Biolite has recently released a new version of the world famous Biolite stove. It can cook your food, boil your water, charge your phone and other electronics all from a little portable camp stove you can carry around with you in a backpack and fuel with things you can find laying around your yard. The upgrades to the CampStove 2 defiantly made it a more useful tool in the outdoors for relying on cooking and power.
Construction of the CampStove
The new BioLite 2 Stove is constructed very similar to the original. It has a metal container with a heat shield around the outside to calm down the inferno that ignites inside. The lighted legs of the stove fold up under the stove for compact storage. The fan port and heat sink port remain in about the same location. While the previous version of the power unit will loosely fit in the new metal stove, the new unit will not fit in the old because of the larger heat port.
The power unit was a huge upgraded, with indicator lights, a battery, double sized heat sync. All without adding too much weight, and still remains an viable option for a backpacking stove. The built in fan is more powerful that the previous version and makes it a lot easier to start the fire. There was not a significant weight increase of for the added features.
Overall the build quality is very durable while keeping the weight down making it still a viable option for backpacking.
Biolite CampStove 1 vs 2 Weight
Weight of the CampStove 1 and 2 are always a great discussion. Some argue that because you are not caring fuel the the increased weight of the BioLite CampStove over a smaller lighter weight stove are nullable. I suppose it is a personal preference or may depend on the location and availability of fuel. For the first version of the CampStove, we usually would opt for a traditional camping stove like a JetBoil or MSR stove. However, with the updates to the CampStove 2 we find it in out pack most often.
Biolite CampStove 1 vs 2 Power Output
The first version of the CampStove was really unusable as a charger. We always though of it as in the case of an extreme emergency we could use it to possibly charge your phone enough to make an emergency call. The updates to the CampStove 2 have changed our frame of thinking. Now we may leave our solar panel back if we know we will be using the stove. The build in battery made a huge change to the stove as well. I never liked having my phone tethered to anything on fire. With the CampStove 2, you can just go about your cooking and slowly charge the on board battery, then charge your phone from that later.
The stove will put out power at a lower heat output, however for a full 1 amp charge you really need to stoke the fire. BioLite advertises that you can get up to 3 A output from the stove. During our testing burning twigs and branches from around the yard, we never got much more than 1 A output using the Ampeg android app. I find it hard to believe one could get 3 A output even under perfect conditions with this type of fuel.
It needs to be pointed out that while it’s really cool that you can charge your phone from fire, it requires a lot of fuel to keep it charging at a realistic rate. We stuffed full the fuel container and let it burn, we got 1A output for about 5 min. or so before we had to add additional fuel. If you were truly trying to charge a phone from 5% to 100% it would take a lot of fuel. But for bumping up a charge while you are boiling some water it makes a really easy way of doing this.
You can see that just because the flame looks full, the fire LED shows it’s only outputting about half power. This was one of the best additions to the stove. There was a lot of guessing going on with the CampStove 1. Now you can monitor when you need to add fuel more carefully.
A huge improvement for a charging over the previous CampStove. As you can see we have a hot fire going and still are not charging the phone with the CampStove 1.
Biolite Campstove 2 Accessories
The new Campstove 2 comes with a USB light which is great for checking water or food at night. There is now on or off button, just plug it in and it turns on if the stove is generating enough output. The goose neck it not super helpful because it’s just tall enough to reach the top of the grill, and not tall enough to see inside the kettle.
The kettle and grill from the previous version work well with the new CampStove. In fact the new CampStove boils water a little quicker according to our test than the previous version.
If you own the CampStove 1 and have been frustrated with the charging capabilities then the BioLite 2 is a huge improvement over the previous. If you have been thinking about buying the CampStove now is the time. The included light is a nice to have, but don’t place too much value in it. The biggest benefit is having a stove that can boil water is just a few minutes from things found just about anywhere. It’s more expensive that some smaller lighter stoves. However, it can charge your phone or USB devices. You also don’t have to buy additional fuel cells, you can justify the additional cost by not having to buy fuel.
It takes up a lot more room in a pack than a traditional stove. If you are packing the kettle (which the stove fits inside of) it takes up a lot more room. Overall, I feel like the features and benefits out weight the downsides of the stove and would not hesitate to recommend the stove to someone as their only stove.
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