Hands On

Boil Wa­ter Any­where with the Cauldryn Fyre Wa­ter Bot­tle

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Steven Kuo

Re­view of the Cauldryn Fire Wa­ter Bot­tle

Hot wa­ter is life — whether on a mun­dane level, as pip­ing hot cof­fee keeps peo­ple sane and civ­i­lized dur­ing their ev­ery­day rou­tines, or in a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion where the abil­ity to ster­il­ize wa­ter can keep you alive.

In RECOIL OFFGRID Is­sue 5, we re­viewed a se­lec­tion of in­su­lated and non-in­su­lated stain­less steel wa­ter bot­tles. The best of the in­su­lated bot­tles did a great job of keep­ing hot liq­uids hot and cold liq­uids cold. But all they can do is main­tain tem­per­a­ture as long as pos­si­ble. The Cauldryn Fyre wa­ter bot­tle takes that a step fur­ther by in­cor­po­rat­ing a heat­ing el­e­ment at the bot­tom of its stain­less steel, vac­uum in­su­lated bot­tle. You can at­tach a large recharge­able bat­tery to heat on the go, or dock the bot­tle on an AC- or DCpow­ered base and plug it into a wall out­let or cig­a­rette lighter socket in your car or boat.

The One Bot­tle To Rule Them All?

With a name that Saru­man would be proud of, the Cauldryn Fyre aims to do it all. The 16-ounce bot­tle is vac­uum-in­su­lated to main­tain tem­per­a­tures on its own. It’s topped with a screw-on lid with two open­ings — a small one that flips open to sip from and a larger spout with a threaded cap to pour from. The pour spout also sports a pres­sure re­lease valve for boil mode. There’s a plas­tic clip strap that keeps the lid at­tached to the bot­tle and also in­cludes a re­ten­tion loop.

The heat­ing el­e­ment has two pri­mary modes ac­cessed via two but­tons on the bot­tle: main­tain and boil. The for­mer main­tains a spec­i­fied tem­per­a­ture; you can cy­cle through four tem­per­a­ture ranges — 124-134 de­grees, 135-145 de­grees, 160-170 de­grees, and 194-204 de­grees. Ini­ti­ate the boil mode and the el­e­ment will stay on un­til the con­tents reach the boil­ing point (212 de­grees). The four LEDs on the side of the bot­tle light up as the tem­per­a­ture reaches 104, 140, 176, and 212 de­grees.

Keep­ing Hot Stuff Kinda Warm and Cold Stuff Kinda Cool

Un­for­tu­nately, as an in­su­lated wa­ter bot­tle, the Cauldryn didn’t stack up well against the bot­tles we tested pre­vi­ously in Is­sue 5. To test the Cauldryn’s abil­ity to keep its con­tents hot, we filled it to ca­pac­ity with 200-de­gree wa­ter. Af­ter 12 hours at an am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture in the high 60s, the wa­ter had cooled down to 80 de­grees, a 120-de­gree dif­fer­ence. As a point of com­par­i­son, in our pre­vi­ous test­ing, the best-per­form­ing bot­tle from Zo­jirushi

went from 195 de­grees to 151 de­grees af­ter 12 hours, a loss of just 44 de­grees, while the least ef­fec­tive of the prod­ucts tested fell to 92 de­grees, shed­ding 103 de­grees.

For our cold wa­ter test, we filled the Cauldryn with 39-de­gree wa­ter. Af­ter just 15 hours, the wa­ter had warmed to and re­mained at am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture, which was 65 de­grees. In com­par­i­son, in our pre­vi­ous test­ing, the Zo­jirushi bot­tle again topped the charts, go­ing from 36 de­grees to 50 de­grees af­ter 24 hours, in an am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture of 78 de­grees. None of the pre­vi­ously tested bot­tles reached am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture in the 24-hour test­ing pe­riod; the worst bot­tle crept up to 74 de­grees af­ter 24 hours.

Plan Ahead

So, the Cauldryn’s not a par­tic­u­larly good in­su­lated bot­tle, hav­ing per­formed no­tice­ably worse than the least ef­fec­tive prod­uct in our prior roundup. But it has some­thing none of those other bot­tles have — a heat­ing el­e­ment. Us­ing that el­e­ment to main­tain tem­per­a­ture turned out to be our fa­vorite ap­pli­ca­tion for the Cauldryn, keep­ing cof­fee and tea at our pre­ferred tem­per­a­ture all day with­out any fuss. We ap­pre­ci­ated be­ing able to choose be­tween the dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­ture op­tions, even en­joy­ing hot soup. The trade-off is that, due to its large bat­tery, the Cauldryn has much lower ca­pac­ity and weighs much more (a pound or more) than tra­di­tional in­su­lated bot­tles. With the bat­tery at­tached, it’s awk­wardly tall, at over 12 inches.

