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BioLite Wood Burning CampStove First Generation
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- Powers most USB-chargeable devices including smartphones
- For 20 min. of charging with a strong fire gives you about 60 min. of talk time on most smartphones.
- During a full burn, the CampStove can boil 1 liter of water in as little as 4 min. 30 sec.
- CampStove weighs about 2 lbs. and is about the same size as a 1-liter Nalgene water bottle
- An internal starter battery helps kick-start the fire before the stove begins generating its own power
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|Item Dimensions||8.27 x 5 x 5 inches|
|Item Display Weight||100 Kilograms|
|Item Weight||2.07 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||2.91 pounds|
The BioLite Wood Burning CampStove combines the benefits of a lightweight backpacking stove and an off-grid power charger so you can cook a meal while charging your gadgets. The Campstove is the perfect solution for both the backcountry campsite and also Emergency Preparedness Kits.
- No Fuel to Buy or Carry: Our stoves cook your meals with nothing but the twigs you collect on your journey or in your backyard, eliminating the need for heavy, expensive, polluting petroleum gas. Quick to light, fast to boil and easy to use.
- Charge your Gadgets: By converting heat from the fire into usable electricity, our stoves will recharge your phones, lights and other gadgets while you cook dinner. Unlike solar, BioLite CampStove is a true on-demand source.
- Stay Green: By using renewable resources for fuel instead of petroleum, you're reducing your carbon footprint. You'll also keep fuel canisters out of the landfill.
- Be Prepared: The CampStove isn't just for camping; it's great to have when the power goes out in a storm or other natural disaster. You'll be able to cook and keep electronics charged while power lines are down. No need to worry about your local store being sold out of propane, the CampStove is designed to run on any biomass.
- Support a Better World: We're using the same technology inside the CampStove to bring clean, safe energy to families across the developing world.
- Have Fun: Like a campfire, you can sit around the CampStove and watch the flames dance as you roast marshmallows and tell stories with friends.
- How it Works: Using BioLite's patented thermoelectric technology, the BioLite CampStove converts heat to electricity that powers a fan to make the fire ultra-efficient. Extra electricity can be used to charge small electronics like mobile phones and LED lights.
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Top customer reviews
Back at home a few days later, I decided to start anew and try working with larger pieces of wood that were dry from the get-go. I took a 3/4” x 3/4” x 2 ft. long piece of an old cedar trellis and chiseled it into pieces of various sizes–from about 1/4" x 1" long to 1/2" x 3" long. I mixed the cedar pieces with some leftover twigs I'd collected from the coast. In total, I probably had about 1/2 lb. of material.
This time, I used my own homemade tinder material: dryer lint (with copious amounts of dog hair mixed in!). I built a fire in the stove with layers of lint, sticks, and wood chunks, then ignited it with a single flame from a flexible neck butane lighter. As soon as the lint caught fire, I turned on the BioLite's fan to the low setting, and the fire took off. In less than a minute, I switched to the high fan setting and the fire was a raging inferno, ready for my aluminum pot with 4 cups of water. I stoked the fire about 5 times over ten minutes with increasingly larger pieces of wood, and the water came to a rolling boil within that period (sorry, I didn't measure the exact time). A couple minutes into the fire, the green light around the USB port illuminated, and I began charging my iPhone 5S through the port with a standard USB to Lightning cable. Since I was taking photos and videos of the process the entire time, my phone didn't charge much, but it did go from 85% to 87% in between photos.
This time, the only significant smoke produced by the fire occurred when I introduced a larger stick from the coast that wasn't completely dry. When you add damp wood to the BioLite, it will smoke quite a bit, but once it dries, it will basically reach a flashpoint and ignite, and the smoke will instantly disappear. So, it *is* possible to use damp wood, but be prepared for everything and everyone to get smoked out for a while. If you're camping from Oct to May in Western Washington, for example, you'll have a hard time finding dry material to work with, so you'd probably be better off with a gas stove, unless you don’t mind lugging in dry wood. However, used as an emergency cooking and power source in an urban/suburban environment, most people should be able to find ample wood-based material for for fuel around their homes and in their recycling bins. Cardboard works fine, as does any type of combustible scrap lumber cut into small pieces. Heck, in a longterm power outage, you could always start hacking down your wood furniture and cabinets! A little wood goes a long way with the BioLite.
