First Thoughts On The BioLite CampStove 2 Bundle
More than likely, if you are reading this, you are probably a hiker or camper looking for a way to provide some food for an upcoming camping trip. The BioLite CampStove 2 Bundle provides a light weight, simple, and efficient way to provide a well rounded meal out in the backcountry. The cool and unique part is that BioLite has figured out a way to take that flame, and turn it into a battery charger for all of your electronic gadgets. Getting a meal and getting some free power is something that I’m super excited about.
What’s BioLite all about?
There’s a lot more to BioLite’s story, and you’d be surprised at the impact this amazing little stove can have on a global scale. The founders and company are on a mission to tackle “Energy Poverty.” Close to half the world’s population still cook over open fire stoves with dangerously high emissions that kill some 4 million people every year. They have even come up with a large format biomass cook stove, the BioLite HomeStove (not featured here), that cuts fuel consumption in half and reduces toxic emissions by 90%. And yes, even this larger model will charge mobile phones and LED lights.
The Dynamics Behind The Power
First of all, the heat component (red flame) is BioLite’s patented core technology. It captures waste heat from the fire through a heat probe attached to the orange powerpack.
The second part is the electricity producing element (orange). The heat is converted into electricity via a thermoelectric generator. This powers a fan and sends electricity to a USB charging port. Any excess power is then stored in the internal battery for future use.
And lastly, is the vital airflow component (blue). The internal fan forces air back into the burn chamber dramatically improving combustion and creating a cleaner, more efficient burn.
The BioLite CampStove 2 Component Pieces In Action
The On-Board Battery is integrated and can charge any device whether the fire is live or not. It can store enough juice to keep charging after you are done feeding the fire. The Smart LED Dashboard provides real time feedback on the fire strength, power output, and the speed of the fan. The BioLite CampStove has some pretty sturdy lightweight aluminum legs with nested portability. I used the stove on a variety of surfaces (tree stump, dirt, rock), and with some slight adjustments they all worked. Your best bet is probably on a dirt surface where the legs can dig in a bit to provide a solid and level camp stove.
The Kettle is your main cooking component if you are camping or hiking with a minimal set-up. It is the storage compartment for the stove itself. Composed of an Ultra-Thin Stainless Body that’s lightweight and safer than anodized aluminum cookware. Mainly, it is the coffee, pasta, soup, and stew maker. It comes with a BPA-Free High-Temp lid that allows you to take a peak without having to remove the lid. There’s a silicone seal that keeps liquids secure, and cool touch handles for easy pouring.
BioLite Portable Grill
The great outdoors, a fire, and grilling go hand in hand, so I was super excited to put this attachment to the test.
The Portable Grill is an interesting add-on to the BioLite CampStove. If weight, storage, and the ability to carry it along is an issue, you don’t necessarily need it. If you are car camping, it is a fun and useful addition. It basically becomes a wood-fired grill. The steel grill grate fits up to 4 burger, 6 hot dogs, or 4 cinnamon raisin pieces of toast. The flame spreads along the grate for even burning, and the fuel intake lid doubles as a chimney.
The BioLite KettlePot is a pretty hefty and sturdy piece of equipment. Initially, I thought it might be a bit bulky especially if going out into the backcountry. I quickly realized that the pot is actually the place holder for the BioLite Stove. That obviously reduces the overall size, but also provides a solid protection compartment. Bumps and bruises are bound to happen, but the important components will be tucked away nicely.
If you’re going to add anything at all, make it the CoffeePress. Seriously, coffee is a must for me, and this is a small lightweight option and definitely worth the extra $14.95.
Obviously, cooking a meal with the KettlePot and Portable grill are a mainstay when out in nature. To me, a very close second is the ability to savor that cup of coffee in the simple setting of a campsite. I’m the early riser, and this is my moment of peace and quiet. Hence the BioLite CoffeePress is a perfect companion.
- Weight & Dimensions:
- CampStove: 33 oz (935 g) & 8.25”H x 5” W
- KettlePot: 16 oz (465 g) & 10.20” x 5.20”
- Grill: 30 oz (850 g) & 9.5” x 12” x 3.5”
- Lumens on the FlexLight: 100 Lm
- Fan Speeds: 4
- Live Power Output: 3 watts peak; TEG generated 5v, 2A USB output
- Boil Time: 4.5 minutes to boil 1 liter of water. Boiling times vary by strength of fire
- Battery: 2600 mAh
- Fuel Source: Renewable Biomass like wood pellets, twigs, pinecones, etc.
Bio Lite CampStove 2 Out In Nature
I had my doubts when I saw the somewhat small fire compartment. First, could I create a fire using twigs and kindling in such a small space? Secondly, would the fire actually be enough to make a meal worthy of the calories burned out in nature? And lastly, the final piece of the puzzle was how powerful the energy producing component would be. Does the BioLite CampStove 2 create enough juice to be able to charge my electronic components?
To tell you the truth, I am not the most technologically advanced guy, but I have my phone/camera and the occasional GPS watch that tracks my efforts out on the Colorado trails. The more momentous excursions do take me camping and tackling the famous 14er peaks that are begging to be run, hiked, or climbed. Depending on which one, setting up camp near the trailhead, or hiking in partway to hike requires an early morning start with a hearty meal. A long day awaits, and proper fueling is key.
They provide you with some fire starter, but that’s pretty much gone day one. Make sure you gather plenty of really small kindling to have on hand as you get to making your fire. I realized that once I started, I needed to add fuel at a pretty consistent and steady stream. I put my kids to the task, and they provided me with a nice pile of twigs and pine cones.
Numerous meals were consumed with the BioLite CampStove, and a group of 6 campers enjoyed breakfast and coffee without much fuss. My phone got charged during the preparation, and another one got charged after the fact. The light is not really necessary, but it is nice to have when reading a bedtime story.
Final Thoughts On The BioLite CampStove 2
Not only is the BioLite CampStove 2 able to provide a solid three meals while camping, it’s fun to “play” with the features. We all get that feeling of panic and anxiety when our phone is down to 12% battery life. I know camping and the great outdoors is all about ‘unplugging’ and getting away from it all. That said, it’s still really nice that while you are preparing a meal, the phone gets charged. It provides the peace of mind to make a call if need be, or at a minimum document the experience with your camera phone.
This stove is a solid piece of engineering and material construction that can stand up to the rigors of the great outdoor. Fire in no time, and a good meal to follow. To me, the charging element is simply a nice bonus feature, but I know there are many out there that will truly enjoy it.
The BioLite CampStove 2 Bundle comes with the main fire compartment, battery/charging pack, KettlePot, and Portable Grill, and can be found for $199.95 at most retail outlets or at www.bioliteenergy.com
Oh, and add the CoffeePress, and Light. They come in super handy!