Biolite Camping Stove Uses Fire To Charge Your iPhone
Going camping this spring? And by “camping” I mean hiking or biking with your home on your back, and heading out into the wilderness. I don’t mean loading up your SUV and dragging a grill, a tent the size of a European house and enough ball games to keep an entire schools-worth of kids occupied for a month.
So, if you’re heading out under your own power, how about taking a stove that a) requires no liquid fuel, b) burns fast and hot and c) charges your iPhone? What’s not to like?
The stove is called the BioLite, and it has been in development for some years. Now, though, it’s near to shipping, and can even be pre-ordered for just $130.
The BioLite burns twigs. You load up the metal basket and light the twigs on fire. So far, so what? Well, the BioLite’s trick is that it uses heat from this fire to generate electricity and power a fan, This fan pumps air into the fire, greatly upping the efficiency and heat, while forcing the fire to burn the combustible gasses that would otherwise drift into the air and cause the planet to overheat like an Englishman’s tea-kettle.
So efficient is this generator that there is power left to spare, and the USB plug on the side can be used to juice an iPhone, run a USB-powered lamp, or pretty much anything else that you have around. What’s more, the folks behind the BioLite also make a larger version for the developing world, called the HomeStove. This is designed for families who usually cook over open fires, and not only is it environmentally better than a plain fire, it also charges cellphones in countries where landlines don’t exist.
As for specs, the BioLite isn’t the lightest stove out there, coming in at 2 pound 1 ounce, or 935 grams. It does pack up small, however, with the electronic part snuggling inside the fire-basket, and the whole lot nestling comfortable in the bottom of a pannier or backpack. I’m in — I might like the romance of cooking and sleeping under the stars, but if I don’t get my dose of Angry Birds before turning in, I just can’t sleep.