The BioLite wood burning stove is a really unique idea and a handy tool to have in your kit. There are tons of small mini wood burning stoves out there on the market. What separates the BioLite from the rest is the ability to generate small amounts of usb charging ability. Like anything though there are some pro and cons to this system. The ability to produce electric in the wilderness these days is a very common needed problem. Considering almost everything anymore has a mini usb charger and battery. Whether it be a phone, gps, flashlight you name it eventually its going to need re charged. And the line of accessories for this stove are very useful and practical.
So where does this fit into a bug out plan?
I have been testing this stove for about a year now and until a recent field test I would have said this is a perfect item for a bug out bag, it is not for the on foot bug out bag! Now a mobile or home scenario this would make a great addition because the need for a back up solution is there. This stove has a major flaw in the design and out in my last field test I found the perfect storm environment for it to fail. I took this unit out for some review time in the woods and planned to spend the day, have some lunch shoot some film and get some dirt time on other items I am reviewing. Recent weather had been poor with days of freezing rain and mid 20 degree weather. When using the BioLite stove you must use some type of fire starter to start the fire and feed small kindling to build a good hot base layer of coals, as the wood burns you just keep adding more through the top of the unit. In the inside the stove is like a cup with no drainage in the bottom and air circulates from the fan making it almost like a rocket stove effect. What I encountered would be worse case scenario everything was completely soaked and even had a layer of ice on it. I could not get this burner to lite and once I did as soon as I added more fuel to the fire the dampness only killed the flame I had, I couldn't even get enough heat to self propel the unit to stay on let alone boil water or charge a device. Now in fairness making a fire on the ground was not much easier after being out in mid 20 degree weather the need for a hot beverage and warm food in my stomach was a priority at this point. But I was able to make a fire and using the fire starter I had and slowly feeding the fire to life and drying more kindling as the fire to took off. And that's the critical fail nowhere for the fire to be able dry its next fuel source with out adding moisture into the flame chamber.
I have used this unit hundreds of times and had never encountered this problem before but a fail is a fail. If you were going to put this into a bug out bag you would have to have a backup just in case, if planning on using this as a sole charging unit or stove. And the wieght of this system combined with a second just makes it impracticale for a on the foot bug out bag. For home prep, car camping or mobil bugging out and excellent option where weight is not a factor and an alternate method could be carried, I highly recommend this unit for these type of situations.
The accessories this system have are fantastic. A camp lighting system,power banks, stove top grill acc are just to name a few. The BioLite line of products are great quality,durability and functionality. And almost all there products have more than just one use. Whether it be a stove/charger or light/power bank pot/carry case the ability to have multi function brings their gear to the top of the charts.
THERE IS A VERSION 2 out and avaiable