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BioLite BaseCamp Wood Burning Camp Stove - PizzaDome Accessory (Optional) - CarryPack Accessory (Optional)
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- Excess heat is converted into electricity and stores it in the integrated 2200mAh Lithium ion battery. Stored energy can be used later, even without a fire. Battery recharges automatically every time you build a fire. Powerbank provides 5 watt (5 volt) USB output to charge your devices including cell phones and smartphones. Smart LED Dashboard monitors your power generation and battery level.
- Large Group Cooking: 138 square inch grill surface fits 8 burgers using energy efficient outdoor and off-grid cooking. Uses solid biomass (twigs, firewood, wood chunks, etc.)
- Flexible arm light with USB pass-through. Light your meal and keep a device charging at the same time.
- Grill-to-Boil Lever: Transform flame from dissipated heat for grilling to direct heat for pot boiling, at the flip of a switch.
- Set includes: BioLite BaseCamp, Fire starters, Fuel Rack, Ash Tray, Gooseneck USB light, and Instructions, all weighing under 18 pounds.
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Style: BaseCamp Camp Stove
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First, the BaseCamp has a cast iron liner to it. This made the BaseCamp a little heavier than I was expecting. The weight fully assembled is 17.4 pounds. When I opened mine, the cast iron was already rusting. I'm assuming that is OK as far as use, but I'd have thought they'd have done something to keep it from rusting so it at least wasn't rusted when the customer first opens the box or there might be some notice stating that the cast iron might arrive rusted and that is OK.
Secondly, the plastic casing that goes over the heat exchanger that converts the heat to electricity wasn't fitting very well. As I looked the casing over, I found part of that had to do with the design of the plastic casing itself and there being no screws or methods of really securing those two pieces of plastic together well.
Third, there is an orange rubber-like material that kind of fits in between the metal and the plastic casing and that material had not been installed in mine properly.
Fourth, I found that they had actually left a screw out the helps secure the electronics board and part of the top portion of the case down. It was one of the two screws that are supposed to get installed in the cone portion of the fan intake.
Fifth, the casing doesn't fit the filter snap in plastic piece all that well. It tends to want to pop out at one of the bottom corners.
So basically the plastic casing needs a little redesign work and they need to ensure that the portion around the heat exchanger gets assembled properly.
I can't tell you yet how it works because I just got it today. Other than the things I mentioned, it appears to be constructed pretty well. The legs fold out very easily and are attached well. And to fold them back for tucking away, just give a little squeeze and fold them in. The size of the grill space is pretty nice and it looks like it should overall hold up pretty well.
I'm just a little nervous for the first time I use it that the electronics portion of it works with what I experienced using the casing.
One thing I really like about the design is the ability to continuous feed the wood. And the legs raise it up to a nice height to grill with while sitting in a chair. And the light feature on it is a very good idea. From the videos I saw, the way the blower stokes the flame is an excellent idea and should make this unit great. The Campstove grill has pretty similar features. There is a little cover on the grill for the Campstove that can be flipped up to add more burning material. And it also has a fan that stokes the flames.
If the electronics work, I'll edit my rating and move it up to 4 stars. If not, I'll be calling Amazon and asking for a replacement. I love the concept of how this unit is designed though. I can definitely tell it has had some good thought put into it. The finer points just need a little tweaking.
*** Update on July 29, 2015 ***
I had someone claim that my unit was "Obviously Used" and that the review I wrote was unfair. So I decided to update my comment to address their claim. I attached a new picture of the unit. On this picture, I made sure to include a picture of the grill grate and pieces below with the rusted cast iron in view. If the unit had been used, there is no way I could have gotten the grill or pieces below that clean. And most likely in addition to being discolored from grease, etc from use the metal also likely would have been discolored from the heat of the flames. If you look at the picture, there is no discoloration to any portion of the metal on the grill portion of the unit or on the metal below, clearly visually indicating that the unit has not been used.
I'm a very detailed person and I like to cover the products I review in close detail. Comment details often help me in deciding whether I will buy a certain product or buy a different one. So thanks to all of you out there that have provided me with good detailed comments that have helped me decide what to purchase.
