We are long term users of storm kettles for our bushcraft and canoe courses, and sell a lot to schools, youth groups forest schools, outdoor centres, fishermen canoeists etc.
Originally we stocked the Kelly Kettle, originally made in the UK but outsourced to eastern Europe and with a lighter guage aluminium than the Birmingham made Ghillie Kettle.
The Ghillie is well made, and crucially for those teaching in the outdoors it comes with a whistle, not the risky option of a cork. Why is a cork risky? Well when you ignore or don’t read the sticker telling you not to leave the cork in when the kettle is on the heat the cork will pop out accompanied by gouts of boiling water. I have bee caught out this way as have many others, and as an instructor I can’t justify unnecessary scalding. It hurts, lots.
The Ghillie Kettle in use
The Ghillie kettle is a traditional fishermans storm kettle, basically a chimney wrapped in a metal shell of water, with a base in which to build a fire to boil the water, very quickly. It will boil in 2 or 3 minutes once your fire is lit inside, the chimney provides a gre
at draft for the fire.
I use whatever I can get my hands on by the river or lake, but always carry enough tinder and fuel for a quick brew, and collect more for the next cuppa to carry on to the next rest spot. My favourite tinders are clematis and lime bark, but birch bark, dry grasses, cotton wool and vaseline, tinder tabs and tinder card are superb alternatives. Line the base with dry sticks half an inch or so thick, so that the metal doesn’t suck away the heat when you light your tinder. Get some pencil thin sticks on the tinder then pop on the kettle asap to generate flames like a blast furnace and feed carefully from the top.
If you water is unpurified boil for 5 to 10 minutes to kill bugs and viruses, but don’t forget you won’t get rid of chemical contaminants this way. I must admit to being lazy about this, but I haven’t suffered yet.
My Opinion on the Ghillie Kettle
They’re great, quick to use, morale boosting, carbon neutral in use, tough and hard wearing. Although made of Aluminium the newest models are hard anodised to BS-ISO 10074, a food prep standard, non stick and non reactive to stop any aluminium contamination, to keep your tea brown and not the strange grey that you sometimes get from alloy kettles. I’m off leading a group down the River Spey in Scotland in July and woun’t be without my Ghillie kettle and Tatonka tarp.
In conclusion I wholeheartedly recommend the Ghillie kettle, British Made, safer than other storm kettles, great for fishing, canoeing and other outdoor activities, get yours here.
Coach, river guide and ProAdventure founder