- 1 BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome Review
- 2 The BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome Review
- 2.1 Components
- 2.2 The BioLite BaseCamp Main Structure
- 2.3 The Pizza Dome System
- 2.4 Accessories and Other Gears
- 2.5 Bonus
- 2.6 Design
- 2.7 Styling And Materials
- 2.8 How To Ensemble This Unit?
- 2.9 Set Fire To The Oven
- 2.10 Ventilation
- 2.11 Keeping Clean
- 2.12 Performance
- 2.13 Minor Issues
- 2.14 Fuelling Material
- 2.15 Maintain Temperature
- 2.16 Smoky Flavor
- 3 Should You Purchase It? Should You Not?
- 4 Final Takeaways
BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome Review
Hello there, wanderer. Are you looking for a way to enjoy the sizzling hot grills and ready-to-eat, delicious pieces of pizza in the middle of your camping site? Do you want to cook in the open wild but are wary of the environment? Maybe you are seeking some information about the BioLite BaseCamp and Pizza Dome your friend told you about some time ago? Whichever the reason is, you are at the place you are meant to be at! This 2015 Kickstarter Project may just be the perfect choice for you!
Started with a great cause, a very humane inspiration, the BioLite BaseCamp is built based on the most basic and primary cooking method – wood – burning. This off-grid cooking unit produces energy from a wood-fired stove that develops and thrives on with one of the most advanced technologies. Thanks to brilliant engineers, we are introduced to a user-friendly and ecological award-winning product. The BioLite BaseCamp is arguably the safest stove for both you and the environment, on the current market.
The BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome Review
- Cooktop - 13.25" Diameter (33.66 Cm), 138 In² Cooking Area (350.52 Cm²)
- Charging Time - 30 Min Of Charging = 5 Hours Talk Time, 5 Hours Video, 20 Hours Of Audio (Average Smartphone)
- Battery - Lithium Ion, 2200Mah
Once you purchase the whole set, you will find three main parts, with the Biolite main structure being the stove powered by wood. The remaining pieces are the three-part Pizza Dome System and a convenient transport pack for effortless mobilization.
The BioLite BaseCamp Main Structure
The principal body is where houses the stove. The construct is a spacious fire chamber styled like an enormous metal body of a vessel, with the spout replaced by an open entrance and an insert tray where you have to put in firewood. Reaching out from the tray is an extended rack supporting larger and longer wood pieces. Right under it, we have another fuel rack that will help you stabilize the fuelling biomass for as long as 20 minutes, which we believe is more than sufficient. Finally, going down another level, we will be introduced to a convenient ash stray. That will save you from having to collect the ashes and prevent littering.
The Pizza Dome System
The unique 4.4lbs (approximately 2.0 kg) Pizza Dome consists of a heat-proof ceramic pizza stone, the Dome and an accordingly-shaped base to connect it on top of the stove. In detail, we are dealing with a 13.25” (around 33.66 cm) cooktop with a cooking area of 138 in² (350.52 cm²). It is a spaciously formatted design to cater to group cooking, which means you can fit in up to 8 burgers at once.
The Pizza Dome System is fundamentally an add-on. So, whether you want to purchase it or not, it is absolutely up to you to decide. This also means purchasing it as a separate product is possible. Of course, baking pizza without this system is impossible. This system satisfies users with its capability of surrounding a great amount of concentrated heat all over your meal. Since we all know that pizza-making requires a massive quantity of heat supply, this unique Dome is a must if enjoying delicious pizzas is on your camping agenda. We made a wild guess that it is where the name, “pizza Dome”, came from!
Accessories and Other Gears
If you thought that was all for the oven, the two remaining accessories will tell you otherwise. The first one is surprisingly an orange power pack attached to the stove’s side. Now, you are maybe asking what power storage has anything to do with a wood stove. Well, BaseLite’s engineering has its reasons and purposes, where the innovation comes in. The mentioned power storage allows the BaseCamp to transform all the heat from wood burnings into electricity, yes, accessible electricity. This very energy is, then, delivered to a preinstalled fan that helps sustain the life and intensity of the fire. The cycle goes on, with the outstanding electricity left for powering or charging smaller devices via a USB port. If you are thinking of your inseparable smartphone, yes, this is basically an add-on portable power bank. For an average device, after only 30 minutes of charging, you can use yours for roughly 20 hours of audio usage, 5 hours of watching videos and 5 hours of talking.
