By Kelsey Sportsman
One of the most pressing issues for backpackers, campers, and explorers alike is the desire to have a heat source that doubles for warmth and cooking all while being light, compact, and easy to use. With those qualities in mind, I have discovered a company called BioLite. BioLite is dedicated to harnessing natural energy from biomass rather than fossil fuel while seeking to bring electricity and heat for cooking to people and families in third world countries.
The BioLite Cook Stove was shipped and arrived at my doorstep the very next day and I made sure to make use of it just as quickly. I went on an evening hike not far from my house specifically to test the BioLite Cook Stove out. I live in Southern California so it remains imperative to note fire hazards such as weather and the environment prior to utilizing any source of heat such as a camp stove or creating a campfire as well as any other local and law enforcement restrictions. That being said, I gathered my California Campfire Permit and began my hike on a small, desert section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
I immediately noticed several things I really liked about the design and functionality of the product. The BioLite Cook Stove delivers on explorers’ desires to have a stove and campfire that is decently light and compact. I read all of the instructions carefully prior to attempting to use the product. If you’re like me, I’m a bit terrified of fire while camping- especially in California due to drought and high-level fire hazards. First, I found a clearing in which was not under any tree limbs or near any bushes- much like one would do in building an old-fashioned campfire- clear of any surroundings to ensure maximum safety. Then, I added one of the included fuel starter pellets and gathered a small, nearby bundle of sticks and added that to the center of the BioLite Cook Stove. I got my lighter and lit the fuel starter for approximately ten seconds and turned the fan on low. Moments later, I had a small campfire and/or heat source to cook over. Later, after about an hour of waiting for the small fire to burn out and turn to ash, I buried the ashes in the dirt and poured water over them to guarantee no flames would arise thereafter.
Here is my breakdown of the BioLite Cook Stove through pros and cons and my first impression right out of the box.
● Functions on biomass alone
● Safer than a traditional campfire
● Ease of use
● Power save time out feature
● Add on features sold by BioLite
● Company’s mission to cultivate change and bring energy everywhere
● Does not come with a cover to put out the fire quicker than it will burn out...wait time
● Fuel starters are unimpressive and do not deliver on the promise of “smokeless flames”
● California’s drought...doesn’t seem as safe to use here
● Something you definitely need to read the instructions for!