How to Make Coffee While Camping

by TobyFeb 23, 2024

Your love of the great outdoors shouldn’t come between you and your other love – great-tasting coffee. You might have the perfect setup at home to make the best-tasting coffee whenever you want it, but what happens when you venture out into the wilderness? How do you make sure you can have the best of both worlds – the great outdoors and great coffee? Read on for all the tips and equipment recommendations to ensure your camping trip has the tasty coffee you’re used to.

Different Ways to Make Coffee While Camping

You might be enjoying a spot of off-the-grid living, but this doesn’t mean your choices for brewing coffee are restricted – you’ve got plenty of options for making a brew out in the wilderness.

To start with, you have a couple of choices as far as your general approach to making your camping coffee is concerned:

  1. Do you want to have your typical home coffee experience while you’re out in the wild, and so maybe want to pack the full coffee kit of beans, grinder, coffee maker etc.
  2. Or, are you prepared to perhaps sacrifice that perfect home coffee experience in return for convenience and being able to travel light – while still enjoying a half-decent brewed coffee, of course!

Whatever your preference, you’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to making sure you get your caffeine fix while you’re on your camping trip

Convenient Camping Coffee

So you don’t feel like you’re carrying around your coffee machine from home with you when you’re on your trip, there are a range of options for the camper that wants the daily brew and to travel light.

Instant coffee

I know, I know, what kind of coffee blog recommends instant coffee. But before you run off in a huff, the little instant coffee sachets you can buy (like the ones you get in your hotel room) are easy to pack, super-light, and you can get great-tasting coffee from several companies.

Coffee-bags

If you just can’t force yourself to drink instant, then coffee-bags may be a good option, which are basically like tea bags, but with ground coffee in them. More and more coffee companies make these, so you should have a good choice of brews, and some even use compostable bags/packaging, which could be great for being outdoors.

Pour-over Pockets

If you’re fussy about the quality of your coffee and instant and coffee bags just don’t give you the choice or the last you want while away from home, then individual pour-over pockets may be the way to go. This might mean more refuse for you to hang onto on to on your trip, so if you’re on the move it might not be worth it, but it can elevate your coffee experience for a little additional inconvenience. These are essentially portable paper coffee filters that fold out to sit on your cup and then you simply pour the hot water over the grounds. You can get them already packed with coffee, or empty if you want to stick to using the ground coffee you know and love.

Complete Camp Coffee

Just because you’re out in the wild doesn’t mean you have to live like savages and not enjoy a decent cup of your favorite coffee while you get back to nature. The convenient options above are all great, but if you want more of the home-brewed experience, you can choose from a variety of grinding and brewing equipment that will take your campground coffee experience to another level.

The Best Camping Coffee Makers

If you’re going to the trouble of taking your own brewing equipment with you when you’re camping, you want to make sure that it a) isn’t too bulky or heavy, and b) the effort of bringing it along translates into a better-tasting cup of coffee.

You can get a variety of different coffee makers that are either designed especially or suitable for taking with you on your camping or backpacking trip, from a camping coffee percolator to pour-over and drip coffee makers and Frech Press types. Whatever your preferred method of making coffee while you’re out and about, there will be a coffee maker to suit. To get you started, here are a few of the more popular and well-reviewed coffee makers for you to consider.

GSI Ultralight Java Drip

The GSI Ultralight Java Drip was designed for the outdoors. It’s compact, durable, and light enough to be carried with you when backpacking and hiking and a simple way to make your coffee your way while you’re out and about. Simply place the sturdy pour-over filter on top of the provided cup or your own canteen, add your ground coffee of choice and pour over your hot water. For an even better experience, you can upgrade and add the GSI Infinity Backpacker Mug as well.

AeroPress Go Coffee Maker

You might have an Aeropress at home, and now you can take this excellent and easy-to-use coffee maker with you when you travel, with the Aeropress Go. You simply add your coffee grounds and water, stir, and press the plunger for a great cup of your favorite brew. The Go comes with everything you need to make your camping coffee and is designed to pack away neatly to save space in your backpack.

JetBoil Coffee Press

The JetBoil may be a curious-looking coffee pot, but it really is an ingenious way to brew coffee while you’re out on the trails. The Jetboil is more like a complete coffee-making system for anyone who is camping and out in the wilds. It’s a convenient silicone French Press coffee maker that sits atop its own gas burner (gas canisters need to be bought separately) which means making and drinking your coffee outdoors is quick and easy, and it all packs away nicely afterward. Just add coffee grounds and water, build as normal, and then press down on eat plunger and your favorite brew is ready.

Faberware Yosemite Percolator Camping Coffee Maker

As well as looking like a proper campsite coffee percolator, the Faberware Yosemite also does a great job of actually making your campsite coffee. It comes in two sites, an 8-cup and a 12-cup, so there’s going to be plenty of coffee for everyone in your group. The plastic used in the construction of the handle and dome means it’s probably not the best camping percolator to use on open fires, performing best on a proper camping stove (or even an electric hob back home), and reviews have commented on it being possibly the best camping coffee percolator for producing grounds-free percolator coffee.

Read Our Best Manual Coffee Grinders Guide

Other Great Camping Coffee Equipment

Camping Coffee Grinders

To ensure the freshest-tasting coffee while you’re camping, you might even want to take your favorite beans and make your own coffee grounds on the trails. If so, you’re going to need a light, compact and reliable coffee grinder for the job, so here are just a few you might want to consider adding to your backpack.

Timemore Chestnut C3 ESP Pro Grinder

If you want your camping trip coffee grinder to deliver on performance and looks, then the C3 Pro is the one for you. With its precision conical burr grinder and adjustable grind settings, you’d get the ground coffee you want. Its aluminum body, foldable handle and small size and weight mean it’s rugged and light enough for any camping trip.

Snow Peak Field Barista Grinder

As you’d expect from the name, this coffee grinder is designed for the barista out in the wilds. Its durable stainless steel body and foldable handle make it practical for carrying around, and its ceramic burrs and variable settings will provide a wide range of coffee grounds – it’s also pretty light too, which is perfect for backpackers.

VSSL Java Grinder

The Java is possibly one of the most compact camping coffee grinders at a little over 6 inches tall, which is great if you want to keep your gear from getting bulky. Water-resistant aircraft-grade aluminum make it durable, and the 50 grind settings and stainless steel burr ensure a consistent grind every time – the clever and convenient carabiner handle is useful for carrying, too.

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

We’ve mentioned the JavaPresse Grinder and if you’re after a cheap and cheerful, portable coffee bean grinder for your camping trips, it could be a good option. With ceramic burrs designed to last longer, 18 grind settings for pretty much most types of coffee you might want, and a detachable handle for easy packing, it’s ideal for most camping coffee makers.

Porlex Mini II Coffee Grinder

The original Prolix Mini Grinder is still available and was a firm favorite with many users due to its compact size and solid construction and performance. However, the Mini II has an improved design and improved grind (one of the slight shortcomings some highlighted with the original model as it did seem to struggle a bit with coarse ground coffee). Producing slightly more ground coffee than the original for the same effort, you also get finer control over the size of your grinds – all in an easy-to-stow little package.

The Last Drop

So there you have it, plenty of coffee-making options while you’re camping – getting back to nature doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a good cup of coffee to start you off right before you head out on the trails. Whether you want to travel light and just want an easy and convenient way to make a decent-tasting cup, or if you’re staying in the same place and don’t mind packing a bit of equipment so you can make your coffee almost as good as the brew you make at home, enjoying great coffee and the great outdoors is easier than ever.