Best Camping Kettle – UK Top Choices
I’m standing on a snow-crested Dartmoor hilltop with a chill wind slowly seeping into my bones. Light is dimming and I’m not sure of my route back to camp. A single thought keeps circulating through my mind, one which I just cannot shake….
“I need a cup of tea”
This might be considered a slightly random thought given the situation, but I find this happens frequently – camping and hiking are great ‘back-to-basics’ levellers and it’s often the smaller pleasures in life which you find yourself cherishing the most. For me, a freshly brewed cuppa is high on the list.
Which brings me neatly to the humble camping kettle. Some might consider this essential item as unworthy for discussion on a camping blog. Up there with cutlery or saucepans. It just does a job right? Boiling water. Well this is partially true, but there are a few other things to take into account when choosing one as part of your gear.
Considerations When Choosing a Camping Kettle
a) How is the water heated? Electric Element or Camping Stove?
If you’re on a campsite with mains hook-up or you own one of the amazing new breed of battery pack generators, then you are probably best off using a regular 240V AC-powered electric kettle. These use a resistive metal heating coil or element inside the main kettle body which get extremely hot when powered by mains electricity, thus boiling the water held within in a matter of minutes.
On a campsite with hookup, you need to watch out for drawing too much power though because if you’re running several electric items (e.g. heater, hairdryer, kettle etc.) you may trip the electric feed to your unit. For this reason, we therefore recommend choosing a lower wattage kettle (around 2kW max) instead of the 3kW+ ultra-fast boilers.
Most electric camping kettles are made of hardened plastic to keep the weight down. Your only consideration then really turns into the size of the kettle you need. For example, you may wish to save space in your travel kit by choosing a smaller kettle than you would typically use at home.
12V camping kettle?
Finally a quick word on 12V electric kettles such as the Anggrek 12V electric camping kettle. Our advice is – don’t bother unless you’re a masochist! They don’t provide enough heat energy to the water and you will be waiting for ~25 minutes to boil 750ml. However they will run off your 12V car or leisure battery so perhaps worth considering if you have time to spare and no mains power…
b) What metal should your camping kettle be made from?
For kettles which don’t use electricity but instead boil water via a naked flame on a gas, wood or alcohol camping stove then a metal base will be required as a minimum. Often though, the whole kettle will be made from metal. We recently produced an in-depth roundup of the best stoves for camping.
Is there a preference on the type of metal used in a kettle? Typically, stainless steel is used for the base of all camping kettles because it is so resilient and will also work well on induction hobs. The question then comes down to what metal is used for the rest of the kettle.
Aluminium is often chosen for camping kettles because it is lightweight and strong and can hence be easily carried in a rucksack. However, it is worth bearing in mind that aluminium has been linked with degenerative brain conditions in high doses. As a result, it is best to look for anodized aluminium kettles – this means it has had the metal electrolytically coated with an oxide layer which separates the metal from the water being boiled.
Another option is to use stainless steel for the whole kettle – these kettles will be the heaviest but will survive knocks and drops better than other metals. If you’re staying on a campsite without electricity and want to use a stove then a stainless steel kettle is probably the best option.
Titanium is an excellent alternative to aluminium. It is extremely lightweight and strong, but is more expensive. If you’re looking to wild camp with just a rucksack on your back and wish to bring a kettle along, then titanium is probably your best option. However, in this case it probably makes more sense to just use an all-in-one stove option such as a Jetboil instead rather than bringing along the bulk of a dedicated camping kettle.
Electric Camping Kettles
Size is everything when it comes to cramming your camping gear into a car boot or small campervan. If you’re camping in something bigger and have mains hookup available then you may as well bring along your home electric kettle to use. You don’t need us for that choice!
In the next section we compare the best electric camping kettles, concentrating on small size and good design.
