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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the Youtubers i follow recently publichsed this video on a diy fire pit he made and while the video isnt the best tutorial, I like the idea and feel like i can copy or even improve the design.


living in colorado during the warmer months there is pretty much always fire bans in camping areas, and who likes to go camping with no camp fire!?

so, I would love to have a portable propane( not banned) fire pit that i can take with me and at least have some ambiance of a fire.

while there are products out there that one can purchase, they are typically more than i want to spend on this. in addition to that, I like the compact nature of this diy option.

that said, I am in no way an expert when it comes to propane and propane accessories.

I want to make sure i do this right and not blow myself up.

at home depot last night i found a really nice steel pail that would be suitable for the "pit" part, I just need some help on the propane part, what regulators safety devices should be used?

any tips or thoughts would be much appreciated, i guess my concern is it almost seems to easy, whats being left out?
 

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A couple months ago someone posted up an Ammo can firepit on a local FB group, and then suddenly a ton of them showed up at the next overland expo lol. Nice little compact setup that easily packs.
I can't find the exact info (searching ammo can firepit brings up a TON of stuff), but very similar to this video, though many were buying the burner itself from amazon and some were cannibalizing old grills. Most were running the small propane bottles... so probably more for light/ambiance than for heat.


From what I've found with my backyard fire pit (was propane, now natural gas), is that you are basically looking for a 'dirty' or incomplete burn to get the yellow flames. Something with lots of air, like pin-hole stove burner, will burn very clean and blue. Its hotter... but not the look you want. By letting it filter up through the rocks, then getting oxygen, you get a less complete burn... resulting in yellow vs blue. That's why people get away with just a pipe with holes drilled... or a stove burner. You just want to make sure that you are running enough gas through the area to stay lit. If you spready it out too far for the volume of gas you are using, the gas doesn't keep the area around it lit and it acts like a dancing stove top that is always relighting its neighboring gas hole (hopefully relighting, otherwise its just a gas leak).

There's a ton of these on amazon, but it sumplifies it down to just drilling a hole, and filling with a grate or stones as desired... not need to track down fittings, air-mixers, or volume knobs...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
AH man i may have an old grill i could try to cannabalize.

but im probably better off buying something like that burner you posted. Ill want more like 12 ft of hose though, im sure i can find an extension.

my plan is to find some sort of "lava rocks" that wont explode due to the heat, but are light as well. and i would rather have like 5-6 large stones as opposed to a bucket full of little ones, just less to mess with.

I do like the idea of a small container like an ammo can( doesnt the paint burn off ?) and a smaller propane bottle, but im not sure what would put out enough flame / heat to make me happy, plus how long would those little green propane canisters last? it would be nice to use those as my stove already does, and it would be pretty easy to store several of those as opposed to a large propane tank. thats the main drawback.
 

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The only downside of these fire pits is that they go through propane like crazy. My 5lb tanks seems to last forever for cooking. Only last like a couple of hours when full for the fire pit.

yeah the more i think about it i kinda realize i dont want one of the giant 20? gallon propane tanks in my rig when im offroading/ getting to the camp sites. one place where a true truck bed would be beneficial....

but i could easily stash a few of the little guys around my truck in various spots. they are, or used to be at least pretty cheap to, the little guys. h

mmm more to ponder.
 

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yeah the more i think about it i kinda realize i dont want one of the giant 20? gallon propane tanks in my rig when im offroading/ getting to the camp sites. one place where a true truck bed would be beneficial....

but i could easily stash a few of the little guys around my truck in various spots. they are, or used to be at least pretty cheap to, the little guys. h

mmm more to ponder.
Yeah.. now that I think about it, a small ammo can one should consume less propane. I don't quite understand how that would work.. is it dependent on the regular and the number of orifices?

It would be nice to have a small option when fire bans are on.
 

