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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cook Sets > GSI Tea Kettle HAE > Owner Review by Chad G Poindexter

GSI TEA KETTLE HAE
By: Chad Poindexter
OWNER REVIEW

September 12, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: stick1377 (AT) gmail (DOT) com
AGE: 33
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I love backpacking! However, with only 1 ˝ years under my belt so far, I would still consider myself a little green to it all, so to say… Initially, I started out with heavy gear but since then I have gone lighter, although I still use a little of it all. I have gone from tent to tarp, canister stove to alcohol stove, sleeping bag to quilt and quite happily from synthetic to down. All of my hiking so far has been in the South East United States, and up to this point has been with friends or family.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

IMAGE 1
Courtesy of GSI

Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.gsioutdoors.com
MSRP: (US) $19.95
Listed Weight: 5.8 oz (164 g)
Measured Weight: 5.9 oz (167 g)
Listed Capacity: 1 qt (0.95 L)
Listed Dimensions: 6.3 x 6 x 3.2 in (16 x 15.2 x 8.1 cm)
Measured Dimensions:
Base: 6 in (15.2 cm)
Opening: 4.25 in (10.8 cm)
Height (with Lid): 3.25 in (8.3 cm)
Materials: Proprietary Hard Anodized Alloy (Halulite)
Included: Tea Kettle, Lid and Handle

The GSI Tea Kettle HAE (hereafter referred to as the "kettle" or the "tea kettle") is a light-weight tea kettle, which according to GSI is made for the "ultralight backpacker." The kettle is made of the proprietary alloy Halulite, which is stated by GSI to be as light as titanium. However, this alloy "conducts heat better and more evenly—so you can leave the extra fuel at home." This proprietary alloy also resists scratches, abrasions, and even burn circles. The kettle comes with a lid with a single lift tab on the top which is coated with a siliconized rubber to prevent burns. The kettle also comes with a handle which is covered in the same orange siliconized rubber to prevent burns. There is also a notch in the top of the handle which makes it easier to hang the kettle over a fire.

FIELD USE

I have carried this kettle with me for a total of 8 days in the back country, boiling water a total of 13 times. Although I have used this kettle numerous other times at the house while testing the kettle with a variety of stoves, both alcohol as well as canister stoves.

The first trip I carried the kettle with me was on a two-day trip to Cheaha State Park with my son and some other friends. Elevations ranged between 1,100 to 2,100 ft (335 to 640 m). When we first arrived, the thunderstorm hit! (There was actually quarter-sized hail falling for about 5 minutes.) After the rain stopped we hiked to our campgrounds and spent the night. Rain came and went throughout the night. The next morning was pretty and slightly cool; however, by noon the rain was back, and in full force. Later that night my son and I headed back in. Temperatures ranged from around 55 F (13 C) at night to around 70 F (21 C) during the days. For this trip I used an original White Box alcohol stove with the kettle.

IMAGE 2
My son watching the kitchen at Cheaha State Park


The next big trip I carried the kettle on was a three-day trip to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP), again with my son. On the first day we hiked 5 mi (8 km) up the Alum Cave Trail to the top of Mt LeConte. We climbed a total of 2,763 ft (842 m), starting at an elevation of 3,830 ft (1,170 m) and ending up at 6,593 ft (2,010 m). The other two days we hiked varied between these elevations. The temperatures were around 78 F (26 C) during the day and as low as 55 F (13 C) at night. We had frequent rain showers while on this trip, however we lucked up and were inside a shelter each time the rain came! Again, for this trip I used the Original White Box alcohol stove in conjunction with the kettle.

I have also carried the kettle with me on three other separate day hikes at the local state parks and used the kettle for either breakfast and / or lunches. Elevations range between 400 to 500 ft (122 to 152 m). Temperatures have been as low as 75 F (24 C) in the mornings to as high as 95 F (35 C) during the day. (
Phew!) Each of these days the sun was shining and no rain was present. And, yet again, on each of these occasions, I used the original White Box alcohol stove with the kettle.

SUMMARY

I bought this kettle while looking for a light-weight cook pot to use with one of my alcohol stoves. And since I would be using an alcohol stove with the cook pot, I wanted a cook pot with a wide bottom so that the heat would be dispersed across a wider area, thus heating the water faster. Also, since I freezer-bag cook, I was not looking for something to cook gourmet meals in, but rather to simply boil water in which I could then simply add to my meals, or to pour up a cup of coffee. As far as capacity, I only needed the kettle to fill two simple needs: big enough to boil water for two in as well as big enough to store the rest of my kitchen in while packing on the trail. Oh yeah, and of course the less expensive, the better (as long as it worked efficiently).

So, in my search I came across the GSI Tea Kettle HAE. A wide-bottomed "cook pot" with a listed 1 qt (0.95 L) capacity and a reasonable weight of 5.8 oz (164 g) for only $20 (US) sounded like just the ticket. So, I ordered the kettle and waited on it to arrive so that I could check it all out for myself!