Quest Low Wattage Compact ELECTRIC Camping Kettle
The Quest Low Wattage Camping Kettle does exactly what it says on the tin – namely, it has a small max power draw of only 1.6kW which means it will boil your water effectively without risking tripping your electrics. Smaller kettles like the Quest don’t actually need so much power to boil water quickly because the amount of water held on board is less.
The Quest is nicely compact and bijou at 20.5 x 24 x 17.5 cm and weighs only 0.95kg. The water capacity is 1 litre (1.75 pints) which is ample for a camping trip. It uses a glass hug with plastic lid and a separate plastic base, both in black. We think it looks great for the price and it is nice to see the water boiling visually.
We found that boiling was slightly slower than expected at around 4-5 minutes for a full kettle, dropping to about 1.5 minutes for a mug’s worth. Not too bad!
The great news is that the Quest is currently only ~£25 which is excellent value for a well-designed electric camping kettle. Recommended.
Russell Hobbs Compact ELECTRIC Kettle
Russell Hobbs are not known for making dedicated camping gear, and this little gem is no exception. However, the Russell Hobbs Compact Electric Kettle fulfills all the key features we consider essential. It also does this by looking extremely elegant in brushed stainless steel and using a premium glass jug body. The downside for all this style is a higher than average price point. We think it’s well worth it though.
Firstly the size – it measures only 11.4 x 18.9 x 21 cm but holds 0.85 litres of water which is about 1.5 pints – more than enough for several mugs of tea! That small size means it can easily be stored away in a campervan cupboard or camping gear storage box.
The mains cord and heating element are held within a separate base unit which glows softly blue when power is applied and looks great. Once the kettle is boiled, the kettle switches off automatically and the jug can be removed from the electric supply – this means it’s extremely safe.
Boiling is quick – it will boil a single mug of water in less than a minute, rising to around 3.5 minutes for a full kettle’s worth. We found that the automatic turn-off switch kicked in around 10 seconds after the boiling point was reached.
Overall, the Russell Hobbs Compact Electric Kettle is a great camping kettle if you have mains power available, but not much storage space.
Kampa Squash ELECTRIC COLLAPSIBLE Camping Kettle
I’ve always had a soft spot for Kampa gear and so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have released the Squash kettle which is collapsible, compact and electric – these are highly desirable attributes for the best camping kettle to possess if you wish to use it in a small tent or campervan.
The Kampa Squash can hold a reasonable 0.8 litres of water (around 4 cups) by virtue of its expandable silicone body. When not being used, it can then be collapsed down so that the dimensions for storage are only 17.5 x 13 x 13 cm. Tiny and easily hidden away.
The base contains a hidden electric element which draws a mere 1kW of power. Boiling time is correspondingly slower than more power-hungry camping kettles, but it still comes in at under 5 minutes for the full kettle. It’s worth pointing out that the Kampa kettle does not automatically tripswitch off once the water is boiling. It merely backs off on the power and can come to the boil again later if it is not unplugged. For ultimate safety therefore it’s best to unplug from the mains when boiled.
We have had bad experiences with collapsible silicone items before, having tried a collapsible washing-up bowl and other kitchen items – each of them developed leaks where the silicone came away from the metal. So far we have not seen this happen with the Kampa Squash, but it is worth monitoring for.
We think it’s certainly a contender for the ‘best camping kettle’ accolade.
Stove-Top Lightweight Camping Kettles
When it comes to the best camping kettle for use on the top of a stove, your choice will really depend on whether you will be operating out of a backpack (and hence require the lightest weight options), or are near your tent, campervan or campervan and can use a heavier and/or more capacious alternative.
Here we split the best ‘stove-top’ options into best aluminium/titanium ‘lightweight choices and then look into more traditional stove-top camping kettles – they even have the whistle in the spout – wouldn’t be right otherwise! 🙂
MSR 'Titan' TITANIUM Ultra-Lightweight Camping Kettle
MSR make some of the best camping gear available, from tents to stoves. Their fantastic Titan Titanium camping kettle might not look like much and be more expensive then some of the full electric kettles we’ve reviewed, but it will last a lifetime and will never let you down. So what’s so good about it I hear you cry?
