consider the Dakota Fire Hole Method.
Begin by digging a hole about one foot deep on the ground. Make the hole circular, and remember to create an air tunnel for proper ventilation as well. The tunnel should have a diameter of about six inches and should angle towards the fire hole.
Proceed to light the fire after filling the hole with the burning materials. Keep the air shaft empty as it supplies the oxygen required for complete combustion.
Should I Buy A modern Smokeless Fire Pit?
Currently, you can source different smokeless fire pits readily available in the market. Almost all models come with electric or gas-activated chimneys with fans. Below are some of the best smokeless fire pits you can purchase for your next outdoor activity.
BREEO Double Flame Smokeless Outdoor Fire Pit
With a 24 inch diameter, the BREEO stainless steel fire pit uses wood as fuel. It is safe to use on your deck and doubles as a piece of cooking equipment as it is accessorized with BREEO grill supplies.
Solo Stove Yukon Fire Pit
The Solo Stove has a diameter of 27 inches and is larger than the BREEO model mentioned above. The Yukon Fire Pit works well with firewood, and the best part about it is everything burns into ash, making the Yukon pit easy to clean.
Bali Outdoors Tabletop Fire Pit
The Bali fire pit is designed and geared towards the ambiance. The fire pit produces no smoke as it uses gas. It is not bulky and is suitable for use on a tabletop. The Bali Outdoor fire pit also has fire level control to give you better power over your fire’s output.
Building a smokeless fire pit is not as complex as it may sound. With the correct knowledge and practice, you will enjoy spending more time with friends and family around your fire pit.
If you are more of an outdoor person and love camping, you can also check our guide on 10 essential survival gear items that you can buy on your next camping trip.