Gear Review: Camping and Cooking with BioLite

Gear Review: Camping and Cooking with BioLite

My friends and I owe BioLite our gratitude for feeding us, charging our gadgets, and causing fellow campers to come and ask “Whoa, what’s that thing?”

The BioLite bundle includes the handy wood-burning CampStove, the Portable Grill, and the Kettlepot, a trio of useful outdoor products we put to good use in the Los Padres National Forest.

The stove uses organic fuel like twigs, chips, and sticks to light up a robust fire for your camping needs. As an added bonus, the turbine-powered battery unit generates a thermo charge for keeping small gadgets powered, even providing a smartphone with talk time and usage. Let’s light it up!

The Bundle: CampStove, Portable Grill, and KettlePot.

Setting up the CampStove is simple. Fold out the metal legs to stand the unit up, and mount the power pack onto the fuel container. I loaded it with some woodchips from the supply station—make sure the fuel is dry, so the fire doesn’t smoke too much—and used one of the starter sticks to light it up, then flipped on the fan. The turbine produced a satisfying drone as the fire heated up, and soon I had an attractive vortex of flame in the container.

I attached the Portable Grill to the stove, and it heated up quickly. I got a mountain-meets-millennial man vibe from flipping open the lid and feeding the fire with some twigs and sticks I found on the ground. With enough real estate for several burger patties or hot dogs, my friends and I had dinner in a manner of minutes. You need to watch it closely, as the heat is strong enough to torch your food if you’re not careful. (You may have noticed those hot dogs were a little too done in the video above. Stop judging me. Here’s a great Grill Instruction video that BioLite produced, with a far more expert users than me.)

Lastly, there’s the KettlePot. It’s a simple and reliable 1.5-liter pot for boiling water or cooking soup or other liquid meals. Just like the grill, it heated up fast, and my friends and I were enjoying instant coffee—or, as much as you can enjoy the swill that my friend brought—in minutes. Here’s a nice bonus: It’s big enough to store the CampStove! When disassembled, the stove’s charging unit fits into the fuel container, and the whole thing goes into the KettlePot like a set of Russian dolls.

How’s the gadget charging?

The CampStove’s charging capabilities depend on what kind of fire you’re burning, and what kind of device you’re charging. It outputs a 2-watt charge during continuous charging, and since phones require a lot more than that, you really can’t expect to get a full battery on a smartphone. But if you need an hour of talk time, or enough juice to take some photos or play some music, this little gadget is perfect. USB-powered lights, Bluetooth speakers, or other low-consumption gadgets would be great to use with it.

My HTC One’s battery increased 5% after about a half-hour of feeding the flame with standard firewood chips and some twigs, and that was with the power-hogging mobile data turned off. 5% may not sound like much, but keep in mind you’re not plugging into a wall outlet here. For an outdoor trip, especially one where you might need to make an emergency call for whatever reason, that extra 5% could be crucial. Plus, that extra juice allowed me to take these photos and shoot the video above. Maybe it just wanted to show off.


All in all, these products are intuitively designed and beautifully engineered. We enjoyed using all three items, and explaining how cool they were to curious onlookers around the camp. I definitely plan to use these on my next camping trip. I can see it as especially useful for a multi-day trek into a remote location where I don’t have access to fire pits or a supply station. The items are compact and decently lightweight, so backpacking is definitely a viable option. If you’re looking for a unique, 21st century solution to cooking and heating, you’ll definitely want BioLite in the wilderness with you.

Want to take the CampStove bundle on your next trip? Get it here!

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