Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kelly Kettle Large Stainless Steel Complete Kit Review

Kelly Kettle Large Stainless Steel Complete Kit Review

Recently I tested an imported English design similar to the Kelly Kettle, however I wanted a bigger kettle for a group (or a hot shower) and I wanted one made from Stainless Steel. Kelly Kettle is a manufacturer of the same time tested internal hollow cone-ed fast water boiling design as I tested in the previous design.  
One of the reasons I was excited about Kelly Kettle was that they have operations here in the US which make their kettles considerably easier to find and purchase and they have a very long history.  Kelly Kettle is a fourth generation company founded in Ireland which now offers updated versions of the famous design developed and used for hundreds of years by Irishman who simply wanted a hot cup of tea during wet, windy and rainy weather.
FIT, FEEL, & FEATURES
Kelly Kettle offers small, medium, and large sizes in either aluminum or stainless steel.  The finish and fit of the kettle, base, and cooking kit I picked up was excellent.

The capacity is a big 50.7oz/ 6 cups on their large stainless model I reviewed and generates plenty of hot water for a camp group.  I found that two Large Kelly Kettles of boiling water poured into a clean and unused bug sprayer with a little cool water makes for a really nice hot outback off grid spray shower.  

The major feature of the Kelly Kettle is that the hollow cone shaped interior design both exposes the water to the most heat possible, but also drastically increases the draft and heat when combined with the fire cup base.  The whole setup works basically like a charcoal chimney starter and burns any wood or other natural fuel hot and fast all while shielding the fire from wind and rain.
The standard Kelly Kettles includes carrying/handling bail, attached/chained rubber stopper, and the fire cup base which can be inverted and stored compactly inside the Kettle.  The Complete Kit adds a grilling grate, pot support which breaks down flat, pan handle, fry pan which can be used as a lid, and sauce pan.  Surprisingly the entire kit nests very compactly in a space only slightly larger than just the base Kelly Kettle.  Comparatively this complete stove kit is lighter and smaller than all but the most pricey titanium kits.
FUNCTIONS
The main reasons I like these type kettles is the fuel efficiency, versatility and size.  As you would avoid with any cookware, running the kettle dry will eventually burn out the lining of the kettle. Assuming you always use the Kelly Kettle with water in the chamber the stainless or aluminum versions will last almost indefinitely with little or no maintenance. 


There are no fuel costs or fuel to carry, zero operating costs, a simple design which does not rely on fuel lines, igniters or burners. It works every single time regardless of altitude as long as you can make fire, can be transported without restriction on all public transportation, and it does this all and still boils a full tank of water in about 4-5 minutes with very little fuel.  If you are one of those treehugger types it also reduces landfill impact with no canisters to dispose of.

Operation is simple, Drop some wadded up newspaper in the fire cup, place a filled Kelly Kettle on the fire cup with the cork installed (so you don’t drop fuel in the water, but you MUST remove this before there is any sign of simmering) and load a handful of whatever relatively dry fuel you have into the top of the chimney such as twigs, light the paper through one of the holes in the fire cup base, and then pull the cork.  In around four minutes from match strike, you will have boiling water, in 5 minutes you will have volcanically explosive boiling water if you keep feeding it fuel.  In that same time you can also use the chimney heat to cook up or reheat your dinner.
The benefit to this design once a fire is started is that the intense heat burns nearly any potential tinder even if it is a little damp. In my experience the kettle burns everything from pin cones, sticks and twigs, to bark and grass quickly and completely to an ash state with very little odor.  If you have or make a little charcoal, that makes a great long lasting fire.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Often we get caught up with how something should look and work and we miss a great design.  This is a truly great design for the camper, hiker, preparedness or survival folks which looks a lot different that we are used to here in the US. At 2.1lbs the large model it is also very light considering you don’t need to carry any fuel and the complete kit can nest compactly and still leave room to stuff food and utensils in the inner hollow part of the kettle. The grate also provides use to grill and heat food directly off the fire cup. The Kelly Kettle allows you to carry more food and a no fuel... definitely a handy survival feature in a cookset and stove.
SPECS
Kelly Kettle Large Stainless Steel Complete Kit
Stock Item 50045

Material Stainless Steel
Kettle Height 15 inches
Kettle Diameter 7.4 inches (widest point at rim of fire base)
Kettle Capacity 50.7 fl. oz., 1.5L, 6 cups
Pot Capacity 32 oz. / 4 cups
Included in Kit 50.7 oz/1.7L Kettle, Base, Grate, Cook Set and Pot Support
MSRP KIT $104.99 as tested

SOURCES
Kelly Kettle USA
http://www.kellykettleusa.com

1 comment:

jon mika said...

I've been cooking peppers and onions in the skillet on the grill a lot lately. I'll have to add jalapenos next time. Yum. I like cooking bacon that way too, although hot fat + open flame adds a nice element of danger. I used to get flank steak, but my husband got me to try the carne asada cut from our local market, and I prefer it. Not sure if it's thin-cut flank or skirt (I'll have to ask), but it looks like this