First off, an entire month went by without a blog entry. Now we see why I am a novelist, not a blogger.
Second, my latest acquisition arrived today, a Kelly Kettle. I got the Scout kit, which includes the 44 oz. kettle, the large cook set (by comparison to the others, because it's pretty compact) and the pot support for the chimney. I also ordered five of the Sureflame fuel disks.
Let me tell you, this thing is amazing. I didn't want to waste one of the Sureflames, so I just walked out into the yard and found a handful of twigs and some dry leaves for kindling and fuel, grabbed some lint from the lint trap on the dryer and took it out to the bar-b-que grill to try it out. To make sure I got it to light on my first attempt (okay, it took me TWO tries), I took my knife to a few of the twigs and made them into feather sticks.
To be honest, my brain was fighting the idea the whole way. I felt like I was trying to make a campfire in a cereal bowl. I'm originally from Texas, and in true Texas fashion, I tend toward BIG. What most people call a bonfire, I call a cozy little blaze. If you can't see the damn thing from low orbit, you're just not trying hard enough. So breaking twigs down into four inch lengths seemed completely unnatural to me. There was no WAY a handful of dry twigs was going to get hot enough to boil water.
Once the blaze was started though, and I put the kettle over it....it was like a rocket (hence the name, I suppose). I had boiling water in a matter of minutes. Now, the Kelly Kettle I got would fill the pot that I got for it pretty handily, which is great for single servings. That is what it's designed for, and it does that job well. If you have more than one person to cook for, be ready to take the time to cook for each person individually. Which, with the Kelly Kettle, won't take long at all for two to three people. More people than that, and you're going to want to use a bigger fire.
Clean up...not as bad as I thought it would be. Granted, as you can see from the pictures, it's not sparkling clean, but it's a tiny little fireplace. How clean do you expect it to be? I found the hard way that using lint for tinder left an ash residue on the bottom that turned into a big lump once I poured water into the fire bowl, but it still came out easily enough. On the plus side, it still smells a little of woodsmoke, without being unpleasant to my nose. We'll see what my girlfriend thinks when she gets in.
Everything packed back up in a very compact package, which is pretty cool, considering how big the box it came in was, and that everything was separate.
When packing it up, the kettle actually starts off upside down, like the image on the left, and the bag is fitted over it before you flip it over and get what you see on the right.
With this, you can cook for yourself and generate a lot of heat with a minimal amount of fuel, and the best part is, you don't have to carry a bunch of fuel around with you. Twigs, pine cones, anything that burns well works, and it doesn't take much. Plus, with the kettle top in place to act as a chimney, you can limit the amount of light it gives off. Perfect for those nights out in the open when you don't want to attract zombies with a big fire.
So, for my next project(s), I'm going to make a Buddy Burner and a hobo stove. At least one of those makes an appearance in Zompoc Survivor: Odyssey. Until then, stay sharp and always have a plan B.