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Gear Review: BioLite CampStove

Going where no stove has gone before, this wood-burner also charges your electronics.
FGG12KITCH_BioLite_CampStove_445x260BioLite CampStove

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What’s better than cooking over a fire on a cold fall night? Cooking over a fire while the flames charge your iPod. The BioLite improves on previous wood-burning stoves by converting the stove’s heat into electricity to juice up small electronics. As a cooker, the BioLite performs on par with other wood-burners: It boils a liter of water in 6½ to 14 minutes, depending on the conditions and quality of wood, and requires constant stoking. After burning for five to 15 minutes (again, depending on the ambient conditions and the quality of wood) with the help of the integrated fan, the indicator light turns green and you’re ready to plug into the USB port. Don’t expect to get a full charge on your iPhone in record time, but it’s still pretty miraculous. After 37 minutes, one tester’s iPhone netted a 13-percent increase in power. Bummer: The BioLite is not compatible with all USB devices (such as iPads and several testers’ Android phones). Before you buy, be sure to contact BioLite to see if it’s compatible with yours. Bottom line: While this stove is too clunky (think one-liter Nalgene bottle) and heavy to make it an everyday backpacking choice, being able to harness the energy of cooking is a great option for gadget lovers who want the ability to top off in the field. Other pros and cons are no different from other wood-burning stoves: You’ll enjoy cozy warmth and save fuel weight on longer trips, but you’ll need to find dry wood and clean sooty pots. $129; 2 lbs. 2 oz.; biolitestove.com/ 

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