I bet you’ve never thought a fire pit could be a smart product.
Well, it can be.
And I’ve been using BioLite’s FirePit for a few weeks now.
And believe it or not, there is some insane technology that allows you to control the smoke and burn intensity of a fire pit in your backyard or camping.
You could even cook on this thing.
I wanted to find out more about how this product came to be.
So I talked to the company’s Director of Product Management.
Ryan guest, Ryan, thank you so much for being here.
Yeah, thanks for having me, Jeff.
I’d love to hear more about how the fire pit came to fruition because You know, when you when I tell people It’s a it’s a smart firepit they look at me and they’re like, Come on, what is that?
Why does that need to be smart?
And then when I show them it’s sort of clicks.
For a good fire, you need fuel, you need oxygen and you need heat and you need them all in a really good balanced ratio.
And you may have had the experience throwing a big log on a fire you’re bringing a tonne of fuel, but it’s like.
Fresh cold fuel and it kind of puts the thing out.
Yeah.>> Do the same thing with with oxygen, right?
You blow too much on a fire and you blow the thing right out.
So it’s all about finding that balance.
And we just did a ton of experimentation and some modeling and lots of prototyping, you know, to figure out how to inject air in the right places in the fire.
You know to work with, you know, equally well with charcoal and with cord wood to really optimize and and then yeah, we’ve added sort of another secondary layer of smarts or, or technology through that that control unit that that modulates how that air gets injected and has all the Bluetooth capabilities to share what’s happening in your fire with your mobile app and you can kind of control it and monitor it that way.
The thing that that makes this truly smart is that you do have this sort of control over the fire and you’re able to through these are they’re basically like are they steel rods that run through it is right,>>stainless steel.
So it’s got a series of manifolds basically which are these big stainless steel tubes that have individual.
Injectors drilled into them.
And so we’ve kinda balanced the amount of what we call primary air that comes into the bottom of the fire and kinda helps the heat release and get the fuel out of the wood.
And then secondary air comes in over the top, and that’s what really helps to clean up the combustion.
It’s what Burns off all that last bit of fuel before as a chance to escape in the form of smoke.>> You don’t realize like that’s what you need to have a smokeless sort of fire effect and you can kind of at the same time control the speed at which the fire burns right like you can basically say like, I wanna rip through logs and I wanna have this fire going at all cylinders that I’m not gonna lie man like Look, I have this thing, I was like-
Come on, what are we doing here?
And then I’m like, this makes perfect sense, I understand why there’s a battery attached to this fire pit now.
The element of our fire pit in particular that really Brings that home is also the way we’ve incorporated all that injection technology and clean burning alongside what we call the x ray mesh, which is like a perforated enclosure for the outside of the fire pit.
And basically we’ve used really high temperature material Coated in a really high temperature enamel that’s got the right size holes in it that you can contain the fire contain the airflow that you’re using to make it burn clean, but also gain access to see it or have all that heat radiate out.
That’s, that’s what I like the most about it is just sitting underneath it and watching all the intricacies of the way that mixing and burning is happening and in that beautiful purple, blue plan which is really clean and really efficient
Right now there’s a there’s an upgraded version that’s coming out of the fire pit.
Where do you sort of see all that evolving called the fire pit plus, that’s kind of a generational upgrade.
And basically what we’ve done is improve the overall durability and strength of that X ray mesh that I was talking about.
So much More capable kind of high temperature enamel, just going to keep this thing bulletproof for a long time.
And then we’re, we’ve been able to pack even more battery storage into that control unit.
So, you just never have to worry about the fencing can run.
And depending on the settings, you can run for eight hours or 30 hours or even longer if you need to.
Really happy about kind of those upgrades.
But in terms of where we go from here, I mean, there’s a lot of different opportunities and we’re we built the fire pit to be,both a social gathering device and have people come and sit around the fire pit and also a cooking device, as you’ve said a couple of times, and so We’re expanding sort of the types of cooking that you can do and the size of cooking you can do you know that the current fire pit is it’s a, it’s well sized for a gathering of maybe four or six people around it and kind of cooks for a similar amount of folks.
And so I think we’re, we’re looking at opportunities, you know, moving up and down to make, you know, maybe a more compact version of that, but also a larger format version of that can get even larger.
Gatherings do even more cooking and everything’s on the table at this point in terms of, you know, maybe you can roast them a whole hog on this thing or you know, have a nice pizza of an experience.
So we’re looking into all those those type of moves to kind of span a wider range of gathering sizes and different applications.>> Right on.
Yeah, as long as it can continue to Bros 10 marshmallows at one time, the way my son was like, you’re gonna make him just just very happy kid.
Yeah, I’m curious to hear more about if there’s any kind of plan to expand upon what the app currently does because right now you’re getting that Bluetooth control over the different levels of, you know, fan speed.
I know there’s only really so much Bandwidth, I guess, that you can kinda pack into what that app can do.
Is there any other sort of considerations for what’s next with that, or what could be next?
We wanna keep the app pretty streamlined and simple, Well, in terms of the information that, flows through the app and back to the product.
Right now our app development team is actually spending a lot of time, in the work that we’re doing in Africa with solar home systems.
There are, we sell lighting and solar products that all have sort of applications that support that work as well.
And in those contexts, a lot of customers are purchasing products with mobile money.
We’re learning a lot about that stuff.
And I think once we clear a few hurdles there, we’re gonna come back to to this side of the app and, and also look beyond fire pit.
But to the whole portfolio of biologic products we do the same type of lighting and solar generation and battery storage products.
For camping and outdoors as we do in Africa, I think we’re going to be able to bring some of those learnings back and have a really nice sort of integrated and connected network of offerings.
Yeah, I mean, you know, I I don’t have one here with the kit you guys sent me but that that solar cover My god, it’s like such a smart.
Idea to see it be a real thing was sure was really rad.
Let’s touch a little bit more on the cooking side of what this does because it can serve as a straight up barbecue grill.>> Maybe the best way to talk about the different.
Cookin capabilities let’s talk a little bit about the accessories that come with the product and the way we’ve evolved accessories over the last couple years, you know, we launched the firepit and we followed that up with a couple really essential accessories.
One was a fire mat that allows you to use the device on your lawn or on the deck and kind of keep those surfaces protected.
We had a fire poker that was specially designed with some details that help you move the fuel grade up and down.
So if you want to do really high, hot cooking or bringing coals down for low and slow, you can do that and helps you with cleanup.
But this season for the holidays, we just launched three new accessories that really expand.
Types of cooking you can do so you we’ve always had the grill great and that’s kind of your basic functionality just like any backyard grill.
But now we’ve got a lid as well grill lid which really kind of expands the type of cooking you can do and really You know lock in that heat for the lower slower cooking.
The cast iron griddle is the second accessory in that lineup.
And then the third in that line is a grill and prep toolkit.
So we kind of give you like the tongs in the knife and the spatula that you need, all in a nice roll up bag, but Is your water resistant, weather resistant and kind of rolls up and fits inside your fire pit?
And where can people get the fire pit again.
Best Places buyer light energy calm, just go straight to her by light website.
Get the fire pit there for $249 .95 All the accessories are available as well.
We’ve got a couple different bundle kits that you can choose from depending on how much of that additional cooking capability you want to add on your system.
These are available through rei.com Comments Well, can be seen some of those Rei stores anywhere else that violate products are sold.
Well, like I said, I’m really looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with next.
I love using this firepit Thanks for letting me check that out.
And it’s been a pleasure talking to you Ryan.
Really appreciate you coming on.
Yeah, totally pleasure talking to you and glad you’re happy with your fire pit.
I blow it out.