One of the camping’s greatest joys is the opportunity to step away from technology and do’ old school’ things. One of them involves boiling water without any electricity.

Whether you’re boiling water to drink a fresh cup of hot chocolate after a night watching the stars and being warm by the bed, or you’ve gathered water from a spring and need to be sure it’s safe to drink, it’s important to do it the right way.

Below are a few different options to look at so that you can decide which one suits you and your camping style best.

Why is Boiling Water so Important?

While modern life has infiltrated the way we camp and made it more convenient, knowing about the different ways you can boil your water is still a good idea, whether on a stove with a canister of fuel or over an open fire.

All campers know that it is important to be prepared for anything and can make the difference between a great outdoor or a horrible experience.

Besides boiling water for coffee or tea, hot water is also important for cooking.

If a camper runs out of water, boiling water from a stream will ensure drinking is safe. Of course, the type of adventure you are preparing for will decide your needs, so be sure to keep that in mind.

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What are my options for boiling water while camping?

There really isn’t a wrong’ or’ right’ way when it comes to boiling water in the great outdoors. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference. Nonetheless, it is important to navigate the options available in the right way.

Also, it’s not complicated, as long as you know what you’re doing.

Remember, make sure to take a safe approach. Never try with your bare hands to pick up or touch something too hot — it will damage your camping trip and ruin it.

1. Use a canister stove

Traditional canister stoves are generally light, user-friendly, and highly effective. Canister stoves can be used for cooking food, and many have simple ignition systems that make them very easy to use.

You’ll need to remember to pack fuel, though, or if you run out, the stove will be useless. It saves a lot of time using this process.

2. Create a campfire


The easiest and most realistic way to go about it is to boil water over an open fire. It takes time, however, and if left unattended, it could be risky. It’s not the most environmentally friendly choice, either.

Find plenty of logs, sticks, and leaves to make a beautiful campfire.

Pro quick tip to creating a campfire: use branches, sticks, and leaves to start the fire and add larger pieces of wood as the flames grow larger.

5. Kettle

This is just like it sounds – a kettle with a flame inside. They boil water fast and work well if you’re in windy conditions where it’s difficult or dangerous to get an open flame going.

They require no batteries or complicated fuel sources, and they are one of the most efficient methods for boiling. They’re also safe, so they’re a great option to have around if you are camping with children and are concerned about lighting a campfire.

For both backpacking and camping, this is our favorite. Even if you use a separate stove for anything else, Key Kettles are the real deal when it comes to boiling water. The secret here is that the kettle, like a Bundt cake pan, is hollow inside. The flame chimney runs up the inside of the kettle so that no water is lost.

The increased heating surface area and conical shape imply simultaneous heating of the water in the kettle from top to bottom. It contributes to hotter water than most other kettles, so it can boil other kettles about half of the time.

It’s also good that you can get anywhere from this device using regular fuel canisters. Thanks to the base’s “mini campfire” style, you can also skip the fuel and use natural materials such as leaves and sticks to create the blaze.

The tank is huge, and between pourings, the rubber stopper keeps things out and heats up. There’s a smaller “trekker” version of the Kelly Kettle that’s easy to carry in your rucksack if you just want to backpack.

4. Go green and boil water using the sun

Fine, you can’t really boil water this way, but you’ll enjoy using solar water heating bags if you’re a fan of doing things the ‘green’ way. The bags are user-friendly and will not cost you a fortune.

This option requires no fuel or fire and relies solely on the heat and UV rays of the sun. When you use this option, you’ll also save on space.

All you need to do is put the bags (filled with water) in a place where they get plenty of sunshine and wait for nature to do its thing. Solar water heating bags are also a cool way to have a shower— just hang one from a high branch and enjoy nature scrubbing off in the wild!

However, it takes a long time for solar water bags to deliver hot water, especially in winter.

Another alternative is solar flare cookers. Using a reflective material, they use the rays of the sun to concentrate the heat of the sun within an enclosed area. This can take up to an hour to boil the water, and it depends on the sun; of course, it doesn’t help if it’s overcast or raining. It’s another green choice, though.


How long does it take to boil water camping?

Most health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control, recommend rapidly boiling water for 1 minute at elevations of 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) and 3 minutes at higher elevations. If you follow those instructions, you will be safe from giardia and crypto.

Can you boil water over a fire pit?

The best and most practical alternative is to utilize a campfire. All that is required for campfire boiling is a metal water bottle or kettle.

This jar can easily be placed on fire, and the process of boiling is nearly complete. The only thing left to do is wait for the water to reach its boiling point.

Does salt help water boil?

Adding salt to water changes the physical properties of water in two ways: it raises the boiling point and lowers the specific heat. These two modifications really work against one another. Raising the boiling point causes the water to boil more slowly.

Should you use a lid when boiling water?

If you want to maintain the heat in your pot, always cover it. That implies that if you’re trying to bring something to a simmer or a boil—a pot of water for boiling pasta or blanching vegetables, a batch of soup, or a sauce—cover it to save time and energy.

How long should you boil water to make it safe to drink?

The CDC recommends heating water to a rolling boil for one (1) minute to make it microbiologically safe to consume. Bring the clear water to a rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for three minutes).

What if you pour boiling water on fire?

Hot water scalding can cause pain and skin injury due to wet heat or fumes. Because it damages damaged tissues and cells, this form of burn can be deadly. The heat may even cause your body to go into shock. In more serious cases, these burns can be fatal.

Wrapping it up

Understanding how to boil water while camping is one of the most important things on your way to your favorite campsite or forest. The opportunity to boil water makes a massive difference in the quality of your camping time, from boiling hot water for coffee to purifying naturally found water.

Whether you like lighting a fire and roasting marshmallows while boiling your water or using a conventional canister burner, having a clue about what you’re doing can help make sure your camping memories are good and something you want to remember.