Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Do want!

Via email, a fan-forced camper's-sized rocket stove that uses a thermoelectric thingummy to power its fan and charge your handheld electronics.

That thing sets me all a-quiver right at some weird harmonic of prepper, hippie, outdoorsy, and gadget freak, like USB-powered recycled carbon fiber chopsticks or something.

Given the fact that we average one good power outage a year here at Roseholme Cottage, whether from ice storms or the thunder variety, plus a nearly inexhaustible supply of sticks and twigs, and I have a USB rechargeable LED Lenser M7R flashlight, I'm well down the road to rationalizing one of these things.

Plus, how cool would it be to make computer electricity with fire?
.

48 comments:

Ferret said...

33 ounces* is pretty hefty for a camp stove, considering an isobutane-powered model plus gas canister could weigh in at less than 10 ounces.

(* A euphemism commonly used in descriptions of outdoor gear that weighs over a pound. In this case, it cushions the blow that this product actually weighs 2 pounds, 1 ounce.)

I agree though that the level of geekery involved makes this nearly worthwhile, unless you're into the hardcore ultralight backpacking thing.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

A bit hefty...still...as an old time Scouter, I have to echo Tam: Do Want.

Even though I'm too fat to backpack anymore :)

I walked through Dick's the other weekend and saw some truly cool camping gear that I wish we'd had thirty years ago...the kind of stuff that would make me want to start camping again if I didn't have a wife whose idea of roughing it was the night we spent at the New Budget Inn in Eaton, Ohio back in May when the car broke down :)

Joseph said...

Saw these when they intro'd them last year and got a serious case of the wants. And I hate camping. Well, hate is a strong word, it'd be OK if every time I've attempted it the weather, equipment or both wouldn't fail miserably. In other words, I suck at camping.

As to the weight, this is really a gadget to separate people like me and Tam from our money and not really a serious piece of kit. The supposed real plan is to provide them to folks without cooking stoves in places like Africa.

Hell, you can make the same stove sans the charging station and fan with a few cans & dirt. http://bit.ly/PYzUt4

Tam said...

Given that we usually average one good outage a year here at Roseholme, whether by ice- or thunderstorm, my ears perk up any time I see something that will charge my USB stuff without wall current.

Anonymous said...

A wood-burning 'puter?

Think of the pollution, think of the global warming, THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Roberta X said...

The children in the bush with wood-burning computers? --Good for them, sez I!

Anonymous said...

Now if it burned the wood to boil water to turn a mini high pressure steam generator, that would be some thing!

Gerry

Kristopher said...

Too heavy.

An MSR whisperlite with a full 1 pint can of gas weighs half as much.

And a propane burner is even lighter.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Heavy? If I was worried about heavy I wouldn't have taken my cast iron skillet backpacking.

Which is better than this one guy I knew. The first thing he took out of his pack when we got to camp was his 'sittin'-rock.'

Derfel Cadarn said...

Although this appears a really clever idea as a home emergency tool in the bush it is rather heavy and one might imagine one goes to these remote wild places to be free of modern technology. Just what level of cell phone reception do they expect, if music is needed that badly buy a harmonica or a tin whistle. Going to the wilderness and surfing the net, even to see what Tam and Bobbi have to say, is incongruous at best.

Anonymous said...

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/kerosene-radio/

everything old is new again. Of course there isn't a USB port.

Neat gadget though.

-SM

Sport Pilot said...

I agree this gadget gets cool points but for home use I'd rather have a genset. Heck, even a couple of car batteries kept on a trickle charger and conected to a converter would work to recharge stuff.

Tam said...

Derfel Cadarn,

1) Not everyone goes camping or hiking the same way or for the same reasons, and

2) I have three words for you: "Gee", "Pee", and "Ess".

;)

Chas Clifton said...

Suddenly my Kelly Kettle seems sort of Neolithic.

Ken O said...

How long until some genius stokes one of these with charcoal, fires it up in his apartment and asphyxiates himself and his family?

doubletrouble said...

Well, most all the electrons for computers are already made with fire, just not so locally.8^)

If you just want to charge things (@ the Cottage), buy a 15w solar panel & stick in in a window. A couple of doohickeys later, you can charge any small electronics & batteries, & even run low-drain lighting like LED lights to see what you're doin'.

