After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, the PowerPot has finally made it to market. The company sent me one of the power generating camping pots to test out for myself. Similar in concept to the BioLite Stove, the PowerPot will charge your gadgets while you cook up your backcountry meals.
The PowerPot takes heat and water and turns it into electricity, with no moving parts. Simply pour water into the pot and place over a heat source. Within seconds, you will have electrical power supplied to the connecting USB charger.
The PowerPot works off of a physical phenomenon know as thermoelectric power, where electricity is generated from the temperature difference between the bottom side of the pot and the inside. The colder your water and the hotter your fire, the more electricity you will be able to generate from the pot, especially great for winter camping where you need to melt a bunch of snow.
The pot will continue making electricity even at a rolling boil, as long as you keep it on the heat. The three foot long flame resistant charging cable plugs into the connector at the back of the pot and includes a solid-state voltage regulator, providing a safe 5W of power to charge your 5V devices like cell phones, handheld GPS, and headlamps. The cable comes with a built-in USB connector, but PowerPot provides a full host of other connectors so you can be sure it will be compatible with all your devices.
Accessories include an LED light that can be powered by the pot to shine over your cooking area at night. A rechargeable 1800 mAh lithium ion battery with USB port enables you to charge your devices when not cooking and can be topped up when you are using the PowerPot.
Unlike the BioLite Stove, the electronics for charging are located at the base of the cooking pot itself instead of on the stove. This means you can use whatever heat source you want, whether it be a gas stove, campfire, wood stove, or even thermal pool. As the PowerPot weighs 12 oz., you are really only adding a few ounces on top of a normal camping pot to get the charging capability. The PowerPot lid doubles as a bowl for eating.
It takes quite a while to fully charge an iPhone so I wouldn't recommend wasting precious gas to do so beyond your normal cooking time. For gas stove users, I see it more as a way to keep your phone or battery pack topped up as you are out on the trail. If you are sitting by the campfire all night long, then by all means go for the full charge.
The PowerPot retails for $149 and can be ordered from the company website. The company has kindly extended a coupon to The GearCaster readers for a free 1800 Lithium Ion Battery with purchase of a PowerPot. Use code: CASTERPOWER at checkout.