I thought I would do a review for Ďmini kettlesí, seeing that there seems to be a few different types turning upon the on the market now.
All the mini kettles next a Ghillie Mavrick kettle ,just to show the size difference.
I started it with a mate of mine called Phil Sorrel who owns and runs a website called social hiking web site, hereís a link www.shareyouradventure.com We thought we would compare our kettles mine is an mkettle which is manufactured here in Britain and his is a backcountry boiler which is he got from America. The backcountry boiler kettle that Phil owns is not the Hard anodised version, but my mkettle is. I will admit before I go on, that I was given my mkettle to show to a bunch of TA soldiers and allowed to keep it for my trouble.
Phil praying his kettle will boil first
Before having the mkettle land on my door step I had never seen one of these kettles before and I must admit I love it for I think it is a great bit of kit I have used it for camping when away with the TA and when on holiday with the family. And if the wife would let me I would place it above the fire place to be in full view instead of the family photo that is there at the moment!
On Holiday (not my bag) and next pic just showing how easy they store away
Iím only saying this so no one can come back and say Iím being biased for my kettle. Infact Iím going to try to be unbiased as possible.
But basically both of these kettles have been redesigned from the old fisherman type kettles that are made and sold by Kelly, Storm, Ghillie and Eden. For the backpacking community so that it was smaller, lighter and more portable. The differences between these and the original type kettles is the top of the kettle has been flattened out and the carry handles and chains removed and the water nozzle was also removed leaving just a round hole in the top of the kettle next to the chimney. The cork was are place by a rubber stopper that can be used to keep the water in the kettle whilst in transit making it a water bottle as well. And lastly a Neoprene sleeve which surrounds the kettle so you can pick it up without burning yourself.
Anyway, we did a comparison between them in his back garden aided by a few cans of beer...well, fosters. We decided that they were both very similar in cooking times both around the five minute mark and look very similar the reason for this is that the mkettle design was well,sort of err....borrowed from the maker of the backcountry boiler.
After doing this I found out that there is another newboy on the block. And this one is designed and made here in Britain. And if you are reading this on song of the paddle you will already know this as it has been reviewed on your site where the makers have been listening to your opinions in the design of the kettle. It is the F1 kettle and it is made by Storm kettle.
This kettle is similar to the other two kettles but it hasnít gone as far as them and still keeps some of the traits of the original type kettles.The storm kettles have kindly sent me one so I do a comparison between this in with the original comparison of the other two kettles.
So what are the differences?
Well,Iíll start from the top andwork my way down.
Ok as I have already said the boiler and the mkettle both have a flat top which has the hole for water to go into.The hole on the mkettle is 19mm across and the backcountry boiler is 22mm. The fact that when the water is being poured out ofthe kettle the air is trying to get in to replace the space left by the water. This can cause a bit of a glugging effect and the water can get sort of splashed around a bit when being poured. And if you try to pour it slowly it will just dripple down the side ofthe kettle. On the mkettle is the slightly worse because this hole is the smallest. This is something that just happens on anything without a nozzle. But on the F1 kettle with its nozzle the water pours smoothly all the time as it doesnít have the problem of air and water trying to pass each other.
Another thing to be aware of with the holes is when filling the kettle if you are not careful you can spill some of the water when trying to fill them.
These are only really small issues but ones that are worth a mention. But that is what you get when you are trying to save on weight and remove the nozzle
The stoppers are used to plug intothe kettles so that you can carry water in the kettles during a journey. You just have to be careful not to knock the stoppers out. I filled them all up and gave them each a good shake to see if they leaked or the stopper fell out and I happy to say neither happened.
The stoppers that go in the mkettle and the F1 are made from a translucent silicone food-grade non-toxic Stopper that is usually only supplied to the pharmaceutical industry. And the backcountry boiler also uses a Silicone Stopper which made to last at high-temperatures, this one is fitted with a loop that will go over the top vent of the kettle it can be kept on the kettle even when in use...just donít leave any of them plugged in the when using the kettles
As for the amounts that each kettle holds the mkettle and the F1 both hold 0.5 litres but the backcountry boiler kettle holds a full pint. This is 56 ml in difference between this and the other kettles.
The mkettle and the F1 that I used are Hard anodised. The reason for Hard anodising a kettle is to make the aluminium stronger it can be almost as strong as steel and it conducts heat faster than normal aluminium and also it has improved wear and corrosion resistance. And as my wife says it looks nicer.
