You want to get outside, wake up to the sounds of nature, and make some good coffee, right?! Well, you’ll love this post, it’s all about how to make coffee while camping. And once you read the post, you’ll know the best way to make coffee when camping.
Learn more about How to start a campfire (6 fire types, tips & gear).
Table of Contents
How to Make Coffee While Camping: 9 Methods
Although many of us are willing to make sacrifices on our camping trips, most of us draw the line at coffee. There has to be an end to the madness, right!?
There is something comforting about a nice warm cup of joe in the morning. If it is cold outside, it may be the only thing getting you out of bed! Whether coffee is a salvation or just a convenience, life is too short for a bad cuppa.
The following are methods, tips, and tricks that will teach you how to make coffee while camping.
Like being warm? Check out our full Guide to Winter Camping
1. Instant and Easy
This is by far the easiest method of making your favorite morning beverage. All you have to do is heat up water and pour in some delicious instant crystals. Stir up, and drink away!
The taste of instant java has been described as an acquired taste, but sometimes you have no choice.
In the case of backpackers, instant coffee provides a lightweight alternative to some of the other options on this list. When deciding how to make coffee while camping in the back-country, consider instant.
2. Brew ’em up, Cowboy!
This technique has been used from the time cowboys started riding the open range! Known for its strong taste and mud-like texture, cowboy coffee will put hair on your chest.
As long as you have a fire on for breakfast, you can make this drink. You can also make this on top of a camp stove, but it may not have the same appeal.
All you need are coffee grounds, water, a pot, and an egg. Yes, an egg. Remember: this is how to make coffee while camping cowboy style!
4 Step Instructions for Cowboy Coffee:
- Set your water to boil. The pot can be any size, so it is good for large groups or small groups that drink a lot of coffee.
- Then, add in two tbs. of coffee per cup of water. The grounds go straight inside. Let the brew simmer.
- Crack the egg, removing the yolk. Pour the whites and shells into the coffee. The egg parts are to help the grounds settle and add a specific flavor to the coffee. Even John Steinbeck was a fan of eggs in his java. He said, “I know nothing that polishes coffee and makes it shine like that”. Of course, you can always leave out the egg if it doesn’t suit you.
- After the grounds sink to the bottom, you are ready to drink. If they don’t, sprinkle some cold water on top.
Since the grounds don’t dissolve in the pot, clean up can get messy. This method isn’t ideal for backpackers, or any other situation where you pack out your trash.
Tip: Use the finest grounds possible to produce the best texture.
3. Coffee “Tea Time”
Okay, so it’s not actually tea. However, this method uses coffee bags to make a morning fix. These are similar to the bags you find in hotel rooms.
They also make small filters specifically for camping. Even the mesh coffee ground filters for Keurigs will work.
For convenience, you can purchase these bags pre-made. Budget and DIY campers will want to make their own and it’s actually really easy!
All you have to do is place your grounds inside a cheesecloth, bandanna, or cloth coffee sock. Tie off, and you’ve got your very own coffee bags!
Learn more about How to Choose Food for Camping and Hiking.
- Boil enough water for everyone.
- While bringing to a boil, prepare your bags.
- After the water starts bubbling, remove from heat and put the flavorful bags inside.
- Let steep for a time of your choosing, remove, and serve!
Coffee Tip: You can make coffee bags sized for individual use, or big enough to flavor the whole pot. It is more convenient to make these ahead of time. However, waiting until the morning of minimizes waste if some choose to pass on coffee, or others show up and want in on the deliciousness.
4. French Press
A french press is how to make coffee while camping the tried and true way. This will deliver a full-bodied, tasty coffee – like what you drink daily.
Once upon a time, this was only for car campers, but not anymore! These days, there are lightweight, non-glass French Presses.
Although they might seem classy and confusing, it is actually very simple to use. The hardest part is choosing your coffee because this method really brings out the natural flavors.
