Finally we can bring you our Kelly Kettle Review.
I say finally as we had this little beauty in my spare room for about 2 months waiting for our Welsh weather to be less, well Welsh. So we packed our bags and went for a hike, taking the Kettle with us, and the whole way all I could think was how I hated my partner for being a million feet tall. I bet you thought I would say the kettle, but no, looking up and seeing an ex-military giant leaping up cliffs and stepping over meteor craters just made me want to bludgeon him to death and use his corpse to skate back down to the car. I mean I had a 60ltr pack full of gear we needed that day, while he carried the kettle and a spare pair of gloves in his little daypack. I felt like a pack mule, but he’s the one with a horse face so I think I win.
Anyway, lets give you some useful info on the Kelly Kettle.
This is the stainless steel ‘Scout’ version that’s 1.2 litres, although you can get a 0.6ltr ‘Trekker’ or the 1.6ltr ‘Base Camp’ models, and all three come in Aluminium if you want something a little lighter. You have most of the little bits like cups and pans are available separately so you can tailor your kettle to suit your personal needs, but we went with the ‘Ultimate’ edition that comes with everything. Really its the most comprehensive wood burning kit of this type we have ever seen, it only needs some cutlery and when I suggested that to Patrick Kelly (Oh yes, I have the connections), he told me they are working on that right now, so expect to see them really soon to finish off your kit.
Anyway, we got to the summit of a local hotspot for downhill bikers (the hooligans) and found a windless little pocket to sit in the sun and set to work getting a brew on the go. We knew we had to gather wood for the kettle and we weren’t sure how much we would need, so I wandered off and gathered a few dead branches. I came back with less than enough to fill a carrier bag, certainly I thought I needed more, but I was tired and figured Gav could go get more when it was required. It was however enough to boil the kettle twice, cook 4 sausages and an entire pack of bacon and still have a few small twigs left over (probably enough for another brew). It really is efficient at burning wood and the temperature gets right up there thanks to the closed design, it really felt like a piece of kit you could rely on.
I know a fair bit about physics and engineering, so I was expecting it to be fuel-efficient and quick to boil, but nothing prepared me for just how good it actually is. In about 3 minutes we had a cuppa each and plenty of water left over for two more to join us. Also, before we could even finish the first brew, the sausages had cooked through to perfection. Even including the time it took to gather some wood and get it all going, we reckon it was still faster than the usual gas stoves and camping kettles we normally use. Combine that with the fact that you don’t need to buy gas, and the entire package fits into a rather small little package when put away properly, you have something that really struggles to find an equal. It does take up a bit more space as just a kettle than I would like, if I’m completely honest, but if you look at it as a whole package (the cups, plates, pot and pan, hobo stove, grill and the kettle itself), then it takes up less space than the equivalent kit I would carry instead. Lets also not forget that there is the Trekker model that’s about half the size of this one, so if size and space is an issue then they have you covered.
So that’s the big part of the kettle done, but lets talk about the little extras that came with this kit.
For use with the cooking apparatus is a small grab handle that works with both the pot and pan. I would have liked another inch or two on it at times when the fire got a little larger than needed but it got the job done. The hobo stove made a nice stable platform for the pot and pan. It did burn more fuel when using this as it lets more oxygen in but, as I mentioned previously, it cooked 4 sausages faster than I could drink my tea, and I do not hang around letting a cuppa go cold. There is also the option of using the grill, but as we were cooking bacon as well, we thought we would use the pan so we could get the juices rather than bring oil. The only thing with the grill is you couldn’t have a huge fire going in the base as it does sit down quite low, but as long as you don’t go nuts with the wood you should be fine. Also it comes with a stand to put a pot above the kettle although, I would just boil the kettle and get the hobo stove out as 3 minutes isn’t a long time to wait.
The plates were a good size and quite deep. They were more like dishes so you know any rations, or whatever your chosen food is, wont be running off the edge. The cups came in a small and large size so they fit together, but even the small is bigger than a normal household cup so you wont be left wanting. The cups also come with measurements and lip protectors to stop burning if the cup is hot and I did have an issue with them when the cup was close to empty as they made me dribble instead of drink, but that was only on the last couple of mouthfuls. The pot is big enough for a boil in the bag sized ration or a couple of tins of beans, and the pan fit 4 large sausages without issue.
So overall I couldn’t be happier with this kit. Well I could be, as this one belongs to my partner because he’s freakishly tall and he held it up too high for me to grab, damn ogre. Honestly though I was looking at these for about two years before we finally got our hands on one and I wish I had done it sooner. You can get lighter products that take up less space, like mini gas burners, but you will struggle to find something that boils as quickly as this, and it requires no additional money spent on fuel. It just has no rivals in my opinion, at least none that burn wood, and the quality is there. Its great if your on a day out or even when your camping, just set it up next to you and have a quick brew and breakfast on the go in the morning. This is quickly becoming our ‘go to’ cooking kit when we go out and if you ever get one you will see why.
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