The BioLite Camp Stove is a first for Facewest in two ways. It's a woodburning stove, which we've not stocked before, and it charges USB electronic devices, which we've never seen before. It consists of a stainless steel, double skinned cylinder and an orange plastic power module.
The stainless steel inner of the stove in punctured with numerous holes which allow air from the cavity space to feed into the fire whilst a single large hole in the outer skin allows air into the cavity. The reason for this single hole will become clear below. The chamber is large enough for a good handful of twigs and kindling whilst the air holes ensure that it is easy and quick to light. The stove features three sturdy aluminium legs and comes with a simple pot stand to enable use with pans up to 11cm diameter. When in use with the power module the Biolite can boil a litre of water in approximately 4.5mins. It can burn any dry biomass but should not be used with chemical accrelerants like hexamine blocks.
The large orange block which sits on the side of the biolite stove is where the real magic happens. It consists of a thermoelectric generator which turns heat into electricity and a small fan. The fan sits over the air hole mentioned above and blows air directly into the cavity around the stove and then into the fire box itself. This dramatically increases the efficiency of the stove allowing it to completely carbonise biofuels and burn hotter for longer. The fan is powered by the thermoelectric generator which also powers a USB port mounted on the BioLite. When in use, 20mins of charging should be enough to give you 60mins talk time on a modern smartphone. The Biolite comes with a basic USB cable and a USB powered flexlite for additional lighting, but you'll need to bring along any other specific cables your gadgets requires.
|Packed Size||Height 8.25 inches
Width 5 inches
|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||46g of wood to boil 1 L of water|
|In the box||BioLite Stove
USB Cord (for internal battery charging)
Note: Most devices come with specific charging tips.
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I'm a bit of a product/technology geek, so when I saw this advertised I was hooked immediately. I've taken it on a camping weekend and on a fishing trip. So far, I love it and it does exactly what it promises. The quality is extremely good, it's fairly light to carry - although I probably wouldn't want to go on a marathon hike or rock climb with it - and is quick and easy to assemble, set up and use. It works perfectly with the BioLite KettlePot and BioLite Grill - I bought all three to turn the stove into an all-in-one cooking system. It did take me a little while to get the amount of fuel needed and the amount of fan - HI or LO - right for optimum cooking, but it was no hardship. On HI setting it certainly produces a good roaring flame - and eats away at the fuel. I've only used the charging system once to charge a mobile phone, and it is reassuring to know you have a pretty good standby when you can't plug your phone/tablet into the mains.
I used a Biolite stove, with its grill attachment, while on holiday in Colorado this autumn. I was really impressed by the technology, build quality and functionality of this combination.
It is ideally suited to the dry conditions and forested campsites of the Rockies, and I was able to grill four chicken drumsticks and boil a litre of water with just a handful of pine cones picked straight off the ground. The stove lit easily enough, quickly produced a high temperature flame and gave an even heat across the whole grill. In British conditions, it might be necessary to plan ahead to ensure a supply of dry fuel, but I can live with that disadvantage in order to benefit from having a quick, convenient, effective grill.
This isn't the kind of stove that you want to take it to altitude, or on a technical expedition; it would be impossible to use in a tent or on a bivvy ledge, for example; but for car camping, or low-level back-packing, when you aren't in a hurry, it's ideal. It brought a smile to my face every time I used it. A great present for any gadget-loving outdoor enthusuiast with an environmental conscience. I haven't yet had a need to use the stove's built-in USB charging facility, but I am intending to buy the kettle accessory once it appears later in the year.
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