The weights of the kettle also differed. The backcountry boiler kettle is the lightest I weighed it at 262 grams. Next was the mkettle at 394 grams. And the heaviest of these three is the F1 at 416 grams. But the weights did differ from the advertised weights but that could just be my wifeís scales. But to get lightest weight the backcountry boiler must have given some of it strength possibly by using a thinner piece of aluminium.
All have a neoprene sleeve fitted so you do no burn your hand when picking up the kettles but the F1 kettle have gone a bit further and fitted a hand guard to put your hand in to help hold the kettle. Just in case anyone doesnít know what neoprene is? Well believe it or not its rubber? It is designed to resist burning and can be used over a wide variety of applications. From diving suits to, well err, these kettles
And now I will get onto the firebases
I would just like to say at thispoint that if you are not being aided (Cheating) by using firelighters, hexi blocks or something else similar. Then getting these to light can really test your fire lighting skills if you are to not use to lighting a fire in a smaller area. I know itís taught me a thing or two.
The bases are what stop these kettles from being a one trick pony as you can use the bases independent from the top part of the kettle. All you need to do is get a couple of tent pegs to give it a gap at the top and voila a mini cooker. All these are different aswell the mkettle is the tallest but it also the narrowest at the bottom. The backcountry boiler is only very slightly wider and shorter. But the lowest ofthe three bases is the F1 it also has the widest area to have your fire. The only issue I found with the F1 base was when using my Trangia as it is nearly flush with the top of the base. So I think I would have to put second layer of tent pegs on to give it a bit of space to breathe so to speak.
Saying that you can get also get stands that sit on top of the mkettle and the backcountry boiler so you can heat pots on top of them but you have to make sure that the kettles are fullwater so as not to damage the kettle and that ok if you are after a brew as well. But if you just want bacon butty that is a bit of waste of time heating up all that water as well.
As for the carry bags the kettlemakers seems to have gone in different directions with this one the backcountry boiler makes his own bag which is ok but it is nothing exciting. Where as storm kettle are supplying a 2 litre sea to summit dry sack as they believe that these are the best quality and well known brand in the UK (The bags having won 'editors choice' awards in the past). Also Storm kettles told me that they will only substitute this current bag with their own label when they find a superior British manufacturer to make their bags for them. And finally there is the mkettle bag the one I have is a camouflage coloured one with a zip around the top, but the normal bag is black but they have stopped fitting the zip now and are using a pull tie to keep it closed.This bag also has two ĎDí rings fitted on it so that it can be attached to a back pack or a push bike or to whatever takes you fancy.
As for the cost of the kettles these can vary a bit as well. The cheapest kettle is the non anodised version of the F1 at £45.66 inc P&P Right up to the Hard anodised backcountry boiler at around £85*($134) inc P&P. In-between you have the non-hard anodised backcountry boiler at around £71*($114)inc P&P. The Hard anodised mkettle coming at £55 inc P&P (They donít do a non Hard anodised version anymore)and the hard anodised F1 coming at £59 also inc P&P.
*Please note that the price of the backcountry boilerís can change due to the exchange rate
In my opinion all the kettles are good, they all the job that they are made to do. The issues I made on here are only small issues really. The heating times are all similar at around the five minute mark...unless you are using a Trangia that can add another three or four minutes onto your heating time (as I found out).
The backcountry boiler has put some nice little touches on like laser printing it name on top of the kettle and the stopper that you not have to remove from the kettle so donít have a chance of losing it. And if you are looking for something really light this is the one to go for. But to me it feels a bit flimsy and not as sturdy as the other two and I really donít like how they have done the rim around the base of the kettle it looks like they have just squeezed it together and it just doesnít look finished.
backcountry on left
The mkettle as I have already said I love it, itís a really solid bit of kit it has never let me down and it is manufactured here in Britain which canít be a bad thing. But the nozzle hole is the smallest of the three here but nothing I have not been able to live with. Some people have an issue with its back ground. But that is nothing that hasnít happened a million times before (Just look at Apple and Samsung). But it is a well made kettle and seems to be selling well so it must be doing something right.
As for the F1 not everyone who buys one of these Ďmini kettlesí will be going out in the wilds on foot and looking for the lightest bit of kit they can carry. Having the nozzle fitted is a nice touch and it does get rid of all those filling and pouring issues. But it adds some weight onto the kettle and for anyone who is always trying to lose every oz they can it might not be on top of their Christmas list. But the hand hold on the sleeve gives a nice touch to this kettle and it's something the other two donít have. Plus one thing that canít be beaten it's British.
As for which is my for which one I prefer ....The jury is still out on that one!!