It's a year and a half since I started this thread. We easily have close to 300 nights using the BioLite. Things we have noticed;
It's still rusting, but has many fires left before it will fail. I've already seen a rusty Solo Stove. However, the rust has a great patina and doesn't bother us at all.
It works great for the two of us with brats, steaks, and chops, using charcoal. However, like any other charcoal grill, chicken or ribs can still flareup. Terry also puts veggies/potatoes in foil wrap to heat on the grill. We cook on it every other night using charcoal and then switch to wood or pellets for sitting around a fire.
When we couldn't find wood we were burning commercial fireplace logs, until we purchased a set of Repose Fire Logs
to burn wood pellets. These pellet logs are awesome. Plus you can find a bag of wood pellets at Tractor Supply for under $5, and a bag will last for four or more fires. We did buy a galvanized oat scoop for feeding horses at a antique store for under $10 that works wonderful for feeding the fire (the plastic scoop we originally bought didn't last too long
). We've also found a thin layer burns much better.
We've noticed the campfire pit sides at many state/federal campgrounds are getting taller and taller. It still is wonderful to put your feet underneath the BioLite to keep them nice and toasty, something you can't do with most campfire fire pits or a Solo stove.
We rarely use the electric blower, probably less than 20 times. Because the wood/pellets are confined, with plenty of air on all sides, including the bottom, it burns quite efficiently with almost no smoke. The only time we use the blower is when we purchase wet wood.
To dump the ashes, if it's not windy we just turn the fire pit over to empty the ashes in the campground fire pit. We only use the bottom sliding door when it's windy and use a small wisk broom. Since the ashes are dry, what little ash is remaining in the firepit won't add to the rust, and has always been dry when we take the stove out to use again.
We now figure we easily save a bundle of wood a night. At $5 a bundle, with 300 fires, that's a savings of $1,500. Even if it rusts out today we'd purchase another in a heartbeat.