By Greg Chabot | Recently, during the COVID-19 panic, I re-evaluated some of my preparations. As I did, I found that I lacked a portable camp stove that would fit into a rucksack. With my mission of finding a solution to my lack of stove preparations, I began researching my options.
While researching options, I discovered the BioLite website and decided to purchase their Campstove 2 bundle to test out. One of my requirements for the survival stove that will find its way into my ruck is the ability to use Biomass (pinecones, branches, etc.).
I did not want to depend on the specialized fuels that many camp stoves use. Likewise, depending on my situation, there may be times when a campfire might not be practical or safe.
During my research, I began digging into the BioLite stove. As I did, I found the BioLite stove to be a very innovative product that uses the fire’s heat to generate power. Once generated, that power can be used to charge devices or batteries through a USB cable.
In other words, while I can use the BioLite stove for cooking and for keeping warm, I can also use it to keep my lights, phone, and other devices powered and ready to go. The ability to generate electricity during backcountry trips and survival situations is, in my opinion, a game-changer for people who are serious about their safety and security.
I found the stove to be easy to use and that it heats up very quickly. If dry fuel is used, there will be little to no smoke. The battery pack has a small fan that forces air into the stove to get an efficient cook fire. Another advantage of the Biolite stove is its ability to support various sized pans and cooking needs.
The grill that comes with the package is good size and channels the flame for maximum efficiency. Both the stove and grill are constructed of stainless steel for easy cleanup and corrosion resistance.
An additional benefit of the BioLite stove is that the stove also comes with a flexible light, which is handy while doing camp chores and cooking at night.
Commanding the stove is the battery pack that has three rows of indicator lights. One row is for charging the battery pack; the next is for fan speed, with the third being the fire’s strength.
Making the BioLite stove more useful is the ability to pre-charge the battery pack through a power outlet with the included cord to keep a full charge between outings.
BioLite Stove Pros and Cons List:
- Food grade food pellets can also be used for fuel along with Biomass.
- Smoke-free fire if dry fuel is used. The stove will work with wet fuel but will produce noticeable smoke.
- Efficient use of fire for cooking. It doesn’t take much fuel to boil water or cook meat.
- The fan shuts itself off when no heat is detected and turns itself on when the fire is strong enough.
- The BioLite stove packs up into an efficient package.
- Simple and easy set up with no learning curve.
- It can charge batteries and devices.
- There is a built-in safety in case the fire gets too hot. When the stove gets too hot, the fan will speed up, and the LEDs will flash as an indication to stop fueling the fire. Once cooled off, the BioLite stove will go back to regular operation.
- The BioLite is heavier and takes up more space than other backpack stoves. Because of the weight and size, if you are traveling with others, I recommend dividing the stove and grill up. Also, I’ll admit that hardcore backpackers and ultralight enthusiasts might not like the larger size.
- The stove takes some time to cool down after use.
- It will take a fair amount of use to get a full charge on the battery. Therefore, if you don’t use it a lot, I recommend plugging it in to charge it fully.
- Charging devices and batteries can take time. However, that should be a moot point, as part of your plan should include conserving batteries for devices, etc.
- The fan is noisy on the high setting.
- While the grill is big enough to cook for two people, it will take time to cook when feeding larger groups of people.
Final Thoughts on the BioLite Stove:
Overall, I was impressed with the BioLite Campstove 2. I have been using it for the past five months with no issues to report. It makes cooking in the field easy and efficient without the problem of worrying about fuel. The BioLite stove fits nicely into my long-term survival plan. As such, I highly recommend that others give the BioLite stove a try. Finally, as with any survival tool, I encourage you to do your research to see if this product works for you.
More information and videos on the BioLite stove can be found here: https://www.bioliteenergy.com/