A camping kettle is one of my favourite items in my barrel, mainly because I have a coffee addiction. In addition to satisfying my caffeine cravings, it can help purify drinking water or warm water for dish duty. But finding the best camp kettle can require some research.
For me, the best kettle is one that fits snug with your other gear, is lightweight, and has a volume that’s perfect to meet your group requirements. Additionally, the best kettle for camping must be safe for use over a stove and/or fire (depending on how you’ll be using it).
In this post, I will give you a complete lowdown on the best camping kettles, recommend my top picks, write detailed reviews of kettles, and dish out key buying advice to help you make the right decision!
Note: Ever since I made the move to ultralightweight backpacking, I don’t pack a camp kettle on backpacking trips anymore. I’ll still bring them on group canoe trips or for car camping though. I used to use a pot for boiling all my water, but I’ve burned my hands so many times that, if I can, I prefer boiling water in a kettle with a direct-pour sprout.
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Top Pick: Best Kettle 2021 for Camping and Backpacking
The best camping kettle, in my opinion, is the Sea to Summit X-Pot for its innovative design that allows you to fold the body of the kettle completely. You can read the detailed review of this collapsible camping kettle in the review section below.
Top Recommendations for Camp Kettles
Best Collapsible Kettle: Sea to Summit X-Pot
Best lightweight kettle: MSR Big Titan Kettle
Best multi-purpose kettle: Primus Litech Kettle
Best budget kettle: Redcamp Outdoor Camping Kettle
Best stovetop kettle: BioLite Kettle Pot
Best open fire camping kettle: Alocs Camping Kettle
Best steel camping kettle: Pasamer Camping Kettle
Best kettle for natural fuel: Kelly Kettle Aluminum
Comparison Chart – Best Kettle for Camping
In this article, I have reviewed ten camping kettles covering everything from a cast iron camping kettle to stainless steel camping kettle to quick boiling kettle to many other camping-friendly kettle variants. Check the comparison chart below for a quick overview of what to expect from which kettle.
|Material||Handle material||Price Range||Price|
|Sea to Summit X-Pot||1.3 or 2||6.5/10.5||Silicone & Aluminum||Nylon||$$$||Check|
|MSR Big Titan Kettle||2||6.4||Titanium||Titanium wire||$$$$||Check|
|Primus Litech Kettle||0.9 or 1.5||6.6/7.4||Aluminum||Aluminum with plastic coating||$$||Check|
|BioLite Kettle Pot||1.5||16.4||Stainless Steel||Silicone wrapped metal||$$$||Check|
|GSI Outdoors Halulite Kettle||1||14.4||Halulite alloy||Insulated metal||$$$||Check|
|Redcamp Outdoor Camping Kettle||0.8 or 0.9 or 1.4||5.3/6.3/ 7.1||Aluminum||Silicone coated metal||$||Check|
|Fire-Maple Camping Kettle||1.3||8.5||Aluminum||Nylon coated metal||$$||Check|
|Pasamer Camping Kettle||1.2||15.8||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||$$||Check|
|Alocs Camping Kettle||1.3||7.4||Aluminum||Woven rope wrapped||$$||Check|
|Kelly Kettle Aluminum||1.6||7.3||Aluminum||Wood on aluminum||$$$$||Check|
Best Camping Kettles: Reviews 2021
Kettles come in a surprisingly wide range of options in terms of their core material, features and design. To buy a kettle that’s right for you, read my in-depth review of each kettle below.
The Sea to Summit X-Pot is one of the most compact kettles that you will find. It comes with completely collapsible silicone walls. This means that the kettle pot can be completely folded down in your backpack, taking hardly any space. For the base, though, it uses aluminum which allows for quick boiling of water.
Now, given that the walls are made using BPA-free silicone, they will melt if exposed to a burning flame. You will need to use it on a camping stove only to avoid melting. However, the handle stays comfortably away from the stove, thanks to its genius design. Thus, the handles do not heat up, and you can safely use the kettle.
In my opinion, this is one of the best kettles for boiling water for tea, coffee or for making quick meals from your dehydrated food packets. The size of the kettle is also perfect for those hiking with a small group of 2-3 people.
Overall, this is the best hot water kettle for hikers and backpackers.
- Completely collapsible compact design
- Heat-resistant handles
- Not as sturdy as metal kettles
- Not suitable for open flames
Ideal for: Those that want a compact kettle that does a great job with boiling water
MSR is the best kettle brand when it comes to delivering quality, sturdiness in an ultra-lightweight band. MSR uses titanium as the primary material for this kettle. The use of titanium allows excellent heating, provides impressive sturdiness and also keeps the weight incredibly light.
