The Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 is a stunning little fire pit that’s easy to use, great to cook on and does a very good job at mitigating smoke.
Easy to clean
Comes with carry bag
There is a marked reduction in smoke
Heavy and not very portable
Expensive for a fire pit
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Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 and Grill: first impressions
The Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 is a semi-portable fire pit made from stainless steel. With the additional grill attachment, which is available as a part of the Grill Cooking Bundle, you can also use the fire pit as a barbecue or camping stove, with the large cast iron griddle being large enough for family occasions or small garden parties.
• List price: $349 (US) / £309 (UK) without grill; $559 (US) / £549 (UK) with grill
• Weight: 11.4kg / 25lb without grill; 20.3kg / 45lb with grill
• Colors: Silver
• Material: Stainless steel and cast iron
The Bonfire 2.0 comes with a stand, an ash collection plate, and a base for wood. With the additional grill bundle, you get a huge cast iron griddle and an elevated stand on which to mount it. Setup is a cinch – it’s literally a matter of popping the various components into the fire pit and adding your wood (which you'll have to find yourself).
As a standalone fire pit, the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 is reasonably portable over very short distances. Weighing in at 11.4 kg, however, it’s going to take two people to carry this comfortably – especially if you’re carrying it further than just from the shed to the garden. To help, the Bonfire 2.0 comes with a heavy duty carry case with two large hand straps. But the lack of a shoulder strap means it’s still not comfortable to carry and not suitable for lugging more than very short distances.
The Bonfire 2.0 isn’t cheap, coming in at $349 / £309 when bought directly from Solo Stove. For the grill combo, the style I tested here, you’re going to have to fork out $559 / £549, which is a lot for something that you may only use occasionally.
That said, if you’ve ever shopped around for a barbecue (which I recently did), you will know that they can be jaw-droppingly expensive, running into the thousands for top-of-the-line models from a brand like Traeger. With the Bonfire 2.0 Cast Iron Grill Cooking Bundle, you don’t only get a great barbecue to cook over, you also get a beautiful little fire pit that you can slump in front of while you’re digesting your meal – making the combo more versatile than a usual barbecue, and definitely much prettier to look at.
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 and Grill: in the field
I was sent a Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 to test for a few weeks in the garden towards the end of the summer. I used it as both a standalone fire pit and as a barbecue, and I have to say – I loved it. It looks great, is very easy to clean out, is simple to store away when it’s not in use (if you have the space) and allows for a beautiful little centerpiece if you have friends or family round and want to spend some time in the garden.
Starting a fire in the Bonfire 2.0 is also very simple. The drum is large enough to easily lean into, allowing you to add and light kindling before dropping in larger logs. When it comes to barbecuing, Solo recommend that you first burn down a few larger-sized logs for cooking over hot coals.
On the two occasions I cooked with the stove, I once fried some shish kebabs over high flames and then cooked various types of meat over embers. Naturally, it took around an hour for the flames to reduce to create a bed of hot embers, which is a lot longer than I expected. But I’m not sure we can deduct points for physics.
One part of the stove that didn’t initially impress me is the ‘smokeless’ aspect of its marketing. Solo Stove calls the Bonfire 2.0 'the original smokeless fire pit', so I had high expectations, but there was definitely smoke when I fired it up. Granted, it was less than you'd see with other fire pits, or when lighting fires on the ground, but it’s far from smoke free, especially at the beginning and when you add fresh wood.
Once your fuel burns down a little, that subsides and you’re left with a pleasant, reasonably low smoke burn. It's actually quite impressive, but thanks to the company's over-ambitious marketing claim, you might be a little disappointed at first.
One thing I particularly appreciated was how cool the Bonfire 2.0's barrel remains during use. It doesn't stay cold, but even though there’s a roaring fire going on inside, the stainless steel outer drum never got so hot that it would burn you were you to accidentally touch it.
Obviously, this might mean that, in comparison to heavier fire pits or those made of stone, the Bonfire 2.0 might radiate less heat. But for use on pleasant summer, spring or fall evenings when you fire it up more for the ambience or grilling than a singular source of heat, it’s excellent.
The cast iron griddle supplied with this bundle is also an impressive piece of kit. Weighing almost as much as the rest of the Bonfire 2.0 combined, it is heavy, sturdy and remarkably well-put together for sucking up the heat of the fire. And trust me when I say this thing gets hot. It takes minutes for it to be spitting ready for cooking whatever’s on the menu, and it stays warm for a very long time indeed. Be sure to bear that in mind if you have any children running around when using it, as it'll be extremely hot for a good while after you take it off the fire.
Another thing I appreciated was Solo’s helpful instructions on how to best care for the cast iron griddle. New to this style of cooking, I had no idea that you aren’t supposed to wash cast iron pans, merely using the heat of the fire to burn off stuck-on food. And I was equally perplexed by the process of ‘seasoning’, wherein you add oil to the pan before and after using it in order to extend the life of the griddle and to ensure the material remains non-stick. But after a couple of practice runs, I was all in, and I really enjoyed the experience of cooking with the grill.
Finally, I found the height of the grill to be okay when cooking for one or two people. I’m 5ft 10in (177 cm) and only had to bend down slightly to move things around on the plate. Granted, I only had a short pair of tongs, so this could be easily mitigated with longer utensils, but if you’re very tall, you might start to get uncomfortable if you're cooking over it all day.
Overall, I absolutely love the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0. It looks great, is easy to use and is semi-portable. And even though it’s pricey, I think it’s such a versatile means of maximizing the space in your garden that it’s actually a good investment – especially if you’re looking to buy a barbecue anyway.
Growing up just south of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig spent his childhood walking uphill. As he got older, the hills got bigger, and his passion for spending quality time in the great outdoors only grew - falling in love with wild camping, long-distance hiking, bikepacking and fastpacking. Having recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in Germany, he now focuses on regular micro-adventures in nearby Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, as well as frequent trips to the Alps and beyond. You can follow his adventures over on komoot, or visit www.craigtaylor.co for more info.