The BioLite cooking system is a very innovative product designed to solve two problems at once, namely, cooking and electricity. The BioLite stove includes an internal fan for extremely efficient burning, a power pack that converts heat into electricity, and a mounting system that supports a variety of optional attachments. Attachments include a portable grill and a large KettlePot. The BioLite can burn almost anything combustible to generate heat and electricity.

Advantages of the BioLite system include:

  • Can be powered by almost any combustible material
  • Generates electricity and has a USB plug
  • Can accept a grill, kettle pot attachment, or lights

Disadvantages of the BioLite include:

  • Weight: the BioLight is heavier than most camp stoves
  • Less efficient than comparable gas backpacking stoves
  • Larger in size
  • Small firebox requires adding fuel often

I am not sure what to think about the BioLite system. It is definitely a very cool concept. Being able to cook, generate electricity, and not require store bought fuel is a very appealing concept. However, the BioLite is large and heavy compared with other cooking systems and you can generate electricity more passively with portable solar panels. The small firebox means that you will have to add fuel often. If it takes a few hours to charge a device then you will have to babysit the stove to ensure that it does not run out of fuel. I would prefer to have a solar charger that I could “set and forget.”

If you are going to be extremely remote and have no way to obtain fuel then the BioLite makes sense. For normal backpacking the BioLite is simply too large and heavy to be practical especially for solo trips. While being able to use any combustible fuel seems appealing there are ultra efficient gas stoves that use very little fuel and are much lighter. There are also lighter stoves that can burn any biomass fuel.