How to Boil Water While Camping

One of the biggest joys of camping is the chance to step away from technology and do things the ‘old school’ way. That includes boiling water without the use of electricity. Whether you’re boiling water for a fresh cup of coffee to perk you up after a night of looking at the stars and being cozy by the fire, or because you collected water from a spring and need to be sure it’s safe to drink, doing it the right way is essential. Below we take a look at a few different options so you can decide which best suits you and your camping style.

Why is Boiling Water so Important?

Although modern life has infiltrated the way we camp and made it more convenient, it is still a good idea to know about the different ways you can boil your water, be that on a stove with a fuel canister or over an open fire. All campers know that being prepared for anything is vital to having a good time and can make the difference between a great time in the outdoors or a terrible experience.

Apart from boiling water for coffee or tea, hot water is also essential for cooking and keeping nourished while taking a break from all the stress and noise that forms our lives in the city.

In addition, should a camper run out of water, boiling water collected from a stream will ensure that it is safe to drink. Of course, your needs will be determined by the kind of adventure you are planning, so be sure to keep that in mind.

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Your Options for Boiling Water While Camping

When it comes to boiling water in the great outdoors, there really isn’t a ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way. It mostly comes down to personal preference. However, handling the options that are available in the right way is essential. It’s not tricky, though — as long as you know what you’re doing. Also, be sure to approach these methods with safety in mind. Never attempt to pick up or touch anything warm with your bare hands — it will hurt and ruin your camping trip.

Traditional Canister Stoves

Traditional canister stoves are generally light and easy to use as well as very effective. Canister stoves can be used to cook food, and many have simple ignition systems that make them a breeze to use. However, you will have to remember to pack fuel, or the stove will be useless if you run out. Using this method saves a lot of time. A word of caution though: As with all boiling methods, care should be taken during windy weather.

Find the best camping stoves with our in depth article reviewing the top 5 camping stoves.

Use Your Campfire

Boiling water over an open fire is considered the best and most authentic way to go about it. However, it takes time and could be dangerous if left unattended. It’s also not the most eco-friendly option. To make a nice campfire, collect lots of wood, sticks, and leaves. Use twigs, sticks, and leaves to get your fire started and add bigger pieces of wood as the flames grow bigger.

Going Green — Boiling Water the Eco-Friendly Way

If you’re a fan of doing things the ‘green’ way, you’ll love using solar water heating bags. The bags are easy to use and won’t cost you a fortune. This option doesn’t need any fuel or fire and only relies on the sun’s heat and UV rays. You’ll also save on space when going with this option.

All you need to do is place the bags (filled with water) in a spot where it will get plenty of sun and wait for nature to do its thing. Solar water heating bags are also a cool way to take a shower — simply hang one from a high branch and enjoy scrubbing nature off in nature! However, it should be noted that solar water bags take a long time to deliver hot water, especially during the winter.

Solar flare cookers are another option. They use the sun’s rays to focus the sun’s heat within an enclosed area, using a reflective material. This can take up to an hour to boil your water, and of course, the process is dependent on the sun, which doesn’t help you if it’s overcast or raining. Yet, it is another green option.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to boil water while camping is one of the most essential things when heading to your favorite campsite or forest. From cooking hot water for coffee and purifying naturally found water, being able to boil water makes a massive difference in the quality of your time camping. Whether you’re fond of lighting a fire and roasting marshmallows while your water boils or using a traditional canister stove, having a clue about what you’re doing will help make sure that your camping memories are good and something you actually want to remember.


Beau is an electrical engineer with a knack for DIY repair and construction. When he's not tinkering with his projects he's on the road travelling and enjoying an exciting lifestyle with his young family.

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