We’ve all been there, stacking the wood just right for the perfect campfire, only to have
the RV fill up with smoke. Or maybe you anticipated that ideal camping trip telling stories
around the campfire, and then learned of the recent fire ban in the area. Well, being one
who can’t imagine a camping trip without a campfire, I was excited about testing The Gas
Can and The Traditional portable campfires from R&R Leisure Products while group
camping at the beach. Both are 2008 models and are more compact than previous versions-
with a canister size of only 14 1/2 inches in diameter and 10 1/2 inches tall – but both
products are very different, depending on what type of campfire you prefer.
The Gas Can
campfire is a one-piece log set with super-glow woodchips, both made from a ceramic fiber,
giving the campfire a somewhat authentic look. But more than just aesthetically pleasing,
it’s also practical. It’s only about 14 1/2 pounds and is fire-ban approved, so you can
take it just about anywhere. To test it, I attached its 10-foot hose to the RV’s LP-gas
system using the RV Hook-Up Coupler, turned on the LP-gas and started the fire with a
lighter. I could easily control the heat by adjusting the regulator. I also hooked it up to
a 1-pound LP-gas cylinder to test its performance, and at a strong medium flame, it kept
the fire nicely burning for just less than 1 1/2 hours. It requires a “Steak Saver” adapter
to connect to the smaller cylinder, and I found one at Camping World for $32. R&R
Leisure Products warns against using the smaller cylinders, only because they can freeze up
when burning the fire at its highest setting in cooler temperatures, which could disrupt
your campfire fun, though I had no problems with it.
The Gas Can is CSA certified to 64,000
BTU, so it gets hot. It has a removable cooking grate with a three-spoke burner design that
was ideal for the teakettle and could also be used for a skillet. But cooking directly on
the grate can cause black carbon deposits from the LP-gas, which builds up on the ceramic
logs after each use. Using a medium-bristle brush over a grassy area to regularly clean off
the soot works well. Without the grate, the girls in the group had a blast preparing
s’mores over the smokeless, controlled flames.
The boys in the group enjoyed The
Traditional model. As its name implies, it’s a traditional wood-burning/charcoal fire pit.
Packed in its canister, it’s the same size as The Gas Can but a bit heavier (18 1/2
pounds). Setup was absurdly simple, with only a couple of stainless-steel cylinders to
stack. I first placed a Duraflame log in the removable claw in the center of its base, but
the black smoke it created was overwhelming – so I switched to real wood logs with success.
(I later contacted the company, and it claims that Enviro-Logs manufactured logs work much
better than many other brands.) The vertical position of the wood log created even flames,
which toasted the marshmallows for the boys as a proper campfire should.
As the company
claims, both products are hassle-free and fun, and both come with a Happy Camper Guarantee.
The Gas Can costs $240 and The Traditional costs $210.
For more information, call (702)
355-9338 or visit www.campfireinacan.com.