The snow is barely off the ground and already I’m thinking about camping. I’ve been taking inventory of some of my gear to help me decide weather I might need to invest in some new toys this season.
Last year my colleague wrote about some of the things he felt were essential when camping with friends. My list is different, though we do agree on the first item—a fantastic cooking camp stove from Biolite.
BioLite Campstove 2 is brand new
While the Campstove I got is a version prior to the one that’s on the market now (the Campstove2), I still love it.
BioLite’s Campstove 2 is a very smart gadget; it’s basically a mini firepit/stove plus a built in battery charger. The small can (about the size of a Nalgene bottle) with foldable tripod legs will fit in any camping or hiking kit. It’s lightweight and is fueled by sticks, leaves and forest debris; basically free fuel you can find all around you. And no need to haul white gas or propane.
The metal firecan has a cool outer skin that lets you touch it safely. Attached to the side is a power pack unit with a fan that both helps fuel the fire burning inside and takes that heat energy and converts it to electricity so you can plug in any USB cable and power your devices when you’re miles away from AC power. The stove is also almost completely smokeless, and for you detail-oriented campers, the CampStove 2 has a 10,000BTU output.
The top of the can has a special ring that allows you to place small pots on top so you can cook or boil water for that first camp coffee of the day. Of course it’s naturally made to fit BioLite’s own KettlePot but you can use your own small pots or pans too.
In one other genius move, there’s a small included flexible USB LED light that plugs into the power pack for handy illumination.
How does CampStove version 2 compare to the original?
While the Campstove 2 looks very similar to the previous generation, this version will give you 50% more power, and has an updated LED dashboard for improved control and feedback. The power upgrade is nice because it can take a little while to charge a phone on the Gen 1 CampStove. Plus in the new stove, the battery can hold a charge even after fire stops burning.
BioLite Campstove 2 Bundle cost-effective & convenient
One smart way to get yourself kitted out is to invest in one of BioLite’s bundles. The BioLite Campstove 2 Bundle from Best Buy gives you the Campstove 2 with its FlexLight, plus a KettlePot and a Portable Grill attachment.
If I were upgrading, this is the kit I’d chose. The KettlePot is, as the name suggests, both a pot and a kettle (holding 1.5L) so you can pare back the rest of your camping or hiking gear. It also doubles as a handy carrying case for the CampStove.
With the Portable Grill, you can easily cook over wood. The Grill has folding legs and an opening for it to sit over the Campstove 2 so you can still feed the fire. A special piece of the grill spreads heat and flame through the grill pan so your food will cook, and the Stove’s two fan settings help control your heat. It’ll fit four burgers at once and its handy plastic carrying case also doubles as a tray or cutting board.
If you’re not ready to invest in the whole pack, the pieces I mentioned here are also available individually.
Solar power saves the day while camping
Campers and outdoorsy types know power is a constant challenge out in the wilderness. Solar panels have been a good solution but they’re hit and miss when it comes to speed and reliability. BioLite’s SolarPanel 10+ is a good solution. This light, folding solar panel can provide 10 watts of power for charging your smartphone, tablet, camera, or whatever you need. It also has an on-board 3000mAh battery that can store enough energy to fully recharge your smartphone. The SolarPanel has a built-in sundial which helps you align it to the sun for maximum light input. The 360-degree kickstand lets you get it in just the right spot without having to prop it on sticks or rocks.
Check out Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger
If you want to make sure you’ve got juice, bring along a power pack on your next outdoor adventure. Perfect for a smartphone, tablet, or digital camera, the 30W, 7800mAh Venture power pack from Goal Zero features 2 high-speed USB 4.8A ports that can quickly and simultaneously charge two devices. The power pack can even be recharged via USB if you’re near an outlet.
Handily, this device can also be paired with one of Goal Zero’s solar panels including the Nomad 28, which can charge the power pack in around 9 hours with just the sun’s rays. Plus with a weatherproof design, rain and accidents won’t be a problem.
Those are some of the most popular gear picks this season. Have you got a must-have camping gadget that you’re never in the woods without? Tell me what is is in comments.