by Col. D.
The Kelly Kettle® is an old invention from England used by fisherman to boil water easily with many different types of dry fuel. The kettles are made either out of aluminum or stainless steel depending on personal preference. In this article, I will discuss the Kelly Kettle® stainless steel base camp model with a cooking kit and pot stand. Every prepper may wish to consider adding one of these to their essentials kit. The kettle boils water efficiently for sterilization, preparing instant meals or hot beverages.
The kettle consists of double-walled metal sheets bonded together. The outer wall is symmetrical and round. The inside of the kettle is cone-shaped with the bottom being larger in diameter than the top. The inner metal housing is hemmed together on the bottom with a rolled edge and the top is similar. The interior of the Kettle is open from top to bottom and acts as the chimney. The enclosed cavity in my kettle holds 50 ounces of water within an internal reservoir.
The kettle has a handle which consists of a wire bail spot welded to brackets on either side of the kettle. There is a wood dowel on the wire bail handle to prevent burning your hand when picking up a hot kettle. Attached to the back of the kettle is a chain attached to a rubber stopper to plug the pour spout and keep out dirt during storage. The firebase stores in the bottom of the kettle and the cooking kit stores inside the firebase. It’s worth mentioning however that once you burn the unit a few times the cooking kit doesn’t fit inside the firebase. This is due to soot buildup but this isn’t a show stopper.
HOW IT WORKS
The Kettle comes complete with a base which sits under the reservoir. The base acts as the firebase which the kettle sits atop of. The chamber can be filled with small twigs, grass, paper, birch bark or any dry material which burns.
Once you light a fire in the firebase the kettle acts as a very efficient chimney very similar to a rocket stove. Additional sticks or material can be dropped down the chimney to heat the inner metal surfaces. The heat generated through the chimney is conducted through the inner metal surface to the water contained between the inner and outer metal housings.
WARNING – make sure not to place the stopper in the pour spout when heating water on the firebase. Once the water boils it generates steam which will blow the stopper out under intense pressure! The stoves chimney is very hot so make sure to lift the kettle using the handle from the back and not from the top or you will burn your hand.
The kettle consistently boiled water in less than twelve minutes in many different types of weather. It took longer to get it going when it was misting or raining but it still managed to boil water without any trouble (12 minutes). In dry weather, the kettle boiled a full pot in approximately 8 – 9 minutes. Dry grass and phone book paper each worked well to start the small sticks on fire.
I didn’t have any birch bark to try but it most likely would work equally well. I used phone book paper since its free and for some reason, they keep sending me new books every year! The amount of heat generated through the chimney was intense once it gets going.
In a snowy environment, it works best to place the kettle on a level surface off the snow by setting on a couple of small logs, on a rock or digging down to bare ground. The boiling water can be used for hot drinks and instant meals in the field. After using the Kelly Kettle® while hunting last fall I will never take another thermos into the woods again.
As an option, a cooking kit and pot support are available for purchase with your kettle. I recommend you consider adding both to your order. The kit consists of a small pot with lid, a detachable handle and two grills for cooking on the firebase as a stand-alone grill. The pot support consists of two interlocking pieces of metal which drop down into the chimney. The pot is just that a small pot, the lid acts as a small frying pan which works well on the chimney or on the grill for frying or cooking.
As mentioned previously the chimney puts out a lot of heat but I recommend you use dry wood and stock the chimney sufficiently prior to placing the pot on the pot support. Wood can also be fed through the hole on the side of the firebase to keep it going. Be aware that only small meals or items would be efficiently heated or cooked using this method but does work.
To heat soups or canned items works reasonable well but cooking for a large group would not be very practical. You could cook an egg or round sausage in the pan if you desired and for one person it works well.
- Stainless steel Kelly Kettle® with handle, chain and stopper
- Cooking kit – pot/lid, detachable handle and two grill halves
- Pot support
- Storage bag with a drawstring
- Directions – READ THESE FIRST
WHERE TO PURCHASE
- Kelly Kettle biomass stoves: Weekly Product Review by Jesse Mathewson
- My thoughts and experiments with various means of off-grid cooking by BCtruck