Monday, 4 May 2015

Unboxing: Biolite Camp Stove Review

I've wanted one of these ever since I saw them as vapourware a few years ago. One thing lead to another and I've not ended up pressing Buy Now. But in a unprecedented turn up of events The Northern Monkey found himself inspired and ordered one. I think it was the offer of free electricity.

TNM had, in a stroke of genius, actually read the instructions before leaving the house so the Biolite had had its preliminary charge and was all ready to go. I was really exited to get this unboxing underway as my phone had already run out of juice, TNM clipped the parts together, filled it with very small sticks and sparked it up.
Once the smoke has finally cleared and its up to operating temperature the Biolite produces no smoke at all and roars with a beautiful spiral of flame which is a bugger to photograph. Phone charging was a little stop-start but did work. Next time I'd plug the stove into a battery pack which might work a bit better.

Following on from the good reception the camp stove has received  Biolite have brought out a 'Basecamp' which you feed from the bottom and takes much bigger bits of wood, this baby size suffers terribly from its small combustion chamber needing constant attention and feeding.  We were in deciduous woodland with an unlimited supply of dry-isn little-finger sized fuel, on a beach where the small bits of driftwood are often the dampest, or in a sparse-fuel environment where you'd have to cut fuel to size, the small chamber would be a major pain. We tried to burn thumb diameter pieces but the stoves efficiency was massively compromised. I hope to do some tests with dried dung [horse poop since you ask] which I have high hopes for as the stove's ideal fuel.

They say:
"Burning only wood, the CampStove creates a smokeless campfire that can cook meals and boil water in minutes. Setup is easy, fuel is free, and flames are hyperefficient with performance on par with white gas stoves."

SBW says:
Burning very small pieces of wood, the camp stove creates unbelievable amounts of smoke until it gets going when it burns very well, defiantly an outdoor gizmo [you would seriously regret lighting this puppy up in a tent], set up is indeed easy, fuel is free if you're in a woodland, anywhere else it'll be a lot of work to cut the pieces up small enough. "On par with white gas stoves" is pushing it.

The two must have accessories would be - bushcraft napalm [which I'll show you how to make in another post] and a pair of secateurs which would be the perfect way to keep it topped up with its preferred stick size of 6mm x 50mm aka quarter of. by two inches.

On the way home we have a 'petrol in a diesel' mishap and ended up by the side of the road with no phone charge, TNM fired up the stove while I walked to the nearest garage and got his phone working again, which was nice.

More soon
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