After seeing the post here about it, I ordered it on Wednesday, and it showed up today. Since I am stuck at home and going absolutely bat shit, bouncing off the walls stir crazy with cabin fever, I thought I would test it out in the backyard for something to do.
First thing I did was follow the recommendation to season the steel like cast iron. I used peanut oil, and probably got too heavy of a coat in a couple of spots. Best to use an extremely light coat, and work it a few times. I seasoned half the parts on my gas grill, and the others in the oven. The oven parts came out better, but but everything still needs work. I should have been more patient with this step, now I have some clean up work to do.
Next I did a heat test. I grabbed a milk crate full of dry cordwood and got a roaring fire going in it. I kept the fire stacked up with wood for a couple of hours until it had burned down to a 2.5" bed of red hot cherry coals, spread evenly across the pan.
Since anything worth doing is worth overdoing, I then got out a small electric shop blower and blasted the coals with air, like a blacksmith's forge, for several minutes, until the steel started to glow a low red. I'm pretty sure I got it hotter than its possible to get it with normal use
There were no visible signs of warping, and I don't think I got it hot enough to anneal the steel. The parts have a little play and I think this greatly mitigates warping as the metal has somewhere to expand to, unlike the folded and welded fire pans that always warp.
Pros: disassembled in the case the thing is probably only a 1/2" thick, if that. The case itself is SUPER well-made, bomber tough. The pan is pretty easy to set up and break down. Its is also WAY lighter than the standard, clunker steel firepan design. Best of all, it fits neatly inside my dry box behind the stove, taking up almost zero space, and adding insignificant weight. It is absolutely perfect for the type of trips I like to do, which are minimalist with just one 14" raft.
Cons: the only con I can see so far is a bit stiffer grade of steel might work slightly better, but that's a pretty minor con. Stainless steel would have been nice, but I'm sure that would be cost prohibitive. This pan is probably not quite as sturdy as the old heavy, clunker style firepans, but then again, it's meant to be lighter and more nimble, and is still plenty sturdy, In my opinion, it is tougher than the pop-up pit. I'm kind of wishing I would have ordered the optional grill now.
I have been looking for something like this forever, and its definitely a keeper. With further use I will post a follow up on how well the seasoning approach resists rust and corrosion.
It's also worth mentioning this is a super innovative design, and really well though out. Kudos to whoever came up with the concept!!! There is no other fire pan on the market that even comes close to being this compact when disassembled, just not even close.
I'm not receiving any kind of deal for this write up, just thought some of the gear heads in the group might be interested. Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for tests.