The Claim: The BioLite CampStove cooks meals and charges electronics using biomass fuel. Housed in an orange case attached to the stove can is: A fan, a thermoelectric generator (TEG), and a USB charging port. Light a wood fire in the fuel chamber and a fan circulates the air, gasifying the biomass fuel and creating a clean-burning cooking fire. Once it’s burning hot, a thermoelectric generator converts the heat into electricity accessed through the USB port.
The Trial: I used the BioLite CampStove for car camping and fly fishing trips through late summer and fall, cooking dinner for two while charging an Android cell phone.
The Verdict: My first outing with the BioLite CampStove followed a day of fly fishing on the Poudre River. Lighting a fire in the BioLite is quick and easy. Three foldable legs keep the stove stable for cooking with a medium or large size pot (not included). We set the kindling alight, and our gumbo concoction was ready to eat 15 minutes later. On a subsequent trip fly fishing Hohnholz Lakes in Northern Colorado, I netted a single brown trout but the stove ensured successful cooking. Water for jambalaya boiled in less than five minutes; a feast for two was ready in 25 minutes. As for the charging claims, the TEG works—slowly and at great expense of fuel. Charging my phone to 30 percent required an hour’s burn time fueled by a foot-long, five-inch diameter log chopped into small pieces. The fire needs to be hot enough for the thermoelectric generator to work. (Find hardwoods.) Save that for survival situations or third world travel. Otherwise, the generator unit fits inside the stove, and a stuff sack keeps the 33 oz. set-up organized when packed. The BioLite CampStove is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts that aren’t counting grams (weight-weenies), or included with an emergency preparedness kit. $129; biolitestove.com —Dave MacRunnel