BioLite CampStove 2

BioLite CampStove 2 Review: Is it Any Good?

BioLite CampStove 2

We field tested, used and abused our BioLite CampStove 2. Our final ratings and recommendations are below.

Stelios Lazos, Author

BioLite CampStove 2 - Product Shot
Function – Stove
Function – Generating Electricity
Convenience / Form Factor
Price / Value


There is no doubt BioLite makes a quality product, this camp stove included. As a wood stove, its function is excellent, but its charging is underwhelming at best. We removed two stars for the form factor, as it’s a bit large and heavy. It regains a star considering the convenience of the pot and press add-on (purchased separately).


Whether you are looking for a small stove for camping or emergency preparedness, the BioLite CampStove 2 is worth looking at. And who knew? Making fire to boil water or cook food can make electricity. Whether this stove is right for you remains to be determined. It’s also a bit complicated… Let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly. And then let’s consider some alternatives.

Discloure: Posts may contain affiliate links. Purchases made through our links result in a small commission to us at no charge to you. We only recommend products that meet our brand standards based on testing and first hand use by our authors.

Basic Stove Choices

There are a few popular options for portable or camping stoves. By options, we are mainly referring to the type of fuel they take. Without writing a novel, let’s look at the differences in fuel quickly so we can understand the true versatility of the BioLite CampStove and put it in perspective for this review.

Liquid Fuel Campstoves

The first option that always comes to mind is liquid fuel stoves. Ie. Your typical, old-school Coleman stoves that used to be in every household. These stoves run on liquid petroleum known as “white gas.” In other words, additive-free gasoline, but nowadays, it’s a more modified kind of blend. Some of these stoves require occasional pumping to pressurize the tank. Unfortunately, these stoves can stink, leak and break. Our camp stove iteration is Coleman’s for the military and should be bulletproof. Except it died this year after only a couple of years of service.


Another camp stove format is gas. We have a Jetboil Half-Gen (larger stove for Overlanding) that runs on those little green propane bottles. Separately, one can purchase an adapter to have it run on regular propane tanks. We also have an MSR Pocket Rocket camp stove (tiny backpack stove) that runs on isobutane or a mix of isobutane and propane. Both are excellent stoves. One point to remember is that isobutane stoves stop working as the temperature goes below freezing. Also, they both require gas replenishment. Gas that costs money and has to be hauled with you – as you can’t replenish it in the woods.

Related: Jetboil Flash Java Stove Review: Hot water in under 100 seconds!

Solid Fuel

The last choice in fuel and the most straightforward is a wood burner. BioLite refers to it as “renewable biomass,” whatever that means. The title reads solid fuel, meaning anything that burns is technically fuel. Fuel sources include, but are not limited to, dried grasses, pine combs, bark, paper, etc. 

The BioLite CampStove is a Mini Wood Stove

BioLite Feeding
Feeding the BioLite CampStove 2

Being a wood stove is where the BioLite CampStove shines, I mean really shines. Wood is everywhere, limitless and free. There’s no hauling of fuel or running out – which makes it impeccable as an emergency backup stove or a cooking monster in the woods. When we say wood, it’s more like twigs and branches, but you get the point.

As with any wood fire, here’s the bad. It can take a while to get a fire going. And wet wood does not burn! While an experienced woodsman can always find dry wood, even in the wettest forest, it’s a lot of extra work. 

When finished cooking with the BioLite stove, you’ve got some hot ashes to dispose of safely and a hot stove to deal with. This is cumbersome, especially if you are on the move and in a hurry. Feeding the BioLite camp stove can be a bit challenging, but we’ll cover that further in the post.

Basic Operation of the BioLite Camp Stove 2

Step 1: Find fuel. Look for twigs, branches, small chunks of wood and so on. You’ll want to collect a decent-sized pile, as it takes quite a bit to keep the stove going. 

Step 2: Unfold the stove’s legs and set it on a level surface. Keep your newly collected pile of fuel close to the stove and ready to go – as you’ll be stuck there feeding it. From your collected pile, separate the smallest pieces for the initial burn.

Step 3: Next, prep what you are cooking. A common task out in the bush is boiling water. Whether for making a hot beverage or boiling water for a tasty MRE, you must sanitize your drinking water first. For general cooking, for example, soup, have your ingredients ready beforehand so you don’t need to leave the stove.

Light it Up

Now it’s time to light the fire on the BioLite stove! Included with the stove are some fuel tablets. These fire starters are easily purchased in outdoor stores and are a fantastic way to get things going. I always carry vaseline-soaked cotton balls and even little tinder bundles in my pack, which are phenomenal fire starters. If you’ve exhausted your tinder: birch bark ripped off a tree works wonders.

