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BioLite CampStove 2 Wood Burning and USB Charging Camping Stove
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- Turn fire into electricity! CampStove 2 generates 3 watts of usable electricity and stores it in it's internal powerbank for USB charging of LED lights, mobile phones, and other devices. The internal, rechargeable 2600 mAh battery stores excess power to charge devices, even without a live fire.
- USB charge output with 50% more power than our previous CampStove 1, with updated thermoelectrics creating even more electricity from fire, and Smart LED Dashboard gives you real time feedback on fire strength, power output and fan speed settings
- Internal jets have 4 fan speed settings to circulate air for improved combustion and efficiency to boil 1 liter of water in 4.5 minutes
- Lightweight aluminum legs fold up for nested portability and durability for camping, backpacking or power outages
- The FlexLight is a portable, pliable USB gooseneck for quick, controlled light and internal fire-starter makes setup a breeze
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As a camp stove, I guess it's ok. I didn't buy it for that but I can see how it would work ok. As something to keep devices charged, nope. not even.
I had charged the battery before we lost power. When morning came and it was safe to go out, I setup and got it lit. not terribly difficult but a smoky experience since most everything I had was wet. Once it was burning, I started throwing on pieces of hickory I had in a bag. Not huge pieces, big enough to burn at a good rate though.
I plugged my iPad in which was at 50% charge.
Even though the red light (Temp) was all the way to the top, the battery drained faster than it could regenerate. After about 90 minutes, I unplugged my iPad, now at 85% up from 50% because the CampStove2's battery was so low it was no longer charging. I continued to burn at the highest rate for another 45 or so minutes. It did not move the battery indicator at all.
So, if you've got a chord of wood with you broken into 2" chunks and nothing to do for an entire day, yes, you might can charge an iPhone or an iPad. Other than that, buy it only if you want an expensive Camp Stove.
BTW, their XL Lantern was absolutely fabulous! I'll review it later. :)
Some background: As per my screen name, I am a nomad, living out of my 99 GMC Suburban, and camping most of the time, although I do visit friends from time to time. So the stove gets a lot of use.
I have been very happy with the Camp Stove 2 overall. Fires are easy to light and maintain, and being able to charge my phone or run the light is great. It certainly beats having to start a big campfire just to boil water for coffee or cook something simple. I have the grill attachment, so most simple meals can be cooked this way, saving time, trouble and fuel. it is a rare campsite that doesn't have enough small twigs, pine cones, etc. for this purpose.
One thing to be aware of is that the stove is VERY efficient. So much so that it is important to remember not so stuff the firebox with fuel. With a bit of patience you can learn how much to add to get the lever of fire you want, without overdoing it. (Once I had to dump the fire out into the campfire pit in order to keep it from going crazy.)
I didn't end up using the stove like I thought I would, because during a test run, it turned out to be a little harder to use than I wanted to deal with. There is not a lot of flexibility as to what size fuel can be used, mostly just small twigs, so when I bought firewood thinking I could split it down to manageable pieces, it turned out to be a difficult task. If you have already scouted your potential camping area and have the time to search for the correct size firewood that you know to be available, then this stove would be quite nice. But for my trip to Oregon, not knowing if I could find fuel readily available, I decided to opt for a gas stove that I already own.
The other thing that I had trouble with during my testing was the campstove's compatibility with regular cooking pans. I had no problem boiling water in the biolite pot, and no problem grilling turkey burgers on the grill, but I had some trouble cooking scrambled eggs in a pan because the mouth of the stove was quite small and I didn't feel comfortable balancing the pan on top without my hand on the handle at all times. And without the reasonable level, permanent picnic table that was at our campsite, it would've been an even more unstable cooking environment. I think it is a nice complementary item to the camp kitchen, but I don't think I will be using it as my only cooking apparatus.
overall, I give it 4 stars because I love the concept, and I am willing to put in the effort to make it work on anther trip, but for a casual camper, using it might take more planning and effort than they are wanting to expend on a weekend getaway