Camping tea kettles – which one should you use?

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.

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 perfect kettle for you! 

Just here for the quick answer? Top 3 tea kettle for camping:

camping tea kettles sitting on a grill over a campfire

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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?

Can you use any kettle for camping?

You need to choose a camping kettle appropriate to your camping situation. 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

  1. Heat Source: Different kettles can handle campfires as opposed to smaller propane stoves. Make sure you buy a kettle that fits your situation.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
boiling water over a campfire with camp kettles
The classic lightweight camping kettle and a cast iron kettle – heating water for tea and washing

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!

What’s the best camping kettle?

Really, this depends on your ultimate needs in a camping kettle? Do you need to use it over the open flame? Does it need to be light-weight? Do you have lots of room for storage or should your kettle be a versatile camping cooking implement?

However, this first one below is probably a good bet for most campers. But, all four of these following kettles are perfect camping kettles for open fires.

Best All-Around Camping Tea Kettle

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! 

Best Enamel Tea Kettle (the classic campfire kettle)

Enamelware 8 cup Percolator Coffee Pot

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

Snow Peak Camping 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 (the small camping kettle – great for backpacking)

MSR Titan Kettle from REI

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.

a camping kettle
using a camp stove to boil water in a tea kettle when hiking
Our very old hiking kettle… lightweight, durable… and soooo old!

More Great Camping Kettles

Collapsible Kettle

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. 

Overmont Camping Tea Kettle

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.

Camp Chef Tea Kettle , the best camping kettle for an open fire:

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 and plan to be using your campfire as a main source of hot water, this option is both pretty and very 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!

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!

Are tea kettles 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.

a frypan and kettle on a propane camping stove
Using an enamel kettle to boil water on the camp stove for breakfast

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.

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