We fell in love with cooking on a camp fire a few years ago, and the bug bit hard. Since then, we really wanted a portable fire pit that we could use at home, and when camping. We spent a fair bit of time looking, and eventually settled on a Darche Fire Pit, which we’ve had for about 6 months now, and used extensively.
There’s a heap of different types and brands of fire pits on the market, and finding one that suits you shouldn’t be too difficult. This particular type has a heap of almost identical fire pits that are sold; you can’t really go too wrong.
Like most of our reviews, we paid 100% of our own money for this product, and got it from Snowys with free freight.
Why buy a fire pit?
There’s a big shift towards more environmentally friendly camping, and that’s not a bad thing at all. A lot of places will not permit you to have a fire outside of a designated fire pit (or one you’ve brought in). We’ve experienced this at Caravan Parks too, so its not just a shire or National Park thing.
We wanted a fire pit to be able to cook on primarily, but also to contain the ash and not leave evidence of people camping in an area. These also bring the heat up a bit higher, and reduce the amount of timber that you use as you are physically restricted in size.
A portable fire pit is by no means a necessity, but it does open your options up quite a bit, particularly if you want to cook over an open flame.
Our backyard is not suitable for a normal camp fire. We have fake lawn, and very limited space, which means almost all fire pit options were out.
We can get away with using the Darche unit with a 1 metre fire blanket underneath it, which has been amazing. Sitting around a fire at home after a crazy day of work has been greatly appreciated by us all.
Fire pit construction
The Darche Fire Pits are stainless steel, made from 201 Stainless steel except for the grill, which is 304 food grade stainless.
201 Stainless is one of the cheapest stainless steels out there, which is perfect, as you don’t need anything high grade for a fire pit. We’ve noticed no corrosion or damage to our fire pit from being wet, cooking on or the heat generated from Jarrah timber being burnt.
I have seen some of the light weight fire pits warp, or have holes put in the mesh from a fire that is too hot. In Australia, we have some timber that will burn at very high temperatures, so you have to be careful in your wood selection for a fire!
Weight and size
The Darche 450 weighs in at 11.5kg, and is 56 x 56 x 8cm when packed up, and 45 x 45 x 44cm when in use. They are certainly not the lightest portable fire pit on the market, but we couldn’t find anything else lighter that you could cook on.
They are also significantly less heavy than the slot together ones, which are also not set up for cooking.
Cooking on the Darche Fire pit
We really fell in love with cooking on a fire, and if it wasn’t for this, we’d have bought something else. The Darche Fire Pit has a height adjustable cooking section, with a removable grill in the centre.
If you are careful, you can put the adjustable cooking section on once a fire is going, and you can even adjust the height with food on it. However, its easier to do with the grill removed, and only work on one side at a time.
If you unhook both sides you risk it slipping one way and you’ll get burnt, and look like a fool when your food rolls off into the dirt.
The grill is perfect – well spaced, can be lowered right down onto the fire pit or up about 150mm, and its big enough to cook for a family of 4 with relative ease.
Getting the heat right is always a bit of an art, and makes for an entertaining meal, but that’s more about our fire building skills than the fire pit itself.
What’s not good about a fire pit?
Extra weight and space
There’s a lot of camping gear on the market, and if we are honest you can get away without a lot of it. A fire pit is not a necessity, and that means it takes up extra weight and space.
How you travel will determine whether you have the payload and space available, (and whether you actually need one) but its still extra weight and space taken up.
Our Reconn R2 has more than 1000kg of payload so we are less concerned about the weight from that perspective.
After 5 months on our Lap of Australia, we’ve used this a grand total of zero times. Yep, there’s been no occasions where we didn’t have access to a fire pit already, and with the Ozbraai we are seriously considering getting rid of the Darche Fire Pit. It’s a great product, but not being used and its just taking up weight and space.
It limits your fire size
Even the Darche 450 is quite small, and compared to the fire sizes we often have, a smaller fire pit would mean a lot more timber chopping. This is especially the case when you are cooking, as you can’t have the flames climbing right up to your food without eating charcoal.
I honestly don’t know how you’d get away with using a smaller fire pit, but you can buy them.
A fire pit is just another thing to set up. We generally avoid having rocks around our fires on the floor, so would just start a fire on the ground in a safe location.
It’s only a couple of minutes to grab the fire pit out, and fire the benefit of collecting your ash, being off the ground and doing the right thing I think its worth it.
The setup is easy (although it can be dirty), simple and well and truly worth it. That said, its still something you have to do.
Setting the Darche Fire Pit up
Setup is simple, painless and fast. It folds out, clips down and then you drop the centre piece on, and the adjustable grill section. It comes in a nice bag, and only takes a minute or two to set it up.
Darche Fire Pit Sizes
Before you make a purchase, I’d highly recommend you see one of the fire pits in person and think about the size timber you use. We bought the largest Darche 450 Fire Pit, and wouldn’t want anything any smaller, or you’d spend your days cutting timber to make it fit properly!
Darche Fire Pit review
We are pretty pleased with the fire pit. I’d like something a bit lighter, but haven’t seen any options that still contain the fire, whilst being able to cook on it.
We’ve had a lot of different camping gear over the years, and when its fire season the Darche Fire Pit always comes with us.
I will say that the first Darche Fire Pit that arrived was bent, and I could see damage to the box. That may have happened on the way to our place, but it is pretty hard to bend something like this. We actually sent it back, as it wouldn’t set up squarely and the centre piece didn’t fit properly.
Darche (via Snowys) were pretty good about the whole thing and had it replaced with a new unit, which has been great.
We’ve had nothing go wrong with it, and have used it for a heap of fires. I’d get one again, and would happily recommend it. That said, as per the above update, we haven’t used it a single time on our lap of Australia, and after 5 months that means its probably something we could move on.