How to Boil Water When Camping: 5 Methods

boil water camping outdoors

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Camping is an experience everybody craves because it brings you closer to nature. However, camping is different from home, and you have to be proactive to have a great experience there. In this guide, we’ll show you how to boil water when camping.

That you’re in the wild doesn’t mean you can’t boil water for yourself. Being able to boil water is essential because it enables you to have a well-brewed cup of coffee even while in the wilderness. Also, if you don’t have your water purifier with you, boiled water will be safe to drink.

Again, if you can boil water during camping, you can rehydrate your already made freeze-dried meals quickly. The good thing about being able to boil water outdoors is that you can also prepare a decent meal to eat. After all, you don’t have to eat an already made freeze meal all the time.

How to Boil Water Quickly When Camping

Here are some common ways to boil water when camping. We explained the advantages and disadvantages of each method. So, it’s up to you to make a choice based on what works best for you.

1. Use a Portable Stove

A portable stove is something every camper should have. Your camping experience will be horrible without a portable stove. Of course, I don’t need to remind you that you need a small pot and lighter.

With this, you can always boil water and you can also prepare some quick decent meals for yourself and your family.

This method is fast, easy, and reliable. And you can always adjust the stove’s temperature if you want the water to boil faster.

2. Start a Campfire

Campfire is a common method of boiling water when camping. It’s easy and involves pouring water on a metal or stainless-steel bucket or bowl and putting it around the campfire. But you can only use this approach if you intend to build a fire and have a grill hand.

You can use water boiled using a campfire or start a fire with rocks to make coffee and take your bath if the weather is cold. However, it’s a bit difficult to control the heat of a campfire; that’s why it takes a longer time to boil water with the campfire method.

Again, it’s better to use this method when you’re camping. If you’re just in the wilderness for hiking or backpacking, it’s a complete waste of time to set up a campfire only to boil water. It’s messy and requires a lot of energy to handle.

3. Try with a Bucket

This is another easy method of boiling water during camping. To use this approach, you need to have a portable generator with you on the campground. But if you have access to a power outlet in your campsite, you may not need a portable generator.

The bucket heater is recommended if you want to boil a large amount of water. It involves pouring water in a bucket heater and connecting it to a power outlet. Once connected to the power outlet, monitor the thermometer to know the temperature. Disconnect the heater from the outlet once the water starts boiling.

Boiling water with a bucket heater is effective and reliable. If you have the means, it’s advisable to get a stainless-steel guard for your bucket heater. It will protect the bucket from melting and allow your water to boil quickly.

Generally, the bucket heater is effective for a large family camping. But you have to put an eye on it while in use because it could put the entire campground at risk. On average, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to boil your water using a bucket heater.

4. Get Some Solar Water Heating Bags

The solar water heating bag is another reliable and versatile method of boiling water during camping. It’s easy to use and will always deliver consistent results. As a rule, always choose a portable solar water heating bag that’s effective and easy for you to carry around throughout your camping period.

The good thing about a solar water heating bag is that it’s eco-friendly. It uses solar energy for the sun; you don’t need fuel or lighter to produce heat. Again, the heating bag isn’t one-off; you can store it after camping for future use.

This option of boiling water is relatively easy as it only requires you to fill the bag with water. With the right settings, within a short while, your water will boil and be ready to use. Sounds great, right?

Although the solar water heating bag is great, its efficiency depends on external conditions surrounding the camping environment. So, before you can boil water with this approach, you must understand the conditions of your environment.

5. Buy an Internal Flames Kettle

The internal flames kettle boils water faster while in the wilderness. It’s compact, efficient, cost-effective, and reliable.

Interestingly, this kettle doesn’t require batteries or fuel to operate. Instead, you can use dead organic materials around the campsite to burn it. Also, the kettle features an internal chamber that makes the fire stay lit even when the campground is windy.

Furthermore, the internal flames kettle has pouring spout, which makes it easier to transfer your boiled water to another container.

If your campground is prone to heavy wind, a campfire isn’t advisable. Instead, use the internal flame kettle as it’s safer.

You Can Still Brew Great Coffee While Camping

You don’t have to lose connection with your cup of coffee because you are camping. Trust me; coffee could be a great way to start or end your day.

You can also use the water boiling tips shared here to brew great coffee for yourself. Whether you are hacking, backpacking, or camping, you can still brew delicious coffee in the wilderness.

Safety Considerations When Boiling Water at a Campground

Remember that you aren’t at home and you’re boiling untreated water from a natural source.

So, here are some safety precautions you must carefully put in place;

  • Since you’re taking the water from a natural source, boiling it won’t remove or filter any toxic chemical the water contains. So, if you don’t have any specialized filter to purify your water, ensure you trust where you’re getting your water from.
  • It’s safer to get water from a fast-flowing source than stagnant water. And if you’re taking water from a flowing source, go upstream from farmed land, roads, and other signs of human activities.
  • Remember that there’s a high chance that the stream water you’re drawing from has sediment and dirt. So, you can use a clean cloth to remove the dirt or residues. After that, you pour the water inside your pot, solar heat bag, or internal flame kettle, depending on what you’re using. But never boil your water without trying to filter it with a clean cloth first.
  • Again, one of the reasons for boiling water during camping is to kill off potentially harmful bacteria and pathogens. For this reason, try to bring your water to a one-minute rolling boil. If you discover that your water isn’t at a rolling point after a minute, leave it to boil for several minutes. The longer the water is heated, the higher the tendency of killing all harmful microorganisms contained in the water.
  • If you’re camping at an elevated place like a mountain of about 6,500 feet, you need to boil your water at a rolling boil for about three minutes. The reason for this is because water boils faster in lower temperatures than higher ones.
  • When you’re boiling water in a campground, you should consider wind direction. Also, don’t boil water close to the tent and equipment; it could lead to an uncontrollable wildfire.
  • Your safety is important even in the campground. You don’t have to be a victim of fire because you want to boil water. Be careful of the flames, hot stove, or boiled water. Any mistake could lead to serious injury.
  • Always stay safe and bring your first aid kits with you while going on camping. Check your first aid kits for burn cream and the right dressing kits.

Final Thoughts

The camping experience is fun and it keeps you closer to nature. You can still live your life to its fullest even if you don’t have the right equipment. The fact that you can always improvise while camping makes it even more fun.

The various methods of boiling water discussed in this article are effective. But some are more effective than others. For instance, a bucket heater is recommended if you’re camping with your family.

If you don’t have a portable stove, internal flame kettle, or solar water heating bag, you can improvise with a campfire. But don’t neglect safety. Otherwise, the entire camping experience may be ruined.

Lastly, your early morning and late-night coffee routine can’t be altered because you have access to boil water.


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