Best Methods To Boil Water For Coffee While Camping

There are a lot of great ways to boil water when camping from old school campfires to high tech modern devices.

Here Are A Few Great Ways To Boil Water In The Great Outdoors From Campfires To Kettles and Stoves

Camping coffee can be a chore to make. The biggest issue is, of course, that to make coffee you have to have boiling water. You can make instant coffee with water that is just hot, which you can get with a rechargeable mug, or even with a heat pack system, but who the heck wants to drink that freeze dried garbage, especially while sitting around watching the glory of a sunrise over the majesty of natures beauty. For real coffee, you need real boiling water. To get that all-important ingredient to that all-important temperature, you have a variety of methods to choose from. Let’s look at some water boiling tips and options you can use to make coffee while backpacking or camping.


A campfire is a trie and true method of boiling water for coffee or tea.

No doubt this is the oldest method of boiling water for making coffee when you are out in the wilderness. It’s also the simplest if you’re planning on building a fire anyway and have some kind of grill handy. If you know what you’re doing it’s good enough for percolators and cowboy coffee, but it’s a lot harder to control the heat, and usually takes longer than any of the gas or electric powered options out there.

If you are not actually camping, but just hiking or backpacking, it doesn’t make much practical sense to put a lot of time and effort into a campfire when you are only going to be using it for a couple of hours at best, and they’re messy and labor intensive. Unless you are just a camping purist, or pine longingly for the nostalgia of days gone by, skip the campfire and go with a more modern and convenient method.

Camping Stove

A propane or butane camp stove is one of the best ways to boil water for coffee or tea on a camping trip.

If you are going to be making a base camp, then a camping stove is a great way to go. It allows you to make coffee and cook on the same relatively stable surface. Of course, it doesn’t really provide much in the way of heating you for warmth, but hey that’s what the coffee is for right? A camping stove, of course, requires you to lug the stove around so if you are just backpacking this might not be the best option.

There are some smaller camping stoves that are not that heavy or cumbersome to carry around, and if you are going to be taking along a number of friends you could make it work, but it is called a camping stove for a reason, so if you’re just hiking, best leave this one alone, and hit one of the more portable methods below.

Camping Stoves on Amazon


The new JetBoil is an excellent way to quickly boil water in the wilderness.

The JetBoil is a hell of a good kettle that will give you boiling water for coffee or ready meals in minutes. The real secret to the power of the JetBoil has nothing to do with the snazzy nylon and silicone sleeve that surrounds the kettle (as fashionable as that is). Instead, it has more to do with the special fuel that is used. The JetBoil uses a special fuel canister that is filled with a proprietary blend of Isobutane and Propane. The combination of these two fuels together gives you a super hot flame that gets you from ice to boiling in minutes.

The large kettle holds plenty of water for everyone’s coffee and meals in one go. The unit does need a little setup each time you settle into a spot for a while, but it’s easy. One added feature is that the burner unit is completely enclosed with the exception of the air vents so you are less likely to come in contact with the flame. If you want to use the JetBoil for cooking other food items other than soup, water, and such you can buy the optional pan support that will let you use up to a 12-inch skillet or a 2qt pot.

Jet Boil on Amazon

12V Car Kettle

The Uniox mbile water boiling system is a 12v kettle that boils water in 15 minutes.

If you are going to be car camping, then this is a great option. It’s also a great option for those mornings when you aren’t camping, but it’s cold as nails and you didn’t have time to make coffee before you had to run out the door. You can plug these kinds of kettles right into your car’s 12V cigarette lighter and boil enough water for 2 or 3 cups (depending on the cups). Electric kettles like the Uniox are great because it lets you select your own temperature, which means no trying to time the water after the boil to approximate the ideal 200 degrees.

It’s also great for travelers or truckers to make soup or other hot water based meals on the go. When camping, it’s a great way to get enough coffee water boiled for you and a friend in a matter of minutes without having to worry about using up propane or starting a fire.

12v Car Kettles on Amazon

Kelly Kettles

Kelly Kettles come in different sizes and they are an innovative way to boil water outdoors.

This is our favorite for backpacking and camping alike. Even if you use a different stove for everything else, when it comes to boiling water Key Kettles are the real deal. The secret here is that the kettle is hollow inside like a Bundt cake pan. The chimney for the flame runs up the inside of the kettle so there is no wasted energy. The increased heating surface area and the conical design means that the water in the kettle is being heated all the way from the top to the bottom at the same time. This leads to the water getting hotter than most other kettles, so it can boil in about half the time of other kettles.

It’s also nice that this system uses regular fuel canisters you can get anywhere. You can also skip the fuel and use natural materials such as leaves and sticks to create the flame thanks to the “mini campfire” design of the base. The tank is large and the rubber stopper keeps things out and heat in between pourings. If you are wanting to just backpack there is a smaller “trekker” version of the Kelly Kettle that is easy to carry in your rucksack.

12v Car Kettles on Amazon

Coleman Stovetop Coffee Pot

The Coleman Stovetop Coffee Pot works well with most Coleman camp stoves.

OK, so we have been doing a lot of talking about making boiling water for coffee in devices like a French press or a pour-over coffee canister, or other such items. What if you just want good old-fashioned drip coffee like you have at home from your trusted Mr. Coffee sitting on the kitchen counter. Well, short of a really, really, really long extension cord, you have only one real option. The Coleman Stovetop Coffee Pot. This neat little setup is a real full size 10 cup automatic drip coffee maker that does not require electricity.

How can this be possible you say? Because it sits on top of your camp stove. It doesn’t have to be a Coleman stove. Any two or three burner unit will work and if you’re really clever with wood, you could probably even set this up over a campfire. Basically the heat from the burner warms up a heating plate on the bottom, which in turn starts to circulate water from the tank through coiled tubes and then up to the spray head where it meets your arabica dark roast to create that sweet nectar of the gods we call coffee. You even have that cool brew pause feature so you can grab the pot and steal a cup while it is brewing. If you are setting up a base camp, a chuck wagon, or even a bed down, this can be a nice addition to your camp stove setup.

Coleman Stovetop Coffee Pot on Amazon


Great Coffee While Camping is Easy

The best method for making coffee while camping varies epending on location and needs, but there are a lot of options for the modern day camper.

When you are camping, coffee can be a great way to unwind at the end of a day or to get one started. These water boiling tips and options can make it easier for you to get the rich dark and delicious coffee that you want without having to deal with a lot of hassles. These options let you make coffee while backpacking or camping that is just as good as what you make at home, and some may even argue it’s better, not because of the method, but because of the location.


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