Fires: fire pit designs
Pros and cons of a range of different styles & materials for creating your fire pit.
Age Range: all ages
Duration: less than an hour
Time Of Day: any time
Category: bushcraft & survival
An overview of the many different types of fire pit design, and their advantages and disadvantages. Your choice will depend upon your site and the activities you plan to use your fire for.
Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:
Stones & bricks
Advantages: no cost and can be assembled and deconstructed using natural resources available on site.
Disadvantages: there is potential for ground fires so the material the fire is built on needs to be investigated. Some stones have high water content and can crack with force if heated.
Advantages: can be used as a leave-no-trace fire pit. This pit protects the fire from wind.
Disadvantages: potential for ground fires so the type of soil should be considered. The fire is lower and therefore the cooking area is lower, making it a little harder to access.
Advantages: very quick to assemble and gives a clear boundary to the fire.
Disadvantages: the logs can catch on fire – they can smoulder and not obviously be on fire. It is a ground fire so the type of soil needs to be right to prevent spreading underground fires.
Advantages: the fire is off the ground which can make it a better height for cooking and adding fuel. The higher the pit is, the less ground scorching that occurs.
Disadvantages: although it is raised it can still cause ground scorching, particularly if the fire is very hot. There is a chance the pit can be knocked and tipped over.
Advantages: sturdy foldable pit that can be raised off the ground for ease of access and to prevent ground scorching. It is portable and can be used on sites where ground fires are not allowed/suitable.
Disadvantages: has only a low raise so will need to be raised further to prevent ground-scorching.
Advantages: small, aesthetic, contained fire pit allowing smaller cooking fires.
Disadvantages: ceramic material can break. It can be knocked over as only has small stabilising feet.
Any flammable material is pushed out of the way and vegetative material scraped away with hands or a spade to allow the fire to sit on the more mineral soil.
Advantages: quick and easy to set up and requires no resources/cost.
Disadvantages: the soil needs to be non-flammable, which is not always possible, so extra precautions may need to be taken to prevent ground fires.
Advantages: cheap resource ideal for multiple fire-lighting stations. Small and stackable for storage and portability purposes.
Disadvantages: designed for fire-lighting and tiny fires, not suitable for a larger/cooking fire. Plate may get hot.
Advantages: like the plate, a cheap resource ideal for multiple fire-lighting stations. Small and stackable for storage and portability purposes.
Disadvantages: breakable and only suitable for fire-lighting and tiny fires, not suitable for a larger/cooking fire.
Storm kettle base
Advantages: small and handy for fire-lighting demonstrations, and then can be used to maintain a fire as the kettle heats up.
Disadvantages: only suitable for smaller fires – not a practical option for multiple fire-lighting stations.