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5 Tips on Taking a Fire Pit Camping

IMG_8098Thinking about taking your fire pit camping? We have some tips to help you get the most use from it.

#1) Bring a Grate for Cooking

Assuming you plan to use your fire pit for cooking (which most campers do), it’s recommended that you bring a grill grate. Granted, you can cook over an open fire without a grate, but using one makes the process ten times easier. A basic metal grate turns your fire pit into a grill, allowing you to cook delicious foods more quickly and evenly.

#2) Consider the Size of Your Fire Pit

Fire pits are available in a wide range of sizes. For camping, though, it’s best to stick with a smaller and more portable fire pit. Large fire pits are typically too bulky and heavy to carry long distances, making them a poor choice for camping. This is particularly true when speaking about stone fire pits, which should not be used for camping.

#3) Bring a Tabletop

As most seasoned campers already know, a tabletop surface is a rare commodity in the wilderness. Unless you bring a foldout table, you’ll probably have to eat from your lap. However, you can bring a smaller and more portable fire pit tabletop for increased convenience. Once the fire is out and it has cooled off, you can place the tabletop over the fire pit. Not only is the perfect surface for eating, but you can also use it to play cards, read a book, write, etc.

#4) Don’t Forget the Matches (or Lighter)

Unless you plan on rubbing two sticks together, make sure you pack matches or a lighter. There’s nothing more frustrating than making your way to your campsite, only to discover that you forgot the matches. Double-check your gear before leaving, ensuring you have some tool to easily light your fire pit.

#5) Wait for it to Cool Off Before Loading

Last but not least, you should wait for your fire pit to cool off before attempting to load it into your car or vehicle. A fire pit can remain hot long after the fire goes out, so don’t assume it’s cool just because there’s no wood burning. Wait until the fire pit is cool to the touch before transporting it to avoid injury.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Keep Your Fire Pit from Filling with Water

37-Hemi-on-flanged base-with-SnufferConventional wisdom should tell you that water and fire pits don’t mix. When a fire pit fills with water, it mixes with any leftover ash to create a sludge-like mess. Not only is this unattractive, but it can also make it difficult to start a fire. So, what steps can you take to keep your fire pit from filling with water?

Choose the Right Type of Fire Pit

If your fire pit is stationary (e.g. built into the ground), you may have trouble keeping rainwater out of it. On the other hand, if your fire pit is a S&S Fire Pit, you’ll have an easier time keeping it dry by simply placing on of our snuffers lids on the pit and as well we have a built in drain hole.

Cover it with a Tarp

You can protect your fire pit from rain by covering it with a tarp. You can use a special tarp designed for fire pits, or you can use one designed for grills. Either way, a heavy-duty tarp made of a strong synthetic material should protect your fire pit from the elements.

When using a tarp, however, you should wait until your fire pit has completely cooled off. Throwing a tarp over a recently lit fire pit may result in damage. The heat from the fire pit will literally melt the tarp, creating a large hole through water can flow. And when your tarp is melted, it’s not going to offer much protection from the rain or elements.

Store it Under a Covered Area

Of course, you can store it under a covered area. Whether it’s in the garage, basement, storage shed, etc., storing your fire pit under a covered area is a sure-fire way to protect it from water.

Again, it’s important to note that you should only store a fire pit under a covered area once it has fully cooled off. A fire pit can remain hot enough to reignite for up to 24 hours. To prevent property damage and injury, wait until your fire pit has cooled off before attempting to move it.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Keep Mosquitoes Away from Your Campfire

fire-1891833_960_720What animal is responsible for more deaths than any other animal on this planet? It’s the mosquito. Although small in size, these blood-sucking pests carry a wide variety of infectious diseases, which is why it’s a good idea to keep them away from your campsite. The good news is that you can build an effective deterrent by using a campfire, and here’s how.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that smoke is a natural insect repellent. Most insects, including mosquitoes, prefer to avoid smoke, so building a campfire tends to work pretty well for this purpose. You don’t have to necessarily stand in the same direction in which the smoke is blowing, but rather stay around the campfire to keep mosquitoes and other bugs at bay.

Burn Citronella Leaves

If you really want to improve the pest-repellent power of your campfire, try burning some citronella leaves. You’ve probably seen (or used) citronella candles before. They are a popular type of outdoor candle due to their bug repellent properties. The tropical plant has natural oils that, when burned, turn into a pest repellent. And best of all, it’s completely safe so you don’t have to worry about toxic or otherwise harmful chemicals.