I like to help others out what I can. I'm an engineer. The rust on the cast iron doesn't really concern me all that much. I don't think that will affect the unit's performance. That is basically something cosmetic, but it gives a very negative first impression of the product for most people. People don't expect to open their brand new item up and find it already rusted. The way the plastic casing appeared to be improperly fit, missing at least one screw and assembled wrong concerns me far more. Those are some definite design and manufacturing quality problems that BioLite needs to fix. Like I said, I will update my review once I've tested it out. I was hoping to test it out last weekend, but the weather didn't cooperate. Hopefully the weather is nice this weekend so I can give it a good test. And for those that are wondering, I've kept it indoors in the AC the whole time. So the rust on the cast iron wasn't due to it sitting outside in the rain or anything like that.
*** Update 4/3/2016 ***
I tried my BaseCamp stove out in the summer of 2015 and it worked good. I wouldn't be concerned about the rust on the cast iron. It really shouldn't cause any issues, especially after you use it. It cleaned up pretty easily and well. It cooked a few steaks and some pork loins pretty well and it cooks them fairly fast once it gets going. Probably the biggest downfall is that you can't cook for too long before the chamber is full of ashes and you have to clean it out which really requires you to fully clean the chamber out before you can start cooking again. Although the unit fires right up pretty fast once it is cleaned out and fresh wood is placed inside. I'd probably recommend BioLite make the chamber slightly larger put a grate in the bottom with an ash catch pan below so you can keep continuously cooking by just emptying the ash catch pan and moving the kindling some to let more of the ash fall through the grate.
As a cook stove it's great!! Cooking and boiling fantastic. Firebox a little small so clearing ash while cooking and not losing flame a challenge. A grate that goes to ash box would have been wise. Takes a non engineer for that wisdom. With very dry wood burns hot. Slightly moist and a small firebox it drags it down a lot. Overall a great stove for my place.
The negative is the charging unit at this moment. Perhaps Biolite will reply and clear it up.
1. The enclosed light and USB port seems to have a lot of wiggle. If port is soldered in place then it's a problem. If it's a cable with designed slack then that's fine.
2 shouldn't have to burn a fire of level 2-3 for over an hour with 3 bars of battery power to get the light to work even a little. The instructions I believe are purposely vague on how long it needs to be used at what fire strength in order to use USB port. Took a long time to get light to finally come on and stay on. Over 60 minutes however when unplugged and replugged it often wouldn't light again or cell phone charge.
Perhaps it needs to be run a hour before you can use the enclosed light or charge a phone. Or the port has a cold solder that expands with heat thus allowing light to work some. Without reply from bio light it's hard to tell.
Thank you for reading.
Feb 27, 16 update.
After being rather forceful with Biolite regarding social media my email was answered. Good communication with rep. They confirmed unit defective. I returned to Orvis and after they dragged their feet with refund. I purchased another unit from Biolite.
Arrived yesterday and unit has same issues another person wrote about at length. Meaning the electronic pack and filter. Darn thing is warped. Seams don't line up. A screw lose on the bottom and can't see where it goes. Abrasions to the power unit and black smudges all over. I really feel this is a reclaimed or returned unit.
I didn't bother to fire up this stove as for the cost of it I expect this unit to reflect the price I paid. Meaning for 300.00 a customer deserves a well made and assembled unit. I'm disappointed in Biolite to produce this item.
When I return to NYC shortly I think visiting them in person to advocate for better quality control is in order. Will try one more time then I'm done.
April 2 2016 update. Took a lot of communication sadly on social media to get biolites attention. However eventually was shipped a perfect working stove which I am very pleased with.
I would advise if possible to purchase from a retailer where you can see and pick the product off the shelf. If you purchase via the net. Remember to use Facebook to ask questions vs their web site.
Great product but needs better oversight on shipping Dept and customer service.
That being said, there is a bit of an art to building and maintaining the right fire for what you are cooking. It seems to do best with wood that is no bigger than about 1 inch diameter or smaller if you need a hot fire, say for grilling a steak or kebabs. When using the pizza stone it works best with bigger sticks or lumps of wood.
I have been impressed at how evenly the heat is distributed across the cooking surface, there really isn't near as much of a hot spot in the center.