I prefer to light my tinder and drop it in the stove as it’s fairly deep and narrow. Once the tinder has caught, it’s time to add that pile of the littlest pieces of wood we gathered above. Your bundle will catch fire more easily and provide a nice bed of coals to keep the stove going. 

At this point, turn on the stove’s built-in fan, which aids combustion. I keep the fan setting around low to medium until the fire is going strong. After that, it’s just a matter of feeding the stove until you finish cooking. Higher fan speeds will increase the heat. However, it does burn through your “fuel” faster.

Related: Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Bring a Multi-tool Camping

The Good: It’s also a Battery Charger!

The stove part of the BioLite is no different than a $5 metal emergency folding stove. Well, I shouldn’t say that the quality and durability are infinitely better. But the basic function is the same: fire = heat for cooking. That is until we get into its battery and controls!

Here is the advantage of the BioLite Campstove. The camp stove has a 2600 mAh battery. This battery is what powers the stove’s fan. As your fire grows in intensity, the stove’s built-in charger will charge the very battery that runs the fan, which is done by converting heat into electricity.

In essence, the fan draws less power than what the charger outputs, providing a net increase in energy. Think of it like your own personal generator that stores its power in the stove’s battery. The system is simple and ingenious. If you do not have a full battery, it will eventually recharge if you run the camp stove long enough. That’s the good. The ugly is how long it takes – keep reading as we’ll get there after this tip.

Pro Tip!

This review is for the BioLite CampStove 2. I would assume the first generation of the stove is off the shelves by now. But if you find the original stove new at a great clearance price or on the used market, don’t expect the same results!!! The original BioLite Campstove DID NOT work well, and many users complain the fan drains the battery faster than the stove could charge! Stay away from those models.

By the way, as you cook on the BioLite 2, you are well aware of the charger output, battery level, and fan speed in great detail. All three functions are perfectly on display thanks to LED lights that provide level indicators for these functions.

Charge Your Phone

Or tablet, headlamp, flashlight, GPS navigator or ANYTHING else that charges off a USB port! It’s as simple as plugging into the USB port on the BioLite CampStoves battery pack. The ability to charge your devices and then recharge itself by burning wood is the stove’s main selling feature.

The BioLite CampStove also happens to come with a USB FlexLight. While that may sound hokey, it’s excellent for cooking at night.

Here’s The Bad. No, It’s Actually The Ugly

BioLite ran an ad on Facebook that reads: “Brew a morning coffee and charge your phone with just a handful of twigs.” Hopefully, you know that short form LMAO. It means laughing my ass off. 

First, a handful of twigs will start your fire, but you’re NOT brewing anything just yet. Second, recharging the battery takes a VERY long time, which I learned the hard way when I needed it.

This Island Experience

Last summer, I did a simple overnight island camp with my son. We arrived mid-day, and by nightfall, my iPhone battery was almost dead. At this point, I turned to our usual 6000 mAh battery power bank to charge a 3969 mAh iPhone, which failed. 

After a few choice curse words, it became obvious that the power bank had some false advertising or age simply reduced its power. By lunch of the next day, the phone was pretty low again.

Being hungry and having a poorly charged phone, we confidently whipped out the BioLite CampStove 2 as if the fire/techno gods had come to the rescue. It did help charge the phone alright, but it ended up draining itself in the process. That’s with a fire going! We kept going for a very long time out of will to see if it would indeed recharge, that and perhaps an ounce of island boredom.

We ended up staring at a low battery level indicator. Put it this way – a turtle could get to Mexico faster than we could charge this stove. We did get one or two bars after an hour or so of burning and then gave up. For those of you thinking we did something wrong, the charging indicator was up the whole time, which means the fire was more than sufficient.

Lessons Learned

BioLite’s CampStove 2 eventually recharges if you keep a fire going long enough. Is it worth the effort? Not unless you are in a bad situation and desperately need to charge something. And if that is ever the case, I know what you’ll be doing for the next few hours:)

Until now, we haven’t mentioned that you can charge the BioLite CampStove’s battery via USB. The next day after our island camping fiasco, we charged the stove back up by plugging it in at home. And then we ordered a real power bank from Amazon that packs a 20,000 mAh punch. This unit can charge the phone five times over. Even if there’s any overinflated marketing on that one, there’s a nice safety net there, and we should get at least a minimum of a couple of charges out of it.

Related: Camping Gear Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist

So What’s the Point of the BioLite CampStove 

Remember the Facebook Ad we talked about? Countless people wrote in comments that it’s a great stove. I agree, as it’s easy to like this stove for some strange reason. It’s solid, throws a lot of heat, and the fan function can aid with keeping a stubborn fire going. It also has a battery bank – while not the biggest, it’s still something. If you are desperate enough, such as in a SHTF situation like a major power outage, it will eventually recharge itself by burning wood. The little camping iterations of solar wouldn’t be any faster. They just require no effort.

