Ahhh, the joys of camping. There are not many things in this world more satisfying than a morning cup of coffee when you’re immersed in the great outdoors.
Whether you’re set up at a campground with a group of friends or you’re on the move deep in the backcountry on a backpacking adventure, a morning cup of joe is necessary to start the day. Here are our recommendations on how to brew the perfect cup of camp coffee, with coffee maker styles for all tastes and budgets.
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1. Best Expresso Maker for Camping: Aerobie AeroPress Coffee and Espresso MakerPros:
- Makes an excellent tasting cup of coffee/espresso - perhaps the best of all camp coffee devices depending on your personal preference. You’ll definitely end up using this one at home as well due to the gourmet product!
- Very easy and fast to operate, this coffee maker can brew up a cup of joe in as little as 30 seconds
- Impressively light weight at just eight ounces and fits in your hand it’s so compact
- 350 filters are included with this purchase
- There’s a few different pieces involved with this coffee maker - be careful not to lose anything while camping!
- Cleaning this device is a bit more intensive than some of the other options here if keeping everything spic’ and span’ is important to you
- Only makes one small (but potent) cup of coffee at a time, you’ll have to go through the brew process several times to prepare coffee for larger groups
This is a really cool coffee maker for caffeine enthusiasts who are serious about their camp coffee. If you’re someone who either relies on a strong morning cup of joe or just really loves a specially brewed coffee, this is a device you should own.
The AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is super highly reviewed by campers of all kinds for brewing the best tasting coffee while camping in a surprisingly portable package. This unit is placed in the first half of this list for use regular camping, but it’s definitely lightweight and compact enough to be considered for backpacking use as well.
You’ll likely end up using this one at home too – it’s a high quality coffee maker with some righteous capabilities.
This lightweight (eight ounces) plastic unit operates like a regular French press, except you “press” the coffee directly into your camping mug through a specially designed paper filter. This coffee maker only presses one small cup of joe at a time, so it might not be ideal for large group use.
The AeroPress does however only take about 30 seconds to make yourself an espresso or Americano style coffee, so if you’re willing to go through the process a few times in a row you can serve larger groups in a matter of minutes. There are 350 filters included with this purchase and also reusable filters available for purchase that are compatible with this device.
The AeroPress turns ground coffee into a seriously potent cup of joe. The caffeine extraction is quite high with this unit, which is why the finished product is almost more like an espresso than a regular cup of coffee. It’s a unique style of brewing that creates a full-bodied, flavorful cup of coffee representative of a French press, but also a super clean and clear finished product because of the use of a filter.
It’s the best of both worlds in one compact unit!
2. Best Enamel Percolator for Group Camping: GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8 Cup PercolatorPros:
- This eight cup unit is great for large groups of campers
- GSI Outdoors has built this unit with a clear top so you can view your coffee while brewing
- Very affordable option for brewing coffee for larger groups
- Can be used over the camp fire – perfect for true cowboy camping
- If you’re new to using a percolator it takes a little practice — especially if you’re brewing coffee over the campfire rather than a camp stove because the heat is not consistent.
- You can overheat the brew creating a burned taste if you’re not careful — using a percolator allows you to complete other camp chores while brewing but keep an eye on the fire!
- This is a pretty clunky and cumbersome unit, if you’re tight on space then you’re better off with a larger french press for group use
Here’s a great quality percolator for all you cowboys out there. Ok, maybe you’re not a cowboy and just interested in serving camp coffee for large groups… either way this is an awesome unit.
The GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8 Cup Percolator is an excellent option for those camping scenarios where you have the time and patience to brew coffee.
This method, especially if you’re brewing over a campfire rather than a camp stove will take a bit longer than brewing with a french press or pour over unit. For lazy mornings around the campfire and scenarios where you and your gang of friends don’t mind waiting for a cup of coffee, this style of brewing is both fun and rewarding.
The finished product is pretty dam good too — a lot of coffee lovers including myself have been recently reverting to using a percolator even at home, it’s coming back into style!