Geodkyt said...

Comparisons of this to lightweight stoves that use fuel canisters are off-point.

This has effectively unlimited fuel in most habitable terrain.

Fuel that doesn't require you to have access to a camping store when you run out.

As for keeping the phone running, don't onverlook the whole "lost power for two weeks" aspect of some natural disasters.

Also, there are two other reasons why keeping a phone up, even when out of cell range, can be beneficial:

1. Does you phone have GPS? Maybe even a downloaded map of the area you are in? Only useful if you have juice, but it beats the shit out of the old shadow-stick method. . .

2. If you're lost and people are looking for you, your phone CAN be searched for with the correct gear, even if you are out of range of actual cell towers. And they can do it while flying a wide area search pattern. But, again, only if it is running. . .

og said...

I like that a lot. If it's as durable as it is cool, I will have one.

fast richard said...

I been looking at small twig stove lately. It's pretty hard to beat this one for geeky cool factor. The Solo Stove is only 9oz. A hobo stove made from a tin can is probably just as effective for cooking. Small solar panels can be had with USB charging outputs. None of those alternative will charge your gadgets while you are sheltering from the storm in a dark cave.

og said...

Hobo stove! Now there's a familiar thing. I still have a stainless water bottle with twine wrapped tightly around it and soaked in parrafin wax. It's a one time use thing, but light the twine and it will boil water fast. I learned that trick from amn actual hobo, who frequented the railroad tracks next to the lumberyard where I worked.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Poor Man's Alternate Emergency Generator "Plan B". If you lose power while in the City, go out to the Car, turn it on, and plug the Phone Charger into the Power Jack. Meanwhile, dig out the 1,000w Inverter you purchased awhile back from the Auto Parts Store, hook it up to the Battery, run a Heavy Duty Cable from the Inverter to the Fridge through a Window, and let it run for an Hour. Keeps your Food from Spoiling, your Phone gets Charged, and you don't have to deal with storing a Bulk Generator. Meanwhile, you do your cooking on the Grill, plus you can Boil enough Water to keep clean, make Tea, etc.

Worked for us during a 4 day Power Outage. Just make sure you keep at least a half a tank of Gas in the Car at all times.

RandyGC said...

one goes to these remote wild places to be free of modern technology. Just what level of cell phone reception do they expect

As Tam said, depends on why they are in that location.

In some parts of the less developed world they've skipped landlines and have gone directly to cell phones, and electricity is not a 24/7 resource.

Grayson said...

'make computer electricity with fire'

Absolutely awesome. Anything that will make a hippy shit a screaming worm... :)

Cheers!

Ian Argent said...

I already have my redneck UPS (large inverter, marine battery, battery charger, backed up by a full tank of gas attached to the generator in the Taurus). That is tasked to running the sump pump if the rampaging element is water, and tested against same. This would full a different role.

Erin Palette said...

Tam, both Linoge and I have been trying to get one of these for T&E for some time now, and with no luck. Perhaps if YOU asked, with the full weight of your Tamalanche reputation behind you, then maybe they'd relent and send it to you.

Cybrludite said...

A review from a friend of a friend.

http://sectionhiker.com/biolite-campstove-the-substance-beyond-the-hype/

Fiftycal said...

Hey, why wait for an "emergency"? You could get their "homestove" right now (if it isn't vaporware) and cook ALL your food with it. If everybody did, pretty soon, the U.S. would look like Haiti (no trees, shrubs, weeds or anything else burnable).

Or maybe you could look into the natural gas powered home generator? Or the crank powered flashlight with a USB port?

JFP said...

I got one back in July but I've not used it yet. It was a spur of the moment purchase, more for emergencies instead of camping.

Windy Wilson said...

Lots of good ideas here, remember, diversity of available techniques is a good thing, as opposed to the M&M diversity espoused by leftists (a rainbow of colors, same pernicious beliefs inside).

As for heavy, yes, it is heavier than the MSR Whisperlite, and WAAAAy heavier than my Svea 123UR, but it's hard to get electricity from those stoves.

