13 Unique Ways To Boil Water While Camping


There are many reasons why you might want or need to boil water when you are camping. Thankfully there are many different creative ways you can boil whatever while camping no matter what the reason.

Here are 13 unique ways to boil water while camping:

  1. Traditional Kettle
  2. Electric Kettle
  3. Internal Flame Kettle
  4. Jetboil Stove System
  5. Old Fashioned Pot
  6. Electric Pot
  7. Stovetop Coffee Pot
  8. Use Your Car
  9. Tiny Canister Stove
  10. Flameless Ration Heater
  11. Charcoal Grill
  12. Tin Can
  13. Use The Sun

Before we get into it, it might be helpful for you to know a few things about boiling water while camping.

By the way, If you are in the market for a new camping stove, then you should click here to see the one I recommend on Amazon.

Safety Precautions Of Boiling Water While Camping

Always be careful when boiling water, especially with an open flame. If you are going to be boiling water using your campfire then you should always have a bucket of water available to put the fire out in an emergency. You may also need something like oven mitts in order to retrieve your items off of the campfire in order to prevent burns to your skin from the hot surface of a kettle or pot.

Where To Find Water To Boil

There are many natural water sources you could utilize while camping in order to find water for boiling. However, the safest thing to do is to bring treated water from home. If that is not an option then the second-best option is to use any potable water provided at the campground. If you must use natural water sources then remember that you should assume that no natural water source is guaranteed to be clean, no matter how clear it is.

You should always treat the water you are going to be using for drinking or cooking. Choose running water over stagnant water whenever possible. Choose clear water over cloudy water whenever possible. Lastly, know that boiling water is one of the safest and most effective methods of treating your water.

Does Boiling Water Make It Safe To Drink?

Yes, boiling water makes it safe to drink because the high amount of heat makes the water an unsustainable living condition for most bacteria, parasites, and viruses. It is the number one method recommended by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) in an emergency when bottled water is unavailable.

What Is The Best Way To Boil Water While Camping?

The best way to boil water is going to be relative to your situation and what kind of tools you have at your disposal. Boiling water on the campfire is cool, but it’s also more dangerous than using a camping stove or something similar. Using electricity is easier to boil water, but rarely will you have access to electricity if you are camping somewhere remote and beautiful. Lastly, using your car outlet to boil water is super convenient and inconvenient at the same time if your campsite is far away from your vehicle.

All of those reasons listed above lead me to the conclusion that I believe the best way to boil water while camping is by using the Jetboil Camping Stove System (links you to Amazon.com to check out the Jetboil Product). The Jetboil is by far the most efficient, quickest, and easiest way to boil water while camping.

My second best choice would be using a kettle on a camping stove. A kettle and a regular camping stove will cost you less than the Jetboil system, but it takes a lot longer to boil water. Additionally, a lot of energy is wasted since gas stoves only transfer about 40% of the heat produced to the food according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). However, I have used this method to boil water for several years and it eventually gets the job done. Click here to see the camping stove that I recommend.

Traditional Kettle

A traditional kettle is very effective and useful for boiling water. It has been designed solely for this function, and it can be very helpful to you when you are camping. Boiling water in a kettle can help you make all kinds of foods and drinks while camping. I like to use a kettle to boil water and make coffee, my wife likes to use the heated water to make tea. The boiled water also works very well for adding to instant oatmeal, rice, and pasta.

A kettle can be used on a camping stove, it can be used on the grill plates of a campfire ring, or it can be hung over a campfire. Kettles are very versatile for camping because they are efficient for boiling water while camping. They come in many different shapes and sizes depending on your needs. I would recommend a cast-iron kettle if you are going to use it on a campfire because the ones with plastic handles could melt.

Electric Kettle

If you are camping somewhere with electrical hookups, then you could alternatively utilize an electric kettle instead of a traditional one. Electric kettles are able to heat up water much more quickly than the traditional ones over a stove or campfire. Today’s electric kettles come with many different settings that can keep the water warm, heat to different temperatures, and have illumination features. If all you need is a basic electric kettle then consider the Amazon Basics Kettle (Link takes you to the kettle on Amazon.com) that has over 4,500 reviews.

Internal Flame Kettle

An internal flame kettle is designed to hold a small fire inside of the kettle itself. This allows more of the heat generated to be transferred to the water and boil it faster. This makes it easier for you to boil water in windy or rainy conditions. Instead of using fuel, small twigs and leaves are used to heat up the water. This type of product is popular with camping minimalists and backpackers who need to travel light (that means avoiding carrying heavy fuel canisters).