IMAGE 3
Courtesy of GSI


When the kettle arrived I immediately weighed the kettle and found the listed weight to be almost accurate. Next I pulled out the alcohol stoves and began testing each one with the kettle. I even pulled out my canister stove and did a run with it. What I found is that with my alcohol stoves I got an average boil time of around 5 1/2 minutes and with my canister stove a cool 2 minutes. Each of these test was done in a controlled environment and using 2 cups of cold tap water.

Next I needed to see if my kitchen set-up would fit inside the kettle for when I was backpacking. I have found that I can easily fit my alcohol stove, windscreen, heat reflector, fire steel, a measuring cup for the fuel and a small piece of cloth inside the kettle, and still have room to spare. I have even resorted to storing the actual handle from the kettle inside the kettle with the rest of the kitchen. (More on this soon.)

As far as actually using the kettle, the kettle has proven to be very adequate for use with 2 people. I usually carry the 2-person Mountain House meals which typically require 2 cups (16 fl oz) of hot (boiling) water. The kettle will boil enough water to accommodate this and still leave enough left over for a warm drink, or two smaller warm drinks.

Concerning the handle, I was afraid that the kettle might possibly tilt sideways while turning the kettle up to pour water from the spout. Surprisingly, the kettle stays centered easily enough while pouring; however, when pouring the last little bit out of the kettle it is not a bad idea to use my other hand to steady the kettle, just in case. As far as the spout, it pours smoothly and evenly. Very nice. The siliconized coating on the handle does an exceptional job at keeping the handle cool enough so that I can grab the kettle right off of my alcohol stove without any concern of getting burned. And while I have yet to use the kettle over an actual fire to boil my water, the notch at the top of the handle appears to be more-than-adequate for steadying the kettle over an open camp fire.

One concern I have with the handle is found while packing the kettle. The ends of the handle are simply folded up at an angle and then inserted into a section on each side of the kettle with holes. (This can be seen in the pictures above.) The ends which are folded up are not sharp, but they do have the ability to catch on things easily. So, to keep from snagging the end of the handle on something important inside my pack (like my sleeping pad) I simply remove the handle by slightly squeezing the handles towards each other so that the ends come free from the holes. Then I simply store the handle inside the kettle until time to use it again, at which time, I squeeze the handles slightly and then re-insert the ends into the holes. Wa-lah!

And now a few thoughts concerning the lid...

The lid sits easily into the opening on the kettle, although there is no locking mechanism to hold the lid on. This is good for the times in which I am boiling water so that I can easily lift the lid up to check on the status of the water. However, while packing the kettle this is somewhat disturbing to me. Unless the lid is able to stay firmly attached, the lid will fall off and spill out everything inside the kettle. Of course this could also be remedied with a stuff sack, however one is not offered with this kettle. For this very purpose I made a custom stuff sack to hold the kettle together while packing.

There is also a small tab which is coated with the orange silicone rubber on the top of the lid. This tab is very handy for lifting the lid off of the kettle, and here again, the coating keeps the tab nice and cool to prevent burns. There is also a small vent hole found on the top of the lid. This vent prevents pressure from building up inside the kettle while bringing the contents to a boil.

I have also found one small concern here, with the lid. The handles actually slant in as they go up. While the handle is raised in an upright position, the lid cannot be lifted straight up. Due to this design, there is only enough room to lift the lid up enough to clear the bottom lip of the lid from the top lip of the kettle. At this point the lid must be slid in a horizontal direction because the edges of the lid will catch on the arms of the handle, thus preventing the lid from being raised any higher.

Up to this point, the kettle still looks brand new. The durability of the Halulite material has so far proven true. There are no scratches or burn markings on the kettle. There is not even a dent to be found in the kettle. At this point, I am very happy with this purchase since the kettle has fulfilled all of my needs exceptionally. Here is a picture of my son waiting for dinner to be done while in the GSMNP.

IMAGE 4
Waiting for supper atop Mt LeConte (GSMNP)

THINGS I LIKE

1. The wide base provides a larger area to heat, thus theoretically improving heating times and saving fuel.
2. The capacity is moderately large enough for two. (Great for an adult and a child.)
3. The siliconized handles keep the handle cool to the touch.
4. The price is right.
5. It is pretty light-weight.
6. It easily holds my kitchen set-up.
7. The spout pours smoothly.
8. Large opening provides the potential to actually cook a meal in if so desired.
9. It is durable.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

1. The lid doesn't lock in or fit snugly enough to be held in place.
2. The handle needs to raise straight up rather than angle inward to assist in easy removal of the lid.
3. Would be nice if a stuff sack were included, at least to hold the lid in place while packing.

SIGNATURE

IMAGE 5
Chad Poindexter
"Stick"

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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