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When you’re camping, the only amenities at your disposal are the ones you packed in with your backpack (or car trunk, cargo box, canoe, etc). Outdoor adventures inspire an appreciation for life’s simplest pleasures: a cozy shelter, a warm bed. And nothing makes those experience better than a hot meal, coffee, or tea. As such, you're going to need a humble camping kettle to make that happen.
Most backpackers will use a simple titanium pot for cooking and boiling water, one that pulls double duty as a serving vessel. But take a visual survey of any larger campground and you’ll notice plenty of campers and hikers boiling water in larger cook pots and carefully pouring small quantities into seperate camp cups and mugs.
But there's a better way: a camping kettle provides a more refined, more accurate approach to boiling water for that precious and always appreciated cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate—not to mention nightly bag dinner or morning oatmeal. It all tastes better in the woods.
In this feature article, we're looking at what makes a camping kettle worth bringing on a trip (alongside your preferred campsite coffee maker). Below is the breakdown, followed by our top picks. Scroll past the fine print to browse the nine products we've deemed the best camping kettles of 2022.
What to Look for in a Camp Kettle
The first step we recommend taking in your journey to find a kettle for camping is to consider how many people your hot water supply needs to support. A camp kettle's material, weight, and pack volume are all traits that scale with and relate to that overall volume. Solo or duo campers can boil sufficient water with lower, teapot-sized volumes below one liter, while groups of three-plus might want to aim higher to keep the hot drinks coming.
Aluminum will often be the material of choice for smaller volume and lightweight kettles, while stainless steel and cast iron make up the other end of that spectrum. If you’re not particularly easy on your camping gear, it might be a good idea to consider stainless steel or hard anodized aluminum, which are more durable materials. (Quick tech brief: anodization is a nifty process involving electricity and a chemical bath that give metals a tough oxidized finish that prevents corrosion.)
Here's our hard stance when it comes to outdoor camping kettles: spouts and handles are mandatory features for a bonafide kettle. Everything else is just a pot. All spouts are more or less created equal—though some are small while others are goose-necked—but when it comes to handles, we like those foldable flat kettles for packing and travel.
Editor’s Pick: Montbell Alpine Kettle 0.9L
Field Mag’s editor-in-chief, Graham Hiemstra, packs this nifty kettle from the Japanese gear company Montbell on his outings in the Adirondacks and beyond. It's hard not to love how the pop of yellow on the coated handle and lid look against the dark anodized gray aluminum. That coating helps prevent accidental burns, while its small spout provides solid pouring accuracy. The 0.6L version offers the same features and design in a smaller package, and both are designed to nest perfectly into the brand’s Alpine Cooker 16.
Volume: 30.4 fl oz (0.9 L)
Weight: 7.3 oz (207 g)
Price: $25 SHOP NOW
For a mere $21 and change, you can get yourself a handsome little camping kettle that's made in Sweden by the camp kitchenware specialists at Trangia. Take care not to melt the plastic-coated handle while it’s over an open flame, or be sure to use pot holders when serving.
Volume: 20-48 fl oz (0.6-1.4 L)
Weight: 4.4-7.1 oz (127-201 g)
Price: $21 SHOP NOW
Best Camp Kettle for Glamping: Snow Peak Field Barista Kettle
We can always count on the OG Japanese outdoor lifestyle brand to come through with a piece so fine that we’d happily use it not just at a national park campground but also at home. This stainless steel camping kettle models itself after the type one might find in a coffee shop where pour-over prices boil over into double digits, but includes one unique feature that makes it perfect for camping—loosen a small brass knob and the handle detaches to save space in your backpack (it comes with a cotton carrying bag, too). Think of the natural wood knob handle as the cherry on top.
Volume: 33.8 fl oz (1 L)
Weight: 19 oz (540 g)
Price: $140 SHOP NOW
Best Collapsible Camping Kettle: Sea to Summit X-Pot Kettle
Yup, a flat-pack camping kettle is a first for us, too. The X-Pot Kettle's heat-resistant, food-grade silicone walls collapse like an accordion but are entirely sturdy enough to stand up on their own. Beneath them, a hard anodized aluminum base manages an efficient heat distribution from the flame to water. With metal present only at the base, there's a slight loss of thermal efficiency, but that won’t hold it back from heating water to a boil.
Volume: 44-74 fl oz (1.3-2 L)
Weight: 6.5-10.5 oz (186-290 g)
Price: $45-55 SHOP NOW
Best Ultralight Camp Kettle: MSR Pika 1L Teapot
For everything from quick-strike overnighters to lengthy thru-hikes, MSR's Pika is the one: it's ultralight, short, and stout (just like the song). This kettle's designers sized it perfectly to fit MSR’s best-selling PocketRocket camping stoves, too, with some room to spare. Want to go even lighter? MSR's Titan Kettle is an ounce lighter, but its ultra-subtle spout makes it barely more than a pot.
Volume: 33.8 fl oz (1 L)
Weight: 5.2 oz (147 g)
Price: $30 SHOP NOW
Best Classic Camp Kettle: GSI Outdoors 10 Cup Tea Kettle
When we close our eyes and think “camping kettle,” GSI's 10-Cup Tea Kettle is the image that comes to mind. With its speckled paint job and oversized handle, the high-volume kettle looks perfectly at home over a campfire cooking grate or atop a cabin's wood stovetop. The enamel finish is baked on twice at a heat of 1,400ºF to resist chipping and (more importantly) comes in your pick of a classic green or blue to match your favorite camp mug. Its material is somewhat thin so you can't bang it around too much, but it's affordable, and its 10-cup volume will serve the whole campsite.
Volume: 80 fl oz (2.3 L)
Weight: 1 lb 6 oz (623 g)
Price: $30 SHOP NOW
Best Camp Kettle for Expeditions: Primus Litech Kettle
Swedish brand Primus put out the first pressurized-liquid stoves in 1892, which made subsequent journeys to both poles and Everest’s summit with Sir Edmund Hillary. Like that stove, the anodized aluminum Litech camp kettle is straightforward, efficient, and totally capable of handling itself on your next expedition (even if it's just to the local state park).
Volume: 0.9-1.5 L (30-50 oz)
Weight: 6.6-7.4 oz (178-210 g)
Price: $28-30 SHOP NOW
Best Camp Kettle for an Open Fire: Staub Enameled Cast Iron Round Kettle
There’s no match for cast iron camping cookware if you're cooking over an open flame. The thick metal retains heat beautifully, but it’s best suited for car camping trips where you can drive right up to your campsite because it's so heavy. Staub is one of the main players in the world of French cast iron enamelware—its Dutch ovens are a favorite in the culinary world—and this funky, double-handled kettle lives up to that reputation. Use care when handling the scalding-hot cast iron though, and make sure to pack a pair of leather gloves or a thick kitchen towel to pull it off the campfire.
Volume: 32 fl oz (0.9 L)
Weight: 5 lbs ( 2.2 kg)
Price: $195+ SHOP NOW
Most Unique/OG Camp Kettle: Kelly Kettle 41 oz Scout
The Ireland-made Kelly Kettle's design doesn't look much like a traditional kettle, but it has remained relatively unchanged for over 100 years for one important reason: it works. The Kelly Kettle maximizes the heat efficiency of natural fuel by utilizing a chimney design that channels heat up around its interior compartment, allowing for fast water heating in mere minutes. It's definitely on the heavier side, but works quite well. Have your pick from three sizes of aluminum and stainless steel camping kettle options—we recommend the stainless 41-ounce Scout model.
Volume: 41 oz (1.2 L)
Weight: 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Price: $72+ SHOP NOW