Well for starters it’s made of titanium which has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metallic element in the periodic table. You simply won’t get a lighter full-metal kettle of the same capacity if it’s not titanium. The MSR Titan is a mere 118g in weight which is absolutely nothing in a rucksack, but will still hold 0.85 litres of water.
The Titan is essentially a titanium pot with a spout in the rim and a thin dual handle for lifting up. The handle looks flimsy but does not get too hot and does it’s job well. When not in use, it folds flush against the kettle body to aid storage. Did we mention that this kettle is only 118 grams?
There is also a lid with a separate red handle. This should be fitted in place snugly to allow the water to boil as rapidly as possible.
The MSR Titan is simplicity itself and is perfect for boiling water on a stove, either for a brew or for cooking a boil in the bag meal say. It does it’s job as well as any stove-top kettle could and will last a lifetime. Plus you can say you’ve got a titanium kettle. Sometimes it’s best to buy quality and revel in that feeling of smugness…
iBasingo 1.4L TITANIUM Camping Kettle
If you need a larger capacity titanium camping kettle than the MSR Titan then have a look at this offering from iBasingo.
It has a 1.4 litre capacity and weighs only 190g which is almost exactly the same capacity-to-weight ratio as the MSR. However the iBasingo is the same price! This is exceptional value for an ultra-lightweight titanium kettle and should definitely be considered if you need to boil that much water.
The folding handle of the iBasingo is actually semicircular and attached over the top filling aperture of the kettle. I personally prefer the side handle of the MSR as I found it easier to pour, but this is personal preference.
The iBasingo is an excellent quality camping kettle and the best value for money titanium option we’ve found. The question is whether you need 1.4 litres of capacity. For my solo adventures it is too much, and so my preference is MSR – I’m a fan of the brand in general. However, we were impressed indeed with the iBasingo and can wholeheartedly recommend it.
Primus Litech ALUMINIUM Camping Kettle
Aluminium is a great alternative to titanium as long as it is anodized. The strength-to-weight ratio is still excellent (although not quite as good), but it is considerably cheaper. As a rule, you will pay roughly half the price of titanium for the same capacity.
The Primus Litech Camping Kettle is our current ‘go-to’ anodized aluminium stove-top favourite. Primus should need no introduction, and their kettle is the definition of a clean design.
The Litech has a decent 0.9 litre capacity, weighs 178g and measures 15.2 (diameter) x 7.8 cm (height). It’s useful to compare this weight against the MSR Titan which is the same capacity but only weighs 118g – that’s the benefit of titanium, but is it worth an additional £30 in price. The Primus kettle is currently only £23 which is exceptional value.
The Litech has a fairly squat circular design which we like – it means it is very difficult to knock over. The water can be added through a large aperture at the top which is filled with a separate lid when being heated. The folding handle (with silicone grip) also straddles this top aperture. The boiling water is then poured out of a decent side spout – we found for once that there were no dribbles with this!
Overall, the Primus Litech is an excellent stove-top camping kettle and cannot be ignored against the more expensive titanium options.
Tentock Outdoor ALUMINIUM Camping Kettle
Using a similar spout, handle and lid design to the Primus Litech and costing about the same you might wonder why we’ve included the Tentock Outdoor camping kettle in our list of best camping kettles.
Well, the answer is that it includes an excellent additional design feature – around the bottom circumference of the anodized aluminium kettle is an in-built heat exchanger which allows 30% improved heat transfer between the stove and the kettle. This reduces boiling time and the amount of fuel you need to burn to get the water to boiling point. Win win? Well not exactly, because you lose out in the size and weight of kettle you need to carry. The 1 litre capacity Tentock kettle weighs 352g which is significantly more than the Primus. It is also larger at 17.5 x 9 cm.
