Monday, August 5, 2013

Getting Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse

I'm not usually an impulse buyer, but I couldn't resist purchasing this nerdy camping gadget.   It is a camp stove and grill that literally runs on twigs, pine cones, and sticks, and it can recharge a cell phone using a built-in thermoelectric generator.   I can't wait to kick back in the Airstream, grill squirrel-burgers, and endlessly play Angry Birds and Farmville during the next zombie Apocalypse.

I tested out this gadget over the weekend at the East Portal campground in Estes Park, Colorado.  This is a popular Larimer County campground just outside Rocky Mountain National Park that offers many camping amenities like electrical hookups, water, hot showers, and a dump station.

Campsite at East Portal Campground

Rocky Mountain Views from East Portal Campground

 The campground is very near hiking and horseback riding trails into the park.  A moderate 7-mile hike winds along the Wind River, through pine forests, and near Park lakes and streams.

Wildlife frequently visited the campground.  Each morning deer meandered through campsites providing many close-up photo opportunities.

Great spot (A39) at East Portal Campground, but a little tricky to back into

If you go:  East Portal Campground is secluded at the end of highway 66 (Tunnel Road), just past the YMCA camp in Estes Park.  It is on the free shuttle route which stops near the campground every hour.  The shuttle goes into town and connects with routes into Rocky Mountain National Park for hiking and sightseeing.   This is a great way to get around - I didn't use my car once during the weekend stay.

It is a nice campground, although a little crowded this time of year with families of exuberant kids still on summer vacation.   Campsites are spacious, but can be difficult to maneuver into.  Larger trailers will find it a challenge to navigate the sharp curves and tight corners in this campground.  It makes a nice destination though for Bambi-sized campers.


  1. Link for more info/where to buy the stove?

    1. I bought it at an REI store in Boulder, CO. You can find it online if you search for Biolite ( In the interest of full disclosure - I found it worked better than I expected it would as a camp stove and grill - very efficient, easy to light, fast burning, etc. However, I was not so impressed with its charging capabilities. I couldn't get it to charge my iPhone 3GS. I wrote the company and they gave me some suggestions which I haven't had a chance to try yet. Apparently, though, it works better with the newer iPhones and other devices for which they have a published list (

    2. Just an update regarding the Biolite Stove and its charging abilities: As (bad) luck would have it, my iPhone 3GS went on the fritz after an unfortunate incident with a glass of water. I upgraded to the iPhone 4S and tested it on the Biolite charger last weekend. Happy to report that it charged with no problems. Still really liking this nerdy stove....