Petromax FK2 Fire Kettle – Gear without gas and why we chose it as a primary tool for heating water on the go
As part of our mission to become less reliant on gas cartridges we’s been looking for a while at fire kettles and other natural fuel source alternatives. When it comes to kettles of this design the Kelly kettle or the Ghillie kettle may spring to mind but there are others – Petromax being one brand that offers their FK1 and FK2 kettles which are very much the same approach but with some subtle differences.
How it works
All kettles of this design work the same way, the kettle is hollow through the center and it holds the water around the circumference, fire roars up through the funnel heating the water.
The heat source is usually wood, small sticks/pine cones etc which are lit in the separate base of the kettle, the kettle is then placed on top creating something similar to a rocket stove.
Is it fast?
Compared to boiling water on our twin burner gas camping stove the Petromax FK2 fire kettle boils the same volume of water in a fraction of the time – way less than half the time especialy if there is a breeze which fans the fire making it hotter compared to a gas ring which can struggle to remain lit or distribute the heat evenly. In a nutshell, yeah its fast – 1.2ltrs of water in under 3 minutes.
Ease of Use
The FK2 is very easy to use, if you’re organised with your firewood to fuel the kettle then you can have your water boiling in just a few minutes. We keep a small box of kindling in the back of the truck in the event that if it rains or has been raining we still have dry fuel for the kettle.
The base is 16cm is diameter so sticks need to be shorter than this to light the fire, once it gets going however you can feed the fire through the side hole in the base or drop longer sticks and pine cones through the top.
One of the features that stands out compared to the Ghillie and the Kelly are the handles – the others have a different pouring method where the Petromax has handles making it easier [for us anyway] to pour the water into mugs.
|Height||17.9″ / 49.5cm|
|Base||6.3″ / 16cm|
|Weight||2.3lbs / 1.03kg|
The Petromax FK2 is quite a lot larger than it’s little brother the FK1 which by comparison only holds 500ml. The bulk of the unit may put some people off but we thought the benefits were well worth re-organising a couple of boxes in the back of the Shogun.
We currently wrap our kettle in a hessian sack for transport and it lives in the ‘fire box’ along with the BBQ, saw, axe and sticks etc. The main benefit of course is that fuel is free and is found all over the woodland floor which means less gas, couple the FK2 with a cooking solution such as the Petromax Atago and you have a gas free set up with actually more functionality and cooking options.
The Petromax FK2 fire kettle comes with a couple of handy accessories, the first being a set of legs which are sturdy enough and easy to attach and detach. The legs keep the base off the ground eliminating scorching grass and reducing fire risk, the kettle can also be used without the legs if preferred.
Secondly you have a small stand for a pot or a pan which slides into the top of the kettle, this is handy for boiling more water or milk at the same time. It is worth noting that the kettle should not be used empty so anything you’d like to heat or cook on the top will need to be done fast at the same time as heating the water.
The whistle speaks for itself and it does it loudly, you can’t miss the fact that the water is ready, one point to note is that when boiling the full 1.2ltrs it can start spitting from the cap if not removed from the fire quite quickly.
In conclusion the Petromax FK2 fire kettle is a practical unit which boils water fast, it has the ability to warm through food simultaneously. Made from aluminium it is lightweight but the bulk may be a concern to some, the FK2 is no backpacking kettle but for overlanding or car camping it is perfect poviding you have the room in your rig.
If you like your gear then any of the three kettles [above] make sense, we chose Petromax because of the handle design and also the brand is well known for good solid gear, it was also easier for us to get at a sensible price being based here in Spain.
In a nutshell we really enjoy using the kettle, it switches things up, adds something a little different to coffee outdoors and yeah, again, it’s quick.
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After 3 months of very light use this happened…
The image above shows the kettle top/whistle has come apart, one day it fell to pieces when taking the kettle out of the bag. Inside the ‘whistle’ there is a threaded piece which the chain goes over and the black piece screws on. This had come loose, unfortunately due to the design [which is actually quite bad] once that threaded piece has come loose it is impossible to retrieve it as it is stuck inside the kettle lid -there is no way of getting to it without taking the cap apart.
Something to be aware of.
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