At last, you can get away from it all on a camping trip to the wilderness — but still charge your iPhone!
A DUMBO startup has created the ultimate companion for nature lovers who just can’t put away their high-tech goodies: a wood-fueled camping stove that not only heats up food but also charges cellphones at the same time.
“When you’re out on the trail, you know you’ll definitely be able to reach someone if you get lost or have an emergency,” said Adele Peters, marketing director at the company, BioLite. “It’s just a part of life in general — we want to have access to our gadgets no matter where we are.”
Unlike other backpacking stoves that require propane canisters and extra fuel bottles, BioLite’s CampStove ($129) only uses the biomass gathered on your trip.
It has snagged accolades from avid campers, sustainable designers and even noted outdoorswoman, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who mentioned a larger version of the company’s stove last year — though not by name — when she launched the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, otherwise known as GACC.
Indeed, the company has gained a dedicated following since co-inventers Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond presented their cooking device at a conference two years ago. BioLite was named one of “America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” by Business Week, and Wired hailed the stove as the “ultimate nerd camping accessory.”
“Not only does the BioLite stove burn almost anything, and burn it with such ruthless efficiency, that it makes Darth Vader look like a dilly-dallying softy,” the mag gushed. “It … [powers] your gadgets.”
BioLite designers say that their sleek, two-pound device burns hotter and cleaner than a regular wood-fired stove. Campers load sticks, pinecones or dung and light a match — a thermoelectric generator then fires up, using only one watt of the 5,000 watts available from the fire to power a small fan. That fan blows oxygen into the flames to improve the combustion.
A few watts of leftover energy are then used to power any gadgets with USB ports.
In a speedy three minutes, you can boil about four cups of water — and it’s so light and insulated that you can pick it up while it’s lit without getting burned.
So, sure, it can boil water, but how does it handle a tapped-out iPad? Well, that depends…
Peters said that the company doesn’t have specs on recharging speeds, but promised the equivalent of charging a device through a laptop.
Cedar and Drummond dreamed up the CampStove while working at a sustainable design consultancy.
What started as a night and weekend project became a practical tech toy — and a larger project to help developing countries.
The CampStove profits will be put into a pilot program for the HomeStove, a larger cooker tailored to countries such as India and Ghana, where many families still cook over an open fire indoors and face dangerous amounts of pollution.
“We had been working for companies on really cool products, but we were remaking what had already been invented,” Cedar said. “Here was a need people hadn’t solved yet.”
To order a BioLite stove visit www.biolitestove.com.
Reach Kate Briquelet at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.