Life is getting better all the time. Just a few years ago, it was impossible to imagine a time when we would carry all the information in the world in our pockets. Now we can charge those devices with our camping stoves!
Yes, the BioLite CampStove 2 charges a battery capable of charging a device as it burns, which also powers a fan to oxygenate the fire. In addition, it comes with an LED light to facilitate night-time cooking, and you can buy add-on goodies like a grill and coffee press to make camping even more fun.
A Quick Look at the BioLite CampStove 2
- Where to buy: Find the BioLite CampStove 2 at the manufacturer or with the add-ons of cooking implements, including a grill, at REI.
- Best for: Individuals or small groups who want to cook over a nearly smokeless fire, and anyone who wants the convenience of being able to charge a device while away from home.
- Pros: A green choice for cooking while camping, this stove produces 95% less smoke emission than a traditional campfire. The onboard battery with a fan helps the fire burn hotter, allowing the most efficient use of available fuel – even when it’s damp.
- Cons: When the onboard battery has a charge below 50%, the reserve power is designated for fan use, so don’t expect it to charge your phone or any other micro-USB device at that point. Additionally, using the fire to charge the battery on the stove can take many hours, so don’t plan on charging a device fully every day with this stove.
- Alternatives: While there are no other stoves on the market with the same battery-powered fan concept, there are several biomass stoves available. The Solo Stove Campfire 2 is able to boil water quickly with its double-walled construction to increase airflow to the fire. If you are looking for a smaller and lighter biomass stove, the Toaks Titanium Backpacking Wood Stove nests into itself and weighs about eight ounces.
Why Trust Me
Hi! I’m Jen, a lover of all things outdoors and adventurous. I have been traveling the world, camping, and experiencing nature in all forms since before I could walk. Since I am into my fourth decade of camping, I have found that my standards for gear quality and utility have been getting higher. I do not have much patience for things that do not work well, or for things that work well once and then quit. I am looking for quality over quantity in outdoor equipment. I want to help you make the best choice in your own purchase of gear, too, so I have done extensive research on the BioLite CampStove 2 to help with your decision-making.
A Detailed Review of the BioLite CampStove 2
Ease of Use
Since the CampStove 2 is able to burn any available biomass, there is no need to pack additional fuel, which can save on weight in your pack. The integrated battery-powered fan will help keep the fire going efficiently and cause it to burn at a hotter temperature than a small biomass stove would normally be able to achieve. This means that the CampStove 2 can boil water faster than biomass stoves of a similar size.
Additionally, the battery-powered fan makes preparing to cook simply a matter of lighting a fire starter and tossing in twigs, pinecones, or other available fuel as the fire burns.
The onboard battery (or ‘power pack,’ as BioLite calls it) nests inside the burn chamber of the stove to help reduce its size for packing. At around two pounds and eight inches tall, it is heavier than some stoves, which can be a consideration if you are already carrying a heavy pack. The legs of the stove, which offer stability while burning, do fold up to allow for ease of stowing.
Additionally, if you chose the CoffeePress bundle, the CoffeePress nests inside the KettlePot, and the CampStove nests inside both. Cozy!
The CampStove 2 is able to charge a micro-USB device when its onboard battery is full. An Android-compatible micro-USB cord is included with the stove, but you can use any USB-compatible cord with the CampStove 2.
The manufacturer recommends charging the battery on the CampStove fully before leaving home to help facilitate this, since charging the onboard battery by burning the fire is very slow, and the use of the fan (which helps maintain the fire) is the focus of the battery below a 50% charge. It seems unlikely that a device would be charged by the CampStove 2 if it needs daily charging, so if you have a device that requires a lot of charge, you might want to consider a supplemental solar panel charging device when you are away from home.
If you choose the Coffee Press Bundle, the included grill has space for up to six hotdogs, which means that subsisting on re-hydrated food in the backcountry is no longer your only option. The grill alone offers flexibility in cooking that a typical gas-powered camp stove does not have.
Additionally, the Coffee Press Bundle includes a French press-style coffee maker for making your favorite hot beverage away from home. The KettlePot, which as its name implies truly is a cross between a kettle and a pot, holds 1.5 liters of liquid, which is enough to serve several people.
Value and Cost
Any camp stove is an investment financially, but that cost needs to be weighed against the utility of the gear itself. The cost of the CampStove 2 is comparable in price to a high-end canister stove, but without the additional cost of buying canisters of fuel.
There are other biomass camping stoves on the market, but currently none of them have the onboard fan or battery-charging capability that the CampStove 2 has. There is also value in being able to charge a device away from home without packing an additional power bank or solar panel.
What I Like About the BioLite CampStove 2
One thing that users of the CampStove 2 agree upon is that the included battery-operated fan is able to keep the fire burning briskly with very little effort. In fact, many users report that once the fire is established and the fan is blowing, it becomes possible to burn even damp wood or other items that would normally not burn well in a biomass stove. This is good news for people camping in areas that receive a lot of rain and have little available dry wood.
If you chose the CampStove Coffee Press Bundle option, the included French press and grill make for some luxurious and pleasant cooking options!
What I Don’t Like About the BioLite CampStove 2
The innovation of the onboard battery is fascinating from both a design and function perspective, but with the potential number of devices that inhabit our daily lives, it could use a little upgrade. Getting two or even three charges of a device from a fully-charged onboard battery would be very helpful. Perhaps a future version of this stove will add some solar panels to help facilitate a fast, green charge of devices away from home.
While there are no other stoves that offer everything that the BioLite CampStove 2 has, there are other quality biomass camping stoves on the market. If you are looking for a stove with a similar cooking capacity, Solo Stove Campfire 2 can handle cooking for small groups.
The TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove can hold a one-liter pot and burns available fuel efficiently. While much lighter and smaller than either the Solo Stove Campfire 2 or the BioLite CampStove 2, it also does not have the same number of available accessories that those stoves offer.
FAQs About the BioLite CampStove 2
Would the BioLite CampStove 2 be a good choice for backcountry camping?
Absolutely! While it is sometimes marketed as ‘the stove the charges phones,’ the real benefit of the CampStove 2 is the fan. The focus of the stove and battery combination is the charging of the battery to power the fan, because that makes fire more efficient and allows the burning of damp or even wet biomass material after the fire is established. Packing the CampStove 2 in your pack means that you don’t need to worry about packing any fuel, unless you plan to be hiking and camping in areas without much available biomass. In that case, you might want to consider carrying some clean-burning wood pellets which are readily available at any home improvement center.
Can the BioLite CampStove 2 charge my cell phone every day? Do I need to have a fire burning to use the battery to charge a device?
The CampStove 2 is probably not able to charge a device every day. The company suggests that a fully-charged battery on the stove holds one phone charge. You can charge from the onboard battery when there is no fire burning, so it is possible to charge a device even while hiking or sleeping.
The BioLite CampStove 2 is an innovative camp stove that can burn a variety of biomass fuels, power its own fan, and carry enough battery juice to charge a device. This stove burns at a high temperature, thanks to the integrated fan, and can burn almost indefinitely as long as it’s well-fed.
The CoffeePress bundle makes the CampStove 2 a good choice for small groups, and grilling over the nearly-smokeless fire is a very nice option. While a one-time device charge from a full onboard battery is a nice side benefit, it is not the only reason to consider the CampStove 2. This stove and its add-on accessories shine brightly on their own, with the optional device charging capabilities a pleasant bonus. Happy camping!