Portable camping stove charges gadgets using propane power
We've seen a number of thermoelectric camping stove/charger products over the years, and they tend to rely on wood/biomass-fueled heat. The new Gen Stove from Korea's Viva Plus presents a thermoelectric charging solution that isn't tied to live fire, powering up electronics with waste heat produced by cooking with propane or butane. It provides an easier, more universal solution for cooking and charging simultaneously.
Biomass-based stove/chargers are well-suited to many outdoor uses, but on the heels of an overactive 2020 wildfire season, it's worth noting that open campfires often become the target of full bans or location restrictions in response to high wildfire danger. LPG stoves are subject to fewer restrictions, so, while a biomass charger might be sidelined, the Gen Stove could still be used within regulations. As such, an LPG stove/charger makes a nice alternative option. It's a concept we first saw back in 2013, when the Point Source Power Halo stove ultimately failed in crowdfunding.
Viva Plus' Gen Stove looks like a more polished design than the Halo, and it's earned over half its Kickstarter goal after a week. In addition to being a more reliable option than a biomass-based charger/stove during wildfire season, Viva Plus explains that the Gen Stove doesn't rely on a battery-powered fan, eliminating any potential for an overheated or dead battery disrupting operation.
The Gen Stove packs its burner, thermal generator and water cooling basket into a cylindrical main body below a two-piece pot stand. As the stove boils or sautés, heat flux from the waste heat cooled by the water basket creates electricity that flows into the connected portable battery pack. Users can either through-charge devices like smartphones or Bluetooth speakers from the 3,200-mAh lithium pack's USB output or store the power for later use. Viva Plus estimates that it will add 1 percent to a smartphone's battery after a minute of charging. Beyond charging off the stove, the battery pack can charge via a USB-C charging cable or a portable solar panel.
Viva Plus includes a compact light with the Gen Stove. It can be plugged in and powered directly from the stove for an efficient light source for night cooking, saving campers from draining the battery of a separate flashlight, lantern or smartphone.
Viva Plus is offering the 2.9-lb (1.3-kg) Gen Stove for Kickstarter pledges starting at US$200, though it says orders shipped outside of South Korea may also attract custom duties and taxes. Supporters choose either a propane or butane model. If everything moves along without a hitch, deliveries are planned to begin in June.
The Gen Stove works for charging small devices, but if you need something for powering larger tools or electric appliances while car camping, the 1,000-watt Alp generator quietly creates electricity from user's choice of 1- or 20-lb propane tank. It's an interesting alternative to a gas generator, especially for the many campers who already carry propane for running camp stoves, lanterns, grills and other gear.
You can check out the pitch video below.