Camping with Thermo-electric Generation (Powered SmartPhones)

While camping over Memorial Day this year, I witnessed several people complaining about their SmartPhones (iPhones, etc.) and having to sit around the bathroom trying to get even to 20% charge. Last year Alicia and I had to coordinate who had the chargers and cables to plug in our iPhones so that we could keep them charged when we showered or went to the restroom. This year was remarkably different and much better – we were both able to charge our phones using just our BioLite BaseCamp thermo-electric camp stove.

Now another alternative might be to just turn them off while camping, but they can come in very helpful too. On this trip one of the kids had a bicycle accident at the other end of the camp ground and her sister used a cell phone to call for adult help and we used Alicia’s to play “sleepy time” music for the kids to help drown out the sound of  adults enjoying kid-free time around the camp fire in the evenings.

burgers on biolite basecamp

Jon grilling some burgers on BioLite BaseCamp

One of the things we love about the BaseCamp stove is that it doesn’t need special fuel or extra batteries with.  Instead, we used the fallen twigs and logs from around the site. The BaseCamp is big enough to grill for cooking for a medium group (or a large group in batches).  I  fit 6 burgers and a few hot dogs on at a time. Another benefit of the BioLite stoves/grills is they burn cleaner (aka less smoke) and more efficiently than an open fire or charcoal.  The fuel is totally renewable and required no extra processing, other than a few strokes with a hatch to make some of the bigger pieces small enough to fit.  I feel much better using the fallen wood than the white gas we use in our normal camp stove (which we only used for 2 out of 7 meals on that trip).

frying sausage in cast iron pan on BioLite CampStove using wood

Cooking and Charging on BioLite CampStove

I also own the BioLite CampStove, which is great for back packing because it is small and light.  Packed nested in the BioLite Kettle it is perfect for multi-day hikes where you have to carry everything with you.  You don’t need to worry about packing enough fuel if you are in the woods and you can top off your phone in the process.  Like its big brother, the Camp Stove can charge a smartphone, but I found it required a constant fuel maintenance to keep it charging the phone because it is so small.  The Camp Stove is awesome for boiling water and has become my go to camp tool for making hot chocolate or coffee.

BioLite has a couple other thermo-electric solutions if you already own a stove or you want to turn the Camp Stove into a grill.

So, would you rather be hanging around inside a stinky bathroom waiting for your phone to charge, or sitting around the camp site with friends feeding the fire in your BioLite Thermo-electric generator to charge your phone while cook a meal?

Alicia pressing aeropress coffee maker with BioLite Camp Stove charging iPhone

Alicia making coffee and charging her phone while camping

If you like camping, check out our other great camping posts.

Happy Greening!


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