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Your Solo Stove Got Rained On …Now What? (5 steps for quick clean up)

Your Solo Stove Got Rained On …Now What? (5 steps for quick clean up)

You know that feeling when you realize your brand spanking new Solo Stove got rained on last night?  Yeah, that one…

As the proud owner of a previously flawless Solo Stove Yukon, Bonfire or Ranger you’ve probably done everything in your power to keep it looking good up to this point.  Now it’s soaking wet and the inside is most likely a sloppy mess of water-soaked ash and unburnt wood.

Breathe….ok?  You still with me? Good.  Repeat after me.  It’s-not-a-big-deal.  Rainwater will not melt your Solo Stove.  It happens and it’s probably going to happen again.  

It’s kinda like when you get a new car – trying to keep everyone and everything from putting a scratch or dent on your new baby.  Once it happens, you grin and bear it.  But, on the bright side, it’s done, and now you can stop worrying.

Likewise, your Solo Stove fire pit is going to get wet, dented, scratched, patina’d (is that a word?) and a little rusty in certain spots.  I know it’s hard because it’s such a beautiful sight when you first take your Solo Stove out of the box.  It’s perfect and oh so shiny.  Hell, I felt bad starting a fire in it the first time

We’ve got the “old-school” 30-inch Solo Stove Yukon (that the neighbor’s kid ran into and dented with his bike; don’t worry, he’s fine, it wasn’t lit or hot), a gently-used Bonfire, and a brand new still-in-the-box Ranger. My wife thinks I have a problem and she’s probably right.  

I’m not bragging here (I’m a fire pit geek), just letting you know I’ve been there and so far two of my three Solo Stoves have gotten rained on and the sun still managed to come up today.

On a side note, I remember reading, before I’d ever owned a Solo Stove, that they had a tendency to rust excessively.  I just don’t see it though.  Maybe they changed something up in the type of steel they use – I don’t know.

Anyway, the idea is to keep all of these things to a minimum when and where you can, manage them when they happen, and move on.

For this post though, we’re going to cover what happens when your Solo Stove gets rained on, what you should do when it gets wet, and what you can do to prevent it in the future.  

No worries, we’ll get your Solo Stove rain issues under control.  

Thanks again for reading and let’s jump in.

Can a Solo Stove Be Left Out In Rain?

If you read the intro you already know the answer is yesyou can leave your Solo Stove out in the rain.

The next question is…should you leave your Solo Stove outside to be rained on?  

Aaaand the answer is no, probably not, and here’s why.  In fact, there are three main reasons why rust, rust, and rust.  

To clarify, before I move on, keeping your Solo Stove outside when not in use is fine, just make sure you are protecting it from the elements (rain, snow, sleet, your neighbor’s kid, etc., etc.).  More on how you can do that later.

Besides the damage that can occur from rusting, it can be a real PITA cleaning up a Solo Stove that’s been rained on, especially if you’ve got the remnants of the last fire you had in there (like ash, wood, etc.).  I’ll cover how to do it below, but you’ve been warned.

Other Fire Pits, Solo Stoves, Rain, and Rust

Before I go on, I want to cover a little bit about fire pit rust in general.

All fire pits, in general, will start to rust over time, or quickly if used often, as the steel the fire pit is fabricated from, 304 Stainless in the case of Solo Stoves, is exposed to very high temperatures over and over and over.  

This intense heat eventually causes certain chemical reactions to occur in the steel that eventually makes it less and less rust resistant.

Ok…what is 304 Stainless Steel?  304 Stainless steel is the most common type of stainless steel used in metal fabrication these days.  In the past, this variant of stainless steel was referred to as “18/8” because, in addition to containing carbon steel, 304 stainless contains 18% Chromium and 8% Nickel.
304 stainless is commonly used in modern fire pits due to its durability under high temperatures and its corrosion resistance, i.e. resistance to rusting.

This is noticeable in Solo Stove fire pits on the inside portion where metal is exposed to direct flame.  After a few fires you will start to notice the presence of some rust, especially on the vented bottom where the firewood is stacked and burned.

This is to be expected and highlights the importance of minimizing the fire pit’s direct exposure to water and other sources of moisture.  This isn’t a dig on Solo Stove specifically, it’s just the way it is.  All fire pits are going to have this issue eventually – some quicker than others.

The already compromised rust-resistance of the steel combined with direct water, humidity, fog, etc. is a recipe for the rapid rusting of the fire pit’s surfaces, particularly inside.  