We also tested the Cauldryn’s boil fea­ture. Un­teth­ered, we were able to get two boils out of a fully charged bat­tery. Start­ing with 16 ounces of 61-de­gree wa­ter, the Cauldryn de­liv­ered boil­ing wa­ter as promised, tak­ing 18 min­utes to reach 212 de­grees with the lid closed. With­out the lid, it took 20 min­utes and reached 211 de­grees be­fore au­to­mat­i­cally shut­ting off. We thought this was a rather leisurely pace — un­til we con­ducted the next test.

The Cauldryn comes bun­dled with a handy AC-pow­ered base on which you can dock the bot­tle. Per­haps our base unit was faulty, but it didn’t work well. Boil­ing 61-de­gree wa­ter with the Cauldryn plugged into a power out­let took a long time. The tree out­side our of­fice win­dow seemed to be grow­ing faster than the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture in the bot­tle. Per­haps tak­ing mercy on us, the Cauldryn fi­nally threw in the towel and shut it­self off early at 199 de­grees, af­ter 51 tor­tur­ously long min­utes. CIA op­er­a­tives take note: Water­board­ing may no longer be an ap­proved en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­nique, but be­ing forced to watch the Cauldryn boil wa­ter on its AC-pow­ered base might be a close sub­sti­tute.

Other Con­sid­er­a­tions

Boil­ing wa­ter takes a lot of en­ergy, so the bat­tery mod­ule is quite heavy (1.3 pounds) and boasts a ro­bust 75.5 watt-hour rat­ing. It’s also de­signed to recharge via a hefty 19volt, 2-amp power sup­ply. This is no big deal when you have ac­cess to AC power or use Cauldryn’s op­tional DC adapter. How­ever, if you’re out in the field with the bot­tle and its bat­tery, com­mon por­ta­ble charg­ing op­tions such as USB power banks or so­lar charg­ers won’t charge the bat­tery, even with an (un­com­mon) USB ca­ble that fits the bat­tery’s thirsty cir­cu­lar plug.

Four LEDs on the bat­tery dis­play its sta­tus, and you can also charge other items with the Cauldryn’s bat­tery via two USB ports. Both out­put 5 volts, with one rated at 1 amp and the other at 2.1 amps. While charg­ing an iPad that reg­u­larly pulls up to 1.8 amps from a wall charger, we mea­sured out­put up to 1.5 amps from the Cauldryn bat­tery.

Some of the Cauldryn’s con­trols weren’t as user friendly as they could be. The

main­tain and boil but­tons are un­la­beled, so you need to re­mem­ber which is which. The tem­per­a­ture LEDs are also un­la­beled, but they’re color coded so it’s easy to get the drift. The 1A and 2A USB charg­ing ports aren’t la­beled ei­ther. You also need to mind the bat­tery’s power but­ton; we un­in­ten­tion­ally ac­tu­ated it sev­eral times. The re­ten­tion loop ar­rived bro­ken, but that’s OK be­cause we didn’t like it any­way, as it’s made of plas­tic and pro­trudes in­con­ve­niently.

With ex­posed leads on the bot­tom of the bot­tle, you need to ex­er­cise some care in clean­ing the bot­tle af­ter use. You can’t just dunk it in the sink or throw it in the dish­washer.

There are many su­pe­rior in­su­lated bot­tles on the mar­ket that are also lighter, smaller, less ex­pen­sive, and higher-ca­pac­ity, so we’d sug­gest you only con­sider the Cauldryn if you plan to use its heat­ing el­e­ment fre­quently. We felt the sweet spot for the Cauldryn was in keep­ing liq­uids warm at your ex­act de­sired tem­per­a­ture — handy for ev­ery­day use or on short out­ings. How­ever, if you don’t mind los­ing a lit­tle bit of tem­per­a­ture over time, a highly rated in­su­lated bot­tle would be a cheaper, lighter, and more con­ve­nient op­tion. The boil­ing func­tion con­sumes so much bat­tery power that we’d re­serve it for emer­gency use when in the field — but it’s a nice ca­pa­bil­ity to have and use­ful if you have on­go­ing ac­cess to an AC or DC power source. As a sur­vival tool, though, the Cauldryn’s prac­ti­cal­ity comes up short.

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