About the Biolite stove

5:40 p.m. on November 30, 2012 (EST)
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I would put this on the same post as before but I think because of the video the internet place I am using won't open the post, so I am starting it anew.

I think from watching the Trailspace at Youtube video:BIOLITE Camp Stove and recharger Field Test ... works! 


I think that I would buy this stove  mainly to recharge my phone and other things in the field. (sorry for the bold, but again this internet place seems to be working against me changing it to normal type)? 

From what I see in the video it seems to work fairly well and make a good fire. The stove is a bit larger than a Nalgene bottle, at least thats what I had heard it was. But it looks like a decent size for a wood stove/camp stove. 

What do you others think? Has anyone here actually tried the stove? 

9:15 p.m. on November 30, 2012 (EST)
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Gary,

I haven't used it myself, but did watch a demonstration of it at the Outdoor Retailer Show last summer. The idea is an interesting one (thermoelectric generation has been around for a while, though not in this application). Yes, the stove is about the size of a 1 liter Nalgene. And yes, it does generate enough electricity to charge small electronic devices with a USB connection.

From my discussion with the people at the show booth, it does take a bit of time to charge an iPhone or iPad, or a set of AA batteries - realistically, 2 to 3 hours in most cases (though the claimed iPhone recharge time was 15-30 minutes). It did seem to work reasonably well for cooking (the demo included boiling water for coffee/tea/soup/freezedry food, plus cooking up a fresh chicken and noodles dish).

The big problem to me is the fuel question, along with potential fire restrictions. You have to gather small sticks, leaves, and other wood-type fuel. No logs, of course, like a campfire. But in many places you might camp, you are not allowed to gather the downed wood, and certainly not break limbs off trees. Buying a bundle of wood at the camp office means having some means to split it up into kindling or smaller pieces (plus the cost). If you are in some parts of the world where there is plenty of down wood, fine. Charging a bunch of electronic widgets means hanging around keeping the fire stoked for the 2 or 3 needed hours. Plus, there may be local restrictions forbidding open flames (in early November, a group of us were in the campground at Pinnacles National Monument, and the rules had a ban on charcoal as well as wood fires - only camp stoves were allowed).

Oh, and the stove seemed a bit on the heavy side, mostly in the thermoelectric module that clips on the side of the fire cylinder.

I will stick with my butane and white gas stoves. I have seen a couple items about thermoelectric generators that could be used with a backpacking stove. Question is, what is the cost of keeping the stove burning long enough to charge the batteries?

12:49 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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Yes, I like my MSR Pocket Rocket stove I have been useing for 10 years and will continue to for may more to come. I have been using these kinds of stoves since the late 70s.

And I didn't think about the amount of time it could take to charge things, 2-3 hours would be a long time to keep a fire going in the stove, plus like Bill S said finding enough small wood to do so, plus fire restrictions.

 

6:40 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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even without all the restrictions, where you going to get enough kindling to keep that thing going for four hours? seems impractical to me. I'll keep my windpro.

8:18 a.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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A review will be posted in a few days, so hang in there and be patient!

12:55 p.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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I wonder if the three hour charge time is from zero to 100 percent charge. It seems to me that if everytime you used the stove, you charged your phone it would never be in a totally dead state. My phone takes two hrs to charge at home, if its totally dead. But I can charge it a little several times a day to maintain a nearly full charge. If you charged it 15 mins at breakfast and dinner, you could maintain a useable phone.

1:09 p.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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I wonder how the charge times would vary in comparison from a phone that has a standard size 1700+ mah battery to a phone such as my Droid Razr Maxx that utilizes a 3300mah battery. 

Hmmmm....

4:42 p.m. on December 3, 2012 (EST)
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This stove was also reviewed in Climbing Magazine this month.  I wonder if the added weight of the stove is offset by the weight saved by not carrying fuel. 

Also, I wonder if it would be better to carry a 2nd battery for your electric gadget. 

On longer trips, in areas where there is wood (high alpine areas aare excluded from this category) it sounnds like a great idea.  Timw will tell if the execution works out.

What I want to see is a scaled up model so I can get my own electric power to run my house from the heat of the wood burning stove that heats my house.

5:28 p.m. on December 9, 2012 (EST)
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There is also The Power Pot which you use with your own stove. It looks like it would be fine for a single person.  Not sure about charge times though. 


Also, Harbor Freight is carrying several small solar charges for phones and like devices.  I picked up a small 1 watt charger that connects to a bunch of different devices. It is about the slze of a large phone and has a clip on the back.  My though is that I can clip it to the top of my pack and plug it in to a phone or GPS receiver and charge as I walk along.  The also have a 5 watt folding unit. 

