Outdoor adventures give us a welcome break from the fast pace of loud, concrete cities. A well-planned and properly equipped camping trip can refresh your state of mind just as much as the greatest spas and resorts around.
One of the first things I think about when planning my camping kit is how I’m going to make hot water. Whether you’re fishing, backpacking, or polishing up your bushcraft skills, being able to reliably boil water is essential for sterilization, cooking, and of course morning cups of tea or coffee!
For this, I only ever use stainless steel kettles and pots.
Why get a stainless steel kettle for camping?
When I’m looking to buy any kind of camping cookware, I usually have three questions in mind.
- How heavy is it?
- How durable is it?
- And how much is it going to cost?
I need something that’s going to be able to take somewhat of a beating, not weigh me down too much, and also not break the bank.
Stainless steel camping kettles meet all three of my criteria perfectly. They’re lighter than cast iron, tougher than aluminium, and cheaper than titanium versions without being a whole lot heavier.
Stainless steel is the perfect material if you’re looking for an all-purpose kettle that can be used with a variety of heat sources. It will work well on camping stoves, hot coals, or over an open campfire or fire pit.
The high durability of stainless steel kettles means that you can rely on them to get the job done year after year. They are also:
- Easily cleaned to prevent bacterial growth
- Scratch-resistant and don’t require careful maintenance
- Stain and corrosion resistant
- Good at distributing heat evenly
So I’ve put together a list of the 7 best examples out there, to help you find one that’s perfect for your outdoor adventure.
Up first is a hugely popular set from Stanley that is excellent value for your money. It comes with 2 plastic cups that nestle inside, a folding handle, and also a neat flip-up handle for the lid.
Weighing in at 7.8 oz (221g), and with a usable volume of about 20 oz (600ml), this one’s perfect for solo camping trips where your top priorities are saving on space and weight.
If you ditched the cups, you could even find a small camping stove that would fit snugly inside when packed away.
- Vented lid that doubles as a filter
- Flip-up lid handle that stays in position
- Graduated marks in oz and ml
- Sturdy locking foldable handle
This 1 liter (32 oz) kettle from Fire-Maple has a sleek design, rugged build, and a beautiful mirror finish. It may look simple, but looks can be deceptive.
Its tapered bottom makes it suitable for a wide selection of indoor and outdoor stoves, but where it outshines the others, is over an open fire.
The crucial benefit here is a rotating, lockable handle that is perfectly formed for hanging over campfires, fire pits, or coals. If you’re looking for a kettle that doubles as a great cooking pot, this one’s for you!
The design also features a secure removable lid and a non-drip spout that gives a smooth pour.
- Lightweight – 295g (10.4 oz)
- Made entirely from stainless steel
- Perfect for hanging over open fires
- Non-drip spout
- Great for cooking
Accidentally burning your fingers becomes a whole lot harder with this KingCamp kettle.
It features bamboo fittings on the handle and a removable lid which stay a lot cooler than the stainless steel. The handle also locks into an upright position, ensuring it doesn’t get any direct contact with flames.
The bamboo fittings help you to control the weight and secure the lid while pouring, giving you an easy, safe experience.
It’s also great for making tea as it comes with a removable tea strainer basket that fits tightly into the main body.
- 1.2 Litre (40.5 oz) capacity
- Lightweight – 300g (10.5oz)
- Bamboo handles that keep your fingers safe
- Locking handle
- Tea strainer basket included
This kettle pot from BioLite has a large capacity at 1.5 liters (50.7 oz), making it a great option for a small group.
To use it, you need to pair it with the amazing BioLite CampStove which is packed full of features. The stove runs on natural wood fuel and can turn heat energy into 3W of power, so you also get a built-in fire fan and USB charging port!
The beauty of picking BioLite for your cookware needs is that they also make some super handy attachments. The CampStove can be used with a portable grill attachment that fits up to 4 burgers or 6 hotdogs at once.
And for the coffee lovers, the CoffeePress attachment for the KettlePot instantly transforms it into a French-press style brewer that pumps out up to 6 cups at a time!
- Couples with BioLite wood stove
- Range of useful attachments
- Removable nesting handle
- Boils 1 liter of water in 4.5 minutes
Maximum portability is the name of the game with this Snow Peak kettle. Its handles practically disappear when folded away, saving you that crucial extra space in your backpack or car.
At only 9oz (252g), it gives you a lot more room than you could get from kettles of similar weight. It can hold a full 30.4 oz (900ml).
Made from great quality stainless steel, its wide lid and solid handle also make this kettle suited to cooking those well-deserved campfire meals.
- Great weight-capacity ratio
- Made entirely from stainless steel
- Highly portable, compact design
- Sturdy riveted handles
6. Kelly Kettle
The Kelly Kettle is a popular natural fuel kettle with a super-fast boil time. It has a unique chimney design that it shares with other ‘storm’ type kettles such as the Ghillie Kettle.
Harsh conditions and rugged environments won’t pose any threat to its solid construction, which is self-contained and fuel-efficient.
All you need is a small amount of natural solid fuel like twigs or wood shavings, and you’ll have safe, boiling water in no time!
The Kelly Kettle comes in 3 sizes: Trekker (0.6L), Scout (1.2L), and Base Camp (1.6L). Quite a few attachments are available to help you also use it for cooking food.
- Uses eco-friendly natural fuel
- Low-impact fire profile
- Super-efficient, fast boil time
- Comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee
This classic teapot design with a whistling spout by Lily’s Home is a great water boiler and a popular choice for more stationary camping setups. Its timeless aesthetic is easy on the eye and comes from a company with a great reputation.
Just make sure that you have a gas or electric camping stove, as the plastic handle and spout would not fare well amongst naked flames.
With a large capacity of 2 quarts (1.9L), this kettle would have no problem serving a group of 6-8 people.
- Stylish classic design
- Whistling spout
- Mirror finish
- Trusted manufacturer
How to choose the best camping kettle
If all of the options above seem great and you’re unsure which one is right for you, allow me to pose some questions that will ensure you make the right choice.
The right size of kettle for backpacking and bushcraft-type camping will usually be the smallest one that serves your needs. To decide what kind of kettle capacity you’ll need, think about how many people will be using it.
A regular mug for hot drinks holds between 8 and 12 ounces (240-350ml), so a 1-quart kettle (32 oz. or about 1L) would be perfect for two.
If you’re planning to establish a more permanent campsite with a bigger group, large ones such as the 1.6L Kelly Kettle can serve the needs of up to 6.
While most stainless steel kettles are incredibly versatile, some are more suited to one type of heat source. For kettles with wooden or plastic handles, it’s best to stick to a heat source that you can carefully control such as a gas camping stove. This will ensure that the flames can’t escape up the side and cause damage.
If you’re looking to truly minimize the weight of your backpack, you could opt to find natural fuel along the way instead. This can be used for super-efficient, low-impact water boiling with products such as the BioLite CampStove, and smaller versions of the Kelly Kettle.
For those with a little more time on their hands who will be creating a campfire, or fire pit, kettles with indented handles are great for suspending from a tripod with rope or a hook. If you’re cooking food that needs a slow simmer rather than a rapid boil, this will allow you to adjust the height and control the temperature more easily. The Fire-Maple Antarcti Kettle is great for this.
Lastly, if safety is a top concern for you then kettles that have a more heat-resistant handle, a close-fitting lid, and a spout that pours a steady stream will give you the best chance at avoiding any splashes or steam leaks. I’d recommend the KingCamp option or the Whistling Tea Kettle from Lily’s Home.