True North Blog

Equipment Review: The BioLite “CampStove”

Equipment Review: The BioLite "CampStove"

I came across a product about six months ago that I thought might be very useful in the backcountry, but, since I was busy with other projects, I filed it away with the genuine intent of reexamining it later when I had some more time.  However, after watching repeated news updates about the sufferings of residents in the metropolitan New York City region following Superstorm Sandy a few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to pull out that file and take another look.  The product is the CampStove by BioLite.

Initially, my problem was needing to recharge my iPhone while on extended courses or outings.  I am not an active technology user, especially in the woods, but I have  found that a smartphone can be a terrific safety and teaching device.  Before I even venture out, alone or with a group, I use various applications to check such things as the weather, river speeds, and sunrise and sunset.  And, of course, throughout, I recheck many of them for updates.  I also use other applications to test students when teaching land navigation since it can be very helpful to confirm UTM coordinates or elevation.  Plus, I also try to make periodic telephone calls as a “safety check.”  This is great, but all of these uses quickly drain an iPhone battery, especially when you are in a remote area with limited cell tower coverage for days at a clip.  For this reason, I am very careful not to let my battery dip below a certain level.  After all, what if there is an emergency and I need to contact EMS or the Ranger Station, right?

So, over the last year, I’ve looked at various options, including solar panels, but none seemed even remotely practical until I saw the BioLite Campstove.  Rather than let me describe it, just check out their video:

So, basically, I am considering picking one up for True North.  I don’t necessarily need it to cook since I usually do so over coals, but when I can’t, the CampStove might be a useful alternative, especially since I hate lugging a traditional stove and fuel set.  At $129 it is not cheap, but considering that I could recharge my iPhone in the evening, plus participants could borrow it to do the same, I think that it might be well worth considering.

Wait a minute, what has this to do with Sandy?

I have seen and read numerous newscasts about victims continuously searching for a location, or waiting in long lines, to recharge their telephones.  Buying a Campstove for one’s home emergency kit, would not only easily solve this problem, but it could also provide a means to cook, boil water for drinking, maybe even provide some heat if used appropriately.  After all … Think about it … under such conditions like those caused by Superstorm Sandy, an urban environment quickly becomes a “wilderness” environment real fast.

I am betting, then, that the BioLite Campstove might come in handy.


So what do you think?  Have you already used the BioLite Campstove?  We’d love to read and share your comments, so please feel free to email us.


Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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