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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Ultra Light Kettle Co. mKettle

A cool way to boil and carry water, all in one package.

by: Joe Flowers


The Specs:
Weight: 14 oz. (without water)
Water capacity: 18 oz.
Price: $82
mKettle.com

There are countless backpacker meals that require the simple task of boiling water, and many hikers haul stoves for this reason alone. The new mKettle by UK-based Ultra Light Kettle Company features a cool way to carry and boil water in the same container.

This “chimney” kettle design uses an opening through the middle to carry heat throughout the entire “inside” of the aluminum canteen. The odd canteen has a funneled hole, from top to bottom. Think of it as a long, vertical metal donut with a hole (See photo 2 and 3 above); the yummy part of the donut holds water.

First you make a tiny camp fire in the supplied fire base. (See photo 1 above.) The fire blasts up through the middle. The water is isolated and heated throughout the length of the kettle, and the flames come out the top.

The fuel can be anything from simple twigs to solid fuel bars (we tested wet-fire tinder) and alcohol burners (there’s a hole on the side of the fire base for easy lighting). The twig burning method was incredibly fun during a three-day trip on the Santee River in South Carolina. I found that using a higher number of smaller sticks and twigs provided better results than going from small to large twigs, as it kept a consistent flame. The website states that it can take up to 10 minutes to get the 18 oz. of water boiling, and I averaged about 8 minutes at the beginning. (Compare this to 4 minutes and 9 seconds with a MSR Pocket Rocket on full blast, no wind.) Once you figure it out, it becomes easy to have water boiling in six minutes; the quickest we managed was 5 minutes 38 seconds using sticks.

The mKettle comes with a removable neoprene liner around the outside that did not burn or smolder, and helps insulate the kettle and keeps fingers from getting burned when picking up the hot kettle. A rubber stopper prevents spillage during transport and in camp, but do not use it when boiling water as you may have a missile! (Another cool part is that the stove base flips up inside the middle, and you can store your fire-making materials in there when not in use.) Bring a camp cup and bowl though, as the small hole does not make the kettle suitable for anything other than water. Small-mouth aside, many backpackers that enjoy unique camping gear, like my friend Bob in upstate New York, enjoy this chimney style kettle due to the small size and ease of use.

Update: 10-26-11 Also, check out Joe's review of the Boilerwerks Backcountry Boiler. another chimney kettle model.

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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
The SF Bean
Jun 01, 2013

Krazy Kool. Effective, the neoprene grip is amazing. Packs down to almost nothing. No more gas cans for me. Perfect for dried meals, and Starbucks VIA coffee. TSFB

TreeHugs
Nov 27, 2012

The good. Small cheap and works well.

The Bad. It is small, so just for one or two people.

I bought two, one for myself and gave one to my friend as a present. He uses it constantly and really likes it. I use mine when fishing and day hikes, not so much when it is wet.

The anodized version is the way to go. Might be more expensive but worth every penny. Have fun, we do. Thanx Backpacker.
TH

Anonymous
Oct 24, 2012

Hi Guys, as we are playing the who copied who game has anyone ever seen an original Kelly Kettle?

Junishi Yamagata
Oct 11, 2012

High craftmanship. A truly special product. We enjoy it for tea and dehydrated meals during forest walks. Thank you, sir!
J. Yamagata

Aokigahara, Mt. FUJI

Junishi Yamagata
Oct 11, 2012

High craftmanship. A truly special product. We enjoy it for tea and dehydrated meals during forest walks. Thank you, sir!
J. Yamagata

Aokigahara, Mt. FUJI

K Owen
Aug 25, 2012

Nice product. Works even better with alcohol burners. Love the mkettle in the backwoods. Just make sure to leave no trace. Peace, ko

Ned Lud
May 08, 2012

MKettle, boilerworks et al - ALL use the basic design from Kelly - OVER 100 years old!! & IRISH.

