How to Boil Water When the Power is Out

It goes without saying that the ability to boil water ranks right up there among both at-home and backcountry necessities, whether you’re looking to cook a meal, prep the (all-important) morning coffee or tea, or purify water for drinking.

An electric stove or coffeemaker sure makes the process easy, but what do you do when the power’s out, or when you’re deep in the wilderness? To many folks, the answer may seem obvious. But we actually get asked this fairly often, “What about if the power is out at home?” Well, whether it’s a weekend backpacking trip or a genuine survival situation, you’ve got plenty of options.

Just a Note: Do You Need Boiling Water to Cook Mountain House Meals?

No! Boiling water’s the recommended method, but if for whatever reason you can’t obtain it you can certainly still prepare our Mountain House morsels. Both room-temperature and cold water will work to rehydrate the food, but keep in mind it’ll take upwards of twice as long as the cooking time that’s printed on the package.


Some ways to heat water without electricity: 


From vintage two-burner propane cookstoves at the state-park campground to slim white-gas stoves boiling tea water at a high camp above timberline, these are an outdoorsperson’s best friends. A backpacking stove is also mighty handy to have stashed in that bug-out bag of yours, and, importantly, serves as reliable backup when a power outage renders your kitchen stove and microwave useless.

If you’re new to camping and/or prepping, the galaxy of portable stove options can appear overwhelming. Canister or liquid-fuel? Twig- or tablet-burning? The sorts of outdoor recreation you plan to pursue, your budget, and a healthy dose of trial-and-error will help you whittle down the options to the perfect model for your purposes.


Going Old-School: Boiling Water Over a Fire

You can, of course, tap into your inner cowpoke and boil water right over a campfire: Suspend the pot by a tripod or center pole, place it on a grate above the flames, or set it directly on hot coals. This tried-and-true approach is the one Mountain House

Go Grill

It’s obviously not the most efficient use of resources, but in a pinch you can boil water over a propane or charcoal grill—a good choice in the event of an extended power outage. (Don’t forget: This should only be done out-of-doors.)


A woodstove or fireplace can be a lifesaver during a power outage, and not only as a general source of heat. You can also boil water as you would over a campfire, with the pot placed atop a woodstove, or via the built-in water reservoirs some models include.

Gas Stove

When a storm, blackout, or some other event robs your home of power, you can still boil water without electricity over a gas stove that uses standing pilots by lighting the stovetop burners with a match.

Other Methods to Boil Water Without Electricity

From specially engineered solar-cooker thermoses to (patiently and safely) using tealight candles for the purpose, there are many other ways to heat water without electricity. Just be super-careful about minimizing the risk of flareups, asphyxiation, and other everyday perils of fuel and flameage.

Source: Mountain House

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