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Image of a bright nighttime campfire

Night Fire


Last year I wrote a post about some of the best beach camping in Southern California and that first beach trip started us looking for the best portable fire pit available for a decent price.

Once in a while during our camping excursions we’ve found a few campgrounds that do not have campfire rings or pits nor do they allow you to build a fire on the ground.

Red Beach mentioned earlier is one of these camping areas, however, they do allow you to bring an above ground portable fire pit and use it as long as none of the contents of the fire ever touch the ground.

But, the real trick of it all is finding something light enough and compact enough to store along with your camping gear when you head out on your trip. Not all of us have a motor home with a ton of space for packing all of our gear.

Not Just for Washing Clothes…


We started noticing campers using old washing machine drums with angle iron welded on as legs and began looking for a drum to convert or someone selling them already converted. After searching for a while and not finding anything available, we began looking at Costco and hardware stores for portable fire pits.

We finally found one that looked like it would meet our needs; we purchased the LANDMANN Crossfire Fire Pit for just under $100. So we stored it in the garage with great anticipation for our next run to the beach.

The Beast Show It’s Colors…


Image of a Washing Machine Drum Fire Pit and firewood

Washing Machine Drum Fire Pit

Then we finally arrived on the scene with our beach camping friends and discovered that a couple of our camping buddies had been using an old washing machine drum for years.

As we sat around the campfire on the first night we really enjoyed the company and the campfire thinking that the old drum was pretty nifty.

But that night, I hadn’t yet begun contributing firewood to the ‘ol drum. As the night drew on, I started noticing how high the sides of the drum seemed to be; how much of the fire I couldn’t seem to see or feel.

The heat did radiate from the drum, however not near what I had expected and as the night grew colder I couldn’t seem to get close enough to the campfire.

Feeding the Beast…


But the thing that really got my attention is how much wood that thing consumed just to give us the minimal heat that it did.

Now mind ya’ that after all the camping that we’ve done for the extended amounts of time that we will sometimes spend in the Eastern Sierras, I usually have it down to exactly how many pieces of wood it will take to sustain the sufficiently warm campfires that we so enjoy night after night.

When you’re packing a pickup for a minimum of five weeks of dry camping, you tend to be very conscious of the limited space ya’ have and your packing can become a very detailed task. But this ‘ol drum, this bugger appeared to have an insatiable appetite for termite food. Needless to say, I don’t remember coming home from that trip with any spare wood.

The Crossfire Comes Out of Hiding…


Link to Amazon for purchase of CrossFire Pit


Well, our next trip down to Red Beach found us parked far enough away from all of our friends that for the first time camping, we pulled out our new Crossfire Pit.

The first thing that we noticed was that the top of the pit was quite a bit lower than the ‘ol drum and we noticed was that visually we could see all of the wood burning.

Secondly, we noticed that the heat radiated out of it nicely providing the warmth that was needed on the chilly winter nights on the beach. Having a pit that visually meets your standards and keeps you warm on those chilly nights is definitely a plus found in the LANDMANN fire pits.

We were definitely not disappointed in this area and like I previously mentioned, we seem to get some pretty great mileage out of this Crossfire Fire Pit.

Economics 101…


It was also very noticeable how much less wood it took to sustain the heat and longevity of the campfire. One thing that should definitely be noted here is that the bottom of the Crossfire gets very, very hot and can get a little uncomfortable on the toes and feet if in close proximity.

Reading Instructions Are Probably A Good Thing…


So, following the instructions that I had failed to completely read the first time I hastily put a healthy amount of sand in the bottom of it before building a campfire the next night. This actually seemed to provide even a bit more radiation of heat from the sides of the pit, while the bottom stayed at a nice, manageable temperature.

One of the things that I like about this unit is that it comes with a grill for cooking and a light-weight lid that makes it usable in breezy conditions.

Easy Packin’s…


Another thing that I like is the fact that it’s pretty easy to pack for these types of trips. You can pack it upside down on top of items and then pack around it. Or you can pack it right side up and pack items inside it and around it. Either way, it’s pretty easily doable.

Another great touch is that it is the perfect size to have fired up next to your Jacuzzi on a chilly night. The LANDMANN Crossfire Fire Pit model that we have is getting hard to find but there are many great models to choose from and is another purchase like our Mr. Buddy Lil Heater that is worth every penny we paid for it and much more!

By R.C. Stude



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