BioLite first hit the gadget-charging scene with the CampStove, a portable device that harnesses the thermal energy of burning biomass (think twigs, sticks, and pine cones) to generate power for juicing up phones and the like. BioLite has now turned its product development chops toward a similar concept, but with some sizable tweaks, like enough space to grill eight burgers.
The BaseCamp is set up like a little chimenea with a grill on top. You feed small pieces of wood into the base and light it up. A thermoelectric generator powers a fan that blows air into the chamber to juice up the combustion process. All the excess energy goes to charging your gadgets. It can generate 5W of electricity which you tap into via USB.
BioLite says the BaseCamp can charge everything from phones to handheld GPS devices to tablets. As far as charge times go, a strong fire charging a phone for 30 minutes can give you five hours of talk time. That should be handy for when the zombie apocalypse kicks in.
In case grilling, boiling water, and charging your gear isn't enough, the BaseCamp also throws in a USB light so you can do your homework or shine some light on your tofu pups when you need it. One bonus of the design is that it minimizes smoke. That's handy if you don't like smokey camp fires, or just want to be super stealthy while you're camping out.
This time around, BioLite is going with Kickstarter to fund the new charger. That seems to be a wise decision considering the original $45,000 goal has already been left in the dust. The project currently has nearly $185,000 in pledges with over a month to go. The BaseCamp costs $299.
Does that sound a little expensive for a camp grill/charger? Perhaps. If you're planning to spend a considerable amount of time off the grid, it's not crazy. The original CampStove costs $130. Think of the BaseCamp as a party-size CampStove with some bonus features. So long as you have some twigs and bits of branches around, you'll have power and a lovely space to grill your veggies or that fish you just caught with your teeth while swimming in the lake.