Steel, aluminium, heat exchanger…even titanium – we’ve boiled and we’ve poured to find the best camping kettles. Here’s our round-up of fast, light (and occasionally pretty) kettles for camping cuppas.
We’ve divided these up by type of metal because some people would prefer not to use aluminium (see this fact-checking Snopes article on whether aluminium is really a health risk or not). For backpackers and wild campers, weight is an issue, so more expensive titanium options fit the bill. For most campers carrying their kit in a car, a stainless steel kettle is probably enough.
Whenever we look at camping gear, we often find the same product under different brands. Generally, this is because a couple of companies are having their kit made by the same (often Chinese) manufacturers. We’ve highlighted lookalikes here so that you can choose by price.
Lightweight, anodised for strength and very cheap.
The Viskey kettle. Anodised aluminium. Plastic covered folding handle. Watch out for the metal lid-pull, though. That’ll get hot. Around £7
Primus LiTech 0.9L kettle. Anodised aluminium. Folding handle and plastic lid-pull. Around £18. Weighs 150g. Comes with a bag.
The NGT 1.1l kettle. Folding handle, nice lid-pull, anodised aluminium. 260g weight. Costs around £11.
The Fox heat exchange kettle. The baffles at the base concentrate the gas for faster boiling. Comes in 0.9 or 1.5l for £23/£30. Looks like the Fire-Maple, which is cheaper!
TOP PICK: The Fire-Maple is the same as the Fox, but cheaper. There’s a heat exchange version like this one and a flat base one. Two sizes. Around £13/£23
The Alpkit Hauka 1.3l kettle comes with a mesh bag. 182g. Costs around £10. There’s also a kettle included in the HAAP cooking set (£25).
Strong and basic, heavier than aluminium or titanium.
TOP PICK: An old favourite, the Vango steel kettle has the best handle of all we’ve tested, and it folds. It has a whistle too (though it doesn’t always work). The spout cover saves steam and spills. A bit heavier and bulkier than the rest, but only £12.
Extremely strong and lightweight and no metallic taste in your water. Expensive, though.
Chances are you’re not going to pay £65 for a camping kettle – and you really shouldn’t buy this one. The Fire-Maple titanium kettle comes in lovely packaging, with its own bamboo mat and padded bag, and is superlight, but it leaks from the handle rivet when you pour. VERY fast to boil, though.
Another pretty little thing, the Alpkit titanium Ketul weighs only 113g and holds a litre. Its two handles fold down to either side of the lid, but the water comes out of the lid if you pour too quickly and trickles down the side. Costs around £60.
A 0.6l titanium kettle? We’re not sure if that’d be big enough for anyone, but this BRS one is VERY cheap for titanium at just £17. We haven’t tested it and we’re a bit sceptical of the size and of the quality at that price.
Everyone loves their Kelly Kettle. They’re an institution in backpacking and bushcraft and a fantastic piece of kit.
Basically, it’s an easily packable and carryable wood-fired kettle that needs just a handful of fuel (sticks, pine cones, birch bark, dry grass) to boil water in just three to five minutes. There’s a range of aluminium or steel, a choice of sizes and lots of accessories to turn the kettle base into a mini cooker.
We loved the simplicity and the fun of using the kettle, but weren’t so bowled over by the cooking kits. That’s perhaps because these are really aimed at adventurers and wilderness campers rather than anyone wanting to cook a full meal.
Brothers Patrick and Seamus Kelly, the current directors of the West of Ireland company are the fourth generation of the family to be associated with their famous kettle and camping gear. A great pedigree!
Chocolate camping kettles
Melts beautifully over gas, electric or wood-burning stoves. Non-edible handle. A lovely addition to your chocolate teapot and fireback. Just kidding!
Love your kettle? Tell us what you use and we’ll add it to our recommendations. Also have a look at our articles on the best stoves – gas stoves, electric and wood-burning.