Skip to comments.Portable camping stove charges gadgets
Posted on 02/09/2012 4:58:00 PM PST by SJackson
Charging gadgets out in the wilderness is a challenge, but the BioLite CampStove could change that for the power-hungry. This 2-pound portable device features a USB port that can power or charge devices while you burn biomass.
So how does it work? Well, the thermal energy of the fire delivers power to fans inside the stove through a thermoelectric module. These fans blow air on the fire to improve combustion, which in turn creates excess energy. A USB port delivers the extra energy generated by the fire for charging devices such as smartphones, LED lights, or GPS units.
The efficient design is perfect for the green geek: It greatly reduces smoke and therefore creates a minimal carbon footprint. It's also a neat option for those who invest in survival gear.
The CampStove folds into an 8.25 inch by 5 inch package, and its creators say its "quick to light, fast to boil and clean to use."
Recommended ingredients for charging via campfire include things such as sticks, pinecones, and other natural materials (including animal waste). The BioLite CampStove is available for preorder ($129) with an expected summer release
An interesting gadget, though I admit in the backcountry I have no need to haul 2 pounds to plug anything into a usb port. Stove is cute, but isn't sold separately. But there's nothing "green" about burning carbon, so I'm told. And I recognize this is a contained combustion chamber. And twigs are carbon.
Were I in the Obama administration, I'd give them $100 million.
That’s an interesting little piece of gear, not very expensive and fueled by just about anything combustible. Very useful.
Looks like a solution in search of a problem. It’s really not that hard to charge through a car power port, or a small solar panel, or just bring a few batteries (much lighter), or just learn how to live a few days WITHOUT your I-phone.
Bump for later review.
While it may be being marketing to “campers” that little thing has prepper written all over it. Fuel it with most anything that burns, apparently very thorough combustion to limit or possibly even eliminate telltale smoke, heat or cook your food and charge electrical devices. They’ll sell a boatload of them if advertised in the right places.
Never have I seen a more useless and overpriced camping item. Who wants to add 2 lbs to their pack so they can charge something unnecessary?
These greenies really know their science!
It’s nice, without the charging nonsense. Which would make it less expensive. Of course you can make a serviceable twig stove from a coffee can, but it’s interesting. It’s also top heavy.
I’d go with the batteries, I don’t think this is directed at people near cars. I’m not a big gps/cell phone person in the backcountry, the phones don’t work and the batteries on a map don’t run out. But I’ll speculate there’s a market for this. If it was a third of the price and weight without the charger it would be very interesting.
The charging nonsense provides the ability to charge battery operated electrical devices, so it’s a source of electricity. Upthread, someone noted that a personal solar panel was lighter, but last I checked they run around $300, over twice the cost of this. Not dependent upon sunlight either, just enough of something combustible. Thorough combustion greatly reduces or eliminates smoke.
Discount the mindset as paranoia or whatever, there is a substantial market for this thing, provided it’s durable and delivers upon the capabilities as promised.
Sounds like a good idea unless they’re using proprietary propane or butane fuel cartridges.
Uses twigs for fuel. Newspapers, pine cones and such would work.
Oh, one of those. Anyone remember that thermo-electric fridge that Popular Mechanics sold that was supposed to work of your cigarette lighter?
Not sure how large the market is for these things, but without the charger, which I don’t need and would be better as an opeion, I think it’s interesting. I suspect the vertical design could be more efficient, though less stable, than flatter twig stoves. I’d offer it without the charger too.
If it performs as advertised, they’ll sell quite well as is, if they ditch the green boilerplate and concentrate upon preppers, who will be taken by the utility of it, the portability of it even though it’s not as light as a true camp stove, as well as the low visibility it would afford in a potentially bad situation. Advertise it where ever bulk nonperishables are advertised, and the right market will be reached.
It’s not a true camp stove because being ultra-portable, while important runs second to utility in the event of a large scale economic and/or social breakdown. No need for fuel other than detritus scavenged off the forest floor or even flammable garbage. Small communication devices can be kept charged, LED lights, maybe even some personal security items, too.
Put yourself into the mindset ... you’ve got a bugout location, possibly some rural land but cell reception is not entirely out of the question. Finances prevent building anything much but you’re worried. You’ve built up a store of nonperishables, you know where and how to get water, you’ve got means of defending yourself. How do you cook your food or get warmth in cold weather, without attracting unwanted attention?
That sort of person will go for this, and there are a surprising number of them. Just read any FR “prepper” thread. If even a quarter of what is described is honest and accurate, they’ll sell several hundred to FReepers alone, imho.
But could it be made larger say something you could heat cabin, cook food, and charge batteries say 12v 300 watts or so
That would be something else.