The BioLite stove is a marvel of ingenuity, but what's really amazing is how little ash is left when you're done using it. From my roaring fire that lasted about 20 minutes from start to finish, there were only a couple tablespoons of ash, which I dumped into my raised bed garden. Also, note that the BioLite cools down very quickly once the fire is out, and the interior is cool to the touch within a few minutes. Thanks to its insulated design, the exterior of the unit never gets even warm to the touch. It’s a very safe device.
For my next fire in the BioLite, I intend to introduce increasingly larger pieces of wood to see how well they burn. Ideally, it’d be nice to spend less time adding fuel to the fire, although it’s actually kind of fun to watch the little furnace in action.
I can’t think of any major negatives to the stove. As someone who deals with product QC issues on a regular basis, it’s obvious the the BioLite stove is extremely well designed and manufactured. It’d be interesting to see what the company could do to turn the stove into a general heating device rather than simply a cooking implement. It definitely puts off heat, but it’s mostly confined to the space directly above the combustion chamber. Perhaps the grill attachment would radiate more heat horizontally. Anyway, I’m in love with the BioLite, and I highly recommend it for gadget freaks, outdoorsmen/women, survivalists, and junior pyromaniacs.
The stove delivers on the cooking promise, it produces an oxygen powered, mostly smokeless fuel source that will boil water fast. Not as fast as my isobutane camp stove, but plenty quick enough. If you only want to power a hot flame for cooking, using only bio-material when in the bush, I recommend this product.
Overall design and manufacturing is impressive across the board, but the component weight is concerning for backpackers – which may not be the primary consumer the product is intended for. However I did notice a little heat damage to the device after a single trip, which leads me to wonder about the longevity of the product.
The ordering experience was very pleasant and the company was quick to send the items before the holidays. The packaging was nice (something maybe only a designer would appreciate) and the company’s intention to serve third world countries was admirable.
As stated, the stove and components are well made, but maybe to a point that they ended up too heavy in a pack. Even splitting the components up among members of the group proved a little heavy on the straps (considering all the gear collectively). The grill top is especially heavy, but unless they switch to expensive alloys, the added weight is most likely a necessary hindrance to having a grill type cook top when in the bush and off grid.
It took a considerable amount of fuel to keep the fire raging, it basically requires a handful of sticks or pine cones every 2 minutes, or else the fire will go out and the fan will create a big smoke plume from the hot smoldering ash….lighting newly added sticks / pine cones from the hot ash requires a little help by blowing into the top of the stove…and getting many faces full of eye-stinging billowing smoke. Topping the stove with fuel every 2 minutes didn’t seem a chore, until I tried generating enough power for even a modest amount of electrical charge (a four hour process)….if you do the math…that is feeding the fire 120 times, and yes, THAT is a lot of collecting and work.
This brings me to the most disappointing part. The BioLite Camp stove simply does not provide enough power to charge your electrical items, even for a modest amount of power. There is a GREEN LED indicator that shows when the unit is powering your device….this cycles on and off in competition for power with the internal fan. It was pleasant at first to see the GREEN CHARGING light come on and provide charging power…but then it became frustrating when you realize the charging would last maybe only a minute, then up to five minutes of “not charging” as the on board fan consumed the power (which you can NOT turn off while the fire is lit presumably for overheating reasons). Hence four hours of trying to get even a 20% charge to the Bio Lite Nano Grid power bank. My hopes were to simply charge the power bank during the daily meals, to provide adequate camp lighting at night…and even with four hours of feeding the fire (there are much better ways to spend time on a hike) it gave me only enough power for about 20-30 minutes of light at night using the camp lights. Which may seem “ok”…but consider we spent much of the day on a marathon burn to generate this power.
The power producing ability was by far the most disappointing quality of the BioLite, which of course is why you would probably buy one of these products in the first place. I was willing to pay more, and deal with heavier weight if I could get free power from burning twigs in the woods…but the technology simply isn’t there yet. Hopefully the this is a growing pain that BioLite is working on, after realizing that their first generation camp stove isn’t all that efficient…and therefore the promise of power generation is more of a novelty…which comes at a high cost to consumers.
Although my product experience was mostly good, the lack of power-producing ability leads me to believe that the camp stove was not market-ready for a widespread release…hopefully the next generation products from BioLite will be more advanced. I would like to see at least twice the power output for me to consider using it on a hike, but more importantly, for me to recommend the stove (as a fellow product designer) to others.
Just being honest.
Yes, it is a little bulky and heavy for a stove. I'll happily find other ways to save weight and space though.
- One happy camper.
Most recent customer reviews
It's like a freaking blowtorch and it puts out a lot of current to charge phones, laptops and strings of led lights.