Now, a campfire is an INTEGRAL part of my anticipated enjoyment. I make one morning and evening, I read by them, I toast over them, I love the smell, the sound of a wood fire. It's a really big deal. I've camped without one. It's a major bummer. So... during a level 3 burn ban? My Outland Firebowl propane portable fire pit to the rescue.
Shop: outlandliving.com, some Costcos, and Amazon.com (where I got mine)
Pictured: Lights, Camera, Action
I read the bulletin that Washington State Parks were at a Level 3 Burn Ban with deep chagrin. No wood campfire, no open flames. BUT... propane fire pits/bowls ARE allowed in a Level 3. I'd seen a few of these from afar as I sat in my cool dark campsite reading with my headlamp, and let me tell you, I was green with envy.
So my mom (Gramma Rambo, who is a major outdoors woman at age 85) was NOT HAVING IT when she heard I was facing a fireless camping summer. She gifted me my pick, which was the 19" Outland Firebowl, which came with 2 sizes of rocks and a bag of "extra" rocks, lid, carry strap, and 10' propane hose, from Amazon. It arrived 3 days later, no shipping charge, super well packed.
Pictured: The 19' Firebowl is, I think, the perfect size. The carry strap fastens securely.
I've never dealt with a large propane appliance - not even a grill. All of my propane experience is with my 2-burner campstove. So I was a bit intimidated by the size of the propane and the need for a large canister. I did some research on both purchased tanks that are filled at a propane vendor, and the purchase-and-trade programs offered by Blue Rhino and Amerigas. I ended up feeling most comfortable with a trade program, so obtained a Blue Rhino 15 lb tank from Lowe's (also available at Bartell's and Walgreen's here, etc.) It's HEAVY. And it bashed into my water jug which leaked water all over my car - so make sure it is snugly packed in. A tank lasts about 7-8 hours of continuous burning.
Pictured: My Blue Rhino propane tank
I really found the 19" (as opposed to a 24" model) was perfect size - fits well into the campground fire ring, and is not too heavy, doesn't take up any more room than my usual few bundles of wood in the car.
The instructions were easy to follow, and thorough, for initial set-up and use. I had wondered if the 10' hose would be long enough, and it absolutely was. The 18' hose one could buy as an accessory would've been vast overkill for this purpose.
Pictured: Nice low setting for Smore's
The advantages of a propane fireball is it lights easily and instantly, is warm in just a few minutes with an entirely adjustable flame. Visually and for warmth, it provides all the feels of a campfire, IS allowed in a level 3 burn ban, and I love, LOVE having this option.
Pictured: The adjustable flame means you can have a full-on fire at will
What the wood campfire still has is a few things for your other senses - my favorite smell in the world, woodsmoke (athough I didn't miss smoke in my eyes) and the crackling fire sounds. But this provides a lot of ambience and some nice warmth.
You won't need it every trip. But when there's a level 3, or you can't find firewood, or you just want easier than wood and kindling and matches, this is the bowl for you. Stellar reviews, and I add mine to the pack!
'Runs about $148, + $50 for the initial propane. THANKS MOM!!!