BioLite CampStove Review
Keen camper? Maybe you’re a fisherman? Well this could the trusty companion you have always wanted! The BioLite Campstove is not any old stove, not only will it cook your baked beans or boil the kettle, but while it’s doing it, it will charge your mobile phone or power a USB device. The award winning CampStove burns natural fuels and converts heat to electricity via a thermo-electric generator, helping you keep warm, fed and connected wherever you are. A potential lifesaver if far down the beaten track.
At first glance, the CampStove is incredibly small and light when compared to similar gas canister products. It weighs in at just over 900g, packs down to 8x5inches and as it burns natural biomass fuels, there is nothing else to carry, well, apart from your frying pan, so it will fit in your hiking backpack. It uses biomass fuels, such as twigs, branches, pinecones and wood pellets, which if in the forest, you will find more than enough to keep your stove burning.
Unlike open wood fires, the BioLite uses ground breaking thermoelectric technology to optimise fuel efficiency, circulating air around the stove to improve combustion and increase the stove’s energy output. Heat from the flames is converted to electricity with an in-built thermoelectric generator, which is used to power a fan to further improve combustion. There are two parts, the stove itself and the generator. It’s very simple to put together. The generator slots inside the stove and is locked into place by one of the three stove legs. Once the generator is in and the three legs are out, you are ready to go.
I went outside, found a number of dry pieces of wood and twigs and started a fire. Fire lighters are provided by the way, which helps. It didn’t take long at all to get it started. It was a little tricky to get the match inside, but once I had, it was go time. It’s very well protected inside the stove from the wind which really help ignite the flames. Within a minute I had flames and further minute later, I had a roaring heat. Once you have a small flame, you set the fan speed to low, which then helps increase the temperature of the fire and its efficiency. A vortex of sorts is created and it looks really quite awesome!
As previously mentioned, the generator has a built in fan, to help improve efficiency of your fire and electrical output. There is a button on the front to turn it on and it initially is set to a low setting. When the fire matures, the fan can be changed to the high setting and when it’s set to high, it’s generating electricity. There is also an indicator light, by the USB port on the front. When it turns green, it’s ready to charge or power your device. It took 20 minutes to charge my iPhone up 10%, more then enough to make that emergency call that may save your life! I was also able to fry an egg in a matter of seconds!
This is really great. It’s easy to use, takes advantage of natural fuels, it’s light weight and portable. I can see this being a perfect purchase for keen fisherman, hikers and campers alike. As a source of cooking, it’s great, as a source of power, it’s good. Our devices are becoming more demanding and take longer than ever to charge. It does charge but to get a full charge out of a mid ranged smart phone, the fire will need to burn for hours and will result in a lot of fuel and effort. That being said, there’s just something about an open fire that feels good. For more info and to purchase, visit the BioLite website now! RRP £140.
Packed Size – Height 8.25” / Width 5”.
Weight- 33oz (935g).
Fuel – Renewable biomass (twigs, pinecones, wood pellets, etc).
Fire Power Output – Peak: 3.4 kW (LO), 5.5 kW (HI).
USB Power Output – Max continuous: 2W @5V, Peak: 4W @5V.
Compatible Devices – Powers most USB-chargeable devices including smartphones.
Charging Time – Phone 4S (2G): 20 minutes of charging provides 60 minutes of talk time. Charging times vary by device and by strength of fire.
Boil Time – 4.5 minutes to boil 1 litre of water. Varies based on strength of fire.
Fuel Quantity – 1.6oz (46g) of wood to boil 1 litre of water.