The other accessory is a cute add-on lantern called FlexLight, powered via a USB plug. This handy device can emit about 100 lumens, with 1.25 watts of power. In other words, it is your AA flashlight that keeps the dark away from your cooking vision. And, for your information, it does the job very adequately.
Everything sounds amazing already though there is more. On the orange power unit, you will also find an intelligent LED screen used to monitor the power and the fire’s temperature. The temperature measurement ranges from 100 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit (or roughly 37.7 to 315.5 degrees Celsius). There are two options for cooking, one is for grilling your favorite mouth-watering barbecues, and the other one is for boiling and cooking. You can switch the function from one to another and vice versa with just an easy flick of a lever. There is also a bucket handle attached to replace the old-fashion side handle and increase portability.
Last but not least, to ensure proper and simplified use, there is, of course, a manual and a bonus. The BioLite FireStarter is added to help you set up the fire. In spite of all the components mentioned, they are very easily portable thanks to the BaseCamp Carry Pack. It serves its purpose well at a weight of merely 567g of mostly canvas material. The Pack is accompanied by metal hooks that connect it to a nylon strap. The full unit is fully water-proof. Therefore, you can simply take this award-winning pizza oven anywhere with you, from your backyard to a camping site or by the beautiful coastal beach.
Styling And Materials
BioLite BaseCamp is an outdoor cooking unit, thus, it is understandable to expect durable and reliable materials and construction. The complete unit is rather lightweight (around 17.92 lbs or 8.16 kg). This is supported by lean yet sustainable legs that are also adjustable. With the addition of the insulted-material bucket handle, these features contribute much to the unit’s portability. Despite the lightweight characteristic, the structure is solid and stable enough to stand its ground.
The polished, sleek-looking external feel comes from the high-quality durable stainless steel while the internal counterpart bears iron-lined features. The power pack is plastic-casted with the purpose to withstand the intense heat created from the oven; however, it would not be excessive to also keep a good watch on it. This pack houses an internal battery, made of Lithium-Ion, which can stores up to 2200Mah. This is the power bank that distributes energy towards the heat-pumping fan and to your devices via the USB port.
How To Ensemble This Unit?
Rest assured that it is relatively simple to set up the whole unit despite its sophisticated features and functions. There are many steps to follow and they are all simplified with the help of the manual. Aside from the small font and some lacking bit-by-bit instruction, the manual is a rather helpful piece of information to help you assemble everything on your own, in more or less than 10 minutes. So, you do not have to be an absolute expert in wood-burning pizza ovens or an engineer to bring the pieces into a complete structure. Also, there is no guidance information regarding the pizza stone, which may confuse some people.
The instruction will introduce you to the BioLite BaseCamp’s convenient foldable legs which contribute largely to its transportability and geographical adaptability. Notably, you will be instructed to have those legs spreading out to protect the underneath ground. This is because during heating up and cooking the bottom of the model will produce an increasing amount of heat that may damage the ground. In essence, finding a flat or suitable ground to accommodate the fully assembled, leg-extended unit should be the priority.
Then, you need to locate the flame spreader and relocate it, with the rings placing downward. After that, it is time to place the boil-to-grill level in; there is a designated hole for it, which is on the stove’s sides. You should remember to start firing up the oven only when this lever is set in a boiling-mode (open-mode) position. You will be able to spot the fuel rack and ashtray in the remaining; those pieces of equipment are said to be highly important. BioLite stresses perpendicularly angled installations to the fire chamber’s entrance for both of them, as this is a safety measure.
Finally, the grill grate is ready to be placed firmly on the very top of the structure. Now, you can just insert the wood and grill away on your long-awaited feast. Otherwise, you can place the Pizza Dome system instead, and start baking your pizza.
Set Fire To The Oven
The BioLite BaseCamp operates on the principles of energy transformation. In essence, the heat from burning is converted into electricity via a built-in thermometric generator inside the power pack. The insulated fan, then, consumes the electricity before intensifying combustion by driving in more oxygen and expanding air circulation. The outstanding electricity is transferred to a USB output for charging.
As the inspiration comes from the most primary heating method of wood burning, the BioLite BaseCamp fuels on hard biomass, including firewood, scattered chunks of wood, twigs or tree branches that you can find easily in your surroundings. Do not go for lively green pieces as they require a longer time to blaze up, and even when they do, they regularly create much more smoke than expected. Therefore, dry twigs and branches are the right targets.
