BioLite CampStove 1 Wood Burning and USB Charging Camping Stove
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- Turn fire into electricity! Powers most USB-chargeable devices including cell phones and smartphones on backpacking and camping trips, or during power outages using, sticks or any other biomass
- 20 minutes of charging with a strong fire gives you about 60 minutes of talk time on most smartphones
- During a full burn, the CampStove can boil 1 liter of water in as little as 4.5 minutes.
- CampStove weighs about 2 pounds and is about the same size as a 2-liter Nalgene water bottle
- An internal starter battery helps kick-start the wood fire before the stove begins generating its own power
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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. At BioLite, we develop breakthrough technologies and empower people to power themselves.
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Enter the BioLite stove. The idea sounds so great - burn wood you find on the trail, cook your food, and generate needed electricity! BUT WAIT....
The weight of this little gem is far more than a small flexible solar panel which generates more electricity pound for pound. (although not at night)
You don't have to carry fuel, that's great right? Well as long as you can find dry tinder it is. The swiss have a stove they used to issue to their army that used similar foraged fuels, esbit and military fuel tabs, even alcohol. That pearl goes for around $7 in military surplus stores and is 13oz compared to the 2.1 lvs of the BioLite (not so light after all). In addition, the Swiss one has a cup and canteen included in the weight! If you factor in a light titanium cup to cook in that brings the BioLite well to nearly 40 oz!
Let's be honest here, if you buy the BioLite with it's HUGE carbon footprint (TO MANUFACTURE) per oz - you might please your yuppie friends, but not the ones who THINK. Me? I'll still carry around my Swiss Volcano Stove and ultralight handcrank generator on longer trips when I can't unplug. Don't we go camping TO UNPLUG though? My cost for more electricity and a far more environmentally friendly solution? About 20 bucks for stove and power.
Oh, lest I forget - any wood fire aficionado (and you'd better be one if you want to count on a wood fire to eat) will tell you that the fan DOES help accellerate combustion and to start the fire. How would one accomplish this without the heavy BioLite? I do it with a bit of fishing acquarium tube connected to a carbon fiber straw I made out of a broken hunting arrow - doesn't burn in these small fires at all- it's light, and doesn't require I singe my eyebrows to blow on the fire.
When it's all said and done, the BioLite is an expensive, heavy, and decidedly ecologically unfriendly device.
P.S. If you are too prissy to use mil surplus you can get something like the backcountry boiler to put a dent in your wallet - it weighs 17 oz and you don't have to carry a pot -just like the Swiss stove I mentioned earlier.
P.S. I contacted biolite before product warranty expired.
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.