Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kelly Kettle review

I was blessed to get in on a group buy of kelly kettles, & get a great deal!  So I decided to give it a try.  I love my solar oven, but I still wouldn't mind an option for cloudy days.  What appealed to me about these is they are simple, & almost anything can be used for fuel.  I'd even heard that dried animal droppings can be used.  (makes sense, buffalo chips were used for fires).  I have a lot of rabbit droppings, so that would be nice to have that option if necessary.
The kelly kettle holds the water all around the outside of the kettle.  That makes it boil pretty fast with a smaller amount of fuel.  You can add more fuel through the hole in the top while it's heating.  And there is an optional stand & pot accessory (shown in the pic above).

I was pretty sure wood would burn (although you'd need small pieces), so I decided to try something else.  We got long, dried pine needles that fall in our yard from our neighbors big tree.  These burn hot & fast.  I wasn't fast enough adding them at first, so had to restart the fire once.  Shoving them in the top was a bit hot, so I got out my heat gloves I use for solar cooking Heat gloves post.  These helped a lot.  The needles worked great!  We ended up using a pretty big pile of them, but did get the water to boil.  And there are plenty of these around!

Next we tried rabbit droppings.  We couldn't get them to light, so we tried adding some dryer lint as starter (see free fire starter post).  The dryer lint lit right up, but didn't light the droppings.  Then we tried with the needles, with same result.  Our conclusion was that even though these were old droppings, they simply weren't dry enough to light.  This summer I will experiment with really drying some & try again.  I'd love to know if I had that fuel source.

Then we tried our firestarter.  This was given to us as a Christmas present.  firestarter link  (this is what we have, but I believe emergency essentials carries the same thing in different packaging).  Soon there was a vortex of flame inside the kelly kettle.  It boiled the water in about 6 min, without our adding any more fuel.
Last we tried the little pot on top.  A very small pot came with the stand, but you could use some larger pots or fry pans with the stand, you'd just have to experiment.  But my once dislike of my solar oven is I can't fry anything.  No scrambled eggs, cooking onions, browning beef.  So I decided to try scrambling the egg.  I put the pot on as soon as the water was boiling.  I had a scrambled egg in no time at all!

In this pot, or a slightly larger one (I think a thin sided pot, such as are in camping sets would work better), you could cook rice or pasta.

Overall, I'm quite happy with my kelly kettle!  It supplements my solar oven for cloudy days.  Almost no matter the weather I could boil water, have hot chocolate, or make oatmeal, pasta or rice.  And I can use it to fry which I can't my solar oven.  Even better, I have much better options for fuel.  I have some small camp stoves that use propane or other things; but the question always is how much fuel to store.  We don't know how long we might need them.  And the fuel is pricey.  I love how fast, simple & versatile this is.  The stand also goes flat & can store inside, & there's a storage bag for the whole thing.  For more info you can look at their website http://www.kellykettle.com/.  Maybe you can even set up a group buy to get a good deal like we did!  The next post will have more on the firestarter.  I think the firestarter is IDEAL for this kettle, if you want the easiest time.  But I love all the other options this gives me.  I'll be sure & post as I experiment with the manure later!

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