Solo Stove emerged as one of the true all-stars of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The company behind some of the world's favorite smokeless fire pits has now expanded its outdoor kitchen offerings with a pizza oven. Rather than just the fire-top oven accessory some other brands offer, Solo Stove's Pi is a standalone oven that can spit out red-hot pizzas using either wood or gas for fuel. And it can do so anywhere from a small backyard to the deep backcountry.
When the early 2020 days of the pandemic limited out-of-the-house excursions to the backyard, apartment terrace or local park, people naturally looked for products that would enhance the experience. And few things proved more comforting than a fire pit around which folks could socialize at a safe distance, especially a fire pit that sucks in its own smoke so as not to make anyone teary eyed or scratchy throated.
Things didn't slow down when lockdown restrictions began lifting and people started pursuing more distant outdoor adventures and RV trips. Portable by nature, Solo Stove products effortlessly bridged the gap between backyard and great outdoors, and sales continued to roll in. Solo Stove sold US$133 million worth of products in 2020 and beat that in the first six months of 2021 with $152 million in sales. For the complete 2021 fiscal year, it expects to more than double 2020's total with a forecast of $361 million. It will report official FY2021 results on March 29.
Solo Stove has used all that positive momentum to continue growing its ecosystem of fire- and cooking-related products and to increase its larger market footprint. In the second half of last year, it acquired three other outdoor lifestyle brands, Oru Kayak, Chubbies (apparel) and ISLE (paddleboards), and launched an IPO.
Now, Solo Stove has stepped back into the outdoor kitchen with the new Pi. Launched on Pi Day 2022 (Monday, 3/14), the Pi oven stays true to Solo Stove's wood-fired roots. It uses engineering principles developed for Solo's original wood backpacking stoves and fire pits coupled with a "Demi-Dome" construction that directs heat down to the full-width cordierite pizza stone. Ceramic insulation keeps the heat inside and ensures that a 12-in pizza cooks in as few as two minutes.
"Solo Stove customers value experiences and gathering with friends and family, and it’s hard to think of a better meal to create and share than fresh, homemade pizza," said Solo Stove president Clint Mickle in an announcement this week.
Solo Stove estimates that amateur pizza slingers could fire out three to four pizzas in the first hour, taking preheating time into account. It says that the oven can run for roughly three hours on wood fire before the ash pan fills up and requires cleanup.
Should a three-hour runtime seem inadequate or should wood-fire cooking prove otherwise unideal, the Pi can also be outfitted with a removable gas burner for propane cooking. The burner is designed to hook up to a large LPG tank, the likes of which many outdoor chefs have sitting on the deck hooked up to a grill or smoker.
The stainless steel Pi isn't ultra-portable in the way Solo Stove's original backpacking cookers are, but it's designed to travel easily for camping trips, tailgates, beach days and more. It measures just over 15 inches (38 cm) tall by 20.5 inches (52 cm) in diameter and weighs 30.5 lb (13.8 kg). All that's really required to use it are a fuel source and a level surface, ideally something elevated like a table or the grill-style stand Solo has in the works.
The Pi is available to order now, and deliveries will begin in mid May. It retails for $425 as a wood-fire-only unit or $600 when packaged with the gas burner. Solo Stove also offers several bundles that include accessories like a pizza peel and infrared thermometer.
Source: Solo Stove