A few months ago, I got my hands on an mKettle to try out for an Ocean Paddler Magazine review.

It’s an interesting little device, designed simply to boil water, rather than as a full blown stove but could potentially secure a place in paddlers day or overnight/expedition kit. This is the review I wrote for Ocean Paddler. Thanks to Rich the editor, for allowing me to republish it.

Description

The mKettle is a small, UK manufactured, solid fuel burning kettle weighing in at 422 grams and capable of boiling half a litre of water. It consists of an aluminium cylinder and a small aluminium ‘firebase’. As opposed to a pot, the cylinder is actually a hollow walled tube. The tube, shaped like an inverted funnel (wide at the bottom, tapering to a narrow opening at the top) acts as a chimney when the mKettle is placed on it’s solid fuel burning firebase.

Water is poured into the hollow walls through a small hole at the top of the hollow walls and then the mKettle placed on its base which contains a round opening into which solid fuel (twigs, solid fuel blocks etc) are placed and lit. This opening then allow air to fan the fire and draw the flames up the chimney thus heating the water contained in the hollow walls. The firebase can also be used with meths burners such as those used in a Trangia (this would obviously increase the packed weight).

When in transit, the firebase (which is tapered to match the funnel shape of the chimney, is turned upside down and inserted into the mKettle with fire-starting kit stored inside it. A bung is placed in the water spout and the compact unit is stored in a nylon drawstring sac (supplied).

In use

The mKettle is very lightweight and a nice compact size which means carrying the unit is easy and disappears into all hatches without a second glance, however a few extra items are required as explained later. It was tested with both wood and a Trangia burner as fuel sources and tended to boil a capacity load in somewhere between 7.5 and 9 minutes.

Burning wood effectively relied on finding small twigs and debris that could be easily inserted into the opening on the firebase, or longer, thin twigs that could be dropped down the chimney. When conditions were not windy I needed to get down to ground level to blow into the firebase and kick start the fire but once established there was something really enjoyable and ‘romantic’ about tending to the fire – bringing back childhood memories campfire cookouts at the bottom of the garden.

The trangia burner fits the firebase perfectly and burns equally well – but requires less attention whilst boiling up the mKettle.
The neoprene sleeve does it’s job and the mKettle could be safely handled even when boiling hot. However, the mKettle does require an additional cup to make/drink a brew in or bowl/pot for a dehydrated meal so this has to be factored into packing space/weight unlike something like the Jetboil system which integrates a 1 litre pot/mug with a gas canister burner that fits inside the pot during transit.

If you utilise the top of the chimney as a route to adding twigs and other fuel, care is required not to drop debris into the spout thus adding ‘extra ingredients’ to your water.

I found the mKettle to be nice and stable despite a relatively small base area. It is also possible to add extra support by surrounding most of the firebase with stones or other materials without affecting performance.

Conclusion

To be honest, the mKettle has left me perplexed. There are some definite positives in it’s design, functionality and use but also some issues when compared to alternative options.

It’s ability to burn wood means, in many paddling locations, a limitless supply of extra fuel. It also makes the mkettle a lot of fun to use. If you already carry a Trangia as your stove, it makes a nice addition to this set-up and if wood is available could be used at the same time as the Trangia.

Although boil times are a little on the slow side compared to gas other fuel powered stoves, the mKettle is reliable and lacks small, fiddly components that could break or require servicing and the whole system is incredibly well made.

However, the mKettle does require you to carry extra kit to drink from and, unless using an ‘eat in the bag’ style dehydrated meal, cannot be used to cook food. Whilst the mKettle is not designed or marketed as a stove there are similarly sized ‘single pot’ systems that can be used to not only boil water, but drink from and also cook in without need for extra kit making them a bit more versatile.

I think the mKettle will appeal to certain paddlers and I would recommend those interested take a look at the mKettle website. If this system does appeal to you and fulfils a need in the kit you carry, rest assured it is extremely well made, reasonably priced and reliable as well as fun in use.

Gallery

Specifications

Composition: Hard Anodized Aluminium, British Standard ISO10074:2010
Weight: 370g (13 oz)
Capacity: 530 ml (18 oz) About 1 Pint
Dimensions: 17cm (7”) Tall by 10cm (3.75”) Diameter
Pack: Fitted Rip Stop Nylon Carry Bag with D-Rings
Fuel: Solid, Eco-friendly, No Gas-canisters Required; Successfully Paired With Trangia (Sweden), White Box (USA), and Evernew (Japan) Spirit Burners.
Boil Time*: About Six to Ten Minutes, Six If You Are Good!
Transport: Use Stopper to Carry Water
Storage: Space for Matches Fire Starter Inside Firebase
Origin: mKettle, Nylon Bag, and Neoprene Sleeve all MADE IN THE UK

Useful Links

mKettle – mKettle Website