City Bonfires Review: Is the Portable Mini-Bonfire Worth It?

City Bonfires Review

Summary

City Bonfires are a portable, eco-friendly fire pit that you can take anywhere. They’re handmade with natural materials and they don’t require any kindling or embers to operate! The compact design makes it easy for anyone in your family (or friends) who loves outdoor adventures – no matter what size their household might be .

Overall
4.5
  • Convenience
  • Price Point
  • Functionality
  • Usage

Pros

  • Compact design you can take a bonfire anywhere
  • Easy to use and reuse whenever you want
  • Durable small tin and safe FDA food grade soy wax can cook on the flame
  • Made in the USA
  • Low soot and no smoky smell
  • Reasonable price point
  • Get a small bonfire flame for 3-4 hours of burn time.

 

Cons

  • It is a little harder to light
  • It cannot be used indoors

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So many people live in areas where having an outdoor fire pit, campfire, or open flame has many restrictions. This could be because of an HOA or a local burn notice preventing you from enjoying the nostalgia of roasting marshmallows with your family.

That is entirely different when you pick up the portable campfire provided by the team at City Bonfires. These are easy-to-use pre-packaged fires that come inside durable canisters. That means all the light, heat, and flame you could want to create a relaxing ambiance while watching the stars pass by on a late evening with friends and family.

Our review team has tested out quite a few fire-related products in the past. Most of the time, they relate to cooking pizzas or having a large camping area in your backyard.

The City Bonfires product is much different. You can bring this on a hike, pack in your suitcase, or keep handy for late-night drinks on the patio.

Let’s dig into our review so you can learn more about the details of this fantastic outdoor fire product.

 

City Bonfires Overview

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City Bonfires marks one of the first product review articles featuring a company born from the global pandemic. This is exciting because, while no one wanted to be stuck inside for long, it forced many entrepreneurs and innovators to develop new products.

The Maryland-based partnership behind City Bonfires resulted from two experimenters trying to find a new business during the shutdown. 

They tested a few different ideas until they landed on creating a mini bonfire. The idea was to develop a way to carry a great portable heat source wherever you wanted to go but without any of the dangerous toxins, you would find in a campfire environment.

The City Bonfires partners began testing their new idea with friends and family and quickly discovered they had a hit.

Another point we want to emphasize is this is a very homegrown business from two dads. They lean into the marketing that they are dads just trying to have a bit of fun that fell into something their families can use.

After City Bonfires was launched, it was quickly scooped up by local outdoor retailers who saw the advantage of a portable flame product. The company then added S’more marshmallows, crackers, and chocolate to the City Bonfires packaging to give it even more of a small-town America feel.

Overall, this is a fantastic product with made-in-the-USA marketing that will enhance your outdoor living.

 

City Bonfires Review

City Bonfires Overview

Alright, let’s get into the meat of our review. Our team loves to test products. The more we can get into the nitty gritty, the better.

City Bonfires portable fire comes in a surprisingly durable metal tin container. This way, you can reuse the fire whenever you want by simply covering the fire up when you are done. The lack of oxygen puts out the flame inside the portable bonfire.

We should be clear; this is not a raging bonfire like you would get with a campfire. However, you have more than enough light, heat, and flame to roast marshmallows and feel like you are more comfortable on a chilly night.

City Bonfires Box

Plus, this is portable. There are no heavy ceramic containers or complex lighting instructions. All you do is uncover the recyclable steel tin, set it aflame, and enjoy.

Let’s talk features:

 

Safe to Roast Marshmallows

It may seem funny, but our review team’s first question was: “is the fire safe for roasting marshmallows?” The answer is a definite YES!

City Bonfires use FDA food-grade, non-toxic recycled soy wax. That means no dangers of any toxic chemicals creeping into your delicious s’mores or marshmallows-related treat (get your graham crackers ready!). That same wax also makes the City Bonfires product environmentally friendly because it doesn’t release aerosol chemicals either.

 

Portable & Safe

The entire City Bonfires tin fits into the palm of an adult. You can easily place this light source into your backpack for camping or a kitchen drawer near your patio. Everything is contained inside the tin, so you don’t have to worry about flame getting outside of the area and catching anything on fire.

That being said, City Bonfires is 100% meant for safe outdoor use. Please do not try to use the City Bonfires product indoors, as the flame is enough to catch paper, billowing drapes, clothing, and other things around your living room area.

 

Burn Time

The label says you get about 3-5 hours of burn time for a single City Bonfires package. Our review team tested out three packages at once to see if they all lasted that long. While there was about a 10-12 minute difference in the burn time between each individual City Bonfires package, they lasted well over 3 ½ hours, so this is a valid claim by the bonfire company.

We should also note that the company has heard some of their bonfire products are not lasting up to 4 hours. They have already begun reworking the packaging to ensure a longer burn time. You may see City Bonfires lasting longer because of their new research.

 

Ease of Lighting

This is the only thing we wish was easier to use. When you light any City Bonfires, you need to have a torch lighter or candlestick lighter. They will not light quickly from a match or throwaway lighter. This is probably because of the flammable material you are burning, but it does mean you need an extra tool you should carry around.

If you’re camping, this probably doesn’t make a difference. However, if you’re at home, we found the best result with a torch lighter. 

One of our review team members brought in a lighter they use for creme brulee, which worked fantastically.

All you need to do to turn off the flame on City Bonfires is cover it back up with the tin, and it’s out.

