Posted on June 25, 2018 at 8:18 pm in
About 7 years ago I was updating my backpacking kit because all the stuff I had was pretty ancient. When it came time to get a new stove I looked at the Jetboils and other isobutane stoves because the technology was way lighter and more efficient than traditional propane systems. In my searching I came across the BioLite which I ended up getting. This stove is about the size of a 1 liter Nalgene bottle and weighs 2 lbs. So while it is heavier and takes up more volume than most of those isobutane stoves it does have some great advantages.
Firstly, this is a wood stove. Now some might ask, “Isn’t the point of a camp stove to prevent the need to collect fire wood?” I would tend to agree with that sentiment, but collecting fuel for the BioLite is pretty easy. It runs on sticks/twigs though dried grass and sage can be used in a pinch in more arid environments. Put a little bit of your collected fuel in the stove and get a little flame going and you turn the stoves fan on. This little fan blows air to the bottom of the stove essentially turning it into a rocket stove. Once going it is super efficient, creating almost no smoke or ash. You can boil water in just a few minutes and because your cook time isn’t limited by only having a few isobutane canisters you can use the BioLite to cook your food too. Once the flame is established and the fan is on you can feed the stove wet twigs and it will burn those as well. I keep some Coghlans Fire Lighters in my kit, these are fire sticks with with a match tip that can be lit even when wet, great for use in the Pacific Northwest where I live. With the Fire Lighters I can still get the stove working in the pouring rain with wet sticks as fuel, pretty impressive in my opinion.
“Doesn’t that little fan blowing into the flame require batteries?” The answer is “No” which brings us to the next super cool thing about this stove. There is a copper rod that sits inside the stove which harvests heat energy and uses it to recharge the internal battery for the fan. This also provides energy to the USB port built into the fan housing which can be used to charge any number of gadgets such as phones, GPS, and flashlights. So yeah, this stove is a little heavy and bulky compared to a lot of other stoves, but it makes up for it when you consider the fact that you don’t need to carry isobutane or propane canisters, batteries, or solar chargers. For a one or two day trip that stuff might not be needed, but for an extended trek you become limited on how long you can stay out in the wilderness because you can only carry so much of those disposable energy sources. With the BioLite you will never run out of fuel and all that saved space and weight can go toward food to keep you out hiking longer.
I have the First Gen BioLite and in the years since I got mine they have done some improvements as well as come out with some neat accessories. The BioLite CampStove2 is 50% more powerful than mine and has an integrated battery so that you can charge things even when the stove is not burning anything. It also has 4 fan speed options and an LED display showing fire strength, fan speed, and power output. You are able to get a grill attachment, making it easier to cook certain things as well as a KettlePot that works similarly to a Jetboil. There are also a variety of different light set-ups available that can be charged by the stoves and then used to light up a campsite.
I would recommend this company’s products to anyone looking for some good outdoor gear. The products I have seen and used are well thought out, easy-to-use, adaptable, sturdy, and environmentally friendly. So, whether you are backpacking, at a campground, or stocking a bug-out-bag; check out their stuff, you might find something that makes your outdoor experience a little easier or more comfortable.
I always get the shakes before a drop.
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