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One of the downsides to any propane firepit that uses lava rock is the dust it generates as the rocks rub against each other as you move. So if you buy or build, get a travel bag for it to keep the mess manageable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah.. now that I think about it, a small ammo can one should consume less propane. I don't quite understand how that would work.. is it dependent on the regular and the number of orifices?

It would be nice to have a small option when fire bans are on.

ill have to do some research, but every ammo can i've seen has green paint on it, how does that not burn and get all nasty on the outsides?
 

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They make special stones for gas or propane fire pits that spread the flame out real nice. I would insert the rod much lower and add these stones. You could also use the burner and gas valve from an old propane water heater.

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my plan is to find some sort of "lava rocks" that wont explode due to the heat, but are light as well. and i would rather have like 5-6 large stones as opposed to a bucket full of little ones, just less to mess with.

I do like the idea of a small container like an ammo can( doesnt the paint burn off ?) and a smaller propane bottle, but im not sure what would put out enough flame / heat to make me happy, plus how long would those little green propane canisters last? it would be nice to use those as my stove already does, and it would be pretty easy to store several of those as opposed to a large propane tank. thats the main drawback.
I bought my lava rocks from the BBQ section of Home Depot. The bag wasn't huge, but had a enough of a variety of stone size that you could try just the largest stones, and see if it needs the samller stones to filter/spread the gas out more.
Do NOT use fire glass. I got for my home pit and its a PITA. Definitely not as "manufactured" as I expected. Its just a bunch of broken glass, and even after sifting it through mesh and rinsing it out, it still has glass dust and shards all through out. You can't touch it without having "glittery" hands. I can't imagine how bad it would be if you actually traveled with it. Hell, I don't even like it in my home pit. It looks cool. But such a PITA and a worry about handling it, or any getting out (onto the patio or into the grass) where we walk barefoot. They do make some that resemble marbles... but I'd be afraid they wouldn't last.
Not sure on the paint. I'd probably ignore it, then address it if it burns off. And it might likely depend on if you have a real ammo can, or a novelty knock off.
I know some people setup "stations" to refill the small bottles from the big ones, so that could offset the issue of how long a small one would last... just means you have to take more with you, and do more 'prep' for a trip.
The size of the flame is dependent on the burner and the valve... the bottle size doesn't matter. With that said... the bottles cool as the gas is used/expands. A small bottle may freeze up quicker if you've got the valve running WOT or in the very cold weather. I've had my large bottles ice up on the outside (and need the nozzle turned up) as they were used for several hours in the cold.
If your burner is too small, and you crank it wide open, you start to get the 'jet' sound. But there's no real science to that (that's easy enough for us lol).

Remember that the heat usually comes from the radiating heat from material in it, not necessarily the flame itself.
 

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chevy42083 said:
Do NOT use fire glass. I got for my home pit and its a PITA. Definitely not as "manufactured" as I expected. Its just a bunch of broken glass, and even after sifting it through mesh and rinsing it out, it still has glass dust and shards all through out. You can't touch it without having "glittery" hands.
I have had glass stones in the nat-gas fueled fire pit on my patio for several years. Pull them out about once a year to check the burner & clean up any random pieces of whatever that has gotten into the pit. Have had zero issues with any glass dust, shards or breakage. I think the key is to get tempered glass that has been tumbled and/or molded so there are no sharp edges or corners to fracture off.
 

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I have had glass stones in the nat-gas fueled fire pit on my patio for several years. Pull them out about once a year to check the burner & clean up any random pieces of whatever that has gotten into the pit. Have had zero issues with any glass dust, shards or breakage. I think the key is to get tempered glass that has been tumbled and/or molded so there are no sharp edges or corners to fracture off.
Well, I guess just be careful where you buy it from. Good to know I may have another option when I decide to redo it.
Mine is from 3 different companies (to get various colors), 2 were on amazon, the 3rd was Home Depot. They are tempered, but I guess not tumbled. Definitely not molded.
 
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