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Klean Kanteen for Boiling Water and Melting Snow

Updated on July 28, 2012

Klean Kanteen water bottle for hiking and backpacking

Klean Kanteen wide:

great for boiling water over the fire, cooking, melting snow and use as a daily water bottle.

When I choose gear to carry into the wilderness for hiking or backpacking, I like to find things with multiple uses, whenever possible.

I find the Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle and other similar stainless steel containers to be very useful in this regard. Not only can they be used to carry water like a standard Nalgene-type plastic bottle, but can double as a pot in which to boil and purify water over the fire, brew up a pot of tea, simmer some stew or even melt snow to replenish your water supply, if you're out in the winter.

Using Klean Kanteens to boil water over a fire...

A simple wire handle makes it far easier to manage the hot Klean Kanteen when removing it from the fire

I wrap wire around the bottle's neck below the threads so as not to interfere with closing the lid, but there are many ways one could accomplish this, including adding a permanent wire bale.

The bottle comes in both a wide and narrow mouth version, but I have found the wide mouth to be by far the easiest to use if one intends to do any cooking in the bottle, or to melt snow.

Water can be brought to a boil in under a minute by surrounding the Klean Kanteen with coals and flaming sticks.

Klean Kanteen Wide - Boil water over a fire, right in your water bottle!

Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle (27-Ounce)
Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle (27-Ounce)

I find a stainless steel bottle like this one good to carry for so many reasons--it provides a lightweight and sturdy water carrier which can't easily be split or damaged and doesn't leach chemicals into your drinking water, allows for boiling water for purification, cooking and melting snow over the fire.

Mine has been a valued part of many expeditions, and the addition of a simple wire handle makes it easy to place on and off the fire for cooking.


Heading out for the day...

Stainless steel water bottles are great, and I carry them year round, even using them to melt snow to replenish my water supply during winter expeditions.

Carrying and using stainless steel in cold weather, however, can really draw a lot of heat out of your hands and even increase the risk of frostbite under some conditions, so when not cooking/boiling water in my stainless bottles, I like to keep them wrapped in a flexible, rubberized bandage product to provide a warmer, more grippy surface for the hands.

Similar products are sold under a variety of different names--self-adherent wrap, adherent athletic tape, etc--but I've found the most affordable source to be farm, ranch or veterinary supply stores, which sell it as "vet wrap."

The wrap, of course, must come off before using the bottle again over a fire.

Materials for wrapping bottles in cold weather

Klean Kanteen to boil water over a backpacking stove

BPA, Potential Health Risk

Many plastic bottles contain a polymer known as bisphenol A, which in recent studies has been shown to carry the potential for disrupting hormones and increasing cancer risk, especially in growing children. Plastic bottles are now available which do not contain BPA, but the stainless steel versions have the advantage of being naturally BPA-free, and also easily usable over the direct heat and flame of a campfire or stove.

While stainless steel bottles are available in double-walled, insulated versions and in a variety of colors and patterns, you need to stick to the plain single-walled stainless if you wish to use your bottle in/over a fire or stove.

How do you prefer to carry water when hiking or backpacking?

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Klean Kanteen and other stainless steel water bottles are lightweight, durable and heat-resistant, providing a great solution for those of us who like to carry gear with multiple uses. If you want a bottle which can be used to carry water, brew up a cup of tea or hot chocolate on the trail, boil and purify water from creeks and streams when you're out backpacking and cook your meals, consider trying a Klean Kanteen or similar product, and you won't be disappointed!

All photos taken by the author, unless otherwise noted.

Have you ever used a Klean Kanteen or other steel water bottle to carry water, cook over a fire or for some other purpose? - Tell us how you liked it!

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    • profile image

      DebMartin 2 years ago

      Interesting product. I'm always looking for items that have multiple uses on my wilderness paddling trips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've used a Klean Kanteen but have never used it to melt snow or boil water, those are fast results in a minute. You think of everything out of practicality, I was thinking how cold the bottle would be and there you are telling how to wrap it so it won't steal off your body heat from your hands. Excellent, and a delight to learn from you once again!

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      No, but I will soon!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago


    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      I haven't tried this. Interesting ideas & great photos here. Thanks for the info.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I have used steel water bottles and will revert to the practice for my teenage daughter rather than the too heavily promoted plastic water bottles. Thank you for the reminder.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Yes, we have half a dozen Klean Kanteens, which we use all of the time. We haven't bought bottled water for a long time.

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 5 years ago

      I have never used this, but I can see why it's such a good find. Nice lens!

    • Snowsprite profile image

      Fay 6 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      HIgh Five. No I have to admit to having water pouches with tubes for walking and just pans for cooking. I wouldn't have thought of it but your lens has taught me a lot about using flasks for multi purposes. It makes sense to use them. Beautifully written and presented lens. Thanks

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      Not yet, but after reading your lens, am seriously considering it!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 6 years ago

      We haven't used a steel water bottle yet but after reading all of this it's worth looking into. Awesome lens, high fives :)

    • viscri8 profile image

      viscri8 6 years ago

      Klean Kanteen might come handy next time when we have again power cuts here. I bless this well crafted lens!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 6 years ago

      I don't use metal bottles for short (non-cooking) hikes in the winter because of the cold hands factor. Vet wrap is a brilliant idea - thank you for the tip!

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 6 years ago

      No, but you have got me thinking about it. Definitely a great item to take camping!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      haven't yet but it is a good item to bring for camping

    • BlueTrane profile image

      BlueTrane 6 years ago

      great tips! My long adventurous hiking days are over...but then one never expects to get lost or to be in a survival situation on those short day hikes. But we all know it happens...better to be prepared!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I haven't, and would never have thought of doing this. Great lens. I'll try this the next time I go on a weekend hiking trip.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

      This is a great use for a wide mouth Klean Kanteen! I hadn't thought of using it for boiling water. I like your suggestions for how to handle the hot Klean Kanteen, and a very cold one!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 6 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I carry one all the time and mostly use it as a teapot. I wouldn't be parted from it. You have some great pictures here!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 6 years ago from Maryland

      Great product...seems like it would be essential to have a Klean Kanteen for camping! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love Kleen Kanteen products

    • DIY Mary profile image

      DIY Mary 6 years ago

      Great idea, especially the part about carrying your water in something in which you can boil it. I love your photos, too!

    • profile image

      claudiatuli 6 years ago

      fancy thing, never heard about it before, Great informative lens

    • charlb profile image

      charlb 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens was in fact looking for something to carry water while hiking but had never heard of this kind of option.

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 6 years ago

      great lens. never heard of this Kanteen until but it might be a good investment!

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      What a great idea :) I love the tip about the bandage on the outside too. I don't hike but we do camp.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great photos and you've sold me especially the part with the boiling of the water

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 6 years ago from Jersey Shore

      I'm sold on this product! Nice photos and very interesting information :>)

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      you've done a fine job here - love the photos

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I haven't used a steel, multipurpose water bottle like the Klean Kanteen, but now I want one!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      I carry my water in a Klean Kanteen when I'm hiking. Much better than the plastic bottles that seem to leave that plastic taste in the water. Very nice lens and great photos!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      What a very useful tool for camping - thanks for sharing!