Life at sea isn’t all about the relentless pursuit of adventure, sometimes it’s about relaxing, and kicking back with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee as you gently bob up and down on the waves.
The question is therefore, what it the best means of getting the hot water to make said tea or coffee in the first place?!
Well assuming you’ve got a stove in your galley you can always boil up some water without any problem, and this of course is most safely done with aid of a kettle.
If carrying gas isn’t your thing then the other option is to go for an electric kettle, although you’ll need to make sure you have a decent generator and inverter on board to cope with the power demand. To make the job more cost effective (or indeed possible in the first place) it is best to choose a special travel/camping/boating kettle that consumes less power than a domestic kettle.
You’ll find there are many suitable kettles on the market that do the job, but it’s important to choose one suited to a salt water environment.
Or top picks for boating kettles are as follows:
If you’re running a small cruiser, or maybe a pontoon boat, you probably haven’t got a whole lot of amenities at your disposal, least of all a galley, but this doesn’t have to be barrier against having hot coffee on demand.
This little 12V car kettle will boil up enough water for you and a couple of companions to settle down for a hot drink, and all you need for the privilege is a 12V supply and cigarette lighter style power socket to plug into.
Being constructed from 304 stainless steel means this kettle is going to last pretty well in a salt
water environment, and the body along with the plastic lid are pretty easy to clean once you get ashore.
In terms of being able to tell when the water is hot enough this kettle doesn’t whistle or produce a whole lot of steam, so instead uses a handy indicator light: red for switched on, green for up to temperature, and red when below optimal temperature (212°F or 100°C).
The only major downside of this kettle is that it takes 25 minutes (yes really) to get up to temperature. Such are the downsides to 12 volt appliances, but given this only consumes 120 Watts of power rather than the 2200 Watts or so that a domestic kettle does it’s probably a good thing for your boat’s batteries!
If you’ve got an electrical system with a bit more grunt (chiefly a generator to recharge your batteries and an inverter to convert your boat’s 12V to 120V AC) then you’re free to consider the benefits of this food grade travel kettle from Gootrades.
With the benefit of a more familiar boil time of around a minute it’s much more like life on dry land with this kettle in your galley, but what really sets it apart from a standard kettle is its compact nature. Thanks to the unique flexible silicone construction of the body, the GK360 can ‘collapse’ down to about 3 quarters of the height of it’s open configuration.
Given that it’s pretty small in the first place (7.25’ x 6.5’ or 184mm x 165mm) you probably won’t be too hard pressed to find room for it anyway, but when galley space is at a premium every inch saved as a plus point in my book.
The only possible criticism I might have with this kettle is that whilst using silicone instead of steel certainly has its benefits as far as saving real estate goes, it does make for a slightly dubious aftertaste in some cases. Whilst the manufacturer presses the need to ‘boil-pour away-repeat’ a few times prior to first using the kettle properly it seems this isn’t always enough.
When you’re heading out solo you don’t necessarily need to boil a kettle, indeed you might just want to keep a coffee you grabbed from the boathouse warm. In this case a heated travel mug is definitely the order of the day.
So whilst not strictly a kettle this travel mug from East Mount (no I hadn’t heard of them either) is nonetheless a very useful piece of kit and it looks pretty cool too.
Once again it’s a 12V device and plugs straight into a standard 12V cigarette lighter socket, and whilst not designed to boil it will certainly keep your coffee at an optimal temperature to suit your tastes.
This sleek looking mug features a non-slip base and is constructed from food grade ‘Triton’ plastic and 304 stainless steel, which also makes it suitable for use at sea.
You’re even able to select what temperature you want to keep your drink at thanks to the temperature control buttons and display on the side.
Gas Stove/Induction Hob Kettles
Electric kettles are of course all well and good but sometimes you just can’t beat doing things the old fashioned way, heating water over a flame.
For me this classic kettle from Japanese Manufacturer Sori Yanagi is the embodiment of this tradition, and because it’s made from high quality stainless steel it’s ideal for use in a marine environment.
Although this kettle is fairly simple in its design, this makes for a more reliable and long lasting product. Ultimately lots of detail/joins/welding can lead to crevice corrosion, so less is more in this respect, especially when it may be months between uses, you want to be sure the kettle will be in good shape every time you take it out of your galley cupboard.
Besides, the traditional look is pretty timeless if you ask me, and speaks volumes about the exquisite tastes of those running the ship, just saying!
The only negative to be aware of is that there is no fancy insulation to protect you here, once the kettle heats up there is nothing to protect you from the red hot stainless steel, so unless you’re picking it up by the handles, be extra careful!
If you’re strictly a tea drinker when you’re out at sea then I recommend this ultra modern tea kettle by Raven. Looks wise it couldn’t be more different to the Sori Yanagi kettle; looking like a piece of post modernist sculpture as much as it does a kitchen appliance.
Inside the kettle there is a steeping basket to allow infusion of loose tea leaves – so this is certainly a kettle for tea connoisseurs, but that doesn’t stop you from using tea bags when you want to of course.
There is also a thermometer present on the lid so that you can heat the water inside the kettle to the optimum temperature to suit your taste, or your choice of tea.
On the downside the design of this is perhaps slightly flawed given that some people have experienced issues with the handle melting or getting hot near to where it meets the stainless steel body. Just be careful not to turn the flame up too high.
You don’t have to spend mega bucks to be able to boil up water to make half decent cup of tea or coffee, the humble pressed steel camping kettle still has a lot of mileage in it, especially if you’re less concerned about it lasting forever.
This kettle by Circulon is a modern take on a basic camping kettle, but with the familiar coloured enamel coating, a whistle to signify boiling, and a button on the handle to open the flap over the spout.
For less than 40 bucks you can’t really expect anything like the quality of something like the Sori Yanagi kettle above, and I think you could run into problems with the main body of the kettle rusting if the enamel coating was to get chipped.
Nonetheless a great little kettle, perfect for the fair weather boater.