Remember that when using a percolator for each cup of coffee you want to add about two tablespoons of preferably coarse ground coffee. You can add a bit more per cup if you want a particularly strong brew. Once you load up the top compartment with grounds and fill the main reservoir with water the rest is up to the percolator — sit back and enjoy the show.
It’s a nice method of brewing camp coffee that allows you to prep and cook breakfast while the coffee takes care of itself — another advantage of using a percolator for large group use. You’re able to view the coffee in this unit through the clear viewing knob on top the device. It’s a great feature that allows you to see when the coffee starts to percolate.
Once it gets going, you’ll need about five to ten minutes depending on how strong you like your coffee. The view knob also allows you to see the color of the coffee which is another way you can decide when it’s done.
Percolators are righteous because they allow you to really fine-tune how you like your coffee served. Remember that stronger coffee generally means longer brew time and more grounds. With a little practice, you’ll know exactly how long and at what relative heat to use this device.
Be mindful not to put this percolator too close over intense heat. It’s totally suitable for campfire use, but consider using a grate or grill cover for some better control over how much flame is touching or near to the percolator base.
If you percolate your coffee over really intense heat then you run the risk of a brew that tastes burned. Bottom line, practice makes perfect.
3. GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee PotPros:
- Heavy duty coffee percolator built for long lifespan
- Many available sizes from 3 to 12 cups
- Made of heavy gauge, marine-grade 18/8 stainless steel for excellent corrosion and impact resistance
- Can heat over the stove-top or camp fire
- Must be careful not to burn the silicone handle if brewing over the camp fire
- Clean up is more intensive if dry camping
- The stainless steel aesthetic will get dirty and dented eventually - but hey, it's camping!
The GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee Pot is a standard percolator that those who prefer stainless steel over enamel might love.
This option is available in a wide array of sizing ranging from 3 to 12 cups, so you can select a percolator to accommodate for small, to large camping groups.
It’s built from heavy-gauge, marine-grade 18/8 stainless steel for excellent corrosion and impact resistance, so you can beat up on this one all you want. It’s suitable for use on the stove-top, or over the campfire, just be mindful not to burn the silicone handle if using a high heat source.
Clean up is certainly a bit more intensive than with a press or pour-over device, but that’s to be expected with a percolator. If you enjoy this style of coffee and/or need to brew for larger groups, then this is an excellent value go-to that’s built to last.
4. Best French Press for Camping Pairs: Thermos Vacuum Insulated 34 Ounce Coffee PressPros:
- Built from 18/8 vacuum insulated stainless steel, this unit won’t be hot to the touch or break if dropped
- Very reasonably priced for a quality French press
- Great size for solo use or for two or three people
- At 9.2 by 6.9 by 4.3 inches and with a non collapsible handle this is not a terribly compact coffee maker
- Advertised to keep coffee hot up to 6 hours but reviews insist beverages only stay hot for a few hours
- Stainless steel contruction means you can't view how much coffee is left in the press
Using a French press has become one of the preferred methods of brewing coffee, and lucky for lovers of a good cup of joe, they are excellent units for camping use. This coffee press by Thermos is fairly large at 34 ounces but only eight ounces in weight.
It’s an ideal sized coffee maker for one to three-person use. Thermos vacuum insulation technology is employed here to effectively maintain temperature and preserve coffee flavor and freshness. Thermos boasts this unit will keep your brew hot for up to six hours – that’s longer than you should ever need to.
Coffee intensity and aroma is essentially controlled by how much grounds you decide to brew with. It’s fun and enlightening to try brewing with different amounts of ground coffee and at different water temperatures and you’ll eventually discover what’s perfect for you.
Built from durable 18/8 stainless steel, the construction of this French press makes it the ideal camp coffee maker. Its design is meant to take a beating, so no more broken glass or settling for that crummy instant coffee.
If you regularly camp with larger groups and don’t think a 34 ounce brew is enough for your campsite, just whip up another – it only takes a few minutes! For a larger but comparable vacuum sealed stainless steel French press see number five below, it might have the capacity you’re looking for. Ahh, the glory of a French press!
