Our team wrote a Radiate Portable Campfire review after testing the product on a winter ridge hike. We determined it was a must-have outdoor product for the season.
We like to periodically review products that we feel are of value and make outdoor activities betters. This winter, we sought out to solve a problem; how to keep warm during a winter hike during a food break. Earlier in the season, members of our team had gone out hiking and kept running into this problem.
Fingers were cold, and it wasn’t pleasant to remain still for as long as it was needed. To further worsen the situation, the conditions were not optimal for building a short-term fire. All nearby wood was wet from melting snow and the area wasn’t open enough for a full-blown campfire.
So, we searched around for options and found the Radiate Portable Campfire. We were not disappointed. In fact, we’ve included it in our must-have list of gear for cold hiking. It’s also a new essential for autumn hiking, especially in protected areas where fires are not allowed.
This review focuses on the interaction the team had with the Radiate Portable Campfire during 29° hiking conditions at elevations between 1,000 ft. (304 meters) and 1500 ft. (457 meters).
Radiate Portable Campfire At a Glance
The Radiate Portable Campfire is approximately 4lbs (1.81kg.). It comes in a round, metal tin decorated with evergreen trees around the sides.
When first opened, the Radiate Portable Campfire is bright white and solid, with a few rogue balls of wax here and there. We’d recommend always transporting this product in its original tin and with the lid on.
Inside, the Radiate Portable Campfire is made from recycled FDA soy wax, which is non-toxic.
You’ll notice dark paper-like materials. These are the pulp fillers, and they are called paper briquettes, which are FDA-grade paper-like egg cartons.
The only other ingredient is the perlite, which is a lava glass. The perlite is included to create a surface tension to prevent splashing in the event something falls into the Radiate Portable Campfire. The perlite also holds and radiates more heat through the top of the product. Perlite is also used to line the bottom of BBQs to do the same thing.
This product comes in a metal tin.
How to Light the Radiate Portable Campfire
One of the things we were concerned about was how easy it would be to light the Radiate Portable Campfire and if the fire would spread evenly. This product is made predominantly of wax. The even distribution of melting wax with other wax-based products, like candles, is always an issue. So, our main questions at first were:
1. Is the Radiate Portable Campfire easy to light?
We found that it was very easy to light the Radiate Portable Campfire. We used stormproof matches since it was really windy that day. These matches burn longer to allow you more contact time while building fires or lighting portable stoves.
We ended up having to use two matches, as the portable campfire didn’t light the first time. That was due to the wind interfering with the match-to-product contact.
Once we gauged the intensity of the wind, we tried again with a second match. On the second try, the spot we lit immediately began to burn.
2. Will the fire spread quickly and evenly?
The product information states that you don’t have to light multiple areas on the Radiate Portable Campfire in order for the fire to spread, but it does speed things up. So we lit between 3 and 4 different spots on the campfire, and it spread in a matter of seconds.
Within a minute, we had a small fire burning. The fire did spread evenly around the can.
Radiate Portable Campfire Flame Radius
Aside from the technical aspects of lighting the Radiate Portable Campfire, we wanted to know how far the flame radius would reach. There would be no point in lugging this product around if it did not meet the standard we needed, which was to keep the team warm at a significant distance under cold and semi-windy conditions.
We placed the campfire on an isolated stone and sat approximately 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 meters) away from it. By this time, the wind had died down and we were far enough away that the flames didn’t reach us directly when tagged by the wind. Surprisingly, it did keep us quite warm.
The flames rise and the tin is wide enough around that the heat does radiate. The name does suit the product in this case. We’re not going to exaggerate and say it was like being near a fireplace and that you won’t need your jackets if you have this. That’s not the case. With a lightweight jacket on and baselayers, this product kept us comfortable. It took the “nip out of the air,” which allowed us to work with our hands to set up our break spot without the use of gloves.
This is a big deal for us. In the northeast, in Winter, most anything you do outside requires the use of gloves. That becomes cumbersome when trying to prepare food and deal with small components. The only alternative is to not use gloves and have numb fingers, which is even more cumbersome.
We lit this portable campfire and waited for about 10 minutes. The area around it for approximately 10-feet (3 meters) in diameter was warm enough to not need gloves while working and not have crying fingers. After this, we were very surprised.
In daylight, it may not seem like the flame is very potent, but that is not the case. We stood in front of it to block the sun, and the real size of the flame is revealed in darker conditions.
The Radiate Portable Campfire in Windy Conditions
The day we tested the Radiate Portable Campfire, there was quite a bit of wind present. When we started our lunch break, the winds started to die down, which was ideal. But, we did light the campfire while there were some straggler currents.
We found that the flames don’t deviate much from their tin, excessive winds didn’t stretch the flames over like they would have with a normal campfire. In the photo above, the campfire is shown blowing toward the right. The loose balls of wax we mentioned earlier didn’t fly out either.
The photo below shows the fire blowing in the same direction but from a different angle.
