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Backcountry Boiler: Hot water from found fuel's video poster

Undeniably the baddest way to heat water on the planet. It's simple, light and efficiently runs on the fuels we find around us. Read more

pledged of $20,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on June 10, 2011.

Undeniably the baddest way to heat water on the planet. It's simple, light and efficiently runs on the fuels we find around us.

About this project

Thanks for checking out my project! The Backcountry Boiler started life in an online community, so I'm particularly excited to share it with one like Kickstarter. 

Over the past few years, I've spent a lot of time developing the Backcountry Boiler and here's why: it represents an utterly sensible way to make hot meals and drinks in the outdoors. As opposed to complicated contraptions that run on fossil fuels, it's simple, light, and operates on the fuels we find around us every day: paper, cardboard, pine cones, sticks. It also brings back the joy of a natural fire in a way that is much more responsible than having an open campfire. 

Because I live for lists, here are the 10 reasons why I like it, and why I think you will too: 

  • Light: roughly the same size and only a bit heavier than a wide-mouth water bottle 
  • Versatile: can operate on virtually anything flammable (so no fuel to carry, but also unlimited hot water. It's basically like perpetual motion.) 
  • Fast: depending on fuel and operator skill, it can boil 2 cups in under 5 minutes 
  • Frugal: no more fuel bottles or canisters to buy 
  • Delicious: not only makes hot drinks, but also a wide array of boil-only meals 
  • Quenching: can be used as a canteen to carry water 
  • Sanitary: creates potable water through boiling 
  • Hard Core: works in almost any weather - protected combustion chamber dries wet fuel and uses wind to burn hotter 
  • Low Impact: burns efficiently so it requires little kindling and leaves little ash 
  • Awesome: seriously. Once this thing gets going, it's like the Bellows of Hades. 

For number junkies, the stats:

  • Weight, bare metal (Raw): approx. 8 oz (227 g)
  • Weight, with all accessories (Supreme and Prime): both approx. 9.5 oz (270 g)
  • Pack displacement: approx. 90 ci (1.5 l)
  • Capacity, absolute: 20+ oz (591 ml), recommended max boiling: 16 oz (475 ml)
  • Boiling time, with dry fuel: 4 - 8 minutes from striking a match (improves with practice)
  • Fuel used to boil 16 oz (475 ml) with dry wood: approx. 1.5 oz (42.5 g), a small handful

For visual learners, here's how it works:

What I'm doing with the money being raised:

  • Tooling for injection-molding the custom stopper
  • Modifications to the tooling for the Boiler itself: the Boilers used in the video are from the first batch, but the new Boilers will have slightly more capacity, a bottom seam that is more efficient to manufacture, a spout that pours more cleanly, and a fire base that is made out of a more robust alloy. They will also not have the small second stopper in the video, which served no functional purpose.

Notes on the different versions available: 

  • All three (Raw, Supreme, and Prime) will have the logo and a warning about unplugging the stopper before use marked on the top. The Raw and Supreme versions will just use a slightly different method than was used on the Prime. 
  • The combination bag/sleeve on the Prime provides less protection for your hand than the neoprene sleeve on the Supreme. It is still entirely usable with care, but if this is an issue of concern, I recommend the Supreme.
  • The Raw comes with no insulation with which to lift the Boiler and is intended for those who wish to fashion or improvise their own. I have used everything from spare socks to a bandana to lift a bare Boiler, but they require additional care.

For more history on this project, you can check out the BackpackingLight forum thread where it was slowly birthed, the blog that I started last year to follow its progress, or a guest article I wrote over at Hiking in Finland. For those with a shorter attention span, here is the history of the first batch in four videos: Prototyping, Testing, Manufacturing, and Releasing into the Wild

A couple shout-outs before I go: the Backcountry Boiler logo was designed by long-time friend Mat Thorne of Sevenbay Design, and the proof I used to make the silicone mold for the prototype stopper was machined by new friend Steve Evans of Suluk46. And I of course have to thank my wonderful wife, Leslie, who is not only an all-around awesome chick, but was also a part-time model for the video.

The Backcountry Boiler is made entirely in North America. Patents Pending.

Update: Stephen Regenold (aka The Gear Junkie) got ahold of one of the first batch and called it "One of the neatest new things I've seen for camping this year"(!)


  • As soon as possible. With all the processes that go into making the Boilers (metal spinning, anodizing, etching, label-making, sewing, and injection-molding), and the fact that new tooling is involved, there are too many variables to give a meaningful shipping date. "Late summer" is the closest I can provide. But I am doing my best to make it as soon as possible and to make them worth the wait.

    Last updated:
  • To pay for shipping, select the backing reward you would like, and then enter an amount $10 (for US & Canada) or $20 (for international) above the minimum backing amount.

    If you have already backed the project (thanks!) and need to add shipping, you can add the appropriate amount by clicking "manage your pledge."

    Last updated:
  • If you would like more than one reward at a given level, multiply your pledge by the number of rewards you would like and I'll presume that you want more than one. If you want more than one from different pledge levels (like 1 Raw, 2 Supremes, a Prime and Signature) send me a message to let me know. That might be a bit difficult for me to decipher on my own. :)

    I will combine shipping for multiple Boilers. Add another $5 for each Boiler, regardless of whether shipping is US & Canada or International

    US & Canada: 1 Boiler = $10; 2 Boilers = $15; 3 Boilers = $20; 4 Boilers = $25

    International: 1 Boiler = $20; 2 Boilers = $25; 3 Boilers = $30; 4 Boilers = $35

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    15 backers

    Sincere gratitude, and the pleasure of having supported a crazy guy who learns industrial design and metal fabrication in his spare time.

  • You selected
    Pledge $7 or more

    46 backers

    Custom Stopper: For Boiler 1.0 owners who want an upgrade or anyone really into high-temperature silicone. Shipping included.

  • You selected
    Pledge $60 or more

    16 backers

    Boiler in the Raw: Just the metal bits in bare aluminum. For DIYers, modders, or improvisors who want to figure out their own way to lift it. Please add $10 for US & Canada shipping, $20 for international. Will retail for $80.

  • You selected
    Pledge $80 or more

    236 backers

    Boiler Supreme: The Boiler in bare aluminum with a custom stopper, neoprene sleeve, and nylon stuff sack. Please add $10 for US & Canada shipping, $20 for international. Will retail for $100.

  • You selected
    Pledge $105 or more

    100 backers All gone!

    Boiler Prime: An individually-numbered, hard anodized Boiler with custom stopper and slick soft-shell sleeve/stuff sack. Please add $10 for US & Canada shipping, $20 for international. Limited numbers will retail for $125.

  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    133 backers

    Boiler Signature: A hard anodized Boiler laser etched with your name or initials. Also includes the custom stopper and your choice of the soft-shell sleeve/stuff sack or the separate neoprene sleeve and nylon stuff sack. Please add $10 for US & Canada shipping, $20 for international.

  • You selected
    Pledge $600 or more

    11 backers Limited (4 left of 15)

    Custom Six-Pack: Get Six (6!) Boiler Supremes, custom marked with your own brief message or small image. Shipping included.

Funding period

- (30 days)