Product Reviews: BioLite CampStove
What is the BioLite CampStove?
According to the manufacturer’s website, “Burning only wood, the CampStove’s fan creates a smokeless fire that can cook meals and boil water in minutes while turning its heat into usable electricity. Compatible with the KettlePot and Portable Grill, cook up wood-fired meals and charge devices using only the sticks around you.” Click here to go to their website where you can see all of their products and read their reviews.
Now for my review…
I was preparing for a camping trip to the Myakka State Park, in Sarasota, Florida with my family. I am an avid backpacker and have always used propane or ISO-butane camp stoves for all of my cooking needs. A couple of years ago, I saw an advertisement for the BioLite CampStove and thought that it would be a wonderful addition to my backpacking/camping gear because I would no longer need to worry about running out of fuel or having to pack extra canisters on my trips. A stove that worked by burning wood is not a new idea. The part that peaked my interest was that it actually converted the heat from the fire into power that could charge USB devices like cell phones, etc.
When I first unpacked it on my trip, I had never taken the time to test it out. Since this was a family camping trip and I knew our van would be close by, I still had my ISO-butane stove at the ready just in case the BioLite had less than stellar results.
As per the directions, I walked around and collected a bundle of sticks that ranged in diameter from the size of my pinkie finger to the size of my thumb. Just using my hands, I broke the sticks into 3″ to 4″ pieces. This was very easy to do and did not take very much time at all. The package came with a few firestarters that appeared to be made from some sort of compressed cardboard. After dropping in a few of the thinner twigs into the CampStove, I lit the end of one of the fire starters and dropped it in as well. There was a little smoke at the beginning, but within a minute or two I pressed the power button and enough energy had been created to power the built-in fan. This was awesome! The fan provided the desired amount of air flow needed to make this fire burn really hot and I didn’t notice any smoke after that. There were also two speeds. Depending on what I was cooking, I could adjust the amount of heat by setting it to either low or high. If I were using it just to power an electric device (such as a phone), I would recommend putting it on high-speed and continually adding fuel. This will provide more heat. More heat means more power that will be available to charge a device.
The family and I had a good time using the BioLite CampStove. Even though there was a fire ban and we were not allowed to have a campfire, it was nice to be able to still make some smores at the end of the night. If you encounter a fire-ban when you are camping, I recommend double checking with the rangers to make sure that it is ok to use the BioLite. The fire was contained exceptionally well and burns so hot that I did not even see a single ember fly out while using it. If they don’t know what it is, show it to them. I really don’t see how it is more dangerous than using a gas powered stove.
I loved the BioLite CampStove and would highly recommend it. While it may not be a necessity for “car camping” or a one night camping expedition, I can see how valuable it could be on a longer backpacking trip. Some of the more negative reviews that I read really seem to put down the charging power that is provided by the stove but I have a much different view. When camping, the phone should not be a big concern because you are supposed to be enjoying the great outdoors, not an app on your phone. I have experienced being out in the wild when my battery died on my phone and am very grateful that an emergency situation didn’t arise. The fact that a dead phone could be charged enough to make an emergency call within a few minutes is enough for me. The added FlexLight attachment was also a wonderful addition because of the additional light that is provided while using the stove. Sure, you may not be able to carry it around but if you don’t have to waste the batteries in your flashlight or lantern while using the CampStove, why not use it?
- I package I ordered came with the CampStove, KettlePot, FlexLight, and Portable Grill.
- CampStove – while it may not give a fast charge for your phone, if there was an emergency and you needed to get enough power to make calls, it could save your life!
- KettlePot – besides being able to use as a container for the CampStove, this KettlePost worked perfectly at boiling water and could be used for coffee, stew, or many other cooking needs.
- Portable Grill – This easily attaches to the top of the CampStove and has a lid that opens and lets you continue to feed your small but very hot fire. When the lid is closed, the flames and heat are directed out to the grill. At one point, I had two 1/4 lb. hamburger patties and three hot dogs cooking on it.
- FlexLight – At night-time, this was very handy. It plugged into the USB port on the CampStove and immediately provided a great deal of light to help with my night-time cooking.
- The stove was not the lightest stove I have ever used, but when you factor in the two canisters of propane or ISO-butane, it probably accounts for the same amount of weight overall.
- When it comes to packing it up, you can detach the yellow power converter and insert it into the stove. This gets packed into the KettlePot and the whole thing easily fits into a bag with a drawstring that was also included.
COMMENTS & QUESTIONS
Do you have, or have you ever used a BioLite CampStove? If so, please share your experiences with it so that others can find some unbiased feedback before deciding whether or not to purchase one for themselves. While my experiences have been good so far, let me know if anything bad has happened to you.
After reading my review, do you have any questions that may not have been answered by reading this? Ask away and I will try my best to provide an answer for you.