I have to make a confession. I love camping gear. I like camping, too, mostly, but mostly I think running off into the woods for a weekend and living in a tent is a lot of work, and I'd rather stay home and take walk into the woods and then come back to my house and cook dinner on the woodstove or out on the fire pit, and sleeping in a sleeping bag can be fun, but, frankly, snuggling with Deus Ex Machina is fun no matter where we are. In addition, since we heat exclusively with wood, the temperature in our bedroom can get pretty nippy, and there have been some days when it feels like we're in an uninsulated tent anyway. In short, I don't need tent living to experience the "rustic fun" of what most modern folks call "camping."
But I love camping gear, and those times when we've had extended power outages, I was very happy that we've been camping gear hoarders.
So imagine my giddiness when I saw this BioLite campstove. It's a rocket stove with a little electricity generator (a USB adapter for charging small elecrical gadgets like our LED lantern).
The manufacturers are promoting it as a "campstove", but I think it could be used for just every day cooking - especially in the summer time, when cooking indoors isn't as much fun - or in parts of the country where it would be comfortable cooking outside at any time of the year. It makes more sense than a gas grill, and uses a lot less energy ... while generating electricity. Score!
For those who would never use a campstove for just every day cooking, it would make an incredible little tool to add to the prep pile. And here in Maine, where using solar panels is not necessarily the absolute best option for generating electricity in a low-energy world (the reasons of which I discuss in my book), being able to create, even only small amounts of electricity using only twigs, while also cooking dinner or heating water for tea, is a huge benefit.
We've been planning to build an outdoor kitchen for a couple of years, but the project keeps getting put on the back burner - as it were. Now, I'm thinking, if we could reproduce this technology in our outdoor kitchen, we could have electricity out there ... maybe even enough to power some LED lights, which means, during sugaring season, we could stay outside longer, because we'd have light ... and I'll bet this little rocketstove would be great for boiling sap.