It’s a quality bit of kit though, and if you have the space in your rucksack then the fuel saving alone could make it a good option. Best camping kettle? It’s certainly up there if you have the space in your rucksack!
NGT ALUMINIUM Camping Kettle
If you’re on a limited budget but are still after a decent stove-top camping kettle then look no further than the NGT Anodized Aluminim Camping Kettle.
It’s available for under the magical £20 mark and inherits many design cues from the more familiar (but more expensive too) brands. Somehow, it didn’t quite have the same finesse as the Primus or the Tentock but it accomplished the job of boiling water admirably, and for the price this has to be ignored.
Capacity is 1.1 litres, weight is only 260g and the dimensions are 16.4 x 15.8 x 9.4 cm. The colour is described as gunmetal grey, and we would agree with that. It looks suitably rustic and would be great as a stove when you’re fishing or bivvying.
Beware that some owners have reported leaking around the handle rivet near the spout, but our kettle didn’t have this issue. Overall, the NGT camping kettle is worth considering for the excellent value for money it offers.
Ridgemonkey Square ALUMINIUM Camping Kettle
Ridgemonkey have been making big waves with campervan owners due to their fabulous dual-pan grill. They have recently massively extended their range of products and now offer this excellent Square Aluminium camping kettle too.
According to Ridgemonkey, the square shape (1 litre version has dimensions of 17 x 17 x 11 cm) allows a greater surface area of the base on a typical camping stove or BBQ and hence faster boiling.
We really like the slightly ‘military’ look of the Ridgemonkey and it is well served by a decent spout and two great folding handles on the top, straddling the square filling aperture. It is also available in a 0.5 litre version which is simply half the height and great to slide in the rucksack.
We think Ridgemonkey have pulled a blinder here. There isn’t another kettle which looks like this on the market and it simply screams survivalist or tactical solo missions. “Bravo Two Zero, we’ve found your camping kettle!”
'Classic' stove-top designs - the Whistling Camping Kettle
It wouldn’t be an article choosing the best camping kettle unless we covered some of the ‘classic kettles’ from days of yore – the whistlers that Grandma used to use when you visited her for tea and scones. No? Just me then…
We definitely feel that they still have a place in a modern camping set-up – especially if you’re camping with stoves but have access to decent levels of storage space – i.e. at a campsite with a car or campervan for transport. Be sure to get one that will work on all stoves, be it open flame or induction. Some of the cheaper options available (<£10 say) can decolour rapidly on a flame stove and even give off noxious fumes!
Pykal STAINLESS STEEL Whistling Camping Kettle
The Pykal Whistling Steel Camping Kettle is my idea of visual perfection in a kettle. It’s made out of stainless steel and looks the absolute business. It even includes a couple of tea infusers which you can fill with tea leaves and drop into the boiling water to act as a teapot as well!
This is a big beast of a stove-top kettle and can boil 3 litres of water (5.3 pints). As a result, it weighs 1.36kg and measures . You’re not going to carry this in your rucksack any distance. However, it will work on any stove, be it gas, alcohol or wood. It will even work on an induction hob because the circular base is made up of a sandwich of separate iron and aluminium layers squeezed between the stainless steel. This means that heat can transfer very efficiently from the stove to the water.
We must mention the handle. This is the most ergonomic we’ve tested and is safe to touch after being used on a wood fire within a couple of seconds. This is due to the silicone thermal protection material used. The handle also incorporates a button which releases the spout cover and allows pouring of the boiled water. This spout cover also incorporates a whistle which signifies when you’ve hit the jackpot!
The Pykal camping kettle is a superb ergonomic design with great features and performance. It also comes with a 1 Year Full Replacement Warranty. We love it immensely!
Kampa STAINLESS STEEL Whistling Camping Kettle
We’ve scoured the market and firmly believe that the Kampa Whistling Camping Kettle is the best value camping kettle on the market. It’s only £7.99 at Winfields Outdoors which is an extraordinary price for what you are getting. It even looks great in the available green and blue options.
