How to Boil Water While Camping?

Camping is an experience many people crave because of how close it brings us to nature. 

But you have to be proactive in everything you do to have the best camping experience. Imagine a situation where you're entirely outdoors and cut off from the rest of the world. The experience is so intense that all your senses are flared up.

In this guide, we will share how to boil water while camping. Just because you are in the wild does not mean you cannot boil water yourself. After all, boiling water is essential if you plan to brew up cups of coffee in the wilderness.


But campers mainly boil water to make it safe for drinking.

There are many different ways to boil water while camping. Some methods might be more effective and consume less energy/fuel than others.

If you don't have a water purifier, drinking boiled water is one of the best ways to rehydrate yourself. Fortunately, there are several ways you can boil water to make it safe for use. Consider these options the next time you're out camping:

Water Boiling On Camping Stove Kettle

1. Over a Fire

Fire will likely be at the top of your list when you think about boiling water in the wilderness. After all, this old-fashioned method is still very effective and always guarantees that your water will be free of any pathogens.

However, boiling water over a fire isn't always as simple as it looks. It can be a simple process or a difficult one, depending on your level of preparedness.

The easiest method is to start a fire and then place a kettle or pot with the water on top of the burning coals. But doing so will likely turn your kettle or pot black with coal dust.

Alternatively, you can prop your kettle or pot up using large rocks with burning coals in between the stones. This method allows the kettle to get all the heat without touching the coals. 

You can also invest in a grill or a campfire tripod system. These can prop your kettle or pot up above the fire and coal with ease.

Estimated Time: 4 to 5 minutes for a 1-liter kettle

2. Jetboil Cook System

The Jetboil Cook System is another excellent method of boiling water while camping. This incredibly versatile and utterly adaptable camping stove is specialized for any outdoor use. 

The Jetboil Cook System is very lightweight and compact. It weighs about 370 grams, making it an excellent accessory for packing and trekking.

While they may not be the cheapest water boiling appliances, they are certainly worth the investment.

The Jetboil Cook System will bring your water to a rapid boil in as little as 100 seconds. Its pot, ignitor, and stand are built into one unit and use a gas feed (propane). The Jetboil Cook System manufacturers also designed it for cooking.

This quick boiling water system is perfect for rehydrating dried backpacked meals and hot drinks. It is highly efficient and consumes only half the fuel of other traditional camping stoves. The best part about using the Jebboil Cook System is that you can use it anywhere on your trail.

Estimated Time: 1.5 minutes

3. The Ghillie Camping Kettle

Ghillie Camping Kettles are a classic UK design but have been popularized all over the world. 

This kettle's design is both unique and valuable. The Ghillie Camping Kettle features a fire inside it and can boil water in as little as three minutes. It also uses natural fuel, making it an excellent option for environmentally conscious campers.

You don't need to buy any special fuel or refillable canisters. You can use whatever you find on the trail as fuel for your Ghillie Camping kettle. Grass, twigs, and just about anything that can build a flame will work fine with this kettle.

The Ghillie Camping Kettle is one of the easiest methods to use if you want to learn how to boil water while camping. It features three parts which include the kettle, cap, and base unit. The kindling is added at the base unit before the kettle is placed on top. Think of a Ghillie Camping Kettle as a fail-safe option because this appliance rarely has technical issues. 

The only downside is that it weighs 1.9 pounds, which can weigh you down, especially on long hikes. But you can always carry the smaller, lighter-weight versions.

Estimated Time: 1 to 5 minutes depending on the internal flame

4. Solar Water Heating Bags

Also called solar showers, these water heating bags are easy to use, need only sunlight to work, and are cheap. 

Another advantage of using solar water heating bags is that solar is the cleanest and most abundant energy source you can find. They don't need fire, fuel, or electricity to work. You can also back them down into a tiny size, making them great for any type of camping.

Solar water heating bags absorb sun rays because of their dark color and heat the water within them.

One downside of solar heaters is that they require several hours to heat up. They can take up to three hours to heat the water, even in warm conditions. Plus, because they need sunlight to work, they are not effective for winter campers.

It is also worth noting that solar water heating bags can't boil water. They can warm it but not boil it. Instead, you can heat water in them then boil afterward using other water boiling appliances, making the process speedier instead of starting with cold water.

Estimated Time: Up to one hour depending on the availability of the sun

5. Camping Stove

Camping stoves are great options for boiling water and cooking while camping. They are generally more powerful and versatile compared to other methods in this list. 

Camping stoves are the closest you will get to your regular stove at home. Only that camping stoves are large and heavy, which can be a significant downside for campers.

The Coleman Dual Burner Camp Stove comes with adjustable burners that allow you to heat water without boiling, instead of boiling being the only option.

Camping stoves use propane and are very easy to use. Simply hook the propane tank to the regulator pipe. You can also get an additional hose if you plan to cook for an extended period.

Camping stoves are ideal for large families and groups of campers because of their heavy-duty and versatile nature. They are great all-rounder appliances as long as you can keep up with their weight.

Estimated Time: 5 and 10 minutes

6. Heating Water in a Bucket

While this might seem a bit far-fetched for some people, heating water in a bucket is one of the most effective strategies for boiling large amounts of water at a time. A bucket heater might also not get your water to a boiling point, but it will get you close.

A bucket heater is a heating appliance with a stainless-steel guard. It heats water close to its boiling point when submerged into a bucket of water. The only downside of using this method is that it requires electricity to work.

You need an existing power outlet near your campsite or a portable generator to power it.

The bucket heater is waterproof and safe, provided its plug doesn't come into contact with water when in use. The bucket heater easily tops the list as a fast and reliable method of heating large amounts of water at once and within a short time. It will heat your water beyond 150°F, which is acceptable.

Estimated Time: several minutes depending on the size of the bucket and amount of water

7. Electric Kettle

An electric kettle isn't something you use just for making tea at home. You can find some tremendous electric kettles that are perfect for outdoor use.

Electric kettles are the most convenient and easy-to-use heating appliances for boiling water while camping. Boiling water is as easy as pushing a button, and your water will be safe for use in just a few minutes.

However, because these kettles require electricity to operate, they are mostly best for campground adventurers. But you can now find some new models like the Spardar 12V Car Kettle that you can plug into your car's 12V outlet. 

They are the more preferred option for boiling water if you're planning on taking a car-based adventure.

Estimated Time: 2 to 3 minutes
boil water camping

Which Water Boiling Method Do You Find Effective?

From the above excerpt, there are many ways you can boil water while camping. 

Each of the methods mentioned above holds its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is always a good idea to weigh up all the pros and cons of each water boiling appliance and strategy before deciding which method to use.

For example, a portable stove or campfire are classic methods that are effective for many purposes. But if you're only looking to boil a little water at a time, then the Ghillie Camping Kettle or the 12V car kettle might be the best options for you.

If you are camping with friends, you will need large quantities of usable water at any one time. In such instances, you will need a bucket heater.

This guide teaches you how to boil water while camping and the most efficient methods to use. In any case, whatever your water boiling needs are, you should be able to find a solution that works well for you in this post. Just be careful around fires and boiling equipment. Don't burn yourself and have fun!

Andrew Mullen

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