Now we are charging with fire!

It is March, which at our house means we keep our eyes open for several things — blooms in the garden, peas growing, and our REI dividends!

We decided to visit REI with our dividends burning holes in our pockets, and I picked up something that folks on one of my favorite camping forums have been talking about. That night, when we fired her up, I was totally geeking out over what I bought.

BioLite has created a camp stove that not only boils water in 5-8 minutes (depending on your fire level), but will also charge your cell phone though a USB cable attached to the stove. I know right? The cavemen were a bit short sighted here! Ha!

There are several fantastic things about this device:
• It is easy to light and keep going. It is roughly the size of a Nalgene water bottle.
• Depending on your battery level, the phone can charge in an hour or so (longer if it is really low – your fire will make a difference in how quickly the phone charges as well)
• The legs fold up and it packs pretty small and is fairly light weight (it isn’t our lightest camp stove, but our others only cook and they require us to carry fuel)
• You can multi-task, cooking and charging at the same time!

Two of my very favorite things are: the fuel is anything you have around, which means you don’t have to bring your own fuel (unless you are like us and have several birch fences that have fallen down and you want to get rid of them) and it can keep the kids busy searching for pine cone, pine needles, small sticks, cardboard, etc. Aren’t we always looking for things to keep them busy especially when the proclamations of boredom start coming at rapid fire speed?

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Even though we put a tile underneath the stove our first go, we found it stayed cool under the stove, and probably won’t need it again in the future.

I think the stove is going to get a lot of use and is a welcome addition to my kit. Not just for camping, but also for that ‘just in case’. They keep saying the big one is going to hit us, someday. Boy, that got depressing fast…moving on!

The stove comes with a small amount of wood block, a stuff sack, and a USB cord for internal charging (of the BioLite battery). They are selling for $129.99, either on their website or at REI (not sure what other retailers have them for). They also have a grill attachment which is sold separately, but I haven’t ponied up for that and can’t speak to it yet.

If my word isn’t good enough, it was also voted as an “editor’s choice” this year in Climbing. Someone else likes it too!

Lastly, the company itself is doing some really good things world-wide, by supplying home stoves to folks, using the same technology as the camp stove to improve their living conditions. Check out their website for more information.

Happy camping (and charging)!

Update: We have added the BioLite Grill and the Kettle. The grill has been amazing, and we will be using the kettle on the next trip, so a review is in it’s way!

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