The design comes with handles that can be easily folded down for compact storage.
The boiling time of water in this kettle is highly impressive, and the size of the kettle can work well for a small group of 2-4 people.
The price point may seem a bit steep when compared to silicone and stainless steel kettles. But given how sturdy and versatile the kettle is, the price seems well worth it. Unlike most basic kettles that can only be used to boil water, this kettle can also be used to cook basic food items, thus greatly expanding its functional offerings.
Moreover, because MSR has designed the kettle, it sits perfectly flat on most camping stovetops, the handles do not heat up, and the material is easier to clean and dry.
Thus, if you are serious about hiking and backpacking and want a kettle that won’t let you down in remote areas, investing in an MSR Big Titan Kettle would be your best bet!
- A bit expensive
Ideal for: Regular backpackers who need a reliable, lightweight kettle for versatile cooking
Primus Litech Kettle is an excellent kettle for its price. It comes in anodized aluminum, which is a fairly lightweight metal and also quite durable. Aluminum also evenly spreads heat and heats up fast. So for those of you that want their water to boil fast, this kettle is excellent. Its design not only suits camping needs but can also put to use as your everyday home kettle.
The handle of this kettle can be hung, and hence you can use it on a stovetop or even hang it up like a dutch oven over open fire or coals. The great thing about this kettle is that it comes with a neat sack to pack it up. Thus any soot that may get accumulated on the bottom does not rub off on other materials inside your backpack.
It comes in two sizes, both of which are fairly small and suit the needs of 1-3 people. Overall, if you want a kettle only for boiling water, cleaning water and for using it to make tea or coffee or cup noodles, this is an excellent kettle. The only small complaint that I have with this kettle is that the plastic cover on the aluminum handle heats up, and you run the risk of being scalded if not careful.
- Excellent value for money
- Comes with a sack
- Versatile, suitable for home and camping use
- Super fast heating
- Handle heats up
Ideal for: Hikers who want a lightweight, affordable kettle that can be used both at home and when camping
The BioLite Kettle Pot is different from most kettles on this list for its clean vertical design and the use of stainless steel material. The steel used makes it easy to clean and also durable enough to handle rough conditions.
The kettle doesn’t spill water when pouring, and the heat-resistant handles prevent scalding. The handles fold down well when you need to pack the kettle, and the BioLite stove also nests inside the kettle perfectly to further optimize your backpack space. The kettle also comes with neat measurement markings to improve precision while cooking.
What also makes this kettle pot impressive is its perfect fit with the BioLite stove. The great fit results in almost no heat wastage, and the openings on the bottom help you see the flames too. The great fit also improves boiling time.
Overall, when paired with the BioLite stove, this kettle is perfect for those who want a compact, wind-resistant kettle to clean water, boil water, make tea, and add hot water to noodles or pasta on a day out hiking.
The only area where I find the kettle a bit restrictive is that its roundish base design does not pair well with other stoves.
- Genius design
- Heat-resistant handle
- Compact and easy to carry with nesting stove
- Works well in windy conditions
- Only works well with BioLite stove
Ideal for: Hikers who want a compact kettle and stove set with excellent ease of use.
Many hikers prefer to use a kettle only to boil water mainly because cooking in a kettle often makes the kettle difficult to clean, and the kettle would need to double up as a bowl. However, the GSI Outdoors Halulite Kettle provides incredible convenience thanks to its low design and eating accessories that come with it.
The Halulite alloy conducts heat fast, encouraging the use of the kettle not just to boil water but also to cook small meals. The meals can then be served in the bowl and cup that comes with it. The bowl and the cup nest inside the kettle, making it compact to carry around.
The handle of this kettle locks upright and does not heat along with the kettle preventing scalding and adding ease of pouring from the kettle.
The low design of the kettle also keeps the kettle steady on a variety of stoves. The only downside is that the weight of the kettle with its serving bowl and cup is a lot more than other kettles. Similarly, the design also feels a bit broad for its volume and may not suit the likes of lightweight hikers.
- Fast cooking
- Comes with bowl, fork and cup
- Innovative design to enhance cooking and eating experience
- Works with a variety of stoves
- A bit heavy
- Less capacity for its size
Ideal for: Those that want a compact kettle with bowl, cup and fork for a more comfortable dining experience.
