Solo Stove Yukon Fire Pit Review
Solo Stove Yukon Fire Pit
Every year we would go camping in Maine, and every year my grandfather would say the same thing while we shuffled around the fire pit: “You know smoke only blows in the face of the idiot, right?”
It took me more time than I would care to admit to realize he was simply saying “If you got smoke in your eye, just move kid!” Today, those words might be heard a lot less often around our Solo Stove Yukon fire pit.
My wife and I love to sit around our fire pit. Maybe it was growing up in Maine for me, but when we bought our first house we hosted neighbors and friends around the fire pit all the time. Back then, we had a simple fit — the most common model, in which a piece of concave metal propped up on metal legs serves as a kind of bowl in which the wood and fire rests on metal, ashes, or sand. We always had a great time, but we always left with our clothes smelling strongly of smoke.
When we moved to our current house, one of the big attractions was the built-in fire pit. We moved to an area surrounded by conservation land, so the fire pit overlooked some woods and made for a great, quiet evening. This one was sunken into the stone patio, and so while the fire was visible, it too was smoky and — after a few drinks — it posed a bit of a risk, as a visitor once experienced.
Solo Stove Yukon Fire Pit To The Rescue
This year when the COVID-19 lockdown struck and cabin fever set in, we decided to expand our outdoor space, as so many others did. We dug up the fire pit to make room for a grill and outdoor table, and then created a second area designed — you got it — entirely around the concept of a fire pit.
We had the adirondack chairs, the side tables for drinks and snacks, and I had taken to felling, splitting and stacking (and restacking!) wood during lockdown, so we had all we needed, but for one critical component: the fire pit itself.
A friend heard this, and praised the Solo Stove, going so far as to bet that if we tried it we wouldn’t go with anything else. And, sure enough, on the first night upon borrowing it, my wife said, approximately ten minutes into sitting around the fire, “I don’t care what else you had planned, we are getting this fire pit!”
And we got a Solo Stove Yukon 23” fire pit, and can say, without any qualifications, that it is hands down the best fire pit we have ever had. Here’s why.
Solo Stove Yukon Specifications
- Model: Solo Stove Yukon
- Bottom diameter: 27”
- Diameter of fire chamber opening: 23”
- 304 Stainless Steel
- Weight: 38 lbs without accessories
The Smoke Show
The Solo is advertised with the promise of “low smoke”, or “WAY less smoke”, or even “smoke-free.” Surely, I thought, one of the indisputable laws of the universe is that where there is fire there is smoke.
In the case of a Solo stove, the experience is as smoke-free as any fire could be. We can have an extended fire pit and simply not have the same lingering smell of smoke on our clothes as we did before, and rarely do we or our guests have an unwelcome gust of smoke or fire toward them.
I wondered: how could this be?
When you look at a Solo stove, one of the things you’ll immediately notice is all of the perfectly circular perforations in the metal. These go all the way around the outer lower base and appear on the upper inside of the bowl as well. Small holes also radiate out from the center of the floor of the fire chamber as well (it’s not a concave shape and has ridges, so I don’t think it’s technically a “bowl”). This does a few remarkable things: it significantly increases the amount of oxygen fed to the fire, even when there is soot on the bottom and, as the air comes in through the exterior wall, it feeds hot air into the top of the chamber, which helps create a hotter burn. These interior upper holes also create the mesmerizing effect where, when hot and burning a full fire, these holes radiate spiraling flames — not from a source of fuel at the upper edges of the chamber, but from the combustion and heat of the air itself. It is a mesmerizing sight to behold, and a puzzle that had held my rapt many a night around the fire pit. (And, no, it wasn’t the beer!)
This oxygen-fueled hotter burn also results in less smoke. If you have a fire in an indoor fireplace, you’ll notice that if the fire isn’t getting sufficient oxygen it will start to smoke, but as soon as you open a small gap in between wood you’ll see the fire pick up and the smoke drop. All of these holes are like that gap you open up, constantly keeping the fire fed, happy, and significantly reducing the smoke to the point where it is truly not noticeable — presuming, of course, you are using dry wood. Wet or poorly seasoned wood will smoke, no matter how you try to burn it.
This hotter fire also makes for a more complete burn. After leaving a fire for the night, I’ll come back the next day and find the wood to have burnt down to fine ash. This is not only easier to clean up, but a great source of fertilizer for the garden.
Aesthetics & Accessories
The Yukon, and all the Solo fire pits, are built of 304 stainless steel. As soon as we got it, I sent a photo to the kid who helped us build the patio, and he texted back, “Woof. Now that’s a sharp-looking fire pit.”
I couldn’t agree more. The round shape and circular holes make for a really sharp look.
Solo does sell a number of accessories which I would recommend. The circular stand means you can set the Solo on your lawn as one friend of mine does, and it leaves the lawn looking like nothing happened. Solo even claims you can put it on a composite deck with the stand. I have placed my hand against the bottom well into a fire pit, and it has not been nearly as hot as I thought. I have not tried it (our patio is stone) but I can see it working.
We also have “the shield” (a funny and evocative name, but still) which is a two-part mesh grate designed to prevent any large sparks from coming out onto either you or onto any surrounding area in a way that might pose a danger. I always put this on at the end, before we leave for the night, and it gives me some peace of mind.
We also have the cover, which they call “the shelter” (the branding on these accessories is on fire, huh?!). This rain, snow, and all-weather cover help keep the weather out and protect your investment. At MSRP of $599, the pit is not cheap, and so it’s worth it, in my opinion. The shelter does have some metal rods in the top which act like tent poles and keep the over shaped so that it is easy to slide down over the Yukon without a lot of fiddling.
Finally, there are the fire pit tools. They sell a sticks and tools bundle, which comes in a fancy roll up and contains four roasting sticks, one poker, and one log grabber. I have to say, I enjoy these immensely. The poker looks remarkably like a harpoon, which I enjoy being here outside of Boston. The fire sticks have a small die-cut flame logo on them and twist them apart for easy storage. They aren’t too heavy, have great details, are well designed, and do their job really well. That might seem like a low bar, but so often accessories like these are an afterthought, but not these. If I had one criticism, it’s that I wish it was made in the USA. While the company is based in Texas, these are manufactured overseas. Still, the company is USA-owned and the product is a great one.
Solo Stove Yukon Cost
The Solo Stove Yukon sells for approximately $599 plus accessories, though it has been marked down to $499 for weeks as of posting (Jan 12, 2021)
We are fire pit aficionados and have absolutely loved our Solo Stove Yukon. Truly, it’s