BioLite CampStove Advertising Myth Number 2

With its fan-based fire products, BioLite advertises “smokeless” fires. Reality is when wood burns, it’s NEVER smokeless. Dry wood, hot fires and good airflow will generate less smoke. The BioLite CampStove fan aids in the airflow department, which means less smoke in general. But NOTHING ever beats using dry wood!

My second comment takes a completely different approach. Smoke from a wood fire emits something called “aromatic hydrocarbons.” The human brain is programmed to love this smell! Since the existence of mankind, that smell means warmth, security and a means to cook food.

 If the smoke from a tiny wood stove to make yourself a coffee is really that troublesome, you shouldn’t bother with a wood burner. And, for what’s its worth, you don’t belong in the woods either. That renders the smoke aspect a moot point. In fact, why are we even talking about it?

Feeding the stove with a Leatherman Charge

Some Commonly Asked Questions

What’s in the Box

It wouldn’t be a review if we didn’t provide some specs. Below are the specs as advertised by BioLite:

  • BioLite CampStove 2
  • BioLite FlexLight
  • Stuff Sack
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Firestarter
  • Instructions

BioLite CampStove 2 vs BioLite CampStove 2+ Specs

CampStove 2CampStove 2+
FuelFuel: Biomass (twigs, sticks, pellets)Biomass (twigs, sticks, pellets)
Live Output3W peak3W peak
Battery2600 mAh3200 mAh
InputMicro USB (to charge internal battery)Micro USB (to charge internal battery)
Boil Time1L in 4.5 min (varies)1L in 4.5 min (varies)
Packed Size8.5″ x 5″7.91″ x 5″
Weight2.06 lbs2.06 lbs
FlexLight100 lumens100 lumens


We own the CampStove 2 and bought it new about a year before the review (June 2021). It’s why we can write an honest review based on real-world use. BioLite is now selling their CampStove 2+, and the only difference we can see is an upgraded battery size of 3200 mAh.

BioLite CampStove Add-Ons

Yes, the stove has available add-ons, which are super cool. The BioLite CampStove Complete Cook Kit comes with a Portable Grill, KettlePot and CoffeePress. While we don’t have the entire kit and can’t speak to the grill, we did purchase the KettlePot & CoffeePress Set. I have to say, they both work well, and the quality is there.

An advantage to the BioLite’s KettlePot is that the camp stove nests neatly inside of it. Perfect for backpackers as it takes less space in your pack. Throw the CoffeePress into the mix, and you quickly find it’s not easy to get the entire system to nest. 

I must say, I’ve boiled a lot of water in the KettlePot and have made a lot of good coffee with the press! Honestly, anytime I took the stove with me on a trip, it was because of the pot and press – without it, I believe the BioLite would sit on the shelf collecting dust.

Consider the Alternatives to a BioLite Campstove 2

Generally, we read reviews before buying something. We all want the best bang for our buck, and I’ve delivered my honest feedback on the BioLite. Here are some alternatives that will add up financially in the same range and provide the same essential functions: 

The MSR Pocket Rocket Stove Kit is great. We own it, it’s excellent! Lightweight and back-packable. You’ll need to buy gas separately and a travel coffee press of some form. Perhaps the Aeropress Go.

If you are dead set on wood or want a stove for the cold temperatures, consider the Emberlit Stainless Steel Stove. The cool factor is back in its flat packing form. We aspire to have one.

If you need a formidable portable charging solution, consider the ABFOCE Solar Power Bank. The ABFOCE is a 20,000 mAh power bank that covers all the energy needs. We own one and can attest to its excellence!

Recap of the BioLite CampStove 2 Review

In conclusion, the BioLite CampStove 2 is a quality product offering impressive functionality as a wood stove. It’s perfect for camping, outdoor adventures, and emergencies where you need a reliable source of heat and cooking power. While its charging capabilities may not be as strong as some other camping stoves, the convenience of the pot and press add-on makes up for it. Plus, it runs on renewable biomass, meaning you’ll never have to worry about running out of fuel or hauling heavy gas canisters on your back. 

Overall, for its versatility and alternative fuel source, the BioLite CampStove 2 is a great little stove worth the investment for anyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors.

As always, thank you for reading the review and for your support. Please share and let us know what you want to see next.

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BioLite CampStove 2
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Stelios Lazos
Stelios Lazos

Stelios comes from the corporate world where he was a highly successful executive. Inspired by his love for the outdoors he has re-located with his family to live to the BushLife where he blogs about his adventures. Finding inspiration in the never-ending questions from aspiring outdoors people, Stelios aims to share his knowledge, one post at a time.

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