A Short History of The Legendary Dakota Fire Pit

The Seven Council Fires
A map of the ancestral lands of the great Sioux Nations.

The Dakota Fire Pit takes its name from a group of Native American tribes collectively known as the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. Or in English, “Seven Council Fires”. Today we know them as the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota Sioux Nations.

We believe the people populating the American plains developed this technology. They probably did so to combat the incessant wind and prevent prairie fires while following the Bison herds. These nomadic people spent much of their time on the move. They followed the ever-restless herds of American Bison across the rolling plains. Most assuredly, they required a reliable method of maintaining fire without creating disaster or alerting their prey. Little did they know, they designed one of the most versatile survival stoves and fire pit ever imagined.

The Dakota Fire Pit is an extremely hot burning, nearly smokeless fire pit. The fire remains hidden below ground. And it needs very little fuel to produce superb results. Perfect for stealth camping, survival, and outdoor cooking.

The Dakota Fire Pit Is An Ingenious Design

The Dakota Fire Hole can do all of this because of its unique, common-sense, and ingenious design. It’s nothing more than two shallow pits dug into the dirt, and then connected via a small tunnel between the two. When you build a fire inside of one pit, the heat rises, creating a draw on the tunnel. This draw pulls in cold, fresh air from the other pit and into the base of the fire. 

With a constant supply of fresh air and a well-insulated combustion chamber, the heat from the fire has nowhere to go but up. This self-perpetuating flow of air provides enough oxygen to burn nearly 100% of the organic material you feed it. That translates to a nearly 100% smoke-free fire when burning dry fuel.

A Modern Adaption of the Dakota Fire Pit

The Dakota Fire Pit
An image excerpt from the U.S. Military Field Manual FM 21-76

This survival stove type of fire pit has proven so useful that the American Military has been teaching it to our soldiers since the beginning of the Vietnam war. The many benefits that come with this unique fire proved to be the perfect thing for our brave young soldiers caught behind enemy lines.

The Dakota Fire Pit requires very little fuel to produce useful heat. It produces little to no smoke. And the bright, attention-getting flame can remain hidden below ground, where it gives off less light for onlookers to detect. This is why the Dakota Fire Pit became the go-to method of cooking and drying out clothing for the unfortunate souls trying to remain hidden in the jungles from the Viet-Cong.

To this day, it remains a favorite of survivalists and wild campers the world over. This is mostly because it closely resembles a rocket stove in form and function, but can be built using the environment, virtually anywhere you have proper soil conditions.

Only on the Plains…

Rainbow on the plains
Picture of a rainbow after a storm over the Yellowstone River, south of Fairview, MT.

In spite of the overwhelming benefits that come from using such a unique and efficient fire lay, it has a rather significant disadvantage…  Soil conditions. The Sioux Nation lived in a blessed land of rolling hills and grassy plains. One could dig for several feet in any given area and find rich, firm soil. It was of course, the ideal location for such a magnificent primitive technology to evolve. Such innovation wouldn’t have happened along the rivers that flow through the mountain valleys or under the dense canopy of the world’s jungles.

It can be nearly impossible to construct a Dakota Fire Pit in rocky, sandy, frozen, boggy, or heavily forested soil conditions. Because that technically makes up a very large portion of the planet, this has become known as its one glaring drawback to being declared the best fire lay you can build.

It’s No Longer Impossible.

Modular Fire Pit
A compilation of several Dakota Fire Pits made with StealthFyre.

From the inventor of StealthFyre: “So yeah, for one of the most awesome ways to build fire, it sure sucks that you can’t use it wherever you’d like. At least it did until I solved that problem. And through a case of serendipity I ended up also producing one of the most entertaining camp toys you could ever wish for as an outdoors person.

Imagine my surprise when I set out to solve a problem and accidentally invented a toy as the solution. I mean, yeah it’s still a tool for harnessing fire. But some people have a lot of fun with their tools and this one promises nearly endless entertainment like only the best toys could! I’m talking about no limit to the styles of cooking and heating stoves you can build. It’s like a brick, but better. This is Lord of the Rings Style Fyrepower at your fingertips. One stove to rule them all! 

Fyre. Re-invented.

Modular Camp Stove
A compilation of several Potbelly Stoves mounted to Dakota Fire Holes.

Ok, maybe we didn’t re-invent fire, but we definitely re-invented the brick! What began as an effort to solve the problem of maintaining structure for a Dakota Fire Pit ended up giving birth to a modular metal-based brick system for fire that’s set to revolutionize the way you think about camping stoves. You now have within your grasp not just another camp stove, but an entire stove-building system that allows you to build the stove you need for your situation and have FUN doing it.

With StealthFyre you have access to several DIFFERENT stoves in one compact package that’s easy to store nearly anywhere. And no matter which StealthFyre kit you choose or how many you have, they all work together to make larger and better stoves. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can achieve with StealthFyre Modular Stove Systems.

Imagine the fun you can have with a stove you can deploy in a hole or above ground, that can conceal your fire and eliminate your smoke signature, or can be used in a hot tent by simply constructing the chimney and enclosure you need. What kind of excitement will you enjoy with your StealthFyre? Will you finally camp in those crazy out-of-the-way places you never thought you could? Or will you build your own heaven on earth in that secret meadow? When you become a StealthFyre owner, you’ll find yourself having better adventures than ever before.

Once you start playing with StealthFyre there’s no limit to the fun you’ll have.