When in transit on our writing trips, we are often still driving at lunchtime, and we look forward to a nice hot cup of tea, as we try not to drink excessive amounts of coffee. We preheat and fill our thermos before we leave, and open the thermos at smoko to add to the espresso shots from our 12V EspressGo.
Despite all care, the remaining water is not hot enough for making tea by lunchtime. The Duratech 12V Car Kettle proved a much more convenient supply of boiling water than popping the roof on our van and turning on the gas to boil the kettle on the gas burners. However, the lack of an on/off switch meant that we had to watch it quite carefully as we approached our lunch destination so that it didn’t boil over.
For this year’s touring, we have acquired a Waeco 12V kettle that turns itself off when it boils. This stylish little kettle will boil up to 750ml water and comes with a right-angled plastic base into which it fits securely. Also supplied are screws to attach the base firmly in your desired location. It weighs about 750g.
We were very keen to see how the kettle performed, so took it on a picnic to Seaforth, an hour north of Mackay, Qld.
As the instructions advises against using the kettle while moving along, we plugged it into the power source in the boot of the Ford Territory on arrival and waited and watched: and you know the story that a watched kettle never boils. It took a full half hour to boil 750ml of room temperature water.
Obviously, it is not practical to run the motor of the stationary vehicle for half an hour to boil a jug of water, nor to wait half an hour to make some tea when you stop for lunch. On our return trip home, we put the jug in its base on the floor in the back of the vehicle where it was unable to tip over, and it boiled and turned itself off as we went along, so we will be plugging it in about half an hour before our planned lunch stop and will then have boiling water when we arrive.
Interestingly, the kettle does not have an ‘on’ switch as such, it starts when connected to a 12V supply, and it does turn off automatically when it reaches a rolling boil, but there is no ‘off’ switch either.
The instructions suggest that the kettle will require de-scaling after boiling 30-40 lots of water, as evidenced by excessive boiling times and obvious scale on the base. This will depend on the mineral load in the water being used. Rather cryptically, it is suggested that only ‘biological means’ are used to de-scale the kettle. We use about a cup of vinegar in a litre of water (so about half a cup in this kettle) and boil as normal and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then rinse well and re-boil with clean water.
While it takes much longer to boil water with 12V than gas, we feel that this jug is a useful addition to our touring gear. The kettle uses 200W at 12V, so ensure that the power supply you are using has a 20A fuse.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #559. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!