Put the Billie on to boil…

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Another one out of the Hong Kong trove. An ALOCs aluminum o.9L kettle… shown here coming up to it’s first-time boil on my “tree table” with a little ALOCs 8oz. silicon lined cup. Got my cuppa in just over four minutes with a coke-can stove and some Iso-HEET for fuel.

I was initially concerned when the package came in the mail because one corner was pretty severely crushed and torn up, but the unit inside was very soundly packed, and was in perfect condition.

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When you first pick this up you get the feeling that it is flimsy. That couldn’t be more untrue. It is just that they have done a great job getting the most strength out of the least metal to keep the weight at a minimum. The detailing here is really nice. The spout terminates in a narrowed and extended lip to make pouring easy… this something that I did not see on the other similar kettles which just have a tube with a flat-cut end. The heat-resistant lid fits just tightly enough to be assured of not toppling out, but easy to remove, and is cooler to grab than the aluminum versions with the very small metal-loop pull-tabs. The riveting securing the handle to the base is very snug and the bail has just enough resistance to move smoothly, but to have no problem staying at wherever angle you leave it. As well, the bail handle itself has a nice silicon covering to avoid burning your fingertips going on and off the flame. Coming in a couple of different sizes moving up from this o.9L jobby, the kettles can go up to around $50 in aluminum from “brand” vendors here in the US, and, even out of China, one in titanium is going to run over $80.  This one went into the mail at $11.56 inc. s&h.

It came in a soft, roomy mesh bag with a drawstring cord and one of the nicer “ball” style cord locks. I added the mini-‘biner through the brand-tag just because it was a perfect fit and “why not?” My heat-lined cup is also a perfect fit to slip into the top opening, and although that means the lid does not snap down, the mesh bag  holds it all together securely. A secondary thing that I appreciate about the kettle form is that there is a whole lot of room inside there, around my cup, for my match-safe, beverage bags, fuel tabs, etc. that I am going to need to take along anyway. They all fit in well and come out when I’m ready to setup, instead of kicking around loose in the bottom of my bag’s pockets to be searched for individually. The kettle setup’s draw-back is that my windscreen is quite a good bit taller than the kettle itself. With my pot setups, the windscreen barely increases the height of my cook-kit, with the kettle it is too tall to fit in the provided mesh bag. It certainly does not need to be that tall to protect the flame under the kettle’s wide base. I may find that it is simplest to just make a shorter version of the windscreen… aluminum flashing is cheap enough.

Verdict: This is one of those purchases that is definitely in the “whim” category, and a kettle is certainly redundant to the several pots I already have. To its credit, the wide bottom surface seemed to allow the water to come to a quicker boil than it does in my narrower pots. This was nice for a fast hot beverage, or getting up water for a dehydrated pouch-meal. For my own part, I really like to make tea and coffee when I’m out in the woods, even if it just for a quick out-and-back hike. There is something about allowing the time to take care of yourself with a hot drink that beats just guzzling down a bottled water for your thirst. If I’m planning on meal prep and regular cooking  I will probably still elect to carry one of my pots, but for a quick cuppa, or boiling up water to heat an MRE, this looks like a good go-to.

Do I need it? No. ~~do I like it?  Yes.

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