An alt fuel generator is what it is, just writ small.
That type of stove has been around for awhile. A guy at my alma-mater developed one of the first and it is a huge help in third-world countries. One of his sales things on his website has some gal saying that instead of searching for wood 3 hours every day in some desert African country, she does it 3 hours once a week (or something). Is also cleaner burning in her hut.
Not sure if she needs the usb charger - but if the power goes out for a week (bad storm) or months (???) - it would come in handy.
“Oh, one of those. Anyone remember that thermo-electric fridge that Popular Mechanics sold that was supposed to work of your cigarette lighter? “
They actually do work, but they are extremely inefficient. That’s why I’d instead go with a small generator or inverter (powered from a car alternator). Run the engine an hour or so every day or two to charge things up (all at the same time, and a LOT more capacity). If people want to go the extra step, they can buy a solar powered charger, just make sure it’s big enough to deliver at least 5 Watts, or you might be waiting days for your unit to charge.
Can you post a link? Or, you can FReepmail it.
I-phone is worthless if you’re more than 10 miles or so from a tower anyway.
Started looking at the concept in 1986, developed one in 2000 for sale. Wood “gasification” - not just burning.
There are very few places, mostly remote barrier islands or isolate mountain valleys, where I don’t get a usable signal on my iPad. It might crawl out in the boonies, but function it does. GPS, internet, e-mail, v-mail, all very useful things, so long as the infrastructure supporting those services is functional.
One of the more interesting ancient innovations is called the oven-stove, which uses a small, intense fire to heat bricks or stone that give off infrared radiation for hours. It is very fuel conservative. (They look really neat, too. Lots nice pictures.)
However, the drawback to such stoves is that they are massive. Yet with nanotechnology, perhaps this no longer has to be the case.
New classes of batteries are being developed using nanotechnology, with the idea that they have so much more surface area that they can both charge quicker and hold vastly more energy.
What if, instead of electrical conduction, such technology was used for heat conduction? That is, imagine an object the size of a paper towel tube that could be plugged in to an electrical socket to become intensely hot with far more energy than could be contained in a typical object that size.
Wrapped in an advanced insulator, like aerogel, that does not melt until over 2,000F, it would preserve much of that heat, which could then be carried to a campground where it would give off a lot of invisible infrared radiation, to the same effect as an oven-stove.
Oh, wood gas, lol! My family weren’t hippies but were sort of back to the earth types in the seventies, and subscribed to Mother Earth News.
I’ve got the plans for wood gas conversion using any older, pre-emissions pickup truck, I found them in my dad’s papers after he passed away in 2008. Looks sort of like a still in the bed, with a smokestack. Runs best on wood chips or sawdust, which could be had for the hauling off back then. Now, I don’t know. The thing did run and was serviceable enough, if you didn’t mind chugging around in sort of a Mad Max contraption, lol.
There were also plans for a hobbyist conversion of a Porsche 911 or Fiat X1/9 to battery power, a fairly clean swap in the engine bay. I’d certainly hate to get rear-ended with that much battery acid all pent up back there.
The ‘pad is more sensitive than the phone for sure, but it sputters around 17 miles if the line of sight is clear.
Sounds like your friend and these guys need to put their heads together. The wood gasification stoves on the site seem very nice but draw electrical power, rather than produce it. Put the two together and you’d really have something. Scale it up just a tad, and you’d have a wood-fired electrical generator.
I’ve not taken the iPad too far afield, but the only “no signal” instances I’ve experienced were on Portsmouth Island, NC, on the Ocracoke-Swan Quarter Ferry and way back in the Smokies. Worked everywhere else. It has a nice GPS. This is a first generation model, too.
“Oh, one of those. Anyone remember that thermo-electric fridge that Popular Mechanics sold that was supposed to work of your cigarette lighter?”
Yep, I have one that I use when travelling. It cools cold drinks and sandwiches pretty well, but the fan is noisy and it pulls about 3.5A continously from the 12V port. That means I unplug it when I stop for a while or overnight else I risk draining the vehicle battery.
I was thinking of the backpacking market. You may be right, and they have a larger model on their website for more stationary use.
Mine is about the same age as yours
Great stove that svea 123.My wife can have a 3 course meal
ready in no time with it
It does make a bit of noise tho
When I was studying Electronics in college I thought about making a gadget like that. It never got past the sketching stage. *sigh* Another invention I let slip away.
This may be what 21twelve is referring to ~
Ah yes, the perfect gift for a hutwife.
May God bless.
The BioLite CampStove website does not specify how many watts are output; I suspect only a few. A small 10 watt solar panel nowadays would cost less and probably be more practical.
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