Tried and Tested, The Kelly Kettle Reviewed – boiling water from twigs in minutes

December 15, 2014 Off By Peter Carol

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.

Due to strong customer demand and the new whistle we stock the Kelly Kettle in Stainless steel.

The Kellyis 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 Kelly 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 great 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.  When I’m off leading a group down the River Spey in Scotland in July and won’t be without my Ghillie kettle and a chimney full of dry tinder and sticks.

In conclusion I wholeheartedly recommend the Kelly kettle, great for fishing, canoeing and other outdoor activities, get yours here.

Peter Carol
Coach, river guide and ProAdventure founder