5. Most Versatile Coffee Press: Stanley Cook + Brew SetPros:
- Includes an 18/8 stainless steel mug for boiling water
- Coffee press nests within the heating vessel for compact storage, and you can even store a container with your coffee grounds with the vessel as well
- Built with super durable materials between the stainless steel and BPA free nylon, this is a coffee maker that’s nearly indestructible
- Great for both solo and two person use (32 ounces)
- Great value buy considering you’re getting both a coffee press and 32-ounce stainless steel mug
- This is kind of an intermediate size when it comes to portability
- Complaints about the press dribbling when you go to pour
- Handles are not very solid
Here’s a nifty product from renowned camping and outdoor outfitter, Stanley. The Stanley Cook + Brew Set is a relatively compact coffee press that nests into a 32-ounce stainless steel cooking mug.
The stainless steel unit is for boiling your water so it’s an all in one coffee system – all you need is a heat source. This will make two cups of coffee so it’s great for one or two person use.
Boil your water, add your coffee grounds into the mug and then press the plunger once you’re ready. The BPA free nylon coffee press fits within the 18/8 stainless steel mug so it’s an all-inclusive, compact (4.3 by 4.3 by 7.6 inches) package. The press has great customer reviews for good function, so don’t doubt this little guy’s performance.
It’s not the highest quality French press if that’s what you’re looking for, but even coffee connoisseurs praise this unit all over the web. Most importantly, you won’t get any grounds in your coffee and it’s exceptionally compact for space conscious campers. You can even fit a small container of your favorite coffee grounds within this unit which saves you some additional space.
This is stainless steel, so it can be cooked with over open flame. The 32-ounce vessel is great for heating up canned foods and soups so this unit will come in handy for all sorts of camping applications. It cleans up quick and easy too which is an overlooked feature when it comes to making coffee while camping.
There are more compact mess kit options available for pairing with portable coffee makers if you’re a backpacker – but this is absolutely an acceptable option. I love how you get half a mess kit and a coffee press with this purchase, it’s simple to use and versatile in function.
A heating vessel, a French press and a mug all in one…that’s tough to beat, especially at this low a cost. For an even more inclusive coffee making option from Stanley check out the Stanley Mountain Vacuum Coffee System – it’s another impressive coffee system that includes a thermos!
6. Most Durable High Capacity French Press for Camping: Stanley Classic Vacuum French PressPros:
- This is a 48 ounce coffee press that will make a lot of coffee for the solo caffeine addict or provide four or more cups for larger groups
- Crafted from 18/8 stainless steel so this unit is super tough and won’t rust. A better alternative to glass coffee presses
- Vacuum insulated for retaining coffee heat up to four hours
- Large handle and classic Stanley look make this one bad ass french press
- This is a big and clunky coffee maker at 7.1 by 4.9 by 9.5 inches and almost three pounds — not for space savers
- Fairly expensive compared to a lot of options
- Some complaints about this press allowing grounds into the brew
Here’s another rugged and reliable camp coffee maker from Stanley. The Classic Vacuum French Press is great for larger group use, it’s a 48-ounce unit!
Like most of Stanley’s insulating products, this press is built from double-walled 18/8 stainless steel. It’s both tough as nails and highly effective at temperature retention. Your coffee will stay hot up to four hours with this bad boy – it’s perfect for those campers who love a second or third cup of joe closer to noon.
The stainless steel construction is also, of course, BPA free and it won’t rust on you over time – all in all a great choice of material for a coffee press. The large ergonomic handle makes pouring this French press a piece of cake, and it also has a great look.
This is a tough, classic piece of camping equipment that every serious outdoorsman will salute when they see. Ya gotta love Stanley!
7. Best Ultralight French Press: GSI Outdoors Personal JavaPressPros:
- A lightweight (5.3 ounces) and highly portable (4.3 by 4.2 by 6.1 inches) option for french press loving backpackers
- Polypropylene construction is BPA free and shatter resistant
- Comes included with a camp mug that nests within the press
- The included ballistic nylon-wrapped cozies insulate very well for the total cost
- Makes two cups of coffee (20 ounces) which is great when backpacking with a buddy
- Clean up can be a little tricky if there’s no water source on hand
- There’s no insulation on the bottom of the camping cup so if you’re camping in cold environments it might not have enough heat retention — consider pairing the press with a better quality camping mug
- Exterior of this press will get dirty
This French press is built from BPA free Polypropylene making it lightweight and nearly indestructible. If you’re a French press brewer but struggle to find a unit that’s portable and lightweight enough for backpacking then you’ll be thrilled to discover GSI Outdoors Ultralight French Press.
