REVIEW – The quality and quantity of my camping gear has been steadily on the rise over the last few years. My “essential” list of gear for a camping trip now fills two large bins and a duffel bag. This is fine though because the majority of camping I do falls squarely into the Car Camping category. With Car Camping, there’s no worry of gear weight or mailing food to yourself or other such hardcore practices; if it fits in the car, it’s going on the trip. With that said, I am always looking to add new “essential” gear to make my excursions a bit more comfortable.
A good campfire is essential to the success of a Car Camping trip. A campfire provides warmth, a place to gather, and ofttimes, a cooking source. Most campsites already have an area set up for campfires, but occasionally a site will be devoid of a circle of stones or an old wheel hub to contain the designated marshmallow melting blaze. Luckily, products from companies like Wolf and Grizzly can save the day. Their $79 Fire Safe is a great option for setting up a basic campfire in a safe way while minimizing cleanup when it’s time to head back to civilization.
What is it?
The Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe is basically a collapsible, stainless steel, portable fire pit. The Fire Safe was designed to be safe, easy to set up and break down, and able to maximize air flow for efficient burning of charcoal or wood.
The Fire Safe arrives in a very hefty box with clear pictures on the front and back showing the Fire Safe in use and its specifications.
What’s in the box?
- Carrying Case
- Fire Safe Base
- Fire Safe Fuel Containment Insert
- Weight: 910g / 2lb
- Packed Dimensions: 11.4” x 0.9” x 4.1”
- Burn Area: 11.4” x 11”
- Fuel Capacity: 0.8 US gal / 3.02 L
- Unpacked Dimensions: 11.4” x 10.9” x 4.1”
- Fire Safe: 304 stainless steel
- Carrying Case: Recycled polyester (PET/RPET)
- Warranty: 1 year limited
Design and features
The Fire Safe’s design is at once both simple and complex. At heart, the Fire Safe consists of just two components, a base and insert. It’s how these two components work together that make the Fire Safe an ingenious piece of equipment.
Both the base and insert open up easily for assembly and fold back down for storing in the included case.
For such small components, the unit is quite strong when assembled due to the clever corrugation of the stainless steel.
The hinges and handles on the insert are well designed and exceptionally strong once expanded.
The same can be said of the base component. The legs and edges of the base are very sturdy and seem to be damage resistant.
Some design aspects of the components could be a bit bigger. I’d prefer if the pegs on the insert that fit into the base were over-sized for use in the dark or rain when setting up camp.
The same desire goes for the positional indicators. I had no trouble seeing them in the daylight, but a lot of the time my camping setups are done in less than ideal situations and it would’ve been nice if Wolf and Grizzly accounted for this.
The two components fit together well, but I did have to fumble with them a bit before all four pegs slid into their corresponding slots.
Again, not a deal breaker, but making the assembly foolproof in rain, shine, dark or light would be great.
The secret to the effectiveness of the Fire Safe is in design of the insert ridges. The angles of the ridges were engineered specifically to maximize efficiency and minimize consumption, directing airflow to facilitate a clean burn of charcoal or wood.
Additionally, the ridges and the way the insert sits deep in the base provides wind protection for lighting the fire and keeping it going. The segmented design of the insert also allows you to add fuel only to the areas you want to heat, cutting down on fuel consumption. After use, the insert acts as a scoop for the ashes, helping to effect a swift cleanup.
Setting up the Fire Safe is really easy, which makes it a great piece of gear.
First, set up the base by standing it on its legs and squaring up the sides.
Then, drop in the insert making sure that all four pegs align to the slots on the base. Once the Fire Safe is filled with your chosen fuel, you’re ready to burn.
For my testing, we used freshly cut kindling and split firewood.
The fire ignited pretty quickly and I was really impressed with how efficiently it burned.
It was easy to add more fuel and the fire burned cleanly and consistently. At the peak of the fire, with about 1-2 logs broken up and burning, the heat was really impressive as was the fact that the fire stayed completely contained in the Fire Safe.
We had some light winds during the testing and they did nothing to stop or hinder the Fire Safe in any way.
With such a such a great fire going it was hard to resist testing out the Fire Safe’s marshmallow roasting capabilities. It passed with flying colors.
Once we let the fire burn itself out, cleanup was a snap. We simply picked up the insert from the side tabs and safely discarded our ash.
What I like
- Easy to assemble
- Design makes cleanup less messy
- Extra space in Carrying Case for accessories
What needs to be improved
- Basic kit should come with grill
- Alignment pegs sometimes don’t align or get stuck
- Markings on unit should be bigger and more prominent for use in dark or rain
The Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe is a great portable fire pit and I plan on taking it with me on all of my Car Camping adventures. Weighing in at just over two pounds, the Fire Safe definitely wouldn’t make the cut for some of my through-hiking friends who obsess over every ounce of gear they carry, but for Car Camping it’s perfect. At $79, the Fire Safe is a bit pricey but still affordable for such a well built piece of gear. At the current price, I’d like to see the inclusion of some form of the Wolf and Grizzly Grill, which is sold separately for $99.