WORDS GRANT HANAN & LINDA BLOFFWITCH | IMAGES & VIDEO MY AUSSIE TRAVEL GUIDE
If you want boiling hot water when you’re on the go, your normal options such as LPG gas, a butane burner, or the traditional billy over a campfire probably all come to mind. And while all three methods work, there are pros and cons for each, depending on where you’re travelling at the time, and whether you can get more supplies. But what if we told you there is another way.
When we heard about the Eco Billy a few years ago, the concept immediately made us want to learn more. And it wasn’t long after sourcing one that the Eco Billy became our “go-to” product for jobs like heating water for a brew, washing the dishes, or even to wash ourselves – simply because it’s super quick.
What is it?
The Eco Billy is a very efficient method for boiling water because it uses just a few leaves and some twigs as its fuel source. Thanks to its durable 304 stainless-steel construction, there’s no worries about rusting, and it probably could even take a fair knock or two given its robust design and manufacture. It’s cylindrical in shape and comes with a stainless-steel lid and handles, and there’s six holes at the base of the billy to allow air to flow in and draw the heat up through the cone/chimney-like funnel on the billy’s inside. This in turn is what heats the water.
How It Works
Start by simply holding the billy upside down in your hand and fill the cone/chimney with a mixture of quick-to-ignite grasses, twigs and leaves. Then place your hand over those materials and invert the billy so it’s the right way up and place it on the ground. Add the water, then put the lid on top to prevent any ash getting into the water.
Then light the grasses and twigs through the holes at the billy’s base by using a match or lighter of sorts, and the water will be boiling in no time. You can always add more twigs into the chimney outlet to keep it burning longer if required. Allow the fire to die down once the water has boiled before pouring. Using a tab on the lid, slide it out so it’s over the spout to help direct the hot water and prevent any splashback. While the handles that swing out don’t get too hot to touch, we prefer to use gloves for safety’s sake.
The Eco Billy come in two sizes – the smaller 700ml unit, or the 1.5-litre unit which we have. Packed up, it’s 285mm in height with an overall diameter of 160mm, and weighs in at 1kg. As the handles swing inwards and with no protruding spout, it’s a compact piece of camp gear. We had a canvas bag made for our billy to help protect it and keep the black soot away from other items in our rig, but we now see that bags are also available to purchase with the Eco Billy.
What We Liked
We really like the fact that it’s quick, easy, and safe to use, as the fire source is contained. It also doesn’t matter where we are because we can always find something to use for a heat source even when travelling remote. And the clever design means it draws a fire really well and it leaves a minimal amount of ash. Out of the two available sizes, we chose the larger 1.5-litre unit as it’s more than adequate for a cuppa, but it’s large enough to heat some water for a bush shower.
So if you want to be self-sufficient when it comes to a quick hot water solution when you’re on the go, then an Eco Billy might be that piece of kit you have been looking for. Time for us to have another brew! Prices start at $79.