The small solo stove ‘Mesa’ is a cute little camp or backyard friend

Often when I’m alone camping I don’t build a fire because it just feels like overkill and a lot of work. I either have to buy a box or two of wood and lug it around with me or collect downed firewood, then build the fire, tend it as it grows, and finally sit around it for a little while before I go to bed after making sure it’s out, or can wait until tomorrow but then I have to turn it off, etc.

Sometimes you just want a little fire, just a little bit. Enough to roast a marshmallow, to cast enough light to read a book, to warm your hands. All of that can also be true at home, in the backyard, when your three-year-old says, “daddy, can we have a bonfire tonight?” and it’s 20 minutes before bed, but you can’t resist her little smiling face.

That’s what the Solo Stove Mesa is for. It’s a small table top, only 7 inches tall. It has the same smoke-free design as larger offers from Solo Stove and the same round shape. It can burn sticks or wood pellets. I use wood pellets, as I always have them for the smoker anyway. Put some fluff in the dryer, pour pills over it, flick a lighter and presto, the three-year-old smiles, marshmallow dotting expectantly on his stick.

I’ve used mine often while camping or sitting in the backyard when the kids are sleeping, reading by the fire while the sanity meter slowly rises. It’s a great little device and so easy to pack in a car. I’m looking forward to taking it on snow trips this winter, to warm our hands between sledding rides, to roast some marshmallows to drop into hot chocolate.

• BUY $79

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