 

Refillable or Reusable

This is another crucial distinction about City Bonfires. While you absolutely can and should reuse your City Bonfires whenever you want, you cannot refill them. Once the burnable non-toxic materials are gone, you should throw the product away (please be sure it is thoroughly cooled first).

When you take off the lid to the City Bonfires, you’ll see 4 dark squares. That is where the fibers are for you to light. These are like small briquettes with wax underneath. Once that wax is gone, the item is finished up.

City Bonfires Squares

 

Made in the USA

City Bonfires are made in Maryland. The founding partners wanted to lean into the family fun, made from dads’ idea, and made sure to find local manufacturers so they could maintain the made-in-the-USA claim.

 

Heat & Light

The flame height on the City Bonfires ranged from 3-5 inches. That put out a decent amount of light on our review team porch, and we are in a reasonably populated area with streetlights and ambient cars passing by.

As for heat, you aren’t going to feel it if you are 100 feet away. However, suppose you have the City Bonfires sitting next to you and a few friends. In that case, you will feel enough heat for a cozy feeling that is both physically beneficial and mentally reassuring on a colder evening.

Our only caution here is to be sure you roast your marshmallows carefully, as the flame is more than hot enough to burn them. Practice s’more roasting etiquette, please!

Click to Get Yours!

 

City Bonfires Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Compact design, so you can take a bonfire anywhere, even packed in your carry-on for a plane.
  • Easy to use and reuse whenever you want to relax with some roasted marshmallows.
  • Durable small tin and safe FDA food grade soy wax can cook on the flame and not harm the environment
  • Made in the USA from American dads who wanted to help their families with outdoor fun
  • Low soot and no smoky smell
  • Reasonable price point, and some come with marshmallows and a s’more kit
  • Get a small bonfire flame for 3-4 hours of burn time
Cons
  • It is a little harder to light than we would want
  • It cannot be used indoors

 

Who are City Bonfires Meant For?

The original idea behind City Bonfires was to bring the large bonfire campfire-like fun to families stuck at home who aren’t allowed big flames due to HOA or local ordinances. So we highly recommend City Bonfires for anyone who likes a little backyard fun for roasting marshmallows or enjoying a glass of wine in the evening with a flame-light ambiance.

This is a fantastic item for those who love hiking, camping or living in RVs. They are compact, portable, and safe to use and reuse whenever you would want. 

In addition, the fact that you have little to no cleanup or smoke means a much better alternative for quick cooking than other products’ chemical gel.

We have a few veterans on our review team who suggested emergency responders and military personnel look into the City Bonfires product line. Having a smokeless source of cooking and heat is a significant advantage when you are out in the field and need to contain your flame. We’ll take their word for it and include it in our review but leave the final decision up to the experts.

They are also great additions to emergency kits. City Bonfires provide instant fire at times when normal heat sources are unavailable.

You can even create your own bonfire for date nights or romantic beach trips. The possibilities are unless.

Our favorite use of the City Bonfires was for one of our review team member’s birthdays. They had a kiddo just hitting 12 years old, and we used two of the City Bonfires for roasting marshmallows at their event. It was a smash hit!

 

What Do Customers Think?

As part of any product review, we always scour the online world for customer reviews to ensure our experience is aligned with most others.

In the case of City Bonfires, we can happily say everyone else agreed with what we reported. City Bonfires is enjoying a 4.6-4.8 on most consumer review sites, including Amazon. They have more than 1,000 global reviews, and around 80% are five stars.

It seems the only central sticking point is the difficulty of lighting the flame-based product. The rest of the negative experiences was because buyers didn’t understand how to light marshmallows.

An excellent example of the reviews we read was this one:

These little fires were easy to set up. I’m not allowed to have a fire pit where I live, so we love these for doing quick little outdoor s’mores set up! Easy to light, my daughter could stand close to the fire, warm up her marshmallows, and enjoy her s’mores. Easy to put the top back on when we were done! I would definitely buy these again when my 2 cans are done!

You’re pretty much looking at a family-friendly product for parents to enjoy with kids who like a flame but cannot have a campfire at their home.

 

Are City Bonfires Worth It?’

Yes! We can say the price is more than worth paying for City Bonfires. They are listed on Amazon for 2-packs, 5-packs, and 10-packs, ranging in price from $37.98 to $169.90. 

You can get them for a little less on the City Bonfires main website, but you have to look closely because they have both individual City Bonfires products as well as S’more packages, so be sure you’re getting exactly what you want.

There is a CB Points reward program for those who complete different challenges or purchase City Bonfires frequently. We didn’t look too far into this program, but the fact it even exists shows how much the company cares about customer loyalty. That is another reason we suggest purchasing from the main website.

There are also retail locations available if you want to physically hold the product, but who has time for that nowadays!

Click to Get Yours!

 

Wrapping it Up

Our product review team had an absolutely fantastic time testing out City Bonfires. This easy-to-use portable bonfire is more than enough to enjoy flame-licked marshmallows for the entire family. The nontoxic materials make it an easy choice for making delicious s’mores or for an intimate setting and is a perfect substitution for a large fire pit. Make sure you read the safety warnings before using City Bonfires.

The next time you are contemplating a fun night with a backyard party or outdoor adventures and need a mobile heat source to brighten (get it?) the mood, pick up the portable fire pit, City Bonfires. This reusable mini bonfire will not disappoint.

 

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