Boiling water out in the field is always a challenging task to do quickly and easily without the need for relying on technology (such as a Jet Boil) to make your tea. You can bring a billy can for when you are on your own but to use it you first have to light a fire and its not incredibly efficient as the heat is not contained. The problem with gas stoves is you always run the risk of it malfunctioning when out on expedition and then being left with an interesting ‘tea less’ situation. In this review we will look at the Kelly Kettle Base Camp Camping Kettle.
The Kelly Kettle Base Camp solves all these problems by allowing the user to utilize natural fuel in a low entropy system that does not have much that can go wrong when out and about. The kettle itself shelters the fire inside from the environment which reduces the stress of keeping the fire alight in difficult situations, especially in high winds.
I used one for two weeks in Sweden on a canoe voyage. It experienced all types of weather and even damp wood. The kettle acts as a funnel of heat with the fire at the base directing heat upwards so it passes past the water which is wrapped around the heat by the metal funnel. This also allows the user to deal with wet wood as you can start to dry it out once you have the first little fire lit inside and the heat starts to build up.
My favourite technique to use is to stuff the entire funnel with dry coniferous sticks which can be very small if you desire. Above all just make sure you stuff a bunch up in there! Once you have it completely filled with sticks fill it up with water and light your tinder in the base. Placing the kettle on top of this burning tinder will ignite all of the fuel you stuffed inside and bring your water rapidly to a boil.
An issue with the design is that if the handle is left to sit against the walls of the kettle it will eventually burn through. Consequently a simple solution to use is to place a stick to keep it balanced between the openings. This is demonstrated in the photos. The chain can also break and this then makes pouring a lot harder. Since it’s metal a field repair is not out of the question.
The Kelly Kettle Base Camp is made for longer expeditions of canoeing and vehicle travel. I would not take one hiking as its very big and heavy. However for base camp style situations is very effective.
Mine’s an Earl Grey!