Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kelly Kettle to Boil Water

Most of my "cooking" for this trip consists of boiling water to reconstitute dry food or make my morning coffee drink.  Mostly I boil water in my 12v HotPot.  But, when time and location allow, I use the Kelly Kettle (or volcano kettle).   It was originally used in Ireland in the 1890's.  Although it comes in different sizes and materials, I use a small aluminum one ... enough to boil about 2 cups of water.  The kettle is a double-walled chimney where the water is filled between the chimney walls and a small fire below quickly boils the water inside.

The great thing about boiling water this way is that fuel is almost always available.  For the demonstration pictures, I used 2 old campground rules & regulation sheets, and two small visitors brochures ... about 6 sheets of paper total ... which I would have usually just thrown away.  You can also use small twigs, pine cones, dry leaves or other types of tinder.  Here are some pictures that I took while camping on the Gila River, NM.

To make my coffee drink, I gathered up everything I need:  Kelly Kettle, strips of paper for fuel, lighter, and my coffee cup (with the instant coffee+ inside).

Then I crinkle some of the strips of paper and put in the bottom container.


Fill the kettle (double-walled chimney) with water.

Put the kettle on top of the bottom container and lit the crinkled paper through the vents below.  Then I fed additional strips of paper to keep the fire going through the hole on top. 
After a few minutes, boiling water!

Because fire is coming out of the top, you can't use the handle like normal to lift it up.  Rather, you lift it up with the handle at a 90 degree angle, using the chain to tilt the bottom up to poor the boiling water into your cup.

I also have some accessories -- grill grate, pot, lid/pan, pot handle, and brace for the pot or pan that fits on top of the kettle -- and it all nests together to fit into a little bag.  Good for cooking for one.

I got my Kelly Kettle on eBay ... the best price I found ... shipped direct from Ireland!


  1. The Kelly Kettle is great-- where did you hear about it?? Great concept--obviously tried and true.

  2. Hey Sunny! I heard about the Kelly Kettle from my teardrop-trailer friends. Because teardrops are so compact, I'm using a lot of their ideas on this trip (even tho' I'm not towing our teardrop).


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