Boiling water ranges from a pleasantry that allows you to have coffee while camping to a necessity for those who are sourcing their water from streams or lakes. Regardless of the reason, knowing how to boil water when camping is vital to your trip.
Luckily, there are many methods and products available that can make boiling water easy to do. There’s also usually a handful of helpful resources at the campground itself, or you can purchase something specifically meant for primitive campsites or backpackers.
Read on to learn how to easily and safely boil water when camping or backpacking.
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For most campers, the easiest way to boil water is by using a traditional fire. You might need to use some kind of weight or tripod system in order for your pot not to fall into the flames below while you’re waiting for it to heat up.
Your campsite fire pit may also come with a grate that is perfect for cooking on, and they are also adjustable so that you can control how close your water is to the flame.
The best containers for boiling water over a fire are ones that can hold heat well. Stainless steel is probably the best material for this, but if you are using aluminium, make sure to use a pot with an interior of stainless steel or copper so that it doesn’t get ruined by your fire pit. A dutch oven is made out of cast iron and is the perfect tool for boiling water over a campfire as well.
It’s best if you have a container that comes with a lid. This will help to retain heat, so the water warms up faster. It will also prevent fire ash or debris from falling into your water.
For added safety, you can purchase a heat-resistant glove to use over the fire pit so that you don’t accidentally burn yourself while holding onto your pot of boiling water.
You can also use a charcoal grill as your fire source. This is more portable and controllable than an open fire but works in a similar way.
Some charcoal grills are designed specifically for camping and come with sturdy legs so you don’t have to worry about them blowing away in the wind while you’re using them. They also usually have adjustable levels of heat control and airflow so that your water can heat up quickly.
If you’re using a dutch oven, you can place it directly in the heated charcoal. If you’re using another type of pot, it’s best to place the container at a bit of a distance from the heat.
Immersion Water Heater
If you have an electricity source at your campsite and want a simple solution for heating up a small amount of water, an immersion heater is a great option. These are small, lightweight devices that you can submerge in your water and they quickly heat the liquid inside them up to boiling temperatures.
You simply plug these into an electrical outlet using an extension cord or power strip so that you have enough length for placement near the container of water. They usually only need about 30 seconds to a minute to heat the water, so it’s a relatively quick process.
An electric kettle is probably the easiest and safest way to boil water that provides you with a lot of control. They usually have different temperature settings, so you can choose how hot your liquid gets.
These work through heating coils inside the kettle which quickly bring your liquid up to boiling temperatures without having it touch any element or flame. If you choose to, you can also purchase an insulated kettle that keeps your water at a constant temperature for hours.
Have you heard of the Instant Pot? You likely have if you’ve been on social media or have seen advertisements for them. This is a small kitchen appliance that works as an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and more all in one.
This device can handle boiling water quickly while also giving you the benefits of cooking with steam from inside its own sterilized pot. You can use this to cook any type of food, but it’s especially useful for boiling water fast.
This is a great choice if you want a heat source that can do it all: slow cook, pressure cook, sauté, and steam.
An electric pot is similar to an electric kettle in that it heats up your water quickly without the risk of fire. These usually have heating coils inside them and a power cord attached so you can plug them into any type of electrical sources, such as a generator or outlet at your campsite.
Electric pots have additional functionality over an electric kettle but don’t come with all of the bells and whistles of the Instant Pot. They also come in a wider variety of sizes. You can purchase one that is the shape of a pot, pan, skillet, or kettle.
A biofuel stove is a great option if you are looking for an outdoor cooking source that doesn’t need electricity.
These work by pressurizing the fuel inside them and releasing it through jets where it mixes with oxygen before it comes out as a hot flame.
These stoves are very clean burning and don’t release nearly as much soot and smoke as other camping stoves do. They tend to be a bit heavier, so they aren’t the best choice for a backpacking trip. However, they will do well if you’re without electricity at your campsite.
Portable propane stoves are another great backup option if you don’t have electricity available. These work through pressurized gas that is released for cooking purposes, similar to what you would find in an outdoor grill at home.
These often come with adjustable heat settings and can be used at a low or high flame depending upon your needs. If the propane tank gets low, you can replace it with a full one and refill the empty tank when needed.
Canister Fuel Stove
A canister fuel stove is a type of portable stove that is fuelled by small canisters of pressurized mixed gases. This is called a high vapor pressure fuel. These small appliances are easy to carry around and use, offering quick heat whenever you need it.
The benefit of using this kind of stove is that it can function better than other options in colder weather. It can withstand temperatures up to 20 degrees colder than butane or propane will. This makes it a good choice for colder weather camping trips that are usually not feasible with other types of stoves.
This option tends to be a bit more expensive than others, but the benefits of using it make up for this. This is a great choice if you want something that’s powerful and safe to use even in colder weather conditions.
A hot plate is a great option for those who want a heating surface that is similar to the stove ranges at home.
These are electric plates that have coils underneath them where the heat comes from, making it similar to heating up an electric skillet or griddle at home. You can use these on your table top for cooking meals and boiling water easily.
They come in one or two burner varieties and can be used for a variety of different cooking tasks. They often have adjustable heat settings that allow you to choose how high or low the temperature gets depending upon what food item you are using it with.
If you don’t have an electricity source, you can purchase a hot plate that is fuelled by propane. While this will make the item a bit bulkier, it’s a great solution that allows you to cook with this type of appliance no matter where you are.
Solid Fuel Stove
A solid fuel stove is a type of stove that burns solid fuels, such as wood, coal, or charcoal. This type of stove doesn’t have to be plugged into an electricity source to work. You can use this type of stove for camping or for backpacking trips.
There are many camping cook sets that are designed to be used with solid fuel stoves. These are usually very compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry with you on your camping trip or backpacking adventure.
You can gather natural materials on your camping trip to use as fuel or purchase fuel tablets that are specifically designed for this type of stove.
How Long Do You Have to Boil Water to Kill Bacteria?
If you’re boiling water as a way to purify it while camping, you’ll want to make sure you boil it for long enough to kill off any bacteria and other microorganisms.
If you’re purifying water that you’ve fetched from a natural body of water, wait at least five minutes before it is safe to drink without the risk of getting sick from drinking it. You can use a timer or watch as you boil your water so that you know when enough time has passed.
Make sure that you don’t mistake hot water for boiling water. If the water is not full of bubbles coming from the bottom, you need to keep boiling it. Once your water has reached a rolling boil for five minutes or more, it will be safe to drink without fear of getting sick.
Do You Need to Filter Water if You Boil It While Camping?
While boiling water will kill off all of the bacteria in your drinking water, it doesn’t remove any other contaminants or debris that might be present.
Make sure you filter it first before boiling. You can use coffee filters as part of the filtering process or a basic water filter to ensure that all of the debris is removed from your drinking water before you boil it.
This will help make sure there aren’t any impurities left in your boiling pot when you’re done. It can also improve the taste and smell of your boiled water.
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to boiling water when camping or backpacking. Make sure to choose a method that is safe and easy for you to use. Consider the environment you’re in, the amount of water you’ll need to boil, and whether or not you’ll have access to electricity.
Once you establish the best method for boiling water, you’ll be able to enjoy your camping trip or backpacking adventure without any concerns.