I’ve seen situations where the bottom of a Solo Stove (the dome-like vented portion) started to break away, with several large holes beginning to develop.  In most of those situations though, the owners used their Solo Stoves a lot, and I mean a lot.  

Fire pit metal is going to break down over time due to high heat conditions – it just speeds up when you add rust to the equation.

Regardless, this is why it’s so important to keep your Solo Stove out of direct contact with moisture as best you can.  As your fire pit becomes less rust resistant over time, the more you will see rust popping up.  A Solo Stove left in rain consistently will not last long if you don’t take care of the problem as soon as possible after wet weather.

Bottom line, the better you can manage this the longer your fire pit will be around.

Cleaning a Solo Stove Left Outside in the Elements

This is the fun part.  Just kidding, it’s going to suck…maybe.

Fortunately for most Solo Stove owners, these fire pits are great at completely burning down most firewood to powder.  

If you are doing it right (not overloading your Solo Stove with too much firewood), you’ll get a very hot and efficient burn which will leave you with much less to clean out each time.  What’s left over after the fire pit cools should literally have the consistency of talcum powder.

If you are overloading with firewood, there’s a good chance you may have large sections and/or chunks of unburned firewood that need to be removed in addition to the ash.

If you are in the habit of regularly cleaning your Solo Stove out after each fire, good on ‘ya.  Keep doing that.  This is going to be a lot quicker and less messy for you.  

Not to mention, you won’t have to build your next fire on top of wet ash and old firewood. This will help you get your Solo Stove started quicker and reduce excess fire pit smoke overall.

If not, get ready to get your hands dirty.

5 Steps for Cleaning Out a Solo Stove That Got Rained On

Let’s get into resetting your rained-on Solo Stove for the next fire.  Skip step 1 if your fire pit is free of all debris from previous fires.

  1. Remove unburned firewood/ash from Solo Stove:  This is the messy part.  Fire pit ash mixed with water turns into a thick slurry that will have to be removed by hand.  

Due to the vented dome shaped bottom of all Solo Stove fire pits, the ash you can see tends to collect around the inside perimeter.  The ash you can’t see passes through the vents in the bottom and rests in the ash pan, out of sight.

Also, most of the water from your recent rain shower has passed through the fire pit’s vented dome and has settled in the ash pan along with the ash.  

That and the ash on the inside will have to be removed.

To Do’s.

  • Remove and dispose of all wet unburned firewood from fire pit
  • Clean out all of the ash/water mix on the inside bottom of the fire pit; you’ll likely have to do this by hand as it can be thick and tends to stick to surfaces; focus on the seam running around the perimeter of the bottom to clear out the ash slurry – use your index finger to clear this out; don’t go too crazy yet on cleaning out this whole area, just get the big stuff. You’ll understand why in the next step.
  1. Drain:  Once you’ve removed the bulk of the visible ash/water mix at the inside bottom of your Solo Stove, you’ll need to turn it over to drain excess water and ash/water mix sitting in the ash pan. 

To Do’s.

  • Carefully turn over your Solo Stove to allow it to drain; if you are cleaning out a Yukon you may want to have someone assist you; also, I recommend using an old nylon tarp on a flat surface to catch any residual ash/water mix
  • Once you’ve turned the fire pit over, give the bottom a few gentle downward wraps with your fist to knock out anything that is stuck to the bottom of the ash pan
  • Next, leave the fire pit overturned and give it about an hour to let any residual water and any of the ash/water combo to seep out
  • At this point you’ll want to gently turn your Solo Stove back over into its normal position
  1. Wipe Down:  At this point, we are trying to remove as much of what’s left by wiping down the interior of the fire pit and drying the outside.

To Do’s. 

  • Once the fire pit is upright, thoroughly wipe down the entire inner portion with an old rag or towel, etc. (something you won’t mind dirtying), removing as much ash residue as you are able.  Once you’ve done that, use a balled-up paper towel or old sponge to dab up any remaining moisture
  • Next, wipe down the exterior of your Solo Stove with a clean, dry, grit-free towel, or something similar, to dry the outside of the fire pit
  1. Let Dry:  Once the inside and outside of your fire pit has been wiped down, drying out the interior as quickly as possible is the next step.

To Do’s

  • If not using the fire pit right away, set it aside in a dry covered location with decent airflow.
  • At this point, and if you are able, having a fire is not necessarily a bad thing; a fire will dry out the inside of the fire pit, along with the ash pan area at the base
  1. Clean/Polish Exterior (optional, but recommended): Once your Solo Stove has had time to dry, try a non-abrasive cleanser like Barkeepers Friend to clean the exterior, the top and sides in particular; follow up with a stainless steel polish/protectant like Weiman’s, spray or wipes, to shine up the outside if that’s important to you.

