When camping, it is essential to have a way to heat water. Whether for washing dishes, rehydrating meals, sterilizing water, cooking, making hot drinks, or bathing a baby in a tub, warm or hot water is smart to have on-hand.
The best way to heat water while camping is to use a camping tea kettle. Regular pots work too, but a handle and spout is super helpful. Lots of different styles are available, most of which are designed for specific situations.
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What to consider when purchasing a new camping tea kettle
When considering what type of camping tea kettle to buy, you need to think about your camping style. Do you tend to keep a campfire going and cook over it or do you use a camp stove? Will you be backpacking and not setting up a permanent camp? Will you have access to electricity? Here are a few more things to consider carefully:
- Heat Source: Different kettles can handle campfires as opposed to smaller propane stoves. Make sure you buy a kettle that fits your situation.
- Materials: Some different materials available include stainless steel, titanium, enamel, cast iron, and aluminum. Each one has pros and cons such as different weights and durability.
- Capacity: The size you buy will also matter as you won’t need a large camping tea kettle if you are camping on your own. A family may need a larger water kettle, as you will have more to wash or more drinks to prepare. A campfire kettle that collapses or that can be packed compactly with other gear may be best for a backpacking situation.
While there may be one camping tea kettle that can foot the bill for most of these situations, there may be a kettle that is more suited to your preferred camping style. Here are a few of the best options available.
Oh, and don’t forget about some trendy, hardy, and versatile enamel mugs to go along with your new camping kettle!
Best All-Around Camping Tea Kettle
This handy little stainless steel kettle comes with two nesting cups that fit inside, so it’s really all you need in one tidy little package. With the cups, the whole thing weighs around 14 ounces. Without the cups, it’s only around 7 ounces!
Best Enamel Tea Kettle (the classic camping kettle)
If you camped as a kid do remember these? Made from three-ply steel, this compact percolator weighs in at only around one pound. No matter how hot the kettle gets, the handle should stay cool. It’s affordable and, as a perk, it’s pretty! You can’t go wrong with this tried and true campfire kettle.
Best Stainless Steel Kettle
A compact kettle as well as stainless steel, the Snow Peak Camping Kettle has two handles, making it easier to remove from a heat source and easier to pour. It holds three to five cups and is even dishwasher safe.
Best High-End Kettle (and great for backpacking)
This little kettle may be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in weight, durability, and versatility. Weighing only 4.2 ounces, the Titan Kettle is made from titanium, which is lighter than steel and stronger than aluminum. It is perfect for heating water for 1-2 people, but it can also be used to cook your food! Just be sure to pack a pot holder, as the handles do get hot.
More Great Kettle Options
If you need an option that doesn’t take up space and can be a conversation piece, give this one a go! Be aware, it is not intended for use over a large, open flame. A single burner propane stove or something else with a small, controlled flame is best. The lid does completely cover the top, though, so it is ideal for use if the conditions are a smidge dirty. This is a great camping kettle or pot.
Made from aluminum, this kettle is lightweight and also comes with a carrying bag, so you can just hook it on to any bag, without having to make space for it. It works well over an open flame as well as a controlled flame.
While our own campfire kettle is older than I am, the style and shape is similar to this one, and it is our go-to, favorite kettle.
A cute little kettle that would display well, if you love cast iron, this camping water pot is for you. It weighs in at six pounds and holds two quarts, so it’s not great for backpacking, but if you’re setting up camp for a few days, this option is pretty and practical.
How to use a camping tea kettle over a campfire
Using a camping tea kettle over a campfire is actually quite simple. It’s the logistics surrounding the fire that you need to be prepared for.
Because it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to boil water over a campfire, it’s important to have everything you need to keep your fire going. The hotter the flames, the faster your water will boil, so grab enough kindling and larger pieces to keep your fire going consistently for an extended period of time.
If you aren’t working with a fire pit with a built-in grate to swing over the flames, you need to think through how you are going to get your kettle over the fire once it’s going. Two large rocks on either side of your fire, close enough to balance your kettle, would work just as well as a grate.
Your kettle needs to be balanced above the flames, but the closer you can get it to the hot coals, the faster your water will boil. Remember, the whole kettle will be very hot when your water is boiling. Be prepared to lift your kettle away from the flames with something protecting your hands from both the flames and the likely very hot handles.
How to clean your kettle once it has been used over a campfire
If you’re using your camping kettle only for water, there is no need to clean it with soap while you’re camping. While you’re on-site, use a small scrubby and water or sand to scour the soot off the outside of the kettle. The inside should just air dry for next use.
Getting a sooty kettle home can be a challenge. Plan ahead and pack a shoebox or plastic bag to put a sooty kettle into for the ride home!
Once you get home, be sure to wash it thoroughly. Check the instructions for your kettle. Some kinds are dishwasher safe, but others must be hand washed.
No matter which type of camping tea kettle you choose, you won’t regret having the right tools for the job. Heating water is essential for survival while camping, so a kettle is a great investment!
More Camping articles you’ll want to read:
- Your complete guide to camping in the rain (and still enjoying yourself)
- The simple family camping checklist
- And, camping pie iron recipes the whole family will love!