CampStove: Turn fire into electricity using wood (Test, Story, and Video)

Categories: Gadgets

The BioLite Campstove in action—check out that fiyaaa! Photo by Brandon Scherzberg

Fire. Cavemen mastered it, so I should be able to, too…at least that’s the assumption. But if there’s one thing I can’t quite get the hang of, it’s setting up and using the camp stove. “But it’s so easy to use!” That’s true—for most people. For me, it’s a true test of whether I was born a blonde or not. The verdict is in: I’m as blonde as Cinderella, only not as domestic.

So when Biolite sent me their innovative CampStove to test out on a trip, my adrenaline kicked in immediately: Was this the answer to my camp cooking woes? Could I harness my cave-lady roots and get this thing blazing? The simple answer: yes and yes. I may just have to make myself a cheetah-print two piece.

The gear: The BioLite CampStove

The breakdown: This biomass (wood) burning camp stove uses its own heat to power a thermoelectric generator that powers a fan, providing airflow for a fast and efficient fire. The extra electricty is sent to a USB port that charges your electronics while you cook. What does all that mean? Starting a fire is easy, it won’t fizzle out without a fight, and the stove uses its own heat to make electricity.

What I loved:

-Wood-burning cooking solutions are inherently difficult to use—not so with the BioLite CampStove, which is surprisingly simple and straightforward. Using the provided fire starter blocks and a match, my fire started and burnt rapidly, and the fan made sure it didn’t stop burning.

-Using a biomass-burning stove means I’m using up a renewable resource: wood. That, in turn, means I’m spending less money on fuel, keeping fuel canisters out of landfills and I never have to worry about running out of fuel. And for that, I shall give myself a pat on the back.

The BioLite is easy to use and doesn’t make a mess in your backpack.

-Set up and breakdown is simple and quick—all parts of the stove pack together snugly inside the optional KettlePot, saving space in my backpack.

-The stove wasn’t dirty like I’d expected—I simply dumped the cool ash from the burning canister and gave the inside a quick wipe. There was barely any soot or residue, and the included stuff sack ensure close to no mess in my bag.

– You can use this stove to cook food, boil water and heat up cold hands and wet socks where open fires aren’t permitted, assuming you completely let your ashes cool before dumping them. I like the

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