The Redcamp Outdoor Camping Kettle is a great budget-friendly kettle. It is unique in terms of its design. Its spout is much smaller than regular kettles, and this unique design prevents spilling when pouring from it. The bottom of the kettle is threaded and facilitates even heating and reduces heat wastage.
The handle of this kettle locks upright and does not heat up even when the kettle boils water. The use of anodized aluminum also assists with the rapid conduction of heat.
The size and shape are excellent for those who want a kettle to boil water and make tea or coffee. The handle also folds down well for compact packing.
However, for a kettle that is made using aluminum, it is not too durable. You have to be extremely careful when using it on a campfire as the kettle, and the handle can melt.
- Allows even cooking
- Spout design prevents spilling
- Anti-heat handle
- Not too durable
Ideal for: Those that want an affordable kettle with an innovative design that prevents spilling and scalding
The Fire-Maple Camping Kettle comes in an attractive kettle that uses a heat exchanger design to optimize heat and minimize wastage. The design also adds protection of the flame in windy conditions, especially when used on canister stoves.
The use of aluminum improves boiling speed while the nylon-coated handle stays locked upright and doesn’t melt. The design also features a short spout and a tight lid on top with steam outlets to prevent spilling and scalding. However, the short handle does get heated and touching the handle with bare hands would be quite risky. The steam outlet also often results in the lid popping out, and you will have to be careful when pouring water.
Despite these minor flaws, the kettle scores in terms of its durability and compactness. It also saves a lot of fuel which can be a huge boon when using fuel canisters.
Overall, this is a great kettle for those that want a small, attractive and long-lasting kettle.
- Heat exchanger protects against wind
- Enhances heat efficiency
- Lid and spout design spilling
- Attractive design
- Handle heats up
Ideal for: Those that want an attractive, affordable, durable kettle in a secure, spill-proof design
The Pasamer Camping Kettle is made using stainless steel. Its lid, as well as the handle, uses steel as its primary material. The use of steel throughout its body makes the kettle extremely durable. Hikers will also find this kettle much easier to clean than kettles that use other cast-iron or aluminum.
However, using steel on the handle means that even though the handle stands upright, it does heat up when boiling water, and you will have to use mittens when operating this kettle.
The base of the kettle is even and stands firmly on camping stoves and camp grills. The neat spout on the side of the vertical body prevents spilling, and the lid doesn’t pop out when pouring the last few drops of hot water. Thus, overall this kettle is extremely safe to use provided it is handled with mittens.
The only downside of this kettle is that it is much heavier than other basic kettles and can repel backpackers. However, if you want a single kettle for your home and outdoor needs, the basic design of this kettle will prove to be helpful to you.
- Easy to clean
- Works on stoves and campfires
- Ideal for home and outdoor use
- Handle heats up
- A bit heavy
Ideal for: Those who want an affordable basic kettle that works for home use and outdoor trips.
Alocs Camping Kettle is one of my most favourite camping kettles for open fire on this list. It can be easily hung over a campfire without the kettle suffering any damage.
Additionally, the design of this kettle is not only attractive but comes with high-end safety features. The kettle’s lid is extremely tight and does not pop out when pouring from it. If it heats too much, you can use the kettle cloth provided with it. The kettle also comes with a lid knob to open the lid without scalding yourself. The handle on this kettle is one of the best handles on a camping kettle. It uses a woven rope to prevent it from heating and to add ease of handling. The spout also prevents spillage.
Overall, it is the best camping kettle for open fire as well as for use on stoves. It is fairly lightweight and a suitable option for 2-4 people. The quality of the material used is excellent and lasts long enough. Thus, it is impossible to exclude the Alocs from the best kettle review, given how much value for money its kettle provides to its users.
- Great for open fires as well as stoves
- Heat-resistant handle
- Lid is a bit too tight
Ideal for: Those that want a great value for money kettle made using lightweight, durable, safe material.
The Kelly Kettle is the best fast boil camping kettle on this list that uses natural fuel to burn. Thus, this kettle is incredibly useful for those that regularly go out camping and kayaking l. You will have to shell out some extra money to buy it, but in the long run, it will help you save a lot of money otherwise spent on buying fuel canisters. Thus, if you have access to dry fuel, you will love this kettle for its compatibility with natural fuel and outstanding boiling speed.
Moreover, with a capacity of 1.6 litres, this is a large camping kettle that can meet the requirements of about 4-5 people. Despite its high capacity, the Kelly Kettle weighs only around 7.3 oz, making it the best lightweight camping kettle. The kettle comes in a vertical design that is fairly compact for stowing it in a backpack.
