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Easy Lighting : Kelly Kettle

27 August 2016

I made this video at the request of some camping friends a couple of years ago… And now it’s been suggested I publish it on the blog…

So, if you like the idea of a solid fuel camping stove, for which you need to forage for fuel, but are a bit apprehensive about the whole idea, this video will show you 10 different ways to light a fire in the fire base of a Kelly Kettle. It uses fuel foraged at the shoreline of the Irish Sea, which I light in a variety of ways using an ordinary kitchen match, a lifeboat match, a Primus gas lighter, and a “Swedish” fire steel.  It also shows you how to use a BBQ  firelighter and fatwood available from outdoor retailers to make life a little easier.

And if you are in a position to try using last years growth from ling (Calluna vulgaris) or any of the heathers (Erica tetralix, Erica cinerea) you’ll find they have similar, properties burn well, even when wet on the outside, burn with very little soot and leave very little ash.

You can use these simple techniques with any foraged-fuel camp stove…

And now… The Hobo Stove…



The Kelly Kettle Hobo Stove (image courtesy of Kelly Kettle).

To compliment my use of the Kelly Kettle, I recently purchased Kelly’s Hobo Stove, which fits into the fire-base shown in the video and turns the base into a very versatile foraged-fuel stove. That’s it sitting between the fire-base and the pot, in the photo above.  And here’s the review I wrote sometime later.

The Survival Tool

The BCB survival tool I purchased from the Survival Aids shop in Euston 30 years ago, still serves me well, but I’m not sure if they are still available. However this one from Rolson, is almost identical, is not quite as well finished, but certainly does the job, and is the one used in the video.

Magnesium Fire Steel

Regrettably Trek Mates no longer supply the fire steel used in this video.  I have tried three alternatives to date, the standard “scout” version of the Light My Fire “Swedish” fire steel, which is way too thin, the “Army” version which is thicker, but really too short for the way in which I tend to use it. And the one provided in the handle of Opinels new “Explore” 12cm outdoor knife – which is excellent for emergency use, stored as it is in the handle of the knife,  but not as your mainstay fire starter. I’m still looking. (11 Nov: I am currently trying a magnesium alloy rod made by Regatta – so far I like it:

Click this link for a short video (2+ minutes) just on using a fire steel to start your fire.


April 2014: Drenched to the skin, cold, and shivering; with wet clothing and wet gear. That’s when your comfort in using your fire-starter counts. On warm and sunny summer days it doesn’t matter too much.

The Gas Lighter

Blow-torch butane gas lighter (c)2016 David Marshall

The gas lighter I used in the video is of a type known as a jet flame lighter.  A variety of models seem to be available. Although you need to be wary about claims that they will work in any wind, they do offer two advantages over a traditional cigarette lighter. (1) With a miniature “blow-torch” like flame, you can direct it. And (2) a number of designs have casings that protect the gas jet and help the flame stay alight when the lighter is angled downwind.

I paid around €20 for the Primus in this video. Sadly it received a lot of (apparently) unjust reviewing on the internet and is now withdrawn. But the design protects the jet and piezo mechanism with a cover, that automatically lifts when you depress the striking button.

The example in the photo is a much cheaper option costing around €3.50 from a French local tobacconist. It isn’t as well designed at the Primus, but it does work. It is refillable with a standard nozzle.


You keep me honest: My product review policy and practices

Updated: 11 November 2016

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