The Hobo Stove from Kelly Kettle

Maddy Harland
Thursday, 17th July 2014

Maddy tests out a small Hobo stove attachment that works with or without a Kelly Kettle base.

I first came across the idea of Hobo Stoves made from a simple tin can on YouTube. I loved the idea of turning a useless tin can into a DIY cooking stove so I made one myself. It was OK, it worked but I did need to modify it to make it draw effectively.

Now the people who make Kelly Kettles have come up with a more refined version. The beauty of this off-the-shelf version is that it is very well engineered, lightweight and you can store it in the bottom burner of your Kelly Kettle. In fact it is quite amazing what you can store in a Scout Kelly Kettle.

Here is the Kettle in its bag with a pound (454g) jar of marmalde for scale.

Here is what I managed to put away in that same bag!

I now have a kettle, 2 stacking cups with folding handles, a pan with lid that doubles as a frying pan, and a Hobo stove. They all tuck away nicely inside the basic kettle bag. This is seriously useful for walking trips, backpacking and wild camping, and for festivals where you have to carry your gear for miles. 

I tested out the Hobo one sunny evening in the garden. I lay a small fire in the Kettle burner with a piece of newspaper and a handful of twigs with the Hobo stove placed on top. (You can of course use dried moss or fine straw with a firelighter too.) You can also use this hobo stove without the kettle base. It works well - you just have to feed it more often - but place it on a rock for safety and make sure you douse the fire after use (whether you use the base or the hobo alone).

I lit the fire and found it has a good draw. It is also easy to feed from the side so you can keep the fire going for the duration of the cooking time without removing the Hobo attachment or even the pan. Excellent. The stove brought broad beans to the boil within a couple of minutes. The beans cooked just as quickly as on a hob. I fed the stove with some chestnut chippings left over from a build project. They really added to the heat and burnt well on the device.

I tested the stove with a kitchen saucepan as well to see how stable it is (see main photograph). It is solid on a level surface.

I aslo tried out the Cup Set (also from Kelly Kettle). They are well made yet light with an optional silicon attachment on the rim to prevent you from burning your lips with hot tea. The handles fold sideways so they pack down to fit inside the Kelly Ketlle cook set. Though moveable, the handles are also stable so you don't risk spilling hot tea down your front! You can remove the plastic lip if you don't like it. Here's Emma drinking from the cup.

All in all I really like the Hobo stove and think it is a must have for Kelly Kettle owners. I am also happy to add the mugs to my collection because they fit so well in the pan set. This is perfect, compact kit for walking, back packing or light camping that requires nothing more than dry tinder and twigs.

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