Thus, even though this kettle is not a small camping kettle like the few mentioned above, it is a great one-time investment for regular backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Uses natural fuel
- Good capacity
- Quick boiling
- Compact design
- A bit expensive
Ideal for: Those that want a kettle burning on natural fuel that is lightweight and long-lasting.
How to choose a kettle for camping?
As I told you earlier, kettles come in various sizes, materials and specifications that do not suit all types of hikers. To ensure that you buy a kettle that is right for you, you must take into consideration the following factors:
Kettles come in various base and body materials such as aluminum, titanium, cast iron, steel, glass, silicone etc. Here’s a quick summary of the qualities of each metal when used to make a kettle:
Aluminum conducts heat much faster than other easily available metals and hence is the most preferred material for making kettles. Plus aluminum is fairly lightweight and quite durable – especially when it is anodized. In fact, anodized aluminum can also withstand campfires easily.
The only major problem with consuming from an aluminum camping kettle is that aluminum reacts with water and builds oxides. Thus, regularly consuming water from aluminum is not considered healthy. That said, aluminum continues to be the most popular metal employed in the production of camping kettles for its friendliness with outdoor heating requirements.
Steel is considered to be the safest metal for the consumption of water. It is also the toughest, most wear-resistant metal used for the production of kettles. However, it is not as cheap as aluminum, nor does it conduct heat as fast as aluminum. A good quality steel camping kettle is also heavier than other kettles and hence not preferred by those who want a lighter backpack.
The biggest advantage of using titanium for making kettles is that this metal keeps the overall weight of the kettle incredibly low. It also conducts heat well and is fairly durable. However, it is not as strong as aluminum and stainless steel. Titanium kettles are also more expensive than aluminum kettles and hence are used only by hikers for whom even the slightest drop in overall weight can provide a huge relief.
Cast-iron is undoubtedly the toughest material as, if cared for well can easily last a lifetime. However, cast iron is far heavier than other materials and hence camping kettles are rarely made out of cast iron. However, for cooking outdoors, using the best cast-iron dutch oven is highly recommended. But for the simple task of boiling water, carrying the weight of a cast-iron kettle when out backpacking makes little sense.
Even though glass is an excellent material for heating and cooking, when it comes to camping and backpacking, it is best to avoid the use of glass. This is because glass kettles are delicate, require careful handling and are absolutely not compatible with stoves.
The design of the handle plays the most important role in determining how compact the kettle is for storage. A handle that folds down completely can save a considerable amount of space in the backpack and, therefore, should be a non-negotiable feature in the best kettle to buy for camping.
A handle that heats up along with the kettle poses a safety risk as handling it can result in burns and scalding. Therefore, it is essential that the kettle’s handle sits upright away from the kettle’s body when heating and that the handle is made using material that does not heat up. The Alocs Camping Kettle that wraps a woven rope around the handle provides one of the best heat-resistant handles. However, material such as silicone is also effective at adding an anti-heat property to the handle.
Lid and Spout design
When looking for the best kettle for camping, it is important to consider the lid and spout design of the kettle as well. The lid of the camping kettle must fit securely and should be tight but easy to open and close. It should have steam outlets to allow the steam to exit to prevent the kettle from bursting open at the boiling point. The spout of the kettle should be short but easy to pour out from without spilling. A continental spout as used in the Alocs Camping Kettle is the most convenient in this regard, but Redcamp Outdoor Camping Kettle’s small spout also impresses.
When choosing any type of backpacking gear, the most important consideration is weight. Titanium kettles are the lightest, and therefore, if weight is your prime factor for consideration, it is best to opt for MSR Big Titan Kettle and avoid steel kettles altogether.
The capacity of a kettle determines how many people it will cater to. A 1-litre kettle is ideal for about 2 people, while a 1.5 to 2-litre kettle meets the needs of approximately 4 people. Carrying kettles larger than this is unusual while camping is they not only add weight but also occupy a lot of space in the backpack.
In addition to the above factors, you should also consider the shape of the kettle to see how well it packs down. Checking the compatibility of the kettle with stoves and campfire is also absolutely essential to avoid frustration when out in the wilderness. (E.g. The BioLite kettle pot is only compatible with the BioLite stove).
Final Thoughts on Camping Kettles
So which kettle are you planning to buy? Here are my top picks for you:
Best Camping Kettle for Open Fire: Alocs Camping Kettle
Best Cheap Camping Kettle: Redcamp Camping Kettle
Best Collapsible Camping Kettle: Sea to Summit X Pot