A camping stove that can charge your phone? Meet the Tegstove
Cooking in a caravan is a lot easier than cooking in a tent. Modern caravans have kitchens and ovens, of course. Why would you need an extra gas stove which can also charge your smartphone?
Will Hawkins reviews the Tegstove from Tegology.
When we looked at the Tegstove, it was with some doubt about its usefulness for caravanners. Nevertheless, this intriguing camping stove is unique in its design and its capabilities.
What is different about the Tegstove?
The Tegstove looks different to most camping stoves you’ve seen, probably. It’s tall and cylindrical for starters and has three legs, which you slide out from the body to form a tripod, on which it stands.
The tripod gives it stability when you place a pan filled with food for heating. Many butane cookers rely on you putting the stove onto a flat surface to provide stabilise it. The trouble is when you place, say, a pan of water to boil on the stove, it becomes top-heavy and unstable.
The Tegstove’s tripod overcomes instability. You slide out its legs to form a wide base. Also, its three points of contact make it easier to place on an uneven surface.
Fuel for the Tegstove
The stove uses standard 220g butane gas cartridges, which you can buy four for about £8 from an outdoor retailer. You insert a cartridge into the body of the Tegstove from its base, then twist and lock it into place.
You turn on the fuel by twisting a knob and ignite the gas by turning it to its furthest point. That’s handy because you don’t need to carry matches or a lighter to use it.
The Tegstove has a clever feature which gently, and safely, warms the butane cartridge so you get a constant and steady pressure. That means you don’t waste any butane, which often happens with other gas stoves.
With a stable base, you also need a good ‘platform’ for your kettle or pan. On the Tegstove, there are three ‘feet’ which provide the hob. You lift up each foot and turn it outwards until it locks into position. The feet provide a wide, stable base for your pan or kettle.
When you’ve finished with them (and have let them cool down), you twist the feet back into the centre of the cylindrical body.
To assess the Tegstove’s cooking power, we put a pint of water into a pan and timed how long it took to boil.
On full power, the stove boiled the water in under five minutes, which would keep anyone who is gasping for a cuppa happy.
The ingenious bit
So far, apart from the great tripod on the Tegstove, you’d think there is not much that’s different to the stove than other camping gas cookers.
There is one major difference to the Tegstove, which makes it stand out, namely it has a built-in thermoelectric generator, or ‘TEG’. The TEG uses heat from the stove to generate electricity which it stores in the onboard battery.
So what? The TEG means you can charge your smartphone or GPS device, for example, when you are off-grid. That’s a handy solution for when you are out and about on your holidays and need to both brew up and charge your device. Being able to charge your devices with it means you either don’t need to use your solar charger, or to you don’t need one at all.
You connect your device to charge via a USB cable (provided), and you can pre-charge the Tegstove’s battery from the mains too.
Just when you charge your device is a question which struck us. You would probably want to keep your smartphone away from the stove while you are cooking to avoid spilling hot liquids onto it, and yourself.
Once you have finished cooking, you hear a whirring sound, which is the TEG working. This is probably a good time to do your charging. It takes about 20 minutes for the stove to cool down before you can safely pack it away in its travel bag.
The battery has a series of LED lights on it which show you if it is charging.
When would you use a Tegstove?
For a caravanner, the Tegstove would be ideal as an extra stove for using outside or in your awning if, for example, you need some extra cooking power when you are barbecuing. Or, you are away from the campsite during the day and want to make cup of tea or a hot lunch.
For a camper, the stove is fine for a couple, but families need more ‘fire power’, so to speak, and you would need two of them. And, given the price (SRP £125), that’s probably out of most people’s reach.
For walkers, the Tegstove is bulky and heavy too, so you might not want to carry it with you to brew up on your walk. You also need a spare gas cartridge or two if you are hiking, which adds to the weight.
The other challenge with the stove is its height. Being so tall exposes the flame to any breeze, which increases the amount of cooking time you need. You would need a tall windbreak to overcome that problem.
The Tegstove is a cleverly engineered camping stove with many good, novel features. Being able to charge your smartphone or devices from it is useful, and it makes good use of the energy you use when cooking.
It’s too bulky to appeal to hikers, and probably won’t appeal to family campers who need two burners or more. For caravanners, the Tegstove is probably a luxury they could do without.
But, this stove will probably appeal to outdoor enthusiasts who base themselves in one place for a long time, who need their devices to hand but they are off-grid.
For example, anglers who don’t mind its weight and bulk, but who are off-grid by a lake or pond, need to cook and to keep their smartphone charged will love it. It might appeal to people who don’t need to carry their gear on their backs for a long time, like bikers or canoeists.
Expect to pay £125