Portable fire pits are all the rage these days and I”m thrilled with their newfound popularity. I loathe unsightly fire rings and wish more people subscribed to a lower impact style of camping. One of the challenges with portable fire pits is the stowed size and weight as most are larger than necessary, particularly for me, a frequent soloist. Prone to travel by way of motorcycle, I often don’t need much more than the ability to burn a few small sticks and limbs. For those outings, I usually pack Snow Peak’s pint-sized folding fireplace.
When collapsed, the Pack & Carry in the smallest of three sizes: it is only 16 x 14 inches and weighs just under 4 pounds. Packaged in the optional nylon carrying case, it slips into small places and takes up virtually no space at all. Even when paired to the optional steel base plate, the combination only tips the scales at just 6 pounds. After using the two pieces for a few years now, the base plate is really only necessary when using the fireplace on soft surfaces. It does greatly increase stability, which isn’t a bad thing for a flaming box of wood.
Made of stainless steel throughout, the Pack & Carry is constructed with the same elevated attention to detail I have come to expect of Snow Peak. The illustrious brand from Japan is well known for their design acumen and the setup takes all of 2 seconds with no detached parts to assemble or misplace.
When I first started using the Pack & Carry, I wasn’t sure how well it would maintain a small fire as it doesn’t have much in the way of ventilation holes in the lower half of the fire pan. To my surprise, and probably due to the small overall size, air seems to circulate quite nicely through the pan. The absence of vent holes in the lower section has advantages since it retains hot embers which might otherwise fall to the ground.
As a cooking tool, when used with the optional stainless steel cooking grill, the small fireplace provides ample room for a couple juicy steaks or burgers. I try not to cook too much on the Pack & Carry because I’m clean-up lazy. If I just use the system for small fires, it stays remarkably clean and wipes down easily with a small rag I keep closed within it during transport.
At $109 for the fireplace, it’s not a bad value. Add the carrying case ($40), the fire pan ($20), and the small grill ($42), and the price starts to get a bit steep. I can’t see any sound reason why the nylon case should cost as much as the grill, but it is a handy item to have.
For those of you like me, inclined to forego a fire unless I can make one with zero impact on the ground, the Pack & Carry in any size is a welcome addition to a regular camping kit. The smallest fireplace might be a bit too wee for a circle of friends to gather around, but for the lone camper, or a couple, it’s a perfect size.