You Don’t Need to be an Avid Camper to Appreciate This Product.
Why? Here’s an Example: In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there were, of course, many life-threatening situations due to the lack of safe drinking water and no electricity. But one of the side issues that arose was the fact that people couldn’t keep their cell phones charged, thus they couldn’t call for help, or let their loved ones knows they were okay, or even give them a status update.
Generate Heat, Light and Electricity in an Emergency Situation!
That’s why I think a product like the Biolite CampStove is important to have handy in case of any emergency. I’ve seen reviews from hard-core backpackers who make fun of this product and dismiss it because of the weight and the fact you have to have some experience building fire with wood vs. using gas or propane. While I agree these are disadvantages for the avid backpacker, I’m looking at this product more as a great piece of equipment to have at home in a disaster emergency. You can create a heat source for warmth or to cook food and purify water. And you can generate electricity with it to keep your phone charged and in contact with your family members, or call for help. We purchased one for our household and I’d like to share what I’ve learned.
What I Like About it:
The BioLite Stove first caught my eye because I love the simple fact you don’t need to have a canister of propane or white gas on hand to use it. In fact, you can only burn renewable biomass. This means: twigs, sticks, bark, pinecones, even cardboard—things you can usually get your hands on even in an emergency scenario. Or you can purchase a supply of wood pellets to burn. Second, while you are burning the easily accessible fuel—you can charge your phone or other electronic gadgets. How cool is that?
I found it quite easy to get a fire started in the stove using only a piece of cardboard and one match (instead of the fire starter sticks supplied with the stove). I used tinder and tiny twigs to begin with, adding larger sticks, then bark and pine cones. After about ten seconds I hit the power button for the fan (at the base) and it fired right up, using the electricity it was generating from the fire. The tiny fan kept the fire stoked by giving it a steady stream of oxygen. Although you can cook on this stove, I suggest you do that as a separate task, when you’re not charging your phone or other gadgets. The reason being, while you are burning wood to create the energy to charge your phone, you need to keep feeding fuel into the canister. It’s just easier to do that without also trying to cook something on top of the stove. Another thing to keep in mind is that it takes a while for the metal on the stove to cool down once you’re done using it, before you can pack it up. So if you’ll be breaking camp and moving on, plan ahead and leave yourself time for this.
I am also impressed with the BioLite company. They’ve created a spin-off HomeStove which was designed to help people in third world countries have a cleaner, safer way to cook their food. Smoke pollution in their huts and shelters is a major health issue. The HomeStove burns cleaner and more efficiently, improving their environment.
I like supporting companies like this! You can learn more about BioLite in this video:
Having multiple ways to charge your gadgets in case of a power outage is always a good game plan.
What products have you used and loved? Are there any you don’t recommend – why?