Guide To The Best Camping Kettle
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Tea kettles have been used for thousands of years. The earliest kettles seem to have first appeared in China which makes sense given their tea culture. However, if you watch any old western, you will see a camping kettle that is used to heat water over the campfire. This hot water was used to make coffee, typically cowboy coffee. And this tradition continues with modern camping.
Whether you are car camping at a state park or going on a weeklong backpacking trip, you will want to make sure to bring along the best kettle possible. This is because you will need a kettle to make coffee, provide water for your dehydrated meals, and in the worst-case scenario, boil water to make it safe to drink (see our guide for the best way to boil water while camping).
There are multiple options on the market for a camping kettle. And it can be bewildering to determine which one to choose.
I have tested several different models on a dozen different camping trips. And thus based on my experience, I have come up with a single choice that will work for both car camping and backpackers.
My personal preference for a camping kettle is the Stanley Adventure All-in-One. While marketed as a type of French Press coffee-maker, the Stanley can be used as a stand-alone tea kettle.
The Stanley comes with 2 separate parts. The first part is a single-walled stainless-steel vessel. You use this container to heat your water. Because it’s stainless-steel you can use any camping method to heat the water. This includes a campfire or a gas stove.
While I expect that even on a campfire you would place it on a set of grill grates, if you needed to, you could put this Stanley container directly on the coals.
The vessel will hold 32 ounces of water. This is enough to make at least 4 cups of coffee using the French Press method. While we have an entire article about making coffee, here is the basics for making coffee with the Stanley.
We start by heating the water. Once the water has reached a small boil, you put in your ground coffee. Then let it steep in the water for 5 minutes. After five minutes, we take the 2nd piece of the Stanley All-In-One which contains the filter and we press it all of the way to the bottom of the interior of the stainless steel container.
The result is that we now have coffee while all of the grounds remain in the exterior vessel we used to heat the water.
For me, it makes coffee that tastes just as good as with my home drip coffee maker. And this allows me to enjoy the same coffee while camping as I do at home.
Modern instant coffee has definitely improved in taste but it’s not the same as my home coffee. I am not a coffee snob but the coffee I drink at home is the result of 20 years of hunting for a black coffee to drink. And while I can drink almost any coffee, my Red Wagon coffee is my preference.
While the Stanley is intended as a coffee-maker, you can use the steel vessel to heat only water.
If you are planning a backpacking trip, you would only need to take the Stanley. This would allow you to have fresh ground coffee while on your trip and still use the same vessel to heat water for your backpacking freeze-dried meals or ramen.
Here is a video of how to use the Stanley All-In-One:
On the other hand, you might be looking for a traditional tea kettle for camping. This would be similar to the kettle you use at home to heat water to make hot cocoa during the winter.
My preference for a traditional camping kettle would be the Redcamp outdoor camping kettle. This looks like a traditional tea kettle but is designed for camping and backpacking.
It works well on the pot attachment for my Jetboil. The kettle comes in several different sizes. I have the smallest (.8 Liter) which makes 2 cups of water. This is good for me because I don’t have to share.
However, if you are camping with other people and need to boil lots of water, then I would recommend getting a larger size.
Why Use A Camping Kettle
There are 3 primary reasons to use a camping kettle.
Make Coffee Or Tea
The most common reason for campers to bring along a kettle is that we want to make coffee. While it is possible to make ground coffee using a French Press or percolator, many campers don’t want to go through this trouble. They will go with instant coffee. This way all they have to do is heat the water and mix it with the instant coffee. There are many varieties of instant coffee on the market today. Most use dehydrated crystals that dissolve in hot water. While I prefer to use the style that comes in bags similar to tea.
Besides coffee, you could use hot water to make tea, broth or hot cocoa.
Another popular option for boiling water while camping in a kettle to make something to eat. I love to eat instant oatmeal for breakfast. It’s simple, hot, and filling.
Besides instant oatmeal or ramen noodles, dehydrated meals are also popular for campers. While initially created for backpackers, even car campers like to eat these meals. This is because they’re simple to make and many options are very tasty to eat.
Make Water Safe To Drink
If you find yourself in a situation, most likely on a backpacking trip, where you are not sure if the water is potable then you might need to boil the water to make sure it’s safe to drink. Of course, ideally, you’ll have a filter like a Sawyer Mini to process the water but being able to boil it in a camping kettle is an important backup option to have.
How Do You Boil Water In A Kettle While Camping
Most people who go camping will prefer to use a gas stove to heat the water instead of a campfire. We have a complete article on how to boil water while camping that goes into much more detail.
Best Electric Kettle For Camping
If you have access to electricity while camping and would prefer an electric kettle, then my preference is this Amazon Basics kettle. I use it at home all of the time. What I like about electric kettles is that you only need to fill it with water, flip the switch on and then wait without needing to fuss with the stove.
Best Backpacking Kettle
I love the Stanley Adventure All-in-One for a backpacking kettle. Not only does it make a great cup of coffee, but you can also use it to heat water for your meals. It’s also easier to pour the hot water for your dehydrated meals or ramen noodles than the pan that comes with my Jetboil.
Best Kettle For A Campfire
The Stanley Adventure All-in-One is also my preference for a kettle to use with a campfire. The stainless steel outer shell will hold up to the heat, even if you put it directly on the coals.
Millions of Americans go camping every year. And for most campers, they want a reliable way to heat up water to make coffee or for rehydrating their meals.
At home, we have many different ways we can heat water. We can use a tea kettle on the stove or an electric kettle or we even use the microwave. However, while camping, we don’t have as many options.
A camping kettle is a great way to heat water whether you are making your morning cup of coffee or adding water to a Mountain House meal.
In this article, we give you several options to choose from. As long as you follow the directions on proper use and care, the camping kettle should serve you for many years to come.