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Selecting a Camp Kettle for Hiking

Updated on July 23, 2015

Selecting a Camping Kettle for Backpacking

Hot water for making a warming drink, adding to a dried food mix, washing or cleaning cooking utensils really is an essential for any enjoyable camping experience.

When its cold the best way to get warm is from the inside out and a hot comforting drink can reenergise and boost moral. A warm sleeping bag and waterproof tent are important, but when you still have several miles walking ahead of you before reaching camp you really can't beat a hot drink and snack for warmth and comfort. Once you reach camp you can go about preparing a meal, but you need to consider that you are going to need food and drink long before you make evening camp.

Within this lens discuss the best use of a camping kettle and present a selection of kettles for your consideration.

The Benefits of a Good Kettle

A Hot Drink when you need it

I started this lens off by talking about the benefits of a hot comforting drink and I reiterate the important of a hot drink, but as any backpacking will tell you carrying a pack around will give you a challenging appetite and you need to meet this challenge with some nourishing and appetising food.

One of the problems with cooking outdoors is that small gas cookers seem to take forever to cook and hard fuel cookers burn so hot that you need to take care not to burn your food. I am normally so hungry after a days trekking that I find it hard to be patient whilst waiting for my evening meal to cook. However a hot cup of tea (I'm English by the way, and we love our tea) and a chocolate snack takes the edge off my hunger and means that I can cook away whilst nibbling and replenishing my fluids.

Apart from a hot drink you can use the hot water to rehydrate a dried food mix, or to transfer the water to a pot to cook rice, pasta or other similar food. I often place a pre opened tin of food into a pot of hot water and heat the contents within the tin. This keeps your pot clean and leaves you with hot water after the tinned food has cooked.

Tip: - Always pre open the can before placing into the pot because pressure will build up within the can if unopened and will erupt once you open it, and trying to open a hot can isn't easy. Leaving the lid loose on top will help retain heat and once you have finished with the can take the other end off, place both lids in the middle and squash flat.

Warning: - Please take care with sharp edges and please take all your rubbish with you once you leave.

Are you a lone wolf, a buddy - buddy trekker or a team player?

Single person trekking can be rewarding but two or a team is far more enjoyable.

Even numbers always works best and the buddy - buddy system has proven itself as the safest and most effective method of trekking. Consider everything you need just to make that hot drink . Coffee, tea, sugar or perhaps a soup sachet, a water bottle, a cooker and camping kettle. Dividing the weight of the items between 2 will decrease your carry load.

What is your preferred camping style?

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Flat and Solid Ground

Always ensure that your cooking platform is flat and hard

GSI Outdoors - Halulite Tea Kettle, 1 Quart, Superior Backcountry Cookware Since 1985
GSI Outdoors - Halulite Tea Kettle, 1 Quart, Superior Backcountry Cookware Since 1985


Capacity: 1 quart (32 ounces)

Product use: Ultralight backpacking, gourmet backpacking

Material: Proprietary hard-anodized alloy

Dimensions: 6.3 by 3.2 by 6 inches (W x H x D)

Weight: 5.8 ounces


A robust and quick heating kettle for consideration

I really like this Halulite 32-ounce kettle, because its holds a quart of water (more than enough) and only weighs 5.8 ounces. Its very light because Halulite is a proprietary aluminium alloy and is as light as titanium, and importantly it heats quickly.

I really like the coated bail handle, which make handling safe and secure.

Personally I prefer a kettle with no detachable lid, but provided the lid fits securely then I have no problems with a kettle of this type. The lid is well fitted and has a coated lifter for comfort.

Drinking Mugs

Insulated Mugs are great for keeping drinks hot

Primus LiTech Coffee / Tea .9 Litre Kettle

Primus Litech Coffee / Tea Kettle .9L w/ net stuff sack P-731701
Primus Litech Coffee / Tea Kettle .9L w/ net stuff sack P-731701

The Primus 0.9 litre kettle is also a good contender. Made of anodized aluminum it is lightweight and with a folding handle and net stuff sack it stows away well.

0.9 litres of water is more than you need for drinks for two but with its large base 5.9 inches half a kettle of water will boil quickly.


Stirring Your Drink

Never leave a spoon in a cup as you are pouring water into it, because it can tip over

Esbit 600ml (20 oz) Hard Anodized Aluminum Water Kettle
Esbit 600ml (20 oz) Hard Anodized Aluminum Water Kettle

A light and compact hard wearing kettle perfect for a quick brew.


Esbit 600ml (20 oz) Hard Anodized Aluminum Water Kettle

Constructed from extremely light, hard-anodized aluminum.

Lid and kettle with hinged grips.

Fits inside CS2350HA Alcohol Stove & Camp Cookset (E-CS2350HA).

Dimensions-packed: 3" x 5.9" (7.5 cm x 15 cm)

Weight: 4.9 oz. (140 g)

Kelly Kettle - A Review

I really like the ‘Base Camp’ Kelly Kettle for several reasons

  • It boils water faster than any other camp kettle I have ever used
  • It only weights 0.74kg / 1.62lb (Made in Aluminium)
  • It has a half litre capacity.
  • The base can be used as a separate camp stove once the water has boiled
  • You can use dry sticks, pine cones or just about most dry fuel

My only concerns about the Kelly Kettle

  • The filling cap is on the side which makes filling the kettle slightly different to normal
  • It’s easy to pour more water into the kettle than you intend because of its unusual filling cap
  • You MUST follow the instructions as to how you lift the kettle of the heat and how you use the chain to pour water from the kettle
  • You can use most dry wood or pine cones but don’t rely on free fuel, because if the ground is wet your free fuel is also going to be wet. Even if there is plenty of dry fuel available I would recommend using a piece of a hard fuel block to get the fire going
  • The Kettle really is an excellent piece of camp kit, but you Must practise and become familiar with it before taking it on a hiking trip

Kelly Kettle

All four considerations are important, but please vote for your primary consideration in order to provide a rough guide for less experienced back packers.

What is your main consideration when purchasing a Camping Kettle?

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My Choice of Thermos Flask for Carrying Hot Water - A Personal Choice and personal tip for ready Hot water

Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Compact Bottle, Midnight Blue
Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Compact Bottle, Midnight Blue

The availability of Fresh Drink Water must always be a prime consideration on any trek, no matter how long or short and sometimes you will need to carry that water with you. There are many different types of water container available and your choice will depend on the terrain, temperature and duration. A flask will weigh more than a plastic bottle and you need to consider if the benefits of carrying a flask outweighs over the disadvantage of extra weight.

Personal Tip: - Before setting out on any trek I fill a flask with hot water in order to have hot water readily available once I stop for a rest break. Once all the flask hot water has gone and I am boiling hot water for a drink I only boil enough for the cups I intend filling at that time. Once I have made tea, coffee or other hot drinks I then boil a second kettle whilst taking my drink break and refill the flask with the new boiled water. This saves time next break and makes hot water always readily available.

I have selected this flask because it has a half liter capacity, which is more than enough for my use and is unbreakable.


Guestbook Comments

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      4 years ago

      Some good products here, thanks for sharing!


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