The Kampa has a 2 litre capacity and a flip-top whistling spout cover. The handle and filling lid each have insulation covering but they still get quite hot to the touch – care should be taken when picking up after boiling. Also, be careful that the handle is not folded down when you are using it over a stove – the hot kettle body can melt the insulating material on the handle. If you’re sensible, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Dimensions of the Kampa kettle are 22 x 20 x23cm and it weighs only 530g. The Kampa kettle will work on an induction hob as well as a naked flame stove, but again we recommend that it’s not used on a large open wood fire or BBQ as the colouring may degrade if the flames lick around the side.
For the money, we think this is the best value camping kettle on the market today. Its combination of light weight and low price is a winner in our view, but there are more complete kettles available.
VonShef STAINLESS STEEL Whistling Camping Kettle
If you’re after a stylish mid-range stainless steel stove-top camping kettle then we think the VonShef Whistling Kettle is an excellent choice – especially as it comes with a 2 Year warranty.
The base itself is made from an induction-friendly aluminium layer sandwiched between stainless steel. The kettle body has an attractive black satin finish with exposed stainless steel on the spout and lifting handle. Capacity of the VonShef is a decent 2.2 litres and it measures 24.5 x 23.9 x 23.8 cm. Weight is 920g.
The kettle spout includes a whistling cover and it gives a mighty shriek when the water is boiling. There’s no ignoring this bad boy! We did find that the cover took a bit of effort to open using the thumb lever system, and this did get quite hot to the touch. Not ideal, and we must say that the button release of the Pykal is better in this regard.
Overall, we would say that the VonShef is more of a campervan or caravan stove to be kept inside rather than a wild camping workhorse which you can whack on to an open wood fire or BBQ. We would be concerned that the black satin finish could degrade over time if treated too harshly. That being said, the VonShef camping kettle looks great and works very well for the low price.
Hi-Gear COLLAPSIBLE Stove-Top Camping Kettle
This offering from Hi-Gear is excellent value and folds up extremely small – only 15 x 21 x 5.6cm and yet it will boil 1.2 litres of water. Weight is 380g owing to the stainless steel base.
The kettle uses hardened plastic for its handle and filling lid, and silicone for the collapsible body. The kettle can be used on open flame stoves but you must be careful that the flames do not rise around the base – this could melt the silicon. In our tests, we found that it worked surprisingly well.
In summary, we think the Hi-Gear kettle is an excellent option for camping and provides surprisingly good value for money. As always with collapsible utensils, we would urge that you look after the seal from the base to the silicone layer – they can peel away after multiple uses, but we saw no sign of this after a weekend of use.
Sea to Summit Lightweight COLLAPSIBLE Stove-Top Camping Kettle
The Sea to Summit lightweight camping kettle is probably the ultimate exponent of collapsible kettles. It shrinks down to an incredible 3.5cm (1.4 inches) in height which we think is the lowest available on the market today.
Capacity is 1.3 litres when full expanded, but we think 1 litre is a safer amount to boil in it. Weight is a tiny 186g which is great for a kettle with an anodized aluminium base. Due to the design it can additionally be used as a cooking pot because the see-through lid is fully removeable. The rim of the pot incorporates a simple moulded spout which is good enough to provide accurate pouring if care is taken. There is no whistler on this kettle, but presumably you’ll be monitoring it closely on a mountain top somewhere!
We highly recommend the Sea-to-Summit kettle for use on a traditional small gas or alcohol burner. The base is wide enough at 15cm diameter to contain the flames underneath without risking melting the silicon body (which is angled inwards – nice). It’s not the cheapest camping kettle on the market, but we recommend it as our top collapsible pick.
That concludes our roundup of the best camping kettle for each of our categories. We hope you find something that will enable you to make the ultimate brew! Let us know if you find something even better – we doubt that’s possible!