The unit has a big fire chamber while its entrance is quite smaller, so you might want to skip the large block-shaped piece and hard chunks to aim for thinner, tinier tree sticks and bits. Normally, massive chunks of wood create too much unnecessary smoke while they struggle extendedly to catch on fire. Therefore, you should start with something smaller. You can utilize the provided BioLite FireStarter or flame up your own kindling from a long wooden stick-shaped object before inserting it into the entrance.
The moment a flame is created, you can move on; try centering one big chunk at the entrance before starting to fill the leftover spaces around it with smaller ones. This allows enough airing slots for oxygen to enter the burn chamber, resulting in stronger fire and greater heat sustained by the large chunk. Moreover, the arrangement grants easy entry passage for the continuing wood batch, as soon as the previous one is burnt up. Once you have enough heat, the fire-bumping fan will systematically kick off and take care of the rest. Moreover, the onboard battery will aid in powering the fan to take the burden off the heat generated.
Be mindful of the hot surfaces and pack pairs of tongs with you. Remember to use them whenever you insert wood into the stove. Notice that you should not ever overstuff the firebox’ entrance with too much wood. It is wasteful and potentially dangerous. With your safety in mind, BioLite equipped a hazard LED on the monitoring screen to notify, or should we say, warn you when the pizza oven heating is getting out of hand. Roughly, you will only need 10 minutes for the oven to reach the optimum temperature.
Another thing to be aware of is that coal is, even though also compatible with the BioLite BaseCamp, not recommended. Why? It is because fuelling on coal brings about dangerous impacts. It is one among many causes of environmental pollution while threatening your health and endangering nature’s livelihoods. Moreover, as BioLite invented this oven in a commitment to protect the environment, they will be the last people to applause the usage of coal for fuelling. In addition, as you can see, there is no need for profane at all, so, you can save both the environmental resource and your wallet!
How fast do the fire and heat find their way up the Dome? How long does it take for the interior to reach a proper temperature before it starts cooking the pizza? How efficiently can the Dome sustain the proper temperature? All these aspects depend greatly on the ventilation of the unit. The fire chamber’s bottom ventilation is important, so having all the legs extended and creating suitable gaps between braches offer big enhancement.
To improve air circulation, the engineers create the Dome’s lid with many ventilation holes to maximize oxygen coming in and out of the Dome. Consequently, it decreases the length of the heating-up period, distributes and maintain the hot environment inside the Dome. Moreover, you can monitor these processes and temperatures effortlessly with the built-in thermometer.
Here comes the most important part of maintaining the product’s quality. If you were thinking of cleaning, you guessed right! Fortunately, it is a much easier and more basic task than you thought. Thanks to the innovative clean-burning technology integrated into the whole structure, BioLite engineering, once again, saves you your precious time. After usage, wait for the unit to cool down before taking it apart, piece by piece, in the opposite order in which you built it up. Then, be very careful with discarding the ashes and be mindful of any burning hazards to you and your surroundings, especially while in the wood. Now, soak the grill in water and wash it with the flame spreader, using a brush. Wipe down the exteriors and the power pack with a damp cloth, and leave everything to dry completely.
The cooking top can accommodate most of your delicious grills, even flatbread and, as we have mentioned many times in this review, the pizza that is everyone’s favorite. With the help of the Pizza Dome, the BaseLite BaseCamp turns into a perfect oven for pizza! Just like how you would do with a commercial pizza oven in your kitchen, the first step is to preheat it to a certain temperature. With the help of the smart LED Dashboard installed on the power pack, you can monitor temperature easily. Now, give it less than 10 minutes for the pizza oven to reach 450 degrees Fahrenheit (or approximately 232 degrees Celsius), when the pizza stone becomes nonstick. Then, you can tuck your pizza neatly right in before closing the Dome lid once again. Keep an eye on the temperature and the fuel while sparing a few glances at your food during the process. Make sure you do not burn it or overheat the crust. And now, your appetizing pizza is ready for everyone to enjoy away. Also, feel free to play around and explore the settings to adjust the outcome of the pizza quality and find your best result.
Do you know that the BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome works wonders with frozen pizza too? It even efficiently helps to reduce the regular toxic substances found in this type of food. The smoky notes coming from the wood-burning might be a great elevation to the taste of the outcome unless you would prefer otherwise.
Again, this pizza oven is not only great at banking pizza but you can use it for other purposes, like cooking, grilling, boiling, or roasting. In many cases, it works wonders as a grill or a stove respectively for your different outdoor needs and secret recipes. Surprisingly, you can even bake cookies with this unit! It is a far reach but still a valuable piece of information if you ever consider the possibility!
