Mar. 13—Apartment living has its benefits — no upkeep, costs to fix things or mowing the yard.
There are some things that you do end up missing if you in a house. For me, it's being able to have friends over to gather around a fire and make s'mores.
The Maryland-based company City Bonfires wants to address that with its own brand of mini, portable fires (starting at $33.95, citybonfires.com) to get that done and not scare your landlord.
Coming in a can about the size of a large peanut tin, this soy-based "bonfire" is meant to give people, from those on a date to hikers not wanting to start a blaze on their path, a way to roast food or sit around a fire with no extra clean-up (Note: This is meant for outdoor use only).
All you need is a torch lighter to ignite the four cylinders and you have a blaze sizable enough for a couple of people to sit around.
Having used this several times, I think it's a simple, genius product that does exactly what you would expect and nothing more. It lights easy, is reusable and goes out by just putting the cover over it. There's no smoky smell to you afterwards (which some bonfire lovers might see as a negative) or extra care needed.
The bonfire can come solo or in a kit containing s'mores ingredients and accessories like reusable skewers and a lighter.
The s'mores kit was packaged nicely and had everything needed, including four mammoth marshmallows.
Because I'm used to roasting marshmallows over a fire, it takes a little patience doing it over a smaller, contained blaze. But once you get the hang of it after a marshmallow or two, it works fine.
An American-made product, City Bonfires was created during the pandemic, as its creators Chris McCasland and Michael Opalski wanted to give people in all living situations the chance to gather around a fire, even when they can't go to big gatherings.
It's an idea that's so basic and effective that you almost get mad that you didn't think of it. Even better, it's a well-executed invention. If you're looking for a low-budget, reusable solution for small gathering, this is worth picking up.
Andrew Gaug can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug