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The core concept of a stove is pretty simple: it's an enclosed space where fuel is burned, and heat is channeled in one direction. Just this week, we showed you the improvised “hobo stove” that can be made from a cut-up tin can. Now, we're going to the opposite end of the spectrum, with a design that's as high-tech as it gets.
BioLite produces a pair of compact, portable wood-burning camp stoves. First, there's the BioLite CampStove (not the most creative name we've heard). This model not only produces a small and efficient fire from twigs, it uses this energy to charge electronic devices via a USB port.
The CampStove design is ingenious because it recycles some of the heat from the fire, and converts it into electricity through a Thermoelectric Generator (TEG). Some of that electricity drives a fan that keeps feeding the fire with oxygen, but most of it powers a USB port, which you can plug small electronic devices into. If you don't need to charge anything, it also comes with a USB FlexLight, which you can use for map reading or illuminating a work area.
Turning wood into a toasty fire and an instant charger for your electronics or batteries—that's killing two birds with one stone. Biolite also offers a KettlePot for boiling water on the stove, and a portable grill attachment.
More recently, BioLite has launched a second model of stove: the CookStove. This model is designed to replace traditional gas-powered camp stoves, and uses a USB-rechargeable battery pack to power a small fan system. The fan uses four adjustable speeds to alter airflow and flame size, allowing you to produce a calm smokeless campfire or a turbocharged fire for boiling water ASAP.
This means no more lugging around natural gas canisters for your stove, and no choking on the smoke from your campfire. The integrated fan's batteries are said to last for about 30 hours on a single charge.
For survival purposes, we'd probably lean towards the versatility and USB charging abilities of the CampStove, but we could also see the smokeless fire of the CookStove being useful for concealment. The CampStove is sold for an MSRP of $130, while the CookStove is $100.
We hope to get our hands on one (or both) of these high-tech BioLite stoves in the future, and if we do, we'll be sure to let you know if they work as advertised.
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