How to Boil Water While Camping

We all need water to survive—and a potable source of drinking water is an absolute necessity when you are on a camping expedition!

If you’re keen on bringing a few gallons of water with you on your trip and your car affords enough space for you to do so, then by all means! But if you’re a hardcore camper and you ought to be resourceful, and you have no qualms in utilizing a source of water—like a brook or a stream—for drinking and cooking, then you need to boil your water first to make sure it is sanitized.

Why do we need to boil water when camping?

Water is all around us. You will most likely have an endless source of water when you’re doing some hiking or camping. But for sanitary purposes, when you’re out in the wilderness, you need to boil water from a source to ensure that there are no bad bacteria in that water and that it’s safe to drink.

Boiling water removes or filters any disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria and parasites that the water contains, as it is always better to be safe than sorry. Boiling water while camping is an important and effective way of purifying and sanitizing water for drinking and cooking.

How long does it take water to boil?

Scientifically speaking, a physical property of water is that it boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Boiling water to purify it may take longer or shorter. But how long do you need to wait for the water to boil? It may take about 10-25 minutes, depending on factors like your pot, fire, water volume, and weather conditions outside. You should cover a pot with a lid to boil water as this helps keep the heat in and allow the water to come to a boil quickly.

How long must you boil your water to make sure that it is sanitized while you’re camping, you ask? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, you need to boil your water for a good 60 seconds to purify it. The Center for Disease Prevention also recommends that one minute of a rolling boil kill all pathogens it contains, thus sanitizing your water and making it safe for you to gulp.

Be wary of unsafe water sources, though, like rivers contaminated with chemicals. Boiling will only kill organisms, but it will not treat chemically contaminated water.

How to boil water while camping

A relatively simple but quite essential skill all campers and outdoor enthusiasts— whether a newbie or a pro ought to know is learning how to boil water while camping. There are tons of ways on how you can boil your water, and here are some suggested ways of doing it:

Use a liquid fuel stove

When you’re heading out to go camping during the winter, liquid fuel stoves are your best bet. Though a bit heavier to carry than some alternatives, liquid fuel stoves are relatively eco-friendly. They are also highly efficient because of the pumps that allow you to regulate your fuel pressure.

Use portable heater

If you’re looking for ways on how to boil water quickly when camping, a reliable way to heat water for doing the dishes or for taking a shower is by using a portable heater. It’s an efficient tool to have as you simply need to turn it on, set your desired temperature, and turn on the faucet. You’ll have heated water in no time.

The only catch here is that they’re not designed for boiling water for drinking. But for your camp chores such as dishwashing and for personal activities such as taking a shower or washing your hands, they are efficient to use.

Use electric kettle

If you’re on the fancier side and you’re headed to a full hook-up campground or camping in an RV, the easiest and most convenient way to boil water quickly is with the use of an electric kettle.

Why fancier, you ask? This is because you can’t use an electric kettle without an electrical connection. You need to stay at a campsite with a power source to use them! You will have fresh water, electricity, and a sewer on your RV at a full hook-up campground. So, it’s a great choice if you would like to retain as many of the amenities of your home, such as an electric kettle for boiling water, while you’re out in the wilderness.

Since most recreational vehicles are self-contained (which means that they have utilities and plumbing systems that can operate on their own for short periods), an electric kettle would be a nifty and helpful appliance to bring along with you on your excursion.

Make a campfire

Got no camping stove, no electrical source, or no electric kettle when you’re tent-camping somewhere in the great outdoors? No problem! Just make a campfire, and you’re all set!

It may be a primitive, old-fashioned way of boiling water, but heating your water over the fire is just as effective— plus it’s economical. Though it’s not the fastest way to boil water, and it isn’t the most convenient one on the list, it still gets the job done. Just get the fire going, place your water-filled pot or kettle over the fire, and wait until the water starts boiling.

If you’re looking for ways on how to boil water in a tent while camping and have no other options available, just gather some twigs or some dead tree branches, place two large logs or rocks on each side close enough to balance your pot, make a campfire, place your pot above the fire and voila! You’ll have hot water for your morning coffee, for heating your food, or for drinking.

Do be responsible for putting out the fire when you’re done with your task to avoid starting forest fires.

How big should your pot be when boiling water?

Whether you need to boil water to cook a dish, steam some vegetables, or make your coffee, having the right pot for your need will make boiling water easier and faster.

The ideal pot size to boil water quickly is big enough to cover the burner completely and no taller than necessary to hold the water. So, the pot size you use will depend mainly on what you’re boiling water for.

But how do you boil water without a pot or a cup?

Just because you don’t have a pot or a cup doesn’t mean you can’t boil your water while camping. With some resourcefulness and ingenuity, you can fix this problem in no time.

Water can be boiled without a pot or a cup by directly heating or dropping hot rocks into alternative containers such as a metal bucket or a tin can. You can also fashion a container out of wood or bamboo to hold your water, among others.

Plates, plastic bottles, or leaves can be put directly on the fire, while hot rocks can be dropped into a wooden or bamboo container, a clay pot, or a hole in the ground.

Now you know a few means to make your water safe to consume without even needing a pot or a cup to hold it!