Create More Smoke

Although, we don’t like it, if you don’t have any citronella on hand, you can always increase the amount of smoke produced by your campfire to enhance its pest repellent properties. Adding more leaves and pine straw to your campfire, for instance, will make it produce more smoke, which in turn increases its ability to keep bugs at bay.

Choose Dry Campsites

When possible, try to choose a dry campsite with little-to-no standing pools of water. Mosquitoes thrive in moist environments, and just a small pool of standing water can result in their numbers multiplying at an increasingly fast rate. Look around to ensure the land and surrounding area is dry before pitching your camp.

Even if you follow these tips, you may still struggle to keep all mosquitoes away from your campsite. Bugs are just a part of camping, and it’s nearly impossible to avoid them altogether. However, these tips can certainly help to minimize the number of mosquitoes and other pests that you and your fellow campers encounter.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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5 Tips on Choosing the Right Fire Pit

IMG_9707So, you’re thinking about buying a fire pit? With the warm weather fast approaching, there’s no better time than the present to invest in a fire pit for your patio or outdoor living space. However, you’ll want to choose the right type of fire pit.

Portable

If you plan on moving your fire pit, which most people do at some point or another, you’ll want to choose a portable fire pit. Some fire pits are designed to be stationary, while others are 100% portable. Opting for a portable fire pit opens the doors to a whole new world of possibilities, allowing you to take it camping, tailgating, to parties, or pretty much wherever else you desire.

High-Quality Steel Construction

Of course, you should choose a fire pit of high-quality material, such as steel. Some of the cheaper fire pits on the market are made with low-quality materials that quickly break down and deteriorate. There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a fire pit, only to discover that it’s broken just a few weeks later. To avoid such problems, choose a fire pit of high-quality steel.

Size

Arguably, one of the most critical factors to consider when choosing a fire pit is the size. Fire pits are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from small to large. The 42″ Ellipcital, for instance, has a 42″ opening, making it large enough to build fires and cook meals over. If you plan on using it for tailgating, however, perhaps a smaller fire pit would work better. Consider when and how you’ll be using it, and choose an appropriately sized fire pit.

Style

A fire pit is more than just a safe container in which to build fires; it’s a decorative accessory. As such, you should choose a fire pit that flows cohesively with your outdoor decor.

Region of Manufacture

Where is the fire pit made? You can probably save a couple bucks by purchasing a fire pit from overseas, this is one instance in which the saying “you get what you pay for” holds true. These overseas fire pits are often made with cheap materials that don’t fare so well when compared to locally made fire pit. By purchasing a fire pit here at S&S Fire Pit, you can rest assured knowing that it’s made in the United States.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Can You Build a Fire with Wet Wood?

firewood-918930_960_720When it comes to building campfires, the drier the wood, the better. If wood contains too much water, you may struggle to ignite it. And even if you do ignite it, it may produce an excessive amount of smoke with minimal fire.

Whether it’s a softwood or hardwood, wood is like a sponge. It constantly absorbs moisture from its surrounding environment. When it rains, wood absorbs the moisture vapor from the air, making the firewood difficult to burn. So, how do you build a fire with wet wood such as this?

Don’t Use Flammable Liquids

It’s recommended that you stay away from lighter fluid, gasoline or other flammable liquids when attempting to light wet firewood. While it may ease the process of lighting the wood, it also increases the risk of injury. The flammable liquid can spill in your backpack and seep through your clothes, or it may get accidentally knocked over into the fire. Either way, there’s simply too many things that can go wrong with using flammable liquids in a fire.

Gather Small Pieces of Wood

To begin, gather small pieces of wood from covered areas such as under tree canopies and against ridges. Smaller pieces are easier to light, and once you get that initial flame, you can add larger pieces.

Strip Away the Outer Layer

Because moisture typically only penetrates the outer layer of wood, you can strip it away to better prepare it for burning. Using a knife or hatchet, carefully strip away the outer layer from your wood, discarding it to the side. Next, place this newly stripped wood around some tinder and kindling and light the center. Without the wet exterior, it should ignite with relative ease, allowing you to enjoy the warmth of a campfire.

How Long Does it Take Wood to Dry?

Of course, you might be wondering how long it takes wet firewood to dry out and become more suitable for burning. Well, it depends on several factors, including the species of wood, size, surrounding humidity, and level of exposure to sunlight. With that said, it usually takes several months for wet firewood to completely dry out to the point where it’s “seasoned” and ideal for burning.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Common Myths About Fire Pits

IMG_9707There are numerous myths floating around about fire pits and how they work. Today, we’re going to debunk some of these common myths, shedding light on this popular outdoor living accessory.