I'm going to look further into the inverter thing, since the cheapo model I bought went smokey-dope the first time I actually plugged something into it.

A stainless bottle with parrafin-soaked string wrapped around it.
How much string? Should it be a Sigg or can it be an ordinary drinking bottle-type stainless bottle?

Ian Argent said...

Reading the review confirms that I'd be better off with a propane fired generator

Erin Palette said...

Also, since I saw someone mention a Kelly Kettle earlier --

it's probably bad form to provide a link back to my own blog on someone else's (mea culpa), but back in July I tested four different types of camping stoves. None of them produce electricity, alas, but perhaps one or two of you might find the review helpful.

Please don't hurt me, Tam...

Tam said...

Fiftycal,

What the fuck does that even mean?!?

Tam said...

Windy Wilson,

"A stainless bottle with parrafin-soaked string wrapped around it."

Yeah, Og's comment there intrigued me, too. I'm going to have to do some esperimentin' on those lines. That'd be a groovy thing to keep in the trunk, just in case of whatever... :)

Tam said...

Erin Palette,

"it's probably bad form to provide a link back to my own blog on someone else's (mea culpa)"

Heck, no! At least here it isn't. :)

og said...

I originally saw it done with twine and a soup can. I've been told you can do it with tar as well but tar would be less... sanitary? The bottle I have is like this. I wrapped the whole large portion in plain binder twine (Not the plastic stuff!)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B0019N2DO8/ref=dp_otherviews?ie=UTF8&color_name=2-3&img=MAIN&s=sporting-goods

It will boil water, and then you're out of wax, just about that fast.

Erin Palette said...

Heck, no! At least here it isn't. :)

Oh thank goodness. :)

And if you or any of your viewers want that code for half-off a slightly blemished Solo Stove, let me know and I'll hook you right up.

Sigivald said...

And at 2 watts sustained, it's not a very good charger... which explains why, in the review Cybrluddite posted, it takes forever to half-charge a modern phone.

For most of us, a solar panel will do better for that - and if we're worried about being in the dark, a hand-crank setup.

Roberta X said...

A twig stove -- say, a Kelly Kettle with all the extras -- is excellent emergency gear and moderately rainproof. Pretty light, too.

The little rocket stove -- had I the spare cash, I'd just buy one, I feel too obliged to be nice with a T&E loaner, worse with a freebie -- is better for Roseholme 'cos we can cook more over it...but if I had both, I could have a nice hot cuppa wotevva with my hot meal. Our twig supply is excellent; after 3 or 4 days of three meals per, I'd have to resort to splitting larger billets of wood to twig size.

The charger function is just a bonus. If it keeps a celphone going, here in the city the cell sites usually stay up during an outage.

Homebrewing a portable rocket stove is okay BUT you have to work in black iron (heavy) or $tainless $teel; there's a metric boatload of galvanized out there but you do *not* want to be making fire in it and cooking over it, very very bad.

The hot app for cold nights would be a larger, bench-type rocket stove on the patio. Tarp on poles over the bench (but not the firebox!)and a sleeping bag, there ya go. I'm tempted to try it.

DaddyBear said...

My brother in law has one of the smaller ones. He used it to charge a phone while he made his morning coffee at the family campout. I've had a serious case of envy ever since. And yeah, having something like this in the Nashville-Louisville-Indianapolis ice storm zone would be very handy.

Captain Tightpants said...

I got one for precisely the reasons you mentioned - it's not for backpacking (which I don't do much these days between kids & arthritis) - but for the power outages/hurricanes, etc. Tested it out last month on a weekend & it woks well. Downside is you'll definitely keep feeding it wood throughout - once it's going the fan burns quick. Upside is yes, you get power while heating coffee, cooking food or whatever. Food for your thought, as it were.

Malamute said...

The charger function would be cool, but just the stove would be handy as well.

On the bushcraftusa site, there has been a fair bit of discussion about making rocket stoves, or wood gasifier stoves. Some were pretty spiffy looking, some were rather simple, but seemed to work, and were made with simple materials. Not too heavy or expensive.

I always have a car charger for my phones. I always have my car, I don't always have my house.

markm said...

Ken O said...