Read the Ultimate Guide to Camping With a Hammock.
- Boil water on your camp stove or over the fire. During this time, go ahead and measure out the coffee grounds and drop them into the press.
- As soon as the water begins boiling, pour it on top of the grounds. Leave some space, and gently place the lid on top. Do not push down yet!
- Let the coffee steep for as long as you like. The typical time is between 3 and 4 minutes.
- When you are ready, press the plunger to the bottom. Your aromatic, delectable beverage is ready!
Recommended French Press for Camping:
The Secura Stainless Steel French Press coffee maker.
This french press is great for camping because it is made from 18/10 stainless steel inside, and out. So it’s durable.
It has a 34 ounce/ 1000 ml capacity and comes with a cool touch handle and knob for safe handling.
Coffee Tip: The French Press isn’t only for coffee! If you are cooking noodles and forgot a strainer, you won’t find anything else around camp that works better. In fact, leave your strainer at home! Just make sure you clean the product before you use it again unless you want noodle java…
At first glance, the percolator method seems similar to cowboy coffee. However, this is a less-messy instruction on how to make coffee while camping. It’s also better for the squeamish. (It doesn’t include an egg!)
Percolators work as an all-in-one coffee system that prevents burning. Many are electric, but there are plenty you can set right on top of a stove or campfire.
- Fill percolator as instructed with water.
- Then, measure and place the coffee grounds inside the percolator basket. Fit it into the percolator, and put the whole thing straight onto your heat source.
- As the water boils, it is forced up a small pipe and circulates through the grounds. This system will make a nice cup of joe!
Recommended Coffee Percolator for Camping:
The Coletti “Bozeman” percolator 9 cup coffee pot is well-loved by campers. It’s made of 18/8 stainless steel with a glass cover knob.
There is no plastic in this product so if you choose to use it around the campfire nothing will melt. The handle is made of wood, it won’t melt but may singe – so don’t put it too close to the open flame.
This will make up to 9 cups at a time. Check current price on Amazon.
6. One Cup Filter/Pour-Over
One-cup filters are frequently used in coffee shops to get a single perfect pour of coffee. These are also known as drippers and basically, do what regular coffee makers do. Only the process is manual as opposed to electric, and you get the cup you want every time!
Although there are heavier one-cup filters, they won’t help you figure out how to make coffee while camping.
Instead, find one that is lightweight and durable. This goes double if you are a backpacker or are taking weight into consideration while packing.
There are quite a few plastic drippers, but not everyone is comfortable with that material. One-cup filters can also be found in stainless steel, ceramic, and glass.
But keep in mind, you may need to bring paper filters to fit inside.
Read more about How to Purify River Water for drinking (6 methods).
Instructions: This method is called a pour-over because that’s literally what you are doing.
- Bring enough water for each person to pour their own cup.
- While waiting, place your paper filter (if needed) inside of the dripper. Measure and carefully spoon your grounds into the paper.
- Put the dripper on top of your mug. If you have a pour-over stand, use it for balance.
- When the water has started to boil, simply pour it over the prepared cup. Do this slowly and you will avoid getting grounds into your mug.
Coffee Tip: A slow pour can mean the difference between flavorful coffee and coffee-flavored water. Take your time and stay patient for the high octane.
7. AeroPress Coffee Maker
The AeroPress Coffee Maker is an espresso fans answer to how to make coffee while camping. However, this light and thin, fast and easy miracle can also make coffee! Now, you can enjoy a red-eye hundreds of miles from the nearest java hut!
This product boasts a professional cup with low acidity and without bitterness. The AeroPress works a lot like the French Press, except you are squeezing your caffeine infusion out the bottom.
Unlike its big brother, this AeroPress Coffee Maker features a microfilter to keep all grounds out! Furthermore, it only takes about 1 minute to push out 1 to 3 cups.
Overall, this method produces the most delicious brew camping and at home. The total immersion and short infusion time work together to make really good coffee.
