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M-kettle volcano stove

I have a love hate relationship with volcano stoves- particularly kelly kettles and other similar variants. The kelly kettle, for those who don't know, is an aluminium chimney around which is a water jacket. You light a fire using wood, paper or whatever at the base and drop twigs down the chimney to keep it going. the surrounding water heats very quickly. On the face of it a genius idea. In the desert a kelly kettle is great because all day long you find tamarisk and stunted acacia bushes which are really just bundles of small twigs. Between stops you always gather enough for a brew- and a regular kelly kettle is 1.5 litres so you get a good amount of hot water.

Now the bad news. one bit of over heating- you forget to replenish the water and you blow a seam. this leaks and puts out the fire. End of kelly kettle. Or, kelly kettle is put in camel bag on the side of a camel, camel lies down and dents kelly kettle and opens another seam. End of kelly kettle.

Now Kelly have a stainless steel version which is much better - but still a piece of kit you can never lend or let another operate. Too fragile. Great car camping gear though. I've also tried a New Zealand variant made of tin plate- went a tad rusty bit was tougher than an aluminium Kelly. One of these got crushed by a camel though. They do a de-luxe copper one which might be easier to solder and fix at home.

Which brings me to the m-kettle. This is a mini volcano stove with about a pint capacity. It is lightweight (around 350g) better made than a kelly kettle and has a heatproof sleeve to allow you to pick it up without burning your hands. The little fire holder is a bit narrow at the foot but works well.

In fact it all works well. I use it often on dayhikes to places where a camp fire would be de trop or forbidden. Because it combines kettle with stove its really handy. You could even carry the water in the kettle as it has a bung, thus getting rid of needing a water bottle. It's more fun to gather wood and tinder than use a gas or meths stove- and more eco friendly too (when you consider the energy used to make these readymade fuels). Its as quick as a slow gas stove- and quicker in wind, because the fire pot is shielded it can be turned in or out of the wind as you desire.

Being smaller than a kelly its easier to look after. I pad mine out in my sack with a sleeping bag or jersey and generally only use it myself. So far it had been faultless. Obviously it's heavier than a titanium pot and meths stove but I don't have to carry meths, esbit fuel or gas. And as long as pick up dry sticks when you see them rather than when you need them you'll never be short of fuel- it uses so little. I have cooked in a mess tin over the fire pot but it's a bit slow. Could work though. For pot noodlers such as myself it's briliant and pretty much flawless.

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Reader Comments (1)

I must say that I disagree.
I have owned a Mkettle but sold it. Now I have a trekker kelly kettle.
The two problems that I had with the Mkettle was that the base was too narrow, it stood to unbalanced.
But the main problem was that the chimnie was too narrow, which Means that it didnt get enough air flow. I couldn feet it too much or the chimnie wouldent have enough airflow.
With the trekker kelly kettle, which have a bigger diameter chimnie I dont have the same problem.
have you ever tried the kelly kettle ?
I will never go back to the Mkettle. Im glad that I sold it.
Excuse my English, Im from Denmark.
The kelly kettle trekker is a Little bit bigger, and heavyer, but much better.
I have removed the handle ect on mine and put a jetboil sleeve around it, it Works really good, no problems lifting it.
February 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSøren Davidsen

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