How to Heat up Water While Camping Safely and Efficiently
When you’re out in the wilderness, having a hot cup of water or a warm meal can make all the difference. But sourcing and heating up water can often be a challenge – especially when your resources are limited. As an experienced camper and father of three, I’ve picked up a few tips for how to heat up water while camping as safely and efficiently as possible.
1) Source Safe Potable Water
When it comes to heating up water while camping, sourcing safe water is the most important step. Before you even consider heating it up, you must ensure that the water is safe to drink or cook with. If you are collecting water from a lake, river, or stream, be sure to use a filter to remove any particles or residual contaminants that may be present. A good water filter will remove particles down to 0.1 micron – much smaller than the human eye can see.
If you’ve purchased bottled water, the water should be clearly labeled with information about its source. Often water bottles will also be labeled with a “best by” date that is usually about a year from purchase. If the label does not state the water has been treated, be sure to filter it as previously mentioned.
2) Decide How You Will Heat Your Water
Once you’ve acquired a safe potable water source, you must decide how you plan to heat it up. There are a few different ways to approach this depending on the size of your group and the resources you have available.
- Stovetop/Propane Burner – The most popular and efficient way to heat up water while camping is by using a propane stovetop or burner. All you have to do is fill up a pot or pan with water and place it on top of the burner for a few minutes. This method gives you the most control over heat intensity and is the quickest way to heat up large amounts of water. However, this is not suitable for larger camping trips where you may need to heat up multiple pots of water at the same time.
- Fire – To heat up water with a campfire, you will need to set up a grate or tripod. You can then hang your pot or pan over the fire and adjust the heights at which it is suspended. This method is resourceful but takes a while and requires more effort in the setup. Be sure to keep an eye on the water to avoid it getting too hot and boiling over.
- Solar Heating – This is a great environmentally friendly option for when you don’t have access to a stove/burner or fire. To use this method, you will need to affix a black lightweight container (a collapsible water carrier for example) to a flat surface like a rock or log. Fill it up with the desired amount of water, leave it out in direct sunlight, and check regularly
3) Choose the Best Container
Choosing the right kind of container for heating up your water is just as important as the method you use. You want something durable enough to withstand high temperatures and whatever terrain you may be exploring. Steel containers require a bit more maintenance but are good for boiling water since they can withstand high temperatures. Stainless steel and enamel are other popular (and safer) alternatives.
If you’re going to be using a campfire for heating water, you may also want to consider investing in a special pot specifically made for grilling and campfire. These pots are designed with an extra-wide base to help prevent tip-overs and handles that protect you from the heat.
For those who plan to use the solar-heating method, a black lightweight container is your best bet since it will absorb more heat from the sun. The type of container that you use in this case is less important as long as it is capable of holding content and sustainably collecting/dispersing heat.
4) Prepare the Water
Once you’ve decided on the type of container and method you plan to use, you can begin preparing the water. Be sure to fill the pot or container past the point that you need to ensure that any impurities get fully removed. Then place it on the stove or over the fire/ campfire, making sure that it is secured adequately and at a safe distance.
If using a solar-heating method, you will need to wait for a few hours in direct sunlight for the water to heat up. It is important to note that using the solar method may not bring your water to a full boil. In either case, make sure to check in periodically to ensure the water is not boiling too vigorously.
When the water reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Be sure to handle it carefully and keep a safe distance from the heat source.
5) Store And Reheat The Water
Once you’ve heated up the water, you will need to store it in a safe container. If you plan on using the water for drinking, it is always a good idea to add a neutralizing agent like baking soda or vinegar. This helps to reduce the risk of potential contaminants in the water. If you’re using the water for cooking, it is best to store it in a glass or ceramic container with a sealable top.
To reheat the water, you can either use the same method you used to initially heat it up. If you’re using the solar-heating method, a quick tip is to set the bottle on a rock to absorb even more heat from the sun.
Conclusion: Safely and Efficiently Heat up Water While Camping
Heating up water while camping is an important part of a safe and comfortable outdoor experience. While a campfire or stove can provide a quick and efficient way to heat up water, solar-heating can be a more resourceful and environmentally friendly option. Whichever method you decide to use, make sure to source your water carefully and inspect it often before heating it up. Follow the tips above and you’ll be able to heat up your water safely and efficiently!