I’m an avid outdoorsman and I love to hike, camp, and backpack. I’m pretty strict when it comes to my gear and weights/space as I like to keep as close to ultralight as possible and to bare essentials. I won’t sacrifice safety or thousands of dollars for the newest space-age material that will shave 1-2oz. off of an item I already own, but I do think long and hard before adding an item and try to have it serve two or more uses.
Tea is something that is a part of me. To enjoy a beautiful cup of tea surrounded by nature’s beauty at sunrise, or during a miserably wet and cold day, or on a break from the trail is sublime. Thus far I’ve always settled for simply boiling water in my stainless steel Olicamp Space Saver cup over one of my ultralight stoves (a Snowpeak Ti or Coleman F1) and adding in the leaves. But when I have a companion or a couple of people along, I’ve always struggled… having to waste fuel and time boiling a cup at a time not to mention having to use my cup as the vessel the entire time if they don’t have a suitable cup for the stove. To combat this my lovely wife got me a GSI Tea Kettle for the holidays.
The kettle is made from a super-hard alloy called Halulite, and weighs in at only about 6oz. while holding 1 quart/32 ounces. The material is said to transfer heat very rapidly, which saves fuel and time, and it is shaped in a flatter profile to allow more surface area as well as to make for easier packing. While it is essentially a single-purpose item, boiling water is generally the heart of every meal when hiking for dehydrated items or pasta dishes and soups so the utility is worth the 6 ounces and when packed with things the space addition is negligible in all but the lightest packs.
In practice there are, as always, some pros and cons. The lid doesn’t fit tightly so it just sits in place rather than being held firmly by friction or a mechanism which seems like it could have been an easy addition. However, that is really about the only con. In basic indoor testing so far it does indeed boil faster when compared to the stainless steel Olicamp cup with the same volume of water, about 20-30 seconds faster which isn’t hugely significant, but every bit helps… and I could never do more than 12 ounces or so in my cup at once. It’ll also be great over a small campfire for a quick cup during day hikes, with the wider base being easier to deal with and position.
Any old metal tea kettle would do perfectly fine, and I’m never one to perpetuate this notion that enjoying the outdoors requires expensive labels and fancy gadgets, so this is more of a convenience and splurge type item. At only about $16 the utility and tailor made design is well worth it.
For those interested, here are the other items in my pack that I mentioned: