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How to Boil Water While Camping in 8 Easy Ways

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Just because you’re camping in the woods doesn’t mean you have to give up coffee. However, the biggest problem with preparing coffee at the campsite is the absence of boiling water.

Sure, you can carry a camping coffee mug that’s rechargeable or perhaps use other heating systems. But you won’t achieve the taste that you want with your morning coffee when using these methods.

To enjoy a real cup of coffee, you need real boiling water as well. It should come at the right temperature so you can enjoy the best tasting coffee that you’ll crave when you wake up in the morning.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most effective methods to use to boil water for your coffee during your camping trip.

Why Boil Water and How to Do It?

If you want to enjoy a good cup of coffee while camping, preparing boiling water at the campsite is a must. But aside from using it for your coffee, boiling water is a great way to make sure your drinking water is safe.

Sure, you could bring with you a water purification device, but just in case you forget to bring one or you end up losing it somewhere, then boiling water is definitely necessary.

It’s also a great way to rehydrate frozen and ready-made meals. Having boiling water available can help you cook some decent meals and perhaps even prepare good soup.

Without further ado, here’s how to boil water while camping.

1. Campfire

Building a campfire is perhaps the most popular and oldest method of boiling water while in the woods. It’s also the easiest. In fact, if you have been camping for quite a while now, then you’re probably an expert at building campfires.

Aside from keeping you warm at night, you can use the fire to heat water. However, this process will usually take longer and may not be a good idea if you need your cup of coffee immediately.

You’ll most likely crave for coffee in the morning, and by this time, the campfire you built during the previous night has already been extinguished. Building a campfire just for a cup of coffee early in the morning isn’t practical and the process is not only labor-intensive but messy as well.

But if you happen to crave a cup of hot chocolate or coffee at night, then boiling water in the campfire you have built might be a good option.

This might sound unbelievable but you can use a paper cup to boil water over a fire. According to the laws of physics, a paper cup that’s filled with water won’t burn when held above fire. If you want to see if this is true, then go ahead and try it on your next camping trip!

2. The Jetboil Cook System

For a more convenient and practical way of boiling water at a campsite, why don’t you consider the Jetboil Cook System?

This cooking system is gaining huge popularity among backpackers and campers lately. It’s exactly what you need to take with you during your camping trip because it’s compact and lightweight. Thus, you can carry it on your trip with ease.

But don’t let the compact design fool you. This cooking device has plenty to offer. It comes with a stand, stove, pot, and ignitor. It’s an all-in-one cooking system that you can rely on. Carrying it on your bag is definitely a breeze.

Made from high-quality materials, this device works efficiently in heating and boiling water. In fact, it will take only two minutes to boil the water. Furthermore, it consumes half the fuel that a traditional boiling system does.

Another great thing about the Jetboil Cook System is that it’s extremely easy to use. You just need to connect the stove to the canister where the fuel is stored. Then pour water into the pot and place the pot on the stove. Turn the fuel knob and press the ignitor. It will now start to boil the water on the pot.

3. Spardar 12V Car Kettle

For people that go car camping, a great option would be to use a 12V Car Kettle. Simply plug the kettle into the cigarette lighter of your coil and it will start boiling around two to three cups of water.

You’ll find several options on the market when it comes to a car kettle.

The Spardar Electric Kettle is highly recommended because it gives you the option to choose your desired level of temperature.

The kettle can also help truckers prepare soup while on the road. Of course, you can take it with you on your camping trip so you can boil enough water for your morning coffee in just a few minutes. This is definitely more convenient than starting a campfire.

4. Coleman Dual-Fuel Camp Stove

Bringing along a camping stove is a good idea if you want a faster and easier way to boil water for your coffee. Simply set it up in a stable surface in your camping site and you can boil water in an instant!

However, you can’t expect this device to provide much in terms of giving you warmth. Furthermore, carrying a camping stove in the woods may not be as easy as it sounds. It occupies a lot of space in your backpack and won’t leave enough room to accommodate your other camping necessities.

Using a burner stove from Coleman is probably the best way to boil water on the camping site. But this device is good only if you don’t plan on doing a lot of hiking. It comes at a somewhat bulky size and a heavy weight.

Nevertheless, the Coleman Dual-Fuel Camp Store is definitely a great product to have. Its burners can be adjusted, which means you have the option to boil water fast or simply keep it warm. This feature isn’t present in other backpacking stoves out there.

Given its size, this stove can accommodate two burners as well as a bigger fuel tank. You also have the option to purchase an extra hose so you can hook it to a much bigger fuel tank just in case you plan on extending your camping trip.

5. Kelly Kettle Scout

The Kelly Kettle is a great option for campers and backpackers. In fact, when it comes to boiling water, it performs extremely well. That’s because the kettle is hollow inside just like the pan used for baking Bundt cake.

The chimney that’s responsible for the flame goes into the kettle so no energy will go to waste. Furthermore, the increased heating on the surface, as well as the kettle’s conical design, can help heat water all the way, from top to bottom. This way, it can boil water faster than other types of kettles.

Another great thing about the Kelly Kettle is that it uses regular fuel canisters, which you can easily get from anywhere. You also have the option of not using fuel and you can opt for natural materials that you can find in the woods, such as twigs, sticks, and leaves.

