A Look at the BioLite CampStove: Boil Water and Charge Your Phone at the Same Time - ITS Tactical
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A Look at the BioLite CampStove: Boil Water and Charge Your Phone at the Same Time

By Mike Petrucci

BioLite Stove

If you’re looking to shave ounces on your next hiking trip, the BioLite CampStove may not be the best option. It’s heavy, you can’t use it in a downpour, the fan can be a bit noisy and it may take a little practice to learn how to use properly.

But that doesn’t mean you should write it off.

The BioLite stove is still a lot of fun and can not only be a great camping companion, but is extremely useful in other situations.

Author’s Note: This isn’t a full review or test of how well it works but an overview on the basics.

BioLite CampStove

What is It?

To describe the BioLite CampStove simply, it is a wood burning stove that converts heat into electricity in order to charge USB powered devices.

Using only the sticks and twigs you find in nature, you can charge a wide array of devices with the power converted from the mini campfire you create. Because it runs on renewable fuel found outdoors, it’s also fairly “green” (if you’re into that).

BioLite Stoves make cooking on wood as clean, safe & easy as modern fuels while generating electricity to charge phones, lights and other electronics off-grid.

I first fell in love with the idea of the BioLite CampStove when I saw that they were using them during Superstorm Sandy to charge people’s phones and provide hot beverages for those affected by the power outages.

BioLite Stove Charging

Photo © BioLite – BioLite in Action: Emergency CampStove Kits Donated

The BioLite team is based out of Brooklyn, New York and instead of just marking up the cost and selling them on the street to those in need, they gathered up a bunch of firewood and setup stations that would boil water for tea and also charge the smartphones of those trying to check-in with loved ones.

Important Information

  • Compatible Devices: Most USB-chargeable devices including smartphones
  • Fuel: Burns sticks, pine cones, pellets and other biomass
  • 4.5 minutes to boil 1 liter of water
  • Packed size: Height 8.25 inches, Width 5 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz / 935 grams

Why I Like It

It’s fun to build a fire. Well, maybe not for everyone and maybe not all of the time but there is something rewarding about getting a fire started and just watching the wood glow while listening to the sound of sticks crackling. This stove scratches the wood fire itch for sure.

Simply put, the BioLite CampStove is also just a neat idea. If you enjoy new technology then you’ll probably love this gadget.

Backcountry Camping

I feel that this stove is totally capable of handling your needs if you are going backcountry camping. It can provide the basics of providing heat and boiling water and as a bonus, it can charge your mobile phone.

Some will argue that you shouldn’t bring your phone let alone have the need to charge it while camping. I agree that you should embrace nature without having the need to tweet about it non-stop but my phone doubles as my camera and I like to leave with photographic memories for later.

I’ll also often store some notes about the hike on my phone and having a device that charges my phone and can also pull double duty to boil water or cook food is very useful.

BioLite CampStove boiling water

Other Uses

Honestly, I see the BioLite stove really shining when it comes to an emergency or natural disaster. Power knocked out for a few days? You can boil water for safe drinking and cooking and keep your phone charged so you can stay up to date on what’s going on.

It can also be great to bring along in the car if you want an impromptu s’more or weenie roast. Yeah it sounds a bit goofy but it’s easy to set up and if you pack a few sticks (for fuel) beforehand, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a hotdog in the park.

If you’re looking to do more substantial grilling, check out their new portable grill that allows you to cook about four burgers or six hotdogs at once. It even has it’s own system of HI, MED and LO temperature zones.

Real World Test

Again, not as a timed or metered test of efficiency but a in simple “Does it work?” test, I can certainly say that it works as intended.

BioLite Stove in ActionWhile hiking Old Rag Mountain in Virginia, I brought along the BioLite CampStove to boil water for lunch at the summit. I found all the sticks I needed right where I set up the stove and had it going in no time. It also only took just under 5 minutes to boil the necessary water.

I recommend the BioLite stove but it may not be for everyone. Does this stove fulfill your needs? There are many camp stoves that are both lighter and more inexpensive than the BioLite and they may fit the bill perfectly.

I recommend checking out a few alternatives but if you want something fun and full of new tech, give this stove a shot.

Where to Buy

You can buy the CampStove direct from BioLite or from REI for $129.95.

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