A lot of people love getting outdoors, but not everyone lives with the luxury of outdoor spaces — like backyards. If you live in a major city, suburb, or anywhere in between, chances are your outdoor space at home is a windowbox garden, maybe a small balcony or patio.
There’s no room for a massive fire pit or even a grill. But thankfully, Solo Stove noticed a gap in its market: What about something for everyone who has a smaller outdoor space but still wants a fire pit for warmth, entertaining, and fun at home?
Enter the Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit.
In short: The Mesa isn’t the most technical piece of gear, but its beauty lies in its size, functionality, and portability. Essentially, the Mesa ($80) lets you achieve backyard campfire vibes … without a backyard. Solo Stove’s “smokeless” airflow design is replicated in the Mesa and works great. Its tabletop size stands less than 7 inches tall, making it easy to store away when not in use, even in smaller spaces.
Solo Stove Mesa Fire Pit
- Materials Stainless steel, ceramic coating
- Components Fire pit, stand, flame ring
- Size 5.1" x 6.8"
- Weight 1.4 lbs.
- Burn time 22 minutes (half fuel), 40 minutes (full fuel)
- Pellet adapter incl.
- Small and portable
- Great for balcony, patio, or backyard spaces
- Color choices include ash, water, olive, and mulberry
- Hard to light in cold/wind (tested at zero degrees outdoors)
At first, I was skeptical if the Mesa was truly necessary. Design-wise, it’s great, and it works well. But is there a market of people out there who want to go to the trouble of lighting and building a tiny fire?
Good news: It’s safe to use fire-starting cubes in the Mesa, which lowers that technical barrier for urban dwellers. Grab some firestarters, a kitchen lighter, and some kindling, and you’re on your way.
You can even use pellets in the Mesa with the pellet adapter insert, which is included. Solo Stove sells things like tinder on a rope and miniature oak firewood kits just for the Mesa. (We found that stray sticks and downed wood from around your yard or neighborhood work just as well.)
After my first few weeks with the fire pit, I realized this wasn’t something that was meant to be the most necessary, crucial, technical piece of gear. This product was simply meant to fill a void. For all those who simply want to have fun, entertain outside, stay warm, and not go to the trouble of making a big and long-burning fire, the Mesa’s for you.
It’s also for those that have a smaller or limited outdoor space. Want to roast marshmallows over real flames in the middle of your city? Now you can!
Testing the Mesa
What better way to test the Mesa than with after-dinner s’mores? Not only is the Mesa capable of providing warmth and ambiance outside, but it also, no surprise, is a great size for heating up food. Sausages, kebobs, marshmallows, you name it: The Mesa’s roughly 20-minute burn time — about half full with fuel the first time I used it — was perfect for this usage.
Note: Solo Stove’s time tests for the Mesa, completed with pellets, found it could burn for 30-45 minutes. We tested ours using old-fashioned kindling and hardwood and found 40 minutes to be accurate. However, it was harder to light in extreme cold — and trust me; I tried very hard in zero degrees to get it to light with two different lighters.
Using the Mesa is fun and still provides some warmth, and I definitely noticed the smokeless burn thanks to Solo Stove’s patented 360° Airflow design.
If we had to pick a con in testing, it’d be that it was kind of hard to light tinder inside the unit with a ferro rod or BIC mini lighter because the Mesa internal space is so small. Do yourself a favor and go with a long kitchen lighter, and you’ll have a much easier time.
Another con we realized is that in many cities, open fires are still illegal. Before using this fire pit where you live, check to make sure there are no city restrictions on if you can have a fire. Yes, sadly, even if it’s tabletop size, this counts.
All in all, the Mesa fire pit offers a safe and fun way to have a small, controlled fire outside, no matter how big or small your space is. The pellet adapter is definitely a useful addition for folks who want a simpler way to have a fire. And the flame burned steady, bright, and clean with no smoke.
Finally, the Mesa is just 80 bucks. It’s a worthy addition to any tabletop, backyard, or balcony — especially for those who travel around and value something portable. The price for me is a no-brainer.
The Mesa didn’t change my life — I’ve used it some, but not a ton. But I also travel a lot, and haven’t been at home. Instead, I’ve been spending a few days a week here and there, bouncing around to different places, using my car as a base camp.
In winter, having the option to stash this mini fire pit in my trunk and bring it along to a friend’s house or Airbnb, use it aprés-ski for warmth, or whip it out for extra ambiance trailside at dusk — is pretty awesome. The Mesa was designed as a tabletop, at-home gizmo, but it has the portability to be much more.