When camping in the great outdoors, it is essential to have a way to heat water. Whether for washing dishes, rehydrating meals, sterilizing water, cooking, making a cup of tea, 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.
For many, camping tea kettles are considered an essential piece of camping gear, but which one is perfect for you depends on your particular camping set-up needs. Below you’ll find questions and suggestions to help you choose the best kettle for you!
Just here for the quick answer? Top 3 tea kettles for camping:
Here, and further below you’ll find my suggested kettles based on my own experience, chatting with other campers, and exploring camping gear stores.
(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase through my link I receive a small commission at no added cost to you. See my policy page for more information)
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 camping stove? Will you be backpacking and not setting up a permanent camp? Will you have access to electricity?
Can you use any kettle for camping?
You need to choose a camping kettle appropriate to your particular camping trip. Not all kettles are appropriate for open flame and if you are carrying your gear you’ll want a lightweight kettle. See these following considerations to help you choose the best camping kettle for you.
Considerations when choosing a Camping Kettle
Heat Source: Different kettles can handle the open flame of campfires better than others. Make sure you buy a kettle that fits your situation.
Materials: Some different materials available include titanium, enamel, cast iron, aluminum, and stainless steel construction. 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 hot drinks to prepare. If you are backpacking you may want to look at collapsible kettles or kettles that pack compactly with other kitchen gear.
While there may be one camping tea kettle that can foot the bill for most of these situations, there may be an outdoor 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 Value, All-Around Best Kettle for Camping
Stanley Camping 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!
I’d like to note that I’ve seen these with a super small bend, like a short spout, which helps in pouring water. But, we have success using the ones without the bend / spout as well… just something to keep in mind when looking at option.
Best Enamel Tea Kettle (the classic campfire kettle)
Enamelware 8 cup Percolator Coffee Pot
If you did a lot of car camping as a kid, do you remember these?
I’m including this one because you can easily remove the percolator and it becomes a great choice for a kettle, plus it’ll make you a great cup of coffee!
Made from three-ply steel, this kettle 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, Versatile Camping Pot/Kettle
Snow Peak Kettle
A compact kettle as well as stainless steel, the Snow Peak 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. This is an excellent choice for couples and small families as it will hold enough water for your needs. We also like the larger spout on this pot making pouring more precise.
Best High-End Kettle (the small kettle – great for backpacking)
MSR Titan Kettle from REI
This little kettle may be a small size, 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 camping kettles worth mentioning…
The Kelly Kettle
Kids love using these kettles. They heat with natural fuel that you (or your kids) will find and pick up around the campground. When we tried ours the kids tried burning pine leaves, pine cones, birch bark, dried grasses, and arm-loads of tiny twigs. Plus, there was a nice loud whistle that the little ones couldn’t get enough of!
The biggest hurdle using this kettle was finding wood pieces small enough to fit inside and the continual feeding of the fire. But, overall it was a popular and fun kettle… and might also be super handy in wildlife survival or emergency situations!
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 does have a secure lid, so is ideal for use if the conditions are a bit dirty and windy. This would make a fun camping kettle.
Overmont Camping Tea Kettle
Made from aluminum, this kettle is lightweight and also comes with a storage bag, so you can just hook it on to the outside of any pack, 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.
The best camping kettle for an open fire: Camp Chef Tea Kettle
A cute little kettle that would display well, and if you love cast iron, this camping water pot is for you! Heavy, 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 and plan to be using your campfire as a main source of hot water, this option is both pretty and very practical.
When we’re car camping we’ll often just have our cast iron kettle sitting over the campfire and that way we have hot water on hand any time we need it… for dish washing, scrubbing dirty hands and feet, or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate before bed.
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 very hot handle.
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 and scorch marks 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 your 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.
READ MORE: Do you know how to properly clean your camping gear?
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!
Other camping kettle FAQs
Can you use an electric kettle for camping?
Sure, if you have access to electricity at your campsite. If you do, bring along your electric tea kettle. But, if you won’t have electricity, you’ll have way more success with a kettle you can use on your propane stove or over the campfire!
Can you use a regular kettle for camping?
If you’re camping and using a gas or propane stove you can use the same kettle you’d use at home on your gas kitchen stove. Just know that if you’re camping there’s higher risk of it getting scratched and such.
What is the best kettle to use on a fire?
If you aren’t carrying this kettle in a backpack, your best value option is the traditional enamel coffee kettle. It’s relatively lightweight, can hold a lot of water, is super durable, and affordable… plus enamelware comes in fun colours too!
Are tea kettles for camping worth it?
The important question to answer is how much will you use it? If you are using your camping kettle to boil all your hot water for a week long trip, then yes, I think the tea kettle is worth it. But, if you are camping for the weekend and only need to boil water for some instant coffee or tea one morning, you can probably use a regular pot.
Do you need a special kettle for camping?
Again, whether or not you need a special kettle depends on your particular needs. If you plan to use the kettle on an open flame it will get very sooty and dirty and you may not want to return to using it in your kitchen afterwards. Having a designated campfire kettle might be a good idea here. However, if you are using a small portable stove you can easily clean your kitchen stove kettle after the trip.
What is the best way to boil water when camping?
To boil water camping you will need a vessel for water and a means of heating the water. A standard cooking pot or tea kettle is your best option. Put these over an open flame or propane stove. Heat until boiling. Or, if you have electricity at your campsite, you can also use an electric kettle.
Read More: Click here for a more detailed response to this question.