Jetboil Stove System

The Jetboil stove system is a product unlike anything else. It has been praised for boiling water at very fast speeds (100 seconds) and it is popular with backpackers because it is compact and versatile. For purely boiling water, this is probably your best option if you want to boil water quickly and efficiently. These systems are a bit pricier compared to most of the other options here. You can check out the Jetboil System on Amazon.com to see if it is something that may fit your needs.

Old Fashioned Pot

Of course, you always have the option of just putting water in a basic pot and boiling it that way. If you put a lid over the pot then that would help you boil water faster. A basic cooking pot can be used easily over a campfire or on a camping stove. They are bulkier than some of the other options here so they are only well fitted for car camping where you are close to your vehicle. Still, nonetheless, they are effective.

Electric Pot

Similar to an electric kettle being used, if you have electricity at your campsite then you could boil water in an electric pot. There are many different kinds of electric pots that can be used to boil water such as multi-cookers. This probably isn’t the most versatile option since most campsites (the ones worth camping at) usually don’t have electricity. If you are camping in an RV and have a generator then this might not be an issue.

Stovetop Coffee Pot

This is made more specifically for making coffee, but it could also be used to boil water. These coffee pots are made to be placed directly over your camping stove. They normally work by pushing boiling water up through some coffee grounds to make coffee. However, if you just want boiled water then you could leave the coffee out of the equation and just use the boiling water that is produced. Here is a very highly rated stovetop coffee pot that you can find on Amazon.com.

Use Your Car

I bet you didn’t know that your car could be used to boil water, but it most certainly can. The automobile auxiliary power outlet can be used in conjunction with water boiling devices designed to run off of 12 volts of direct current or DC power. You may recognize the auxiliary power outlet as the formerly named cigarette lighter receptacle. There are many items available on the market that can plug into your vehicle and be used to boil water such as this portable travel kettle that you will find on Amazon.com.

Tiny Canister Stove

Canister stoves are camping stoves designed for backpackers and lightweight campers. They can pretty much do everything that a regular camping stove can do except that they are a fraction of the size and weight. Naturally, these stoves are sought out by backpackers and survivalists but they work just as well for regular lightweight camping. You will still need some fuel to go along with these canister stoves. One of the most popular and trusted brands of these canister stoves is the MSR Pocketrocket which can be found on Amazon.com.

Charcoal Grill

You can boil water using pretty much any kind of grill, including a charcoal grill. Some campgrounds come with small grills designed for charcoal use. They are also commonly found in many day-use picnic areas in National Forests, State Parks, and some National Parks. Some people swear by using charcoal only grills to add a certain flavor to food during the cooking process. If you bring a pot or kettle and place it on top of the grill when you have the charcoal lit then you could boil water that way.

11. Flameless Ration Heater

Flameless Ration Heaters are a very odd way to try and boil some water, but some of them can reach high enough temperatures to boil water, or at the very least warm it up for some other purposes. I first learned about these devices in the Military where you eat Meals, ready-to-eat (MREs). The Flameless Ration Heaters utilize a chemical reaction when you add water to heat the sealed food that you also put into the bag. Some of the older models may not be able to heat water warm enough and long enough to purify it, but they can certainly be used to heat up water.

12. Tin Can

I wouldn’t recommend using a tin can to boil water if you have other options available. However, in an emergency situation, a tin can from a can of soup or a coffee tin could be used to boil water if it is your only option. I have seen this method used on survival shows where they found a coffee tin as trash and turned it into a put used for boiling water. It would be recommended that you put the tin can inside the fire previous to using it so that it burns off as many germs as possible.

13. Use The Sun

The sun’s RV rays can be used for many things that we have just begun to start utilizing. Not only can the sun be used to generate the power used to boil water, but it could also boil your water directly. One way is using a solar-powered kettle. The solar-powered kettle is a more recent invention that takes UV rays and focuses it on heating water inside of the kettle. If you are in a hurry then I wouldn’t use this method because it takes at least two hours depending on the sun’s intensity during the day.

Related Questions:

How do you purify water by boiling it?

Boiling water can purify it because many bacteria, parasites, and viruses cannot live in such high heat. Water typically boils at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level.

How many minutes do you boil water for drinking?

The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) recommend that you bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute. If you are at an elevation above 6,500 feet then you should bring clear water to a rolling boil for at least three minutes.

My Favorite Camping Gear

  • Air Mattress: click here to check out my favorite on Amazon.
  • Tent: click here to see my favorite tent available on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Pad: click here to check out the one I love on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Bag: click here to see the one I recommend on Amazon.
  • Camping Stove: click here to see the best camping stove on Amazon.

Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

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