- First, put a microfilter inside the bottom cap of the chamber and screw shut. Then, use the included scoop to place 2 servings of grounds inside the chamber.
- Stand the whole unit on top of a sturdy mug and pour hot (not boiling!) water into the chamber.
- Stir for 10 seconds with the included paddle to immerse everything.
- Put the plunger in the chamber and press down a ¼ inch. Be gentle, yet firm. Maintain this pressure at this height for 20 to 30 seconds. This makes an espresso or a 10-ounce mug of coffee. Your choice!
- To make an Americano from here, simply remove the Aeropress and pour in some more water. Also included is a funnel to prevent spillage.
8. Moka Pot
This is our favorite way to make coffee while camping. It’s one of the best ways to make a strong cuppa java.
If you are unfamiliar with this method of how to make coffee while camping, you are not alone! A moka pot makes an Italian style espresso or what would be known as a very strong cup of coffee.
You can use this kind of product on a camp stove. However, different brands feature different handles. Anything plastic will melt over the fire, while bare hands cannot touch metal handles.
One really great feature is the permanent built-in metal filter basket. This ensures you will never again be coffee-less because you forgot paper filters! However, this item can be a bit heavy and awkward. Even though it does break up into 3 parts, 2 of the 3 are not exactly compact.
If car camping, enjoy your moka pot! Backpackers, on the other hand, may want to think twice, or opt for a small personal sized moka pot.
Related: How hot is a campfire?
Instructions: There are 3 parts of a moka pot, and all are important: The carafe, the metal filter basket, and the bottom reservoir.
- First, place the instructed amount of water into the bottom reservoir.
- Then, spoon the grounds into the metal filter basket. This part fits into the bottom piece.
- Finally, screw on the serving carafe and set it on the camp stove to boil. As the water begins to bubble, it is forced through the grounds, up and out of the inner tube. Coffee gathers in the top carafe. Grounds stay in the bottom basket. You’ll know it’s done when you hear the last blast of steam and the coffee is no longer flowing out of the inner tube. You can lift the lid to check progress.
Coffee Tip:Don’t leave it on the stove too long because it can create a burnt taste. Once you hear that blast of steam, lift the lid and check it. You’ll know it’s finished brewing when no more liquid is coming out of the inner tube.
It may look weird, and it have a weird name, however, it is a fantastic solution to the question of how to make coffee while camping.
The Bripe looks like a hybrid between a tobacco pipe and a brass teacup. That is not a coincidence! This espresso maker works like a pipe and fills up the cup! It truly is an all-in-one solution for those that want a strong brew. Furthermore, it is lightweight and compact.
- The grounds and water should be mixed into the cup.
- Then, place it on top of a fire, stovetop, or lighter. After a short amount of time, the combination inside turns to espresso.
- Let it cool, and use the included thermometer so you know when it reaches a safe drinking temperature. Finally, sip your bliss through the pipe/straw.
Recommended Bripe for Camping:
The Bripe Coffee Brew Pipe Kit is portable and comes with its own carry case.
It also includes a thermometer, copper cooling stand, and a refillable quad jet torch.
If you want to enjoy good coffee and have something to talk about around the campfire, this probably won’t leave you disappointed. It usually creates a lot of interesting conversation.
Coffee Tip: Use the included refillable quad jet torch to easily and quickly heat anywhere!
How to Make Coffee While Camping: Count the Ways
You’ll never again ask how to make coffee while camping!
The 9 methods are delicious, simple, and fun ways to make your morning java. There is literally a solution for everyone on this list!
How do you like to make coffee while camping? Have any tips to share? Please join me in the comments.
- About the Author
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Dena Haines is a co-founder and blogger on GudGear – and is working to make it the best resource for outdoor gear and guides.
She loves being outside and has hiked the Galapagos, explored the Andes Mountains, and camped and explored her province’s backyard.
She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Storyteller Tech. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she started with her husband, Bryan.