How to Boil Water in a Paper Bag

How to Boil Water in a Paper Bag

Explore America's Campgrounds

Boiling water in a paper bag sounds like an impossible task. The paper bag should burn up, leaving the water to put out the fire. Actually, this campfire trick is a standard way for veteran campers to show off and is based on scientific principles. The water cools the bag enough so that it can't catch on fire, and the heat from the fire dries the bag enough so that the water won't soak through. Try it on your next campout for truly impressive results.

Items you will need

  • Campfire

  • Paper grocery bag

  • Water

Step 1

Build your campfire and light it. Make sure that the area around the fire is level and that there is room to set the bag directly next to the fire. Allow the fire to burn until it is established and won't go out.

Step 2

Fold the upper edge of the bag down one inch towards the outside. Make two more folds in the same manner, creating a cuff around the top edge of the bag.

Step 3

Place the bag on the ground as close to the fire as possible, and immediately pour in water, filling the bag about three quarters full.

Step 4

Allow the water to boil in the bag. Use a cup to scoop it out if you want to make tea, coffee or cocoa. Add more water to the bag to replenish the supply as you use it.

Step 5

When you're ready to put out your campfire, lift up the bag. The bottom of the bag will come undone, as the heat has loosened the glue. The water will help put out the fire.


  • The top of the bag will probably burn away, but the fire won't burn anything below the waterline.
Gone Outdoors