BioLite Camp Stove Review

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BioLite Camp Stove Review


Editor: Mike


Basic Description of Item:

Back packing style camp stove that utilizes wood found for fuel, NO gas needed. Also produces a USB output charge for charging small electronics, Phone, Ipod, etc.

Just the Facts:
Packed Size Height 8.25 inches
Width 5 inches

Weight 33 oz (935 grams)

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 iPhone 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 liter of water. Varies based on strength of fire.

Fuel Quantity 1.6oz (46g) of wood to boil 1 L of water

In the box BioLite Stove
Firelighter
Stuff Sack
Instructions
USB Cord (for internal battery charging)



Story:

I have been using the BioLite Camp Stove for about 2 weeks. During this time I have tested the performance in 3 areas:

-Boiling Water, the basic function that is needed for most back packing trips.
-Frying or heating a pan
-Charging a device, in my case an Iphone 4s, and a Samsung Galaxy s3 Droid Phone.

The BioLite is an interesting stove, one day I love it, the next day I think it is cool, and the next day I think I will never use it :)

There are 2 main pieces to the camp stove.:
The battery, that is used to power a fan for creating an efficient fire.
The Stove section, that is used to put fuel in, sticks etc, and hold the fire
These 2 areas connect together at time of use to create the overall functioning stove.

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The Stove is easy to operate! You charge the battery before going out with a usb input port.
You then connect the parts with easy, fill the stove with fuel and light.

The fan is turned on with a small switch, and has a LOW and HIGH speed. At High speed the fire goes FAST and is HOT. On LOW speed the fire is still very hot, and keeps the fuel burning with little to no smoke.

When the fire is lit, it is like a gas stove, and you have instant heat. I placed a pot on the top of the stove with 2 cups of water, and was able to boil it in 2 minutes. So very fast.

I later tried frying some spam and an egg, and found this to be problematic, as I could not really control the heat very well. It was just HOT, or off.


Overall the device worked well for boiling water, and accomplished this in a short period of time with very little fuel / TWIGS.

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Charging

A key function / feature of this stove is the ability to charge a small device via the USB port. This is accomplished when the fire become hot, and the light turns green above the USB port. When the light is green you are able to connect a device and get a charge.
My phones charged at a rate of about 1% every 3 minutes. So to gain a 10% charge you would need to keep a hot fire for about 30 minutes. This is doable but not ideal.

The device does not produce an output current if the stove is not burning.
So overall, the charging works, it just takes time and takes tending and attention.


Conclusions:
-this thing works to burn available fuel, cook and to charge
-it will take time IN CAMP to get this done
-the weight is an issue it weighs over 2 pounds
-the size is acceptable at about the size of a Jetboil.
-it is high tech and cool
-for me it is not as good of an option as a small light weight stove and a solar panel
-Cool device, works well, but I feel there are other options that work a little better.


 

What they could do better:
-get the weight down, 2 pounds is too heavy
-get the batter to charge with fire, and be able to charge devices when NOT burning


Comments

  1. Frank Earl says:

    Nice overall review. Don’t know if they could get the weight down- they’re using thermal conversion tech to do the charging (Peltiers…)

    It should be observed that solar panels don’t work very well in cloudy conditions, whereas this would just simply work if you’ve got fuel. I’d probably view it as six of one, half dozen of another in that regard- it has definite survival applications that would work out better than some of the other traditional backpacker gear solutions would.

    • Good comment Frank.
      I would have loved to have this device on my last outing. 3 days and no sun.
      My solar panel left me hanging.
      At times the biolite would be fantastic.

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