The tank has a large capacity and comes with a rubber stopper that can help keep things out in between pouring.

For those of you who plan on taking this device on your backpacking trip, the smaller version known as the Kelly Kettle Trekker might suit you best. It’s compact and can easily fit into a rucksack.

6. 5-Gallon Bucket Heater

Using a 5-gallon bucket to heat or boil water might seem impossible to some people, but this is actually an effective way of preparing hot water for coffee, especially if you’re in a big group.

But for this method, you’ll need a good amount of electricity. Therefore, it will only work if there’s electricity in your camping site or if there’s a generator around.

You’ll find plenty of options when it comes to bucket heaters. The Allied Precision Bucket Water Heater is capable of heating water up to more than 150 degrees. This device comes with a stainless-steel guard so it won’t cause damage to the plastic bucket.

You just need to plug it and drop it into the bucket. The device is waterproof and safe to use. Just make sure the plug doesn’t get wet. It’s capable of heating a gallon of water in only 10 minutes, which is perfect for a large group of campers.

Another great option is the insulated full-wrap design. You’ll find different models available that are capable of heating water up to 125 degrees. They are wrapped around the container and are capable of providing even heat, which is great for boiling water for coffee.

7. MSR PocketRocket 2

Another popular device that campers use to boil water is the MSR Pocket Rocket. It works in the same way as the Jetboil system

However, this thing needs more gear compared to an actual stove. Nevertheless, this device is quite compact and is much easier to use. You just need to use a separate pan or pot.

The MSR PocketRocket 2 doesn’t come with an ignitor. Therefore, you need to use a match or lighter to start the fire. To use it, simply attach the stove into the canister where the fuel is stored.

Turn the knob and light it with a match or lighter. When the water starts boiling, switch it off by turning the knob in the opposite direction.

8. Solar Water Heating Bags

Using solar heating bags is also a great way to boil water while camping. This option is perfect for campers on a budget because the bags are affordable. Furthermore, you’ll find them in different sizes so you can choose the size that will work best for your needs.

The biggest advantage of using this method is that solar water heating bags are eco-friendly. You don’t need any fuel or fire to use them because they rely mainly on the UV rays to produce heat that will boil your water.

Another great thing about this product is that the bags can be packed easily so you can conveniently carry them with you on your backpacking trip.

But the biggest disadvantage is the time needed to warm or boil the water. With this option, it could take several hours before you can enjoy a cup of coffee, even when using it during warm weather.

Safety Tips

When using water obtained from natural sources such as rivers and streams, there are safety measures that you must take into consideration. 

Remember that by boiling water, you won’t be able to filter out or take away any of the present toxic chemicals. It’s always a good idea to use a water purification filter when using water from natural sources.

Experts recommend getting water from fast-flowing sources instead of still waters. Head upstream to fetch water, away from construction sites, human activities, and other things that could contaminate the water.

The water that you’ll fetch from the stream will most likely contain tiny pieces of sediments. You can filter the water by using a clean shirt or another piece of clothing.

Let the water boil for one minute to ensure that all harmful bacteria and other dangerous substances are killed off. If possible, leave the water to boil for more minutes in order to get rid of all harmful microorganisms.

If you’re camping at an altitude of more than 6,500 feet, let your water boil for about three minutes because water usually boils at a lower temperature the higher you climb.

When there’s a shortage of water, minimize evaporation with the use of a lid. This can also help accelerate the process. Look for canister stoves that include insulated containers with a lid to help boil water even faster.

Be extra careful when handling naked flames. The last thing you want is to trigger a fire in the woods that could spread very quickly and make it difficult for you to control. Be mindful of warnings and fire bans, especially if you’re camping during the hottest time of the year when forest fires are rampant.

Pay close attention to the wind’s direction when building a fire, especially when boiling water near a piece of equipment or tent. A sudden gust of wind could swiftly set your belongings and your tent on fire! Of course, it’s also very important that you avoid burning yourself as a result of direct contact with the flames or the boiling water.

When boiling water from the comfort of our kitchen, we normally wear gloves or use kitchen cloth or mitt to remove the boiling pot from the flame. 

But if you’re out in the woods, you might have to use your bare hands to reach for the boiling pot. Avoid doing this at all costs if you don’t want your camping adventure to be ruined.

As with any camping trip, don’t forget to bring a first aid kit that includes a burn cream and all the necessary things required to treat a wound, just to be safe.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s cooking decent meals or preparing your morning coffee, boiling water during your camping trip is crucial.

So, before you head out to camp, make sure you have the right tools and equipment for this. Boiling is also a great way to treat water coming from natural sources. Although it won’t totally remove the presence of toxic chemicals, it should help make the water safer for drinking.

Boiling water can effectively kill some of the harmful pathogens and bacteria that might be lingering on the water. Thankfully, you have plenty of options when it comes to boiling water while camping. You can choose from any of the methods mentioned above.

David Miller

My name is David and I have been an outdoor guy for as long as I can remember. I have a strong passion for the great outdoors in general and specifically camping. I am the kind of person who spends more time outdoors than indoors. I am a staunch believer in the fact that outdoor life should be well lived because it's in the natural, serene, and untamed wild that we find out who we truly are. Let’s take the journey together.

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