The BioLite BaseCamp seems like a brilliant assistant to have on your exciting trip, as it is full of amazing features and usages. However, there are some significant or insignificant drawbacks to be aware of.
Due to the unique size of the wood stove, it is understandable that smaller biomass would fit right into it. So, it may take some time and effort to gather suitable pieces. Twigs are a good match though the pizza oven uses the minor pieces up very quickly, even loading the extended tray yields unlikely exceptional results. And, we believe you would rather keep an eye on the cooking process than spend most of your time wandering around seeking a serendipitous wood-finding moment. As a result, we recommend bringing along or collect beforehand appropriately sized pieces of wood.
While baking your heavenly savory pizza, the most complex task must be sustaining the temperature throughout the process. In other words, no prior firer-wood preparation poses some challenges and struggles cooking your pizza. One tip we can tell you is that try to opt for thicker branches or pieces of biomass; that way, it productively reduces the difficulty of keeping the temperature in check. Remember to use the preinstalled thermometer monitor to assist you with the task.
Now, assuming we are at the eating part when the pizza is ready to be served. As your mouth waters, while you take in the delicious aroma of the pizza slice in your hand, you notice something. That something is what we want to discuss. Since the BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome makes essentially an incredible wood-fire pizza oven, it is natural to expect your pizza to have some smoky, charred notes in the scent and especially all over the taste. Authentically speaking, isn’t it the norm when we talk about a wood-burnt pizza oven, smoky taste and audible crispy crust of a pizza? Those aspects would naturally associate with the picture of an original, fundamentally marvelous pizza. In the same manner, you can expect the same notes on other food cooked with the BioLite BaseCamp, which is an especially significant feature of open-space cooking or barbecuing. Would you not agree that it is the experience meals that are enjoyed at a camping site should be offering?
Depending on your personal preference, this can be a make-or-break factor to consider prior to purchasing. The Pizza Dome does have the ability to lessen the smoky flavor, but not entirely. Therefore, if you are not accustomed to such taste, this is something to be mindful of. Moreover, we would not recommend purchasing if this factor makes you uncomfortable and potentially takes away the pleasant experience you might otherwise receive during your trip.
Other than those small disadvantages that may not be disadvantaged at all with proper preparation, there are only awesome features to notice in the BaseLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome. Just keep all those minor cautions in mind and well equip yourself with a full-proof consideration. With that, you will be able to use the Basecamp without much trouble and savor all the fantastic things about your field trip with your family and friends.
Should You Purchase It? Should You Not?
With all the admirable and versatile features that the BioLite BaseCamp is capable of providing, notably in collaboration with the Pizza Dome system, we could not resist the urge to place an order. And, if you are keen on all those great things as much as we did, we believe you will engage in the same feelings. However, at the moment when you think it cannot get any better than that, let us slide one final brilliant thing that makes BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome stand out from the crowd: the BioLite company, itself.
We were in awe the second we realize the mindsets and mission inciting their journeys and products. BioLite pledges to revolutionize off-grid cooking, energy generating and heating and lighting our world while staying close to the promise to deliver Energy Everywhere™. It is a transformation with humanitarian innovational purposes. Moreover, upon every product purchasing, a portion of the profit will be dedicated to third-world countries. It is certainly a win-win situation: you will get to enjoy eco-friendly products while joining hands with BioLite in bettering lives and brightening the future of many other underprivileged people.
The whole set is your one-stop productive and trustworthy pizza oven thanks to the Pizza Dome system. The system creates an awesome nonstick baking environment with heat distributed evenly around and over the pizza. More importantly, with the addition of the helpful thermometer connected directly to the smart monitor, you can control the temperature of which you would normally be oblivious, has it been a conventional firewood pizza oven. Consequently, you get to taste some pretty decent quality from the crispy pizza to the smoke-flavored bites filled with melting, gooey topping cheese.
Coming with an easy set-up, enough instructions and hazard indicators, and plenty of other precautions, the BioLite BaseCamp Pizza Dome is no hassle and definitely beginner-friendly. The unit is full transportable with smart designs, lightweight and a handy water-proof case. Plus, there is no complexity in washing and maintaining it.
The BioLite BaseCamp and Pizza Dome is a great combination, flexible and trustworthy for picnicking, camping and even backyard BBQs. Considering all the aspects, it is definitely worth every penny spent, not to mention, some of that amount will be dedicated to a great humanitarian cause. This sleek-looking, smartly designed, brilliantly featured and green enough wood-fired pizza oven is perfect for your absolutely euphoric adventure with your loved ones.
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