10 Types of DIY Fire Pits

There are few things in life as nostalgic as sitting around an open fire on a crisp, starry summer night. We share stories, sing songs, wrap our loved ones in cozy blankets and stay up late to watch flames sizzle into flickering coal. Whether you have a backyard or a Hipcamp of your own, building a fire pit on your property is sure to add warmth – both literally and figuratively – for years to come.

The basic formula for building fire pits is essentially the same; dig a hole, surround it with rocks. If that’s enough for you, what are you doing still reading? Git to diggin’, already! For the rest of us, we put this collection together to inspire the “perfect pit”. Whether big or small, cheap or expensive, pretty or ugly; one thing is certain. PEOPLE WILL LOVE IT.

There are 3 basic ways to build a fire pit. You can use:

1. Firebricks ($$$)

2. A metal ring lined with pavers/stones/regular bricks. ($$)

3. Only pavers/stones/bricks, but these will eventually crumble and/or explode. ($)

Getting Started + Safety First

1. First step is finding a CLEAR, LEVEL spot for your fire pit; AWAY from low hanging trees, bushes and structures. Consider how windy a spot can be. While a fire at the top of a mountain may sound romantic, whipping winds will make it hard to start, and as your lovers hair catches on fire from the sparks whizzing past their face, you will be rethinking the pit’s placement. Remember, ONLY YOU can prevent wildfires. Ain’t that right, Smokey?

2. Use proper materials. Regular clay bricks will crack under high temperatures, which is why firebrick or rated metal ring is best for the inner lining.

3. Place a fire extinguisher or bucket with sand/water at every fire pit.

4. Offer a fire making demo or printed guides for guests (hey, it’s good kindling!)

5. Have fire starters (like these on Amazon) and matches on hand for the less prepared guest.

6. Get yourself a good shovel!

Let’s Build a Pit!

Fire Pit #1: The Sure Fire

Materials: three 5 gal buckets of lava rocks, 36 firebricks,14 flat stones COST $$ ($200-$350)

PROS: Safe, long lasting and durable, simple, easy to make, nice to look at, economical

CONS: We can’t think of any, can you?

Pit #2: The Zen Garden

Materials: three 5 gal buckets of sand, 30-60 concrete pavers, tiny rake Cost $ ($75)

PROS: Cheap, easy, pretty, and accentuates meditation for the awakening of the conscious.

CONS: Pavers will crumble over time with heavy use, totally ruining the flow.

Fire Pit #3: The Achiever

DIY instructions : https://www.familyhandyman.com/masonry/building-a-fire-pit/

Materials: 25 firebricks, 100-160 face bricks, concrete.  Cost $$ ($100-$500)

PROS: This thing isn’t going anywhere!

CONS: This thing isn’t going anywhere.

Fire Pit #4: The Get’er Done

Materials: all ya need are the couple’a cinder blocks you got layin’ around the yard Cost 0

PROS: Probably could git some kids to do it!

CONS: Cinders crack and could explode. Hole doubles as a booby trap (potentially a PRO).

Fire Pit #5: The Ski Resort

Materials: metal fire ring, 36 pavers, four 5 gal buckets of small stones, cool decorative stones, palo santo sticks, expensive craft beer.  Cost $$$ ($300-$600)

PROS: Make your place look like a ski chalet, impress your friends!

CONS: Maybe now you can’t afford to go skiing with your friends.

Fire Pit #6: The Cave Man-Bun

Materials: gathered river stone from a blessed body of water, sage to cleanse Cost: good intentions

PROS: Craft a rustic experience of being one with nature in nature, by nature, for nature.

CONS: It’s possible that one of these rocks could explode from the heat, but whatever.

Fire Pit #7: The Minimalist

Materials: Those cinder blocks are still just laying around the yard. Cost 0

PROS: Elevate yourself!

CONS: Still not fire proof.

Fire Pit #8: The Flower Power

Materials: 36 pavers, a metal ring, good vibes Cost $ 150-300

PROS: Allows you to access your inner flower child and maybe even dance naked!

CONS: Use fire-resistant metal with airflow holes or you’ll be just another cold, naked hippie dancing around a metal can.

Fire Pit #9: The Family Matters

DIY Instructions: https://prodigalpieces.com/diy-fire-pit-backyard-budget-decor/

Materials: 106 bricks (make sure ~60 of them are firebricks for the actual pit), 2 ton of #8 limestone or pea gravel, landscaping fabric, Adirondack chairs, cute family  Cost $$$

PROS: This is the most kid-proof pit, perfect for creating family memories that last a lifetime.

CONS: Firebrick and landscaping fabric are key words, people! Regular clay bricks will crumble from heat. Regular plastic tarps will prevent water from seeping down into the soil (BAD!), transforming your fire pit into a child-size kiddie pool when it rains.

Fire Pit #10: The Over Achiever

Materials: a dream, a (wo)man, and a plan  Cost ???

PROS: If you build it, they will come.

CONS: You can’t get them to leave.

Hopefully one of these designs will “spark” your imagination in building the “hottest” pit on the block (campground, county, or planet). Already have one made? Do us a favor and tag us on Instagram, @hipcamp – we’d love to see your handiwork! Double extra credit for coming up with the most creative name and description…

If you do decide to make an awesome fire pit on your land, but aren’t yet a host, check out how to share your pit and land with HIpcampers here!

Happy tending, ya’ll!

Katie Orcutt

Katie is an artist, animator and storyteller. After quitting the corporate world in 2014, when she left Amazon.com for the actual Amazon rainforest, she started wearing turquoise and stopped wearing pants. Katie has been traveling all over the globe, once working as a Hipcamp Host at Chanslor Ranch, and can often be seen driving 10 mph under the speed limit in a muddy camper truck full of dogs. In her free time, she writes scripts for Alexa Storytime, runs a freelance animation company, and posts occasional comics and drawings under the moniker, @Orcapod.

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