Protect Your Solo Stove Fire Pit from Weather

Now let’s cover how to avoid having to do all of the things we just talked about.

I personally keep my fire pits in my garage when I’m not using them.  Once I’ve had a fire, I’ll let it burn out, wait until the fire pit and any contents cool completely, dump the ash, give it a quick wipe down and put it away.  

However, if you use a fire pit regularly enough, there are going to be times when your fire pit is cooling down, or just finished cooling down, and the sky decides to open up.  

You can’t cover it because it’s still hot, and you can’t move it, so it gets rained on.  BTW, this is how I learned how to clean a rained-on Solo Stove.

In reality, there is a solution for this situation as well, beyond just keeping an eye on the weather, and I will talk about it further down.

Rain Protection Options for Your Solo Stove

To keep your Solo Stove fire pit dry and ready to use at any time, as well as making it last longer, there are a number of inexpensive ways to make these things happen.  Let’s start with covers.

Using a Cover on Your Solo Stove

For those times when the weather cooperates and your fire pit cools down the right way, regular use of a cover can save you the trouble of a messy clean up and keep your fire pit in good shape for a lot longer than not using one.

Solo Stove covers, called the Shelter, are made size-specific for the Yukon, Bonfire and Ranger models.  They come in two colors, black and gray, and are very reasonably priced, especially considering the cost of what they’re designed to protect.

The Solo Stove Shelter can be bought separately or as part of a fire pit bundle for any model in their line.

If you are looking for a specific color Solo Stove doesn’t provide, or something a little more (or less) heavy duty, online companies like the Coverstore and Covers & All makes custom and premade covers in lots of colors and levels of durability for many fire pit brands, Solo Stove included.

Whatever option you wind up going with, make sure it’s designed to fit your specific model of Solo Stove.  A poorly fitting fire pit cover, designed as a catch-all, isn’t going to last long and definitely won’t do the job you want it to.

Using a Fire Pit Snuffer or Lid To Keep Rain Out

Another option for keeping rainwater out of your fire pit is using a metal snuffer or lid.  These are basically thin (and typically round) pieces of fabricated sheet metal, sometimes with a handle, that are placed over a fire pit’s opening to snuff out a fire and/or to keep rain out of a fire pit when not in use.

There are a number of inexpensive options available on Amazon or Etsy, and of course, Solo Stove makes their own options called “the Lid.”  Pretty catchy, huh?

Like the Solo Stove Shelter, their Lids are made size-specific for each of their available fire pit models.  

If you find yourself not going with Solo Stove’s Lid, make sure when shopping that whatever you wind up going with covers the diameter of your Solo Stove’s flame ring opening completely, without falling in.  The flame ring diameter is going to be a few inches smaller than your Solo Stove’s model diameter with the ring removed. (measure flame ring diameter on solo stoves)

I’d recommend an option with an inch or two of overhang that extends beyond the edge of the fire pit opening to ensure complete coverage and for ease of placement and removal if your selection doesn’t have a handle in the center.

If you are looking for a bargain option, I’ve seen people use galvanized steel garbage can lids (has a handle) and large pizza baking pans as covers.  Both will definitely keep water out and won’t break the bank.

Using a Solo Stove Station To Protect Your Fire Pit From Rain

One final option before I close out this section is the Solo Stove Station.  

I don’t have any personal experience with this accessory, but it’s basically a small firewood rack with a slot to store your Solo Stove in.  It’s got hooks on the sides for accessories, like fire pit pokers and tongs, and it has a waterproof cover that drapes down covering the front and sides.

I like the idea but it seems a little pricey though.  There may be more to it than the pictures and description on Solo Stove’s site lets on.

I’ll pick one up in the New Year and report back here with my two cents once I’ve given it a good look.  The Station’s reviews on Solo Stove’s site are consistently pretty solid so we’ll see.

Post Wrap-Up: Can a Solo Stove Get Rained On and What to Do

If your Solo Stove fire pit has been rained on or it’s something you’ve been worrying about, I hope I gave you the information you were looking for here.

Keeping your Solo Stove looking good and working well isn’t hard if you empty the ash regularly, keep it out of bad weather, and do what we talked about above if your fire pit gets caught out in a storm.  They are surprisingly resilient to most things you’ll throw at them and should last you many years with a minimal level of care.

Thanks again for reading and let’s hope your Solo Stove rain challenges are a thing of the past.