Since its debut in 1996, The Pack & Carry Fireplace has become one of Snow Peak's most iconic products. With its simple structure - of an inverted quadrangular pyramid that connects four stainless steel panels - sturdy construction (which allows it to withstand extremely high heat) and the simple opening and closing system, it is a perfect marriage of function and form that looks better with age, and becomes a lifelong companion for every user.
This year, our Pack & Carry Fireplace has been awarded The Long Life Design Award at the 2021 Good Design Awards in Japan.
The Award has been running for more than a decade and is awarded to products, architecture, content, and services that will continue to be the standard over time, and which can serve as models for future designs.
To celebrate this achievement, we would like to introduce the origins of our original Pack & Carry Fireplace.
During the early 90s, a new trend, auto camping (car camping) boomed across Japan, leading to a wave of new campsite openings. At the majority of these sites, cooking with open flames was prohibited, but, due to the popularity of TAKIBI (*bonfire in Japanese), some campers chose to ignore these restrictions. Whilst visiting campsites our founders were shocked to see patches of scorched grass, and thus, were inspired to develop a new product that would allow users to enjoy Tabiki, without damaging the natural environment.
Each element of the design was carefully considered to ensure the product would function to a high standard and also, stand the test of time. The idea for the inverted quadrangular pyramid shape presented itself early on: the wide opening ensures the flames have a consistent and plentiful supply of oxygen, whilst the foldable design makes it easy to set up, store and transport.
The result is a simple, sturdy structure composed of four separate triangular-shaped stainless steel panels, each supported by a thin steel pipe (which doubles as a leg).
The panels are constructed from a 1.5 mm thick stainless steel, which was chosen following a series of durability tests. Originally, a slightly lighter material was preferred, but after conducting an experiment (during which the material was exposed to extremely high heat for 60 minutes) it was found to have contorted. Instead, designers opted for a sturdier material that would withstand the high temperatures of TAKIBI and charcoal fires, and last a lifetime.
Finally, after years of development and planning, in 1996 Snow Peak released the Pack & Carry Fireplace. There was no other product like it on the market at the time, and initially, it was derided by many, who felt TABIKI should only involve open flames. However, there were some outliers who sympathised with Snow Peak’s ethos and recognised the potential of this new innovation. Over time, this group grew, and as a result, sales of the Pack & Carry Fireplace have increased year on year.
Today, the Pack and Carry Fireplace is produced at Snow Peak's headquarters in Niigata, Japan (as well as some partner factories). In 2011, we introduced robots to weld the triangular panels, and then, in 2020, after carrying out a series of tests, we began using the robots for assembly welding as well.
Working with such fine metal is challenging. Its characteristics can change dramatically depending on a number of factors, such as temperature and humidity. Though robots offer excellent accuracy, they are inflexible, a challenge we had to overcome by constantly analysing our processes and making slight adjustments.
The result is a product that embodies our ethos: one that will last a lifetime, and will allow users to enjoy nature whilst preserving its delicate beauty.