I doubt anyone’s first blush reaction to BioLite’s stoves has been anything other than, “there’s no way this works,” but holy crap, they work. Using nothing but some sticks, some kindling, and a built-in fan with four speed settings, you can get a safe, easy fire going in your CampStove 2, and harness some of that energy to top off your devices in the process. The revamped dashboard even provides real-time feedback of your fire’s intensity, to compensate for your view of the flames getting obscured when cooking. I did my testing on my balcony, and never had a moment where I was worried the smoke or fire were getting too unwieldy.
Whether you pony up for the optional accessories or use gear you already own, there are a ton of options for cooking on the CampStove 2. I started out, of course, with our reader-favorite Lodge 10-inch cast iron pan. The pan weighs 4.4 pounds empty but didn’t feel precarious or wobbly sitting on top of the stove. Fried eggs and mushrooms for topping burgers came out delicious.
Next up I put two ears of corn inside BioLite’s Kettle Pot, which includes a serving bowl, is ultralight, and doubles as a fantastic carrying case for the CampStove 2. The Kettle Pot sits very securely (but doesn’t attach) on top of the CampStove 2, has great handles, and also happens to makes some good corn on the cob.
We haven’t gotten a chance to test the Kettle Pot’s optional french press accessory yet, and I don’t really like French press coffee, but if you’re out in the woods, it’s an easy, filter-free recommendation, and can even break down to store inside the Kettle Pot with the CampStove 2.
Finally, we broke out BioLite’s Portable Grill, a collapsing grill top for the CampStove 2 that comes in at under 2 pounds. The Grill sits nicely on top of the CampStove 2, with a smart porthole that you can open to toss in more fuel as needed. You could certainly find ultralight pans smaller and lighter than the grill (or Lodge) if that’s how you’re trekking, but otherwise, the grill is an excellent companion to your CampStove 2. One rub: the grill includes a cover with a hinge to keep it clean when not in use, and that hinge is very flimsy.
The CampStove 2 includes a BioLite FlexLight to keep whatever you’re cooking well-lit using the power your fire is generating. BioLite also has a whole ecosystem of lightning solutions we’ll be covering shortly.
The CampStove 2 retails for $130, and BioLite also offers a bundle which includes the CampStove 2, Kettle Pot, Grill, and FlexLight for $200, which saves you 30 bucks. They also sell a StickSnapper for helping you break your fuel down to stove size.
If you’re more interested in their larger, pizza-capable BaseCamp, we’ll be covering that shortly as well.
There are obviously smaller, lighter, cheaper, more efficient, and more powerful camping stoves out there, but nothing with the combined feature set of BioLite’s CampStove 2. Get out there and charge your phone by burning some sticks.