Reviews and Recommendations

BioLite Wood Burning Camp Stove

It was Christmas morning and I opened a box to find a camp stove.  How exciting.  All of a sudden I read something that caught my attention.  The crazy thing claimed this stove would not only cook your food but it would generate electricity to charge your phone or light up the cooking area.  Now that had my attention.  Being off the grid, I am interested in having multiple ways of cooking and generating power.

BioLite has a product line for backpackers and other weird people (like myself) who may stray away from the grid and all the conveniences it offers.  There were several things that really stood out.

  1.  It used sticks and twigs for fuel.  Generally these are plentiful and free.
  2. It uses an electric fan (which it generates the power for) to make the fire burn much hotter and faster.  I was amazed at how quickly it burned through a pile of sticks and twigs.  I was also very pleased at how quickly and easily it started the fire with just a facial tissue as a starter.  I lit the tissue, piled on the twigs and started the blower.  In a few seconds I had a lot of smoke and flames.  The twigs were nothing but ashes in a few minutes, which means all the energy in them was extracted very quickly.  That is not a bad thing if you are in a hurry to get something cooked or boiled.  It does mean you need to be ready with extra fuel and whatever you are heating up.
  3. One of the accessories is a grill.  Very neat.  I wouldn’t recommend it for cooking for a large family but I did cook 5 hot dogs and heated a can of chili all at the same time.  It only took 5 minutes and I almost burned them.  Next time I will turn the blower to the low speed.
  4. The other accessory I have in the KettlePot.  With it you can boil water or cook a stew.

Until I read about this little stove, I did not know your could generate electricity from the heat of a stove but now I am really excited about this new way of cooking a quick and easy meal out in the woods.  It comes with a USB port and a flex lite so if you get caught in the dark you can see what you are cooking.  Plus the light of the fire is neat.  I cooked on top of a plastic table and the bottom didn’t get hot at all.

Reviews and Recommendations

Condor Machete

We were in the largest knife store that I had ever seen, located near Sevierville, Tennessee.  It was three stories tall and you could get lost on any one of the floors.  I was looking at a $20, name brand machete and a clerk started talking with me.  After a minute or two, he said, “You don’t want this one, you see that sign over there?  Go there and that guy will help you.”  Well, I went over and saw the neatest machete.  It was a two handed thing and the handle was layered out of a material that promised to outlast the blade.  That was no small feat because the blade was quite hefty.  The weight was enough to cut like an axe when wielded with two hands.  It was an amazing tool and I loved it but the price made me step back.  I could get 5 of those other machetes for the same price.  My wife would hear none of that.  She saw my face and how much I liked this piece of equipment.  It just feels good in your hands.  She knew I would be proud of it.  So, she insisted that it would be my Father’s Day gift.  I could hardly wait until she would let me open that box!

That machete has been so awesome.  We were clearing land.  My buddy was on a bulldozer pushing down trees when one got wedged between two others in such a way that it was difficult for him.  I just walked over with my trusty machete and with a few whacks I had cut the four inch top right out of that tree.  He couldn’t believe it.  I really like good tools and this is one that I like a lot.  By the way, it has a substantial case with two snaps that holds it securely and safely in place which in transit.  Since the blade is razor sharp, you really need a case like this.  The brand name is Condor, from El Salvador.  It may be expensive but if your are in the woods a lotI think you will agree that it is worth every penny.