This is important because had we been in an area where a full-blown campfire was appropriate, these windy conditions would become a serious fire hazard. This is actually the reason why we were looking for an alternative. We needed something that met these criteria:
- Something that didn’t require constant stoking
- A product that didn’t require painstaking building
- Something we could use even when the wood in the area was wet or if there was no wood or kindling available at all.
- Something portable
The Radiate Portable Campfire met all of these needs. And it was pleasant to not have to deal with making sure a campfire didn’t get too big. This alternative offers a steady flame, it isn’t high maintenance either. We came to view it as a safer way to have a fire without the massive risk of wildfires campfires can cause.
Would We Recommend the Radiate Portable Campfire?
In short, yes. We didn’t find anything wrong with it. In the beginning, there was a small odor present, but that burned off quickly. It’s definitely something that would be good to have in an emergency on a mountain. So, we’d also recommend it as part of your mountain safety list.
It Keeps You Warm
We burned the Radiate Portable Campfire for between 30 minutes and 1 hour. It kept us warm all throughout mealtime. After all, this was the point of having this product, and it exceeded our expectations for it. Initially, we were worried that it would just amount to being one big candle. However, that was not the case, thankfully for us.
We immediately noticed the difference when we put out the Radiate Portable Campfire for clean up time. Within minutes, the temperature of the area we were sitting in plummeted. It became cold, very quickly.
It would have been nice to be able to clean up with the fire burning, but we had to allow it time to solidify before we could transport it again. Unlike a normal fire, we can’t just pour water on it or throw dirt over it to put it out. But the process is simpler for the Radiate Portable Campfire.
How to Put Out the Radiate Portable Campfire
The process of putting out the Radiate Portable Campfire is simple. All you have to do is slide the lid over the fire and it burns itself out. That’s it. It only took about 20 seconds for it to completely burn out. Afterward, however, you’ll have to wait 45 minutes to an hour in order for the wax inside to solidify enough for transport, which is why we put it out prior to clean up time.
Here’s a pretty simple video that shows you how to put out the campfire.
The lid does not have to be tightly placed on the tin either when you’re trying to put it out. Remember, the tin will be very hot. So, don’t attempt to touch the tin in order to place the lid on it tightly. Just sliding it on and letting it sit on there naturally is enough to snuff out the flames.
We were camped near a stream, so to speed up the process, we sat the Radiate Portable Campfire on top of a shallowly submerged stone. We did not submerge the campfire, you shouldn’t either. We simply allowed the base to sit in the water so that the cold water would cool the tin. It did not warp.
Also note, we did not immediately place the tin in the stream, we allowed it to cool for 15-20 minutes prior to doing so. We did not want to risk exposing the product from extreme heat to extreme cold.
Warning: do not submerge the Radiate Portable Campfire at any time. Do not use the Radiate Portable Campfire in wet conditions, as the product is not designed for use in wet environments. Do not use the Radiate Portable Campfire near flammable items.
Environmental disclosure: The tin is sealed, so the contents of the product did not seep into the stream. The product was not submerged in the water at any time. We wiped off the sides of the tin to remove all the soot prior to placing the tin on the submerged stone.
FAQs About the Radiate Portable Campfire:
Here are some questions we were able to answer during the testing of this product.
How long does the Radiate Portable Campfire last?
The Radiate Portable Campfire can last up to 5 hours. This all depends on the elevation of the location its being used in. It burns slower at higher elevations. We burned it for about an hour and it still had plenty left to go.
When using it at sea level, it can render for about 3 hours. When burning it in increments (starting and stopping the fire), the wax inside can last significantly longer than if left to burn continuously.
Is it heavy? How Big is it?
We found that 4lbs begins to weigh on you after a while. But it wasn’t excessively heavy. If we could recommend to the makers one thing, it would be to consider making smaller, personal-sized cans. Although, this 4lb tin fits inside of the bottom compartment of a 55-Liter pack, with a lot of room to spare. If we had to compare it to something in size, it would be a general, 2-tier butter cookie tin. It’s just a lot heavier.
Keep in mind, that its size is what allows this product to radiate heat so well. For our needs, it was the right size.
Is it eco-friendly?
This product is made from recycled soy wax as mentioned before. The wax used would be destined for the landfill if it were not repurposed. The tin can be recycled after the product has been used.
Is there an odor?
When we first lit it, it had a faint odor. But that quickly burned off. Afterward, there is no lingering smell of smoke or fire. Your clothes will not smell like smoke either.
About the Radiate Portable Campfire
Our team at Radiate Outdoor Supply set out to build a portable campfire that made it easy for people to spend more time outside while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Radiate Portable Campfires are made with sustainable, 100% recycled materials, so whether you’re looking to roast marshmallows in the backyard or go backpacking in the mountains, you’ll have an easy way to enjoy a campfire.
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Disclaimer: We received this product in exchange for an honest review. Our findings were genuine, and this product was researched prior to reviewing it to determine if it fit the needs we required for the test it was run through. We use affiliate links. We may receive a commission from purchases that help support this site.