First Impressions: BIO Lite Backpacking Stove

SM111122-06-V3-980I recently picked up a new stove for backpacking, The BioLite CampStove. I first saw mention of it about 2 years ago on YouTube. A neat little gadget that uses wood for fuel and is capable of charging USB compatible devices through a system where it converts the heat from the fire into electricity. That same process also powers a small internal fan that makes the fire burn hot and efficient.

After doing some research and looking at other reviews as the stove hit the market, my initial thought was that it seemed a bit too heavy, weighing in at just over 2 lbs.,  for a backpacking stove, that’s a ton, especially when you take into account my entire cook set weighs less then 1lb. and since I was making an active effort to lighten my load I basically wrote it off.

Most of my trips are only 1 to 3 days. So concerns about things like the weight of fuel aren’t much of an issue. However with the launch of Survive Anything and my daughter getting old enough to go on extended outings, I’ve seriously been considering trips in excess of 3 days, and with more than one person, fuel does start to factor in. Not to mention power for things like cameras, cell phones and maybe a GPS. I currently carry a solar charger, The PowerMonkey Extreme made by power traveler, a great piece of kit, although a little heavy at almost 9 ounces and a bit bulky, It has served me well and I haven’t been looking to replace it.

But, if I could eliminate that PowerMonkey, and fuel and stoves for 2  or more people, on an extended trip my initial math tells me the weight of the BioLite is becoming more acceptable and canceling itself out. Not to mention I do like the idea of being able to charge sun or shine. So with a trip to my local outfitter, the adventure begins.

Intended Use:

As mentioned my intended use for this stove is for multiday solo trips with and probably trips with one or more people.

Build Quality:

Out of the box I am very happy with the way the stove “feels”, it seems sturdy and well designed. I do have some concerns over the face that it has a built in fan, the pushes air into the fire chamber. If the fan should break there might be an issue. Also I’m anxious to see how efficient the charging process is. How long will it take for me to get any useful charge into a device?


Cost: $129

Taken from the Manufacturer’s website:

Fast to boil: 4.5 minutes to boil 1 liter of water
Fire power output (peak): 3.4 kw (lo) 5.5 kw (hi)
USB power output: Max continuous: 2W @5V, Peak: 4W @5V
Compatible Devices: Most USB-chargeable devices including smartphones
Fuel: Burns sticks, pine cones, pellets and other biomass
Packed size: Height 8.25 inches, Width 5 inches
Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz / 935 grams
Pot weight limit: 8 lbs or 1 gallon of liquid
Materials: Stainless steel, aluminum, plastic

In the box:
BioLite Stove, Firelighter, Stuff Sack, Instructions,
Pot Adaptor, USB Cord (for internal battery charging)
Note: Most devices come with specific charging tips. In an effort to reduce waste, we have not included charging cables for devices.

I will follow up with a formal review in the coming months. If yo’ve had any experience with the biolite campstove, good or bad, please feel free to comment below.

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