• Ritchie

Biolite CampStove 2: A Review

As a wee interlude from our services blogs we have a short review for you on the Biolite CampStove 2. Now before we continue nobody pays us to review gear, we don't get anything for free, if it is good in our opinion we will say so and why, if it is shit, well likewise.

What exactly is the Biolite CampStove2? A cooker that charges your phone no less. Amazing how technology moves on. A wood fueled burner that turns the heat into electricity and keeps your phone alive and well, amazing.

So does it tick all the boxes?

Let me first say we didn't test the accessories you can see pictured including the jug, reason for that is we would never use them, the boiling jug that you can buy for it is just too big for packing and you probably would rarely fill it to boil 1.5litres of water, you can put the burner inside it which is fine when new but who wants to sit a used burner inside a jug you are going to use to make your coffee with. Gimmicky and pointless for us, the grill well no thanks, again too bulky for packing and for a normal camp you are less likely to use it as you will have a fire going anyway, it also comes with a light you plug into the usb port to power, fancy right? Not for us, if charging phone the usb port will be busy and any other time you probably want to retain the charge for your phone, head-torches work wonders.

So much for the accessories! The main function of this burner and the only reason you would buy it is to have the constant ability to charge your phone when out in the wild. If one day out would you even consider it? Probably not but it does have merit.

So on testing it really worked and it really worked well, burning a nice flame we filled our standard cooking pot (800ml) full, boiling time was under 10 minutes and the flame was still going. 800ml would get 4 coffees nicely. A wee fry pan on top and you will have a nice breakfast going shortly after, time for the coffee to cool a bit, happy days.

The phone charge allows you to fully charge before leaving and so have a back up charge, a bit like a power bank, when the burner is in action and your phone attached you won't lose any charge from the pack as it will convert whatever you lose from the flame.

Our phone was on 35% charge and in around 30 minutes it bounced up to 72% charge, that was phone switched off. Happy with that, it does what it says on the tin.

The plus points:

  • It works and relatively quick at charging a phone

  • No mess, ashes are contained inside the burner

  • Flames up quickly, there is an in built fan which can be regulated and it helps get the fire going, we tested dry wood on embers and flame was good within a few seconds

  • Not quite smokeless but once burning smoke is minimised

  • free standing

  • You will get a brew and brekkie with no real worries

  • You can fuel it with sticks and twigs picked up so no major costs after the fact

  • Handy for longer walks to just keep charged

The draw backs:

  • Bulky, even without the accessories it is a bit big, it packs into itself but once dirty or used you won't want to do that so a lot of space will be needed.

  • Heavier than a standard gas stove and phone charger

  • Side walls are flimsy, pick up the burner by the mesh walls and you feel them crumple inwards (maybe we have superhuman strength though haha)

  • Constant feed of fuel, the fan helps stoke the fire but also helps burn through wood quicker, there are four speeds for the fan and low seems to be sufficient but when we tried to run it with no fan it seemed to automatically kick in.

  • Expensive, just the burner and charger will set you back £100 but shop around, we got ours brand new on ebay auction for £60 so you may get a deal.

All in all the Biolite CampStove 2 does what it says, it's pretty nifty to have a system that will give you a constant phone charge with little effort and also cook you dinner and give you a heat at the same time, the charge is quick and it doesn't make a mess, yes it has it's issues but no doubt technology will move on and things will get smaller in time, for now is it worth packing, for long walks like the West Highland Way we would say hell yeah, be a solid asset. Overnights, stick to the gas stove or a wild fire.