Myth #1) You Can’t Move a Fire Pit

While it’s true that some fire pits are permanent, others are not. If you want to move your fire pit, it’s recommended that you choose a portable style. Portable fire pits open the doors to a whole new world of possibilities, allowing individuals to take it camping, tailgating, or simply move it to a new area on their patio or back deck.

Myth #2) Fire Pits are Strictly Aesthetic

There’s no denying the fact that a fire pit is a brilliant decorative accessory for outdoor living spaces, but they also offer functional benefits as well. Using your fire pit, you can grill burgers, roast marshmallows, or simply create warmth on an otherwise chilly evening.

Myth #3) Fire Pits Cost Thousands of Dollars

Again, some fire pits may certainly sell for thousands of dollars, but others are more budget-friendly. As you can see from shopping on our website, we offer high-quality portable fire pits (built here in the U.S.) at affordable prices. The 30-inch “Short Boy,” for instance, is currently available for just $325.

Myth #4) Maintaining a Fire Pit is Time-Consuming

This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Maintaining a fire pit requires very little effort. After burning it, wait for the ash to cool, at which point you can dispose of it. You can then clean any lingering dust or dirt from the surface using a towel. You don’t have to worry about cleaning your fire pit with any special product or chemical.

Myth #5) Refueling a Fire Pit with Gas is Expensive

Owning a gas-fueled fire pit can take a toll on your wallet, but it’s important to note that not all fire pits use gas. Many burn wood as a source of fuel, and these are generally recommended for homeowners seeking an authentic fire pit experience. Wood is cheaper, safer and easier to use in a fire pit, making this type ideal for the average homeowner.

These are just a few of the most common myths surrounding fire pits and how they work.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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What You’ll Need to Create a Campfire

axe-984008_960_720No camping experience is complete without a campfire. Ever since the early days of mankind, humans have created campfires to cook food, illuminate their surroundings, stay warm in cold weather, and for the relaxing social ambiance it creates. But if you plan on creating a campfire in the wild, you’ll need a few basic items to get started.

Lighter or Matches

Unless you plan on rubbing two sticks together, or using an alternative primitive firestarting method, you’ll want to bring either a lighter or matches when camping. Some people prefer lighters, while others prefer matches. Regardless, you’ll need one of these to start your campfire.

Firewood

Of course, also need firewood (and lots of it) to build a campfire in the wild. More specifically, you’ll need three types of wood: tinder, kindling and large pieces of firewood.

Tinder is the smallest type of natural fuel used in campfires. It can consist of bark, fatwood, pine needles and even grass. Kindling is larger than tinder though smaller than standard-sized firewood. Examples of kindling include sticks and small branches about the size of your index finger.

Campsite

Not every wooded location is suited for a campfire. When camping, check the park’s rules to determine where you can build campfires. Some parks have strict rules requiring campers to build campfires in specified areas. And in the dry season, all campfires may be prohibited to reduce the risk of a wild fire.

Other Items to Consider

  • Grill grate. Assuming you want to cook over your campfire, you may also want to bring a grill grate. While you can always pierce food with a stick or skewer, a grill grate is easier and more versatile.
  • Pitcher. What do you need a pitcher for? Well, before leaving your campsite, it’s recommended that you pour water over the campfire ashes to ensure they are fully extinguished. Ashes can remain hot enough to ignite grass and other dry material for up to 24 hours, which is why it’s a good idea to pour water over your campfire before leaving.
  • Shovel. Using s shall shovel, you can create a more well-defined fire ring to help contain your campfire. You can also use a shovel to bury your ashes before leaving the campsite.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Safely Extinguish and Cool a Campfire

campfire-1031162_960_720More than 100,000 wildfires burn 4-5 million acres of land every year in the United States, according to an article published by National Geographic. While lightning strikes are a common cause of wildfires, extinguished campfires are also responsible for many wildfires. So, if you’re planning to camp in the near future, you’ll want to fully extinguish and cool your campfire before leaving.

Beware of Hot Embers Underneath Ash

Just because you see a pile of ashes left at the bottom of your fire ring doesn’t necessarily mean that your campfire has been extinguished. Ash is an excellent insulator of thermal energy, meaning it can keep embers hot enough to ignite a fire for up to 24 hours.

Some people assume that their campfire is out because they see ash at the bottom, but you really need to take additional steps to ensure it’s extinguished. Hot embers buried under the ash could reignite the following day to create a wildfire. So, how do you prevent this from happening?

