While reading through the Backpacker.com forums today I came across a thread that linked to “an ultralight chimney kettle.” Curious as a cat, I clicked the link and it brought me to a blog called “the boilerwerks.” The product at hand is Devin Montgomery’s pride and joy, The Backcountry Boiler.
A few months back I decided to try out a homemade wood burning stove. To make a long story short, it did not turn out the way I had hoped for when I set out to build the stove. Besides the fact that it didn’t turn out like I had planned, I also found that while using wood burning stoves I ended up with sooty pots and stoves left with ashes inside them. Basically it was a mess, especially since I would have to load it all back up inside my pack with everything else after I was done using it. However, I did have fun building it! But, all of these things kind of turned me off to the idea of a wood burning stove, so I have not really pursued that route since then. What I found on the boilerwerks has altered that thought process, at least slightly.
The Backcountry Boiler is a little different from a typical wood burning stove, even though it is one; however, wood is not the only fuel source that has to be used in this “chimney stove.” Basically, if it burns, it can be used, that is if you can break it down small enough to fit inside the stove. As far as how it works, by looking at it, I have thought of it as a wood-burning Jetboil. The stove (or fire bowl) is found at the bottom and the kettle fits directly on top of the stove (such as the Jetboil). The cool part is the actual kettle. The kettle is round but has a hole that goes all the way up the center of the kettle which is where the flame from the fire breathes. As the fire burns under the kettle and through the center, the water contained inside the kettle quickly boils.
What really interests me about this is that it looks like it would not be that messy at all. By design, the fire bowl would be simple enough to empty all of the ashes from after use, and then to simply wipe it clean. As well, the soot would be mainly confined inside the middle of the kettle so it would be hard to get all over everything, especially inside a stuff sack. Oh, and did I mention that the basic set-up is only about 8 oz (less than 10 oz with all the accessories) and has a capacity of 20 oz? Not too bad at all!
Devin has been perfecting this stove for quite some time now and has been posting about it on his own site as well as over on BackpackingLight.com. He is pretty much the only guy behind the curtains at the boilerwerks so he is staying plenty busy, but he is building these babies as fast as he can. Currently he is taking pre-orders for up to 100 units. If you are interested in these stoves (or just want a much better explanation than what I have given here) simply click here to check out his site and pre-order your own Backcountry Boiler today, but you had better hurry! (Now if I can get the hint across to my wife… :))