Kelly Kettles

Kelly kettle being used in woodland
Wild about Learning!

Kelly Kettles

Learn how to use a Kelly Kettle

An essential forest school skill for making a hot chocolate!

This is a Call of the Wild session for secondary school age children aged 11 upwards and explains how to use a Kelly Kettle in the wild.

A Kelly Kettle is a water flask which is hollow in the middle, allowing a fire lit in the base to quickly heat the water to boiling point.

Video: Watch the video first for an overview of how to set up and use a Kelly Kettle, as demonstrated by education manager Vicky, who provides a step-by-step guide to lighting a small fire to heat the water needed to make a hot drink. Then check out the detailed instructions below and have a go!

Safety: Supervision of children and young people is essential for this activity. Remember, you must always have water to put out the fire, you must never light one in a public place where fires are not allowed, and always keep your distance from other people. Fire lighting is so much fun but you need to stay safe.

What you’ll need

  • Kelly Kettle
  • Kindling and small sticks for your fire
  • Fire strikers, cotton wool and Vaseline/petroleum jelly
  • Fire gloves
  • Water for putting out the fire
  • Water for your drink
  • Tea, coffee or hot chocolate!

There are many places to buy any kit you might need but to provide an idea of what you are looking for, check out these links for fire strikers, fire gloves and Kelly Kettles.


Find a safe, flat place to use your Kelly Kettle and fill it with water to approximately 15mm below the spout and gently add the whistle or stopper.

Ensure you have gathered all the items you will need for your fire, so that you do not have to leave it unattended to gather more fire wood after it has been lit. Use your fire strikers, wool and Vaseline along with your kindling and sticks to light a small fire in the fire-base of the Kelly Kettle. 

Wear fire gloves to add fuel to your fire and carefully place your Kelly Kettle on the base. Blow through the hole in the base and carefully feed small amounts of additional fuel through the central hole/chimney in the top of the Kelly Kettle to keep the fire going if necessary.

The water will quickly boil. Hold the wire handle to carefully lift the Kelly Kettle up and away from the fire-base. When it is clear of the fire base, remove the whistle/stopper and use the handle and stopper chain to pour out the hot water.

Enjoy your hot drink and always remember to pour water over your fire at the end to put it out.

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