Drown with Water

The only “sure-fire” way to extinguish a campfire is to drown it with water. While keeping a safe distance, slowly pour water over the campfire and its embers, even if those embers are not bright red. You’ll probably hear a hissing noise when doing so, which occurs from the water’s reaction to the heat. You’ll know the fire is extinguished when the hissing noise stops.

Stir with a Stick

In addition to drowning your campfire with water, you should also stir it with a stick (after drowning it with water). The purpose of this is to ensure the water has penetrated all layers of the fire. If there’s still a hot later, you may hear the hissing noise again when stirring the fire with a stick.

Here are some other safety tips to follow when building campfires in the wilderness:

  • When possible, use an existing fire ring to build your campfire instead of creating a new one.
  • Only burn wood in your campfire, not trash or debris.
  • Keep water nearby in case your campfire burns uncontrollably.
  • Consider the direction in which the wind is blowing when choosing a location for your campfire.
  • When camping in parks, check to see if there’s a fire ban in place or other restrictions for creating campfires.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Fire Pits: 5 Safety Tips to Prevent Burns

flame-1363003_960_72011With internal temperatures reaching up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, fire pits create more than enough heat to burn the skin. The good news is that burns are rare, especially safety precautions are taken. So, what steps can you take to prevent burns when using a fire a pit?

Don’t Touch the Outside of the Fire Pit

Never touch the outside of a fire pit while a fire is burning is inside. Most fire pits are made of steel, and while steel lacks the heat conductive properties of aluminum, brass and copper, it still transfers some heat. If you accidentally touch the outside of your fire pit while it’s being used, you could end up with a burn. The bottom line is that you should touch your fire pit until the inside has thoroughly cooled and is no longer hot.

Wear Heat-Resistant Gloves When Cooking

Another safety tip I’ve learned over the years is to wear heat-resistant gloves when cooking. This isn’t limited strictly to fire pits; this tip applies to all forms of outdoor cooking, including grills, open-flame campfires and more. When cooking outdoors, wearing a pair of heat-resistant gloves will allow you to move food on/off the grill without getting burned in the process.

Only Burn Wood

Avoid the temptation to burn leaves, trash, yard debris and other non-wood items. Fire pits are designed specifically for burning wood, and tossing other items into it could send fiery debris into the sky; thus, increasing the risk of burns. As long as you only burn wood in your fire pit, you’ll promote a safe environment while lowering the risk of injury.

Keep Your Distance

Standing only a few inches away from an active fire pit is a good way to get burned. Just turning your body the wrong way could result in a nasty burn, which is why it’s a good idea to get your distance.

Wait 24 Hours for Ash to Cool

Just because the fire has burned down to ash doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s cool. On the contrary, ash can remain hot enough to cause burns — or to spark another fire — for up to 24 hours. Therefore, you should wait until at least 24 hours after your fire has been extinguished before attempting to move the ash.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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3 Easy Ways to Cook Using a Campfire

campfire-1548787_960_720Ask any seasoned camper and he or she will agree: food just taste better when you’re miles away from civilization. From basic snacks to full meals, there’s something special about eating when camping. With that said, there are several different ways to cook using a campfire, some of which we’re going to explore in today’s blog post.

Skewer on a Stick

One of the easiest ways to cook using a campfire is to skewer the food on a stick. Whether it’s marshmallows, steak medallions, vegetables, etc., most small-sized food can easily be skewered and cook over a campfire. And with the food on a stick, you can easily raise or lower the height to adjust its cooking temperature. The only real problem with this method is that it may or may not cook food evenly throughout.

Wrap in Foil

Another idea is to cook food over a campfire using aluminum foil. The aluminum foil acts as a protective barrier, keeping its contents clean and preventing it from burning. However, it still allows for the transfer of heat so the food will cook. Simply wrap your desired food in aluminum foil, after which you can place it either directly on the fire or on a grill grate. Because the food is contained in aluminum foil, you can cook smaller pieces than using the skewer-stick method mentioned above. You can also place the foil-wrapped food directly over the fire, allowing for a more even and thorough cooking.

Place on a Grill Grate

Of course, a third option — and probably the most popular — is to cook food on a grill grate over a campfire. You don’t have to necessarily bring an entire grill (although some campers do). Rather, bring a metal grille grate to place over your campfire. Once your campfire reaches a hot enough temperature, you can cook on the grate like a normal grill. The only downside is that your fire must be small enough so it doesn’t burn your food, which is a very real possibility when using a grill grate.

Many campers prefer this method because it leaves the distinct grill marks of a traditional grill. If you want to cook steaks, for instance, using a grill grate creates the characteristic lines.

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to clean up afterwards.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/