"How long until some genius stokes one of these with charcoal, fires it up in his apartment and asphyxiates himself and his family?"

So it even cleans up the gene pool!

Anonymous said...

Tam, $100 for a flashlight? Hopefully you won't lose this one.

Matt G said...

That stirs me, too. Yes, it's slightly heavy for a backpacking stove, but consider that you're saving on fuel (which isobutane and white gas and propane use), and batteries for charging those devices if you're going to take them. I recall in my backpacking days considering carrying a solar recharger for the batteries of my AA flashlight. In the end, I just carried four extra Energizers, as the only rechargables back then were NiCads. NiMH would have changed that consideration.

Everything's a trade-off. Also? Bicycle camping changes the figures, too.

But mostly, the cool factor is going over to the base of yon tree, picking up sticks, putting them into the stove, cooking up sausages or the squirrell that I just popped, and charging up the phone or the flashlight.

Geodkyt said...

Relying on your car for electricity is fine. . . unless the reason you are trying to cook food on a twig stove and are worried about your ability to get home without electricity is because your vehicle just crapped out (say, from a bad alternator) in the middle of that big emptiness between "Point A" and "Point B". Or, you got caught short without enough gas to run the car as a generator.

Then, having this (or some similar combination of kit) in the wheelwell or trunk might be useful.

Of course, I carry basic tools (including a “car knife”, spare lighter(s), and squeeze flashlight”), a poncho liner, a coat appropriate to the season, spare hat, a wool blanket, gloves, 550 cord and cargo straps, tarp, basic medkit (mostly blow out stuff, but some minor boo-boo stuff, too), an empty daypack, and a DDR NVA e-tool. Plus I generally have an empty liter Diet Coke bottle or two, a set of Brit mess tins or a canteen cup (much better than hubcaps for boiling water), and other odds and ends (like empty Diet Coke cans and empty plastic grocery bags). If it’s winter, I have a set of combat boots. If it’s an arid location, I have at least a gallon of water (if I was crossing, say, the Mohave, that would be 5+ gallons). I’ve considered adding an emergency sleeping bag – the reinforced moonblanket types about the size of a small jar of peanut butter.

I do have a small solar panel with assorted charger tips that lives in my car – but its power output is less than this stove. And it doesn’t work at night, or very well in highly overcast skies (such as a snowstorm or heavy rain). It was cheap (got it used off eBay), and I bought it as a novelty, more than anything else.

Been stuck in a dead car on the side of a county road in the mountains, with nasty sleet coming up, almost exactly halfway between “yonder” and “a fur piece”. I also used to go muddoggin’ in small Japanese hatchbacks (any damned fool can do it in a 4x4 with offroad package {grin})

Plus, of course, if you ARE at home when the power goes out, this will quickly brew up some tea or coffee out of sticks, AND provide some juice to the electronics while you wait, without using up your grill fuel. VERY efficient in fuel use – just like a Kelly Kettle. And the “GDI” (Geeks Dig It) factor is strong with this one.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with those saying that comparing it to stoves that do not charge USB is NOT the point. Also, I'd hate to haul a generator in my car. So... until we can get a pocket sized nuclear reactor that converts garbage into pure juice,
this thingummy looks like it could be useful for particular situations.

Besides, if I were camping in a pure wilderness type situation and backpacking in, of course I'd leave my cell phone at home. You know, just take my knife, a tea-light size travel stove,my loin cloth, and a garbage bag to sleep in in case it rains. The spear and magic helmet are optional. :P

However, I more often would camp in places like my grandmother's back yard (we call it the back 80), where there's signal if only you will hike to the high hill on public land that's directly behind the resort where GE's executives go relax once a year.

Sure, the signal is for them, but no one says you can't borrow it. That's an easy two mile hike from my favorite area, which is worth it for catching up on Facebook or counting your mother-in-law's junk Forwards. You can even cache your GPS map program of choice if you care to... satellites don't spurn the bush.

Robert said...

Unfortunately, it has the mark of evil on it. Too bad.

Windy Wilson said...

Thinking about other options, are those stationary steam engines that used to be sold in the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs still available? As I recall they required some sort of fuel tab, but connected to a small generator that would be yet another option.