1 Watt Solar Power Pack This is what I got.  We'll see how it works.

I did not find the 5 watt on online.  But there are some others that could work.  One being a 13 watt folding unit.  Although probably to heavy for back packing.

Wolf

EDIT:  Amazon has the 5 watt unit for less then HF

PowerFilm 5W F15-300N Foldable Solar Charger

5:46 p.m. on December 9, 2012 (EST)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Also, I wonder if it would be better to carry a 2nd battery for your electric gadget.

The battery in my phone is non-removable.

7:36 p.m. on December 26, 2012 (EST)
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I think the Biolite stove is a great stove for emergency home use where you can keep a store of fuel and such, but it isn't flexible enough for backcountry use. A kettle like the BackCountry Boiler can burn both wood and alcohol, so you can use it in places with restrictions on harvesting wood, which are common in the best backpacking destinations in the Cascades, especially above 5000 feet where harvesting wood has a significant ecological impact.

So instead I'll be carrying a Goal Zero solar panel to charge my devices instead, especially my Hero3 :)

7:34 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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For all of those that are interested In the biolite, tere is a new product on the market called the Power Pot. I just posted a review of the Power Pot, recommend checking it out if you are interested in a sustainable energy solution.

10:23 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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If you need to recharge your equipment in the backcountry, you will have a much more difficult time recharging yourself.

10:45 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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Ppine, not sure exactly what you mean by that?

11:54 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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I have a wind-up radio that also has a solar panel. It has a USB port and can charge things like my phone with the solar panel. Being I am more a bicycle tourist now than a long distance backpacker I have the need to recharge things like my camera/flashlight batteries, phone and such. A butane/propane stove that had a recharging system would be more what I want. There's not always wood around when I stop to cook a meal on the road.

Or maybe I should go back to a MSR stove as fuel for them is more available. I have been using my pocket rocket for 10 years, but cannot always find fuel canisters. I carry two so I don't run low. One canister lasts me about two weeks of cooking once a day.

11:02 a.m. on January 20, 2013 (EST)
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Rambler.  Staying connected in the backcountry with electronic devices that require a charger, like a CrackBerry, brings all your culture with you.

It makes it much more difficult to experience outdoor re-creation.

To unplug is to recharge your spirit, psyche, and sense of self.

12:01 p.m. on January 20, 2013 (EST)
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I never use my phone when backpacking, rarely works in the back-country anyway. But on my bike tours I do use it to keep in touch with friends and relatives. And I like to charge my batteries for my camera and the use of  wood fire make electricity or charge would come in handy when I am away from AC current whether in the back-country or on the open road.


Gary-in-29-Palms-at-downtown-mural.jpg

From my last bike tour while in Twentynine Palms CA in late November 2012.

7:25 a.m. on January 21, 2013 (EST)
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Ppine, i also rarely use my phone in the backcountry, as a phone anyway. I use it for lots of other things. As a gps, electronic maps, satellite photos, soon/moon/tide info, camera, video recorder, audio recorder, backup flashlight, celestial info, plant and animal info, journal. Lots of things. I am not sitting there scoping facebook and making calls every few mins. I call my wife every night if i have signal to check in, but other than that my phone stays on "airplane" mode and i just use the maps and gps primarily.

I also have a garmin rhino gps that has a rechargeable battery i take sometimes, my light and motion solite 150 headlamp has a rechargeable battery, my steripen uses batteries as well.

I deffinitely "unplug" when i go out into the backcountry. This is an age of technology, use it or not, it is completely up to the individual. You can relax and recharge yourself even if you use an electronic map, gps, or listen to a weather radio.

If its not your cup of tea then don't bring anything electronic with you. I like the convienience of alot of those items though. And since they all have 1 thing in common...rechargeable batteries, it makes sense to have a way to recharge them when needed on longer trips.

Some people choose to only carry a headlamp, and that is fine by me. But I don't carry only a headlamp. Hike your own hike.

11:13 a.m. on January 22, 2013 (EST)
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It's not necessary to be a Luddite about the available technologies. Even a watch is a technological gadget, and it even doubles as a compass! And this website is, after all, about equipment.

Regardless of how we view them, some modern gadgets have indisputable benefits for safety. I carry my cell phone to the TH so people can reach me on it while I'm en route, then turn it off and carry it in case of an emergency. I am also aware that it might not work once I'm back in the bush somewhere. My All-Clear UV system can also be charged off a USB port, although with 60 litres per charge, I wouldn't expect to have to do it on the trail. 

The easiest system I ever saw was a solar panel lashed to the top of a pack, presumably feeding a gadget inside. Simple, lightweight and efficient, and suited to a unit that will only be used briefly on the trail. .

I'll have to read the reviews on the BioLite in more detail. 

December 20, 2014
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