Alas, poor Yorick

Alas, poor Yorick
Turtle Skull borrowed from the Bimini SharkLab

Monday, June 18, 2012

Keeping fed and enjoying a "cuppa".

Along the lines of BillyBob’s post on prepping, in which he speaks of the comfort of being warm and dry, sheltered, as an important component of a survival situation, I’d like to add something specific which a lot of folks might not be aware of in their readings on camping and/or surviving.

If you have visions of playing the Spec Ops warrior, lying in the rain and mud, allowing bugs to crawl over your still form while waiting for that perfect shot from your Barrett Light Fifty sniper rifle, comfort obviously isn’t on the top of your list. However, if you are one of the simple folk like myself who may find him-or-herself in the woods trying to stay alive, a little comfort will go a long way towards keeping you sane, thinking clearly, and alive.

Shelter is important, and BillyBob and others will fill in the blanks on how that may be arranged. Food and hydration are necessary for staying alive. But how about the comfort and morale boost you might get from a hot cup of coffee or tea? From a hot meal or the ability to brew some medicinal herbs into a tea or poultice? Having been a prepper for many years (going back to 1987), I’ve added an item to my kit that will be useful when bugging out or even if remaining in place, since having fuel available for a stove might not always be possible.

Enter the Kelly Kettle. This device was developed by an Irish fisherman back in the 1890’s, originally from tin, but then copper. It has been a familiar appliance with fisherman since then, and in use all over the world. I bought mine from a fishing guide named Dave Inks, in Hamilton, Montana, who runs a business called “Waterstrider”, selling kickboats and other fishing paraphernalia used on the rivers and streams in this neck of the woods, although he has guided in New Zealand and other countries as well.

For those unfamiliar with this device, it is a means for boiling water - and cooking a meal - without having to carry fuel with you. It is a bit more bulky than many of the backpacking stoves available, but what you lose in compactness you gain by knowing you will never run out of fuel to feed it.

The Kelly Kettle is a bit like the “rocket stoves” that seem to have become popular recently, only better. It will efficiently burn small scraps of forest detritus - needles, leaves, pine cones, twigs - to heat water and food. The water is contained in a jacket that has a “chimney” running up through it, and a pot may be set upon the top of the chimney (with a pot support allowing free flow of air and fire) so that food and such may be heated while the water is heating.

As long as the fuel used to start the process is dry, damp wood or other burnable material can be added. They will dry out and burn as well, as long as you judiciously add them in small amounts.

Dave Inks has told me he has kept small groups of fishermen fed and supplied with hot tea all over the world with his. Kelly Kettles are available in three different sizes, depending upon your needs, and in both aluminum and stainless steel (the model I purchased). Kelly Kettles are available on-line through various sources as well as through retailers across the country and the world. Google the name, if you are interested, or if just want to read more about them, try this link.

BTW, I have no connection whatsoever to those who make or sell these Kettles. I am simply so impressed with mine, I wanted to pass it along to other preppers.

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