So stop yapping about rip off design .. EVERYONE of the manufacturers is "STEALING" from the Kelly original.

I'd buy it just on the basis of being BRITISH n not American as through history the USA has "borrowed" other nations ideas n passed em off as thiers ...

Ned Lud
May 08, 2012

MKettle, boilerworks et al - ALL use the basic design from Kelly - OVER 100 years old!! & IRISH.

So stop yapping about rip off design .. EVERYONE of the manufacturers is "STEALING" from the Kelly original.

I'd buy it just on the basis of being BRITISH n not American as through history the USA has "borrowed" other nations ideas n passed em off as thiers ...

St
Mar 13, 2012

I would love to buy the backcountry boiler instead of the mkettle but I am really tired of scouring the net looking for a way to purchase it. If you are going to complain about getting ripped off you might want to look into product availability.

Jeremy
Feb 18, 2012

I like mine a lot. Got it for xmas. It does what it says on the tin. Fun to use too. Also works well with Trangia alcohol cup. Bay Area Bum.

Henry Thomas
Jan 21, 2012

Krazy kool! This mkettle works like a charm every time. Fits in my backpack. :) Thanks BP mag. Picked mine up from campsaver.com

John Fitzhugh
Jul 13, 2011

I love mine. The mkettle works great, although my wife is bored with it by now, but I don't care and I love using it. Time and time again. Quick, simple and works. Just make sure your leaves and sticks are dry. Thank you for the post.

JL
May 29, 2011

Would have been nice if Backpacker had done its homework and reviewed the original version--the Backcountry Boiler designed by Devin Montgomery. The mKettle is a blatant ripoff in both design and name. The "good" folks behind mKettle are simply lying thieves.

BlueridgeMts hiker
Mar 15, 2011

Wow. Just got an mkettle for myself and one for my husband. Works really well, not sure if there is enough capacity for hydrating meals, but should be. We will test it on our AT thruhike this spring. Thanks for letting us know on this gem.
Blueridgemts, VA

Mar 13, 2011

Ryan Jordan states (On this Link: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=38591&startat=40)

"..At any rate, I haven't received a response from the mKettle manufacturer about the extent to which Devin's design influenced theirs, so I decided to hold off on ordering it because it would just be a little weird to bring this "exact-looking" product in and then have to explain all about it, "parallel development" why I supported a company that might of ripped off a design without attribution, etc."

"..FYI the photo and quote on the mKettle website was used without my permission."

dayhiker9
Mar 09, 2011

I don't know about the history on this item.

It is interesting that Ryan Jordan seems to endorse it (one of the founders of BPL) and their website has one of his pictures on it.

It seems one is heavier and cheaper. Not sure which is more durable etc.

Joe
Mar 05, 2011

A bit harsh Mike. The short version is that the Backcountry Boiler was previously known as the Montgomery Kettle. When another guy copied Devin's design (exactly, but heavier) he probably coined the name mKettle to confuse buyers-possibly believing "mkettle" meant Montgomery Kettle. They are not the same beast. Hopefully backpacker will print something on this along with Devin's cool design story.

Mike
Mar 04, 2011

"Ttgirl" you are a Backpacker idiot. Read history here (This is what "mKettle" used to steal Devin's design--and used this name to confuse people like you): http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=7456&disable_pagination=1
Now read a little more here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=38591

The original one and also the better/lighter one is the Backcountry Boiler. YouTube Backcountry Boiler to see it in use.

Ttgirl
Mar 03, 2011

I just googled the backcountry boiler. It was formerly known as the Montgomery kettle made by devin Montgomery. Could this be why it's now called the mKettle?! Calm down guys, not every big company is out to steal another man's idea...

Mystech
Mar 02, 2011

Like so many reviews, the manufacturer was probably looking to get some free publicity (or was it paid for?). Guess they got more than they bargained for but thats bound to happen when you swipe an idea in a community as tight the backpacking community. And shame on you BP Mag!

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