Fyre in the Hole

Camp cooking, Dakota style.

For a long while, I’ve been on the lookout for a light camp stove that could pack down small but still fit a wide range of needs. I could be out backpacking, car camping at a primitive site, or just tailgating with a fire pit. I never found anything that truly fit the bill—until the Stealthfyre modular stove came along. It's like legos for fire-pit building—you can put panels together in a seemingly infinite variety of configurations. And it’s all made right here in Bozeman.

I went with the Origin package. After receiving the box, I was astonished with how small it all packs down—just about the size of a few DVD cases stacked on top of each other. However, the package felt quite dense, and after getting out the panels, I knew why—they're made from sturdy, precisely cut, and corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Included in the box are some tips and instructions for constructing different stove possibilities. Some advice that I heeded, and I recommend you do as well, is wearing cut-proof gloves while assembling the stove—the edges are quite sharp. Nonetheless, in just a few minutes, I started to understand all of the tab connections, and I had a fully functioning above-ground cooking fire just ten minutes later.

The Stealthfyre's design is based on the traditional Dakota Fire Hole. This type of fire pit is an extremely hot-burning, nearly smokeless design. And it needs very little fuel to produce superb results. It's ideal for stealth camping, survival, and outdoor cooking. The original design works with two shallow pits dug into the dirt, then connected via a small tunnel between. When you build a fire inside one pit, the heat rises, creating a draw on the tunnel. This draw pulls in cold, fresh air from the other pit and into the base of the fire. The Dakota Fire Hole has proven so useful that the U.S. military has been teaching it to soldiers since the beginning of the Vietnam War.

Dakota Fire Hole

However, with the StealthFyre, no digging is required to construct a Dakota Fire Hole. You’re not tied to any specific design, either. There are countless ways to benefit from its modular functionality. You can cook over an open fire, or place a panel over the top and use it as a hot plate above the flame. You can use it as a barbeque, a smoker, a heating stove with a flat-top cooking surface, and more—making the price relatively cheap compared to other smoker and grill options. No matter your background or prospective application, it’s easy to imagine how you might get some use out of it. Now you're playing with fyre!

Available at stealthfyre.com; $160.