Fire On The Inside: Ghillie Camping Kettle Boils Water Fast

A classic U.K. design comes to North America this year in the unique (and useful) Ghillie Camping kettle.

Ghillie Camping kettle
Fire inside! Kettle uses internal chamber to heat water fast

Fill it with water. Now, light a fire inside. Ghillie camping kettles have a hollow core to hold a roaring fire. The heat does just one thing: Boil water.

And it does so fast! Pour water inside, and in three to five minutes you have a rolling boil ready to pour tea or rehydrate camp meals.

The Ghillie Kettle Company is an old brand, having produced its namesake products since the 1800s. Decades of use have proven the design, which shined in our testing.

Ghillie Camping kettle
Cap (on chain), kettle, and base

Review: Ghillie Camping Kettles

A three-part build, Ghillie includes a kettle, a cap, and the base unit where the fire starts. You set the kettle on the bowl-like base after adding kindling and sticks.

Gas or purchased fuel are not required. Instead, grass, twigs, and gathered detritus serve to stoke a growing flame.


Inside, an open area rises, narrowing at the top. This age-old design creates a chamber of combustion with moving air and roaring flame.

Water heats fast in a separate chamber, with flame licking the inside of the kettle. You shove kindling in at the base or drop it from the top through the core.

These units are nicknamed “Irish volcano kettles.” Indeed, they can erupt with fire at the top. Smoke belches out before the flames shoot high.

A whistle signals when the water hits its boiling point. From there, hold the handle and tilt up the base with the connected chain. Hot water is easy to pour into a waiting bowl or cup.

Ghillie Camping kettle
Hold the chain as you pour

Camping Kettle: English Design, Now Available In USA

We reviewed the Ghillie Camping Kettle, which is made of anodized aluminum. Other companies, notably Kelly Kettles, make similar units that work off the principle of internal flame.

Grills’n Ovens LLC distributes Ghillie in the U.S. from its Woodcookstove.com site. The company offers the kettles in three sizes, with 0.5-, 1-, and 1.5-liter models. They start at $84.

The 1.5-liter kettle (reviewed here) is the largest, and it holds approximately the full 1.5 liters, or about 50 ounces. This is enough hot water for a large family or group.

Ghillie Camping kettle

It’s faster than boiling a pot of water on a camp stove, and the process is easy. In one test, with some found grass and twigs, we boiled a full Ghillie in about 5.5 minutes.

A handsome unit, the Ghillie is made in England and includes rivets, a wood grip, a smooth finish, and fine seams.

The U.S. distributor sells the large unit we reviewed for $114. Its anodized finish provides durability and resists corrosion. Ghillie gives a 10-year guarantee against defect.

Ghillie Camping kettle

Grab a Ghillie Kettle if you’re in need of boiling water often in the outdoors. It’s a slick solution in an all-in-one form that has a single job — to boil water quickly, with little hassle and no bought fuel — and it does that well.

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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