Saturday, 5 February 2011

Boilerwerks Backcountry Boiler, Ultralight Chimney Kettle

Some of you may be aware of Devin Montgomery and his effort to design and manufacture an Ultralight alternative to the more well known Chimney Kettles from the likes of Ghillie Kettle, Kelly Kettle and so on, if not check out Backpacking Light forums.

If you've read the relevant threads and the updates on the Boilerwerks blog you'll know that Devin spent a great deal of time and energy designing his kettle and trying to get it into production. It was originally intended to be named the M(ontgomery)kettle but surprising as it seems another product (almost) identical in appearance but heavier appeared a while back, built in the UK and even more surprisingly bearing the same name!! Devin has now re-named his kettle the 'Backcountry Boiler'

I've seen a Ghillie kettle in action and the performance was pretty amazing but way too heavy for backpacking (the guy using it was in a sea kayak), the 'Backcountry Boiler' is light enough to backpack so if anyone is interested in getting one or just interested in reading about how Devin developed it check out his blog.



  1. I have the mkettle and it is a great bit of kit. Half the size of the kelly kettle and much lighter too. I hope to get a review posted in the next week or so.

  2. Look forward to the review James, from what I've seen of chimney kettles they're very fast, I considered one of these but decide against it due to the weight/bulk.

  3. Thanks for the shout-out, Mac! The knock-off is a bit of a bummer, but it's support like this that makes the project so rewarding.

    BTW, I liked your post on pitching a tarp with paddles, but how am I supposed to carry them in my pack? :)

  4. Hi Devin, you're welcome, look forward to ordering once the retailer is stocked.

    How to carry paddles in your pack? easy, saw them in half :-)

  5. Looking forward to receiving my BB from Devin. It will be good to use the original Mkettle, and not a copy. ;)
    Nice post Richard.

    Mike fae Dundee

  6. Shouldn't be long now Mike :-)

  7. Bah, caught this post here, browsed Devin's blog and found that I'd missed the 'preorders', saw the mKettle at Bob&Rose's Emporium so ordered one... Only found out about the controversy after it shipped!
    Is it black-and-white that it is a ripoff? Certainly to my eye the detailing looks too close for comfort...

  8. Hi Rob, you can read what Devin Montgomery himself had to say over at Hendriks blog.

    To be honest it doesn't look like there are any shades of grey.

  9. Bugger - I'll be having a chat with Bob&Rose tomorrow evening...

  10. To be fair unless Bob had been following the thread about Devin on he would almost certainly have been unaware of what appears to have happened. I actually found the 'copy' and posted about it on Outdoors Magic before being made aware of Devin's work by Mike (posted above)

    Even Ryan Jordan (who owns/runs got caught out and tested the UK version before being made aware of Devin' kettle by members of the forum.

    I don't think Bob can be blamed for stocking what looked like a nice product if he wasn't aware of the issues surrounding it.

  11. I'm struggling a little on the timeline here...
    I can't see how Darren's version can have been brought to market so soon after 'the call' to Devin. Following how long it is taking Devin to get into production the 'lift' of the idea must have been during the period when the project appears to have been left fallow - some time mid 2009 to give enough time for make, test and production (they are giving a 1 year guarantee so must have some faith in it).
    The tech is clearly 1900s era, Kelly Kettle style gear so nothing to argue on there.
    However given I can't spot a difference between the photos of the two, and the name (anyone know the UK manufacturer's family name?) it does look suspiciously like a 'lift' rather than parallel work.
    I'm left feeling 'grey' rather than 'black&white' at the moment...

  12. It certainly looks like the UK guy should be crediting Devin for his work and maybe offering to 'licence' the design or offer some other form of remuneration.

  13. As far as the timeline goes I'd imagine that part of the delay on Devin's (apart from being a project undertaken when time permitted) was that he was attempting initially to produce the kettle himself, then decided to have them manufactured by a 3rd party if possible, that ran into problems due to the difficulty of finding someone who could produce them commercially while keeping the weight down to the original specification.

    If you simply want to sell a similar product, have no intention of producing them yourself and are happy to accept a weight penalty that comes from using a manufacturer already producing kettles (whether the uk version is produced by a manufacturer who already makes kettles for some of the other brands I couldn't say but it has been mentioned elsewhere) then it would certainly speed up the process. Whether it would speed it up sufficiently to fit the time frame mentioned is anyone's guess.

    To be honest once something is posted on the internet it's in danger of being used or copied regardless of the rights/wrongs. I personally had someone try to use photographs I'd posted on flickr, fortunately I'd sized them such that they'd display on a monitor at 800x600 dpi but wouldn't print out at even A4, the guy however used them for fridge magnets that he was selling on ebay. I couldn't do anything about it and the choice is either hide them away or post them on the net and accept that sombody somewhere will use them without permission.

    In the final analysis both kettles are likely to be available in the near future, which one an individual decides to purchase is their business and shouldn't need to be justified to anyone else.