GSI has appeared several times on this list for a reason – they make quality and surprisingly affordable camp gear that’s mindfully designed for long term use in the field.
A glass French press is too fragile and not practical for use backpacking, and a stainless steel unit is certainly heavier. This French press does put your coffee in contact with plastic, but if you’re drinking it right away there should be almost no effect on the taste of your brew.
This coffee maker is only 4.3 by 4.2 by 6.1 inches. There’s a camp mug included with this purchase that nests into the coffee press adding nothing to the packed size. With the camp mug, the two items weigh 10.8 ounces – still pretty dam lightweight. Both the press and camp mug are wrapped in a removable ballistic nylon cozie that insulates fairly well.
The camping mug, however, is poorly insulated on the bottom so if you set it down on a cold surface your coffee will cool down quickly. It’s a nice quality camp mug, but not if heat retention is a must for you. Despite the name indicating this is a “personal” java press, this is a backpacking coffee maker that brews two cups (20 ounces) instead of one.
It’s awesome for backpacking pairs who want to enjoy their morning coffee together. It’s a bit more intensive to clean than some of the other options listed here but that’s to be expected if you can’t go without a French press.
A battle-ready coffee maker that’s good to go for backpacking treks at an affordable cost, another winner from GSI Outdoors.
8. Best Ultralight Coffee Maker for Solo Backpacking: GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java DripPros:
- Incredibly lightweight at about half an ounce and collapsible to be SUPER low profile. No matter your backpack space or weight you can fit this unit
- Can be used with or without a paper filter
- The three legs are stable and work well despite looking a bit flimsy and questionable
- Makes a mean cup of coffee! This is a real deal pour over coffee maker that’s designed for backpacking use!
- Clean up is super easy - just rinse!
- Highly affordable camp coffee option
- If you love STRONG coffee and use this unit without a paper filter it might not have enough kick for you.
- Not ideal for group use
- Can be awkward to use with certain style mugs/cups
If every ounce of weight and square inch of space in your hiking backpack is absolutely vital to you, this is a coffee maker that should be on your radar. It doesn’t get much more minimalist and lightweight than this.
The Ultralight Java Drip from GSI Outdoors is an exceptionally light weight coffee maker at less than half an ounce! That’s practically feather light! The nylon filter and three leg supports furthermore fold completely flat – this unit can be tucked within most mess kits and honestly just about anywhere in your backpack!
This is a drip cone coffee maker that you can use with or without a filter. If you like a particularly strong brew than consider pairing this unit with a paper filter for a slightly longer drip and therefore higher caffeine extraction.
GSI Outdoors has built this device to operate just fine without a filter, but for those who love this design but have a need for STRONG coffee, it can be easily modified to fit the bill. You can also try using really finely ground coffee for a slower drip and therefore stronger cup of joe.
Remember, the general rule is two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water. This is a quick and easy system of brewing coffee too – everyone in your backpacking group can be taken care of in a matter of minutes once you’ve got some water boiled. Passing around this pour-over coffee maker among your camping group is easy enough, but for the cost and almost comical portability of this unit there’s no reason everyone shouldn’t have their own!
The leg supports are compatible with most camping mugs so this device can be used with your existing mess kit. The camp mug featured in the image is not included.
Customer reviews insist both the mesh and the “loop” or frame of the Ultralight Java Drip are built durably – this one should handle being knocked around on the trail just fine. A SUPER lightweight and packable pour-over option that can be used with or without a paper filter depending on your preference – definitely a wonder product from GSI Outdoors every minimalist backpacker should know about.
Check out the attached video below for a walkthrough of the Ultralight Java Drip and a few other pour-over units from GSI Outdoors. Here’s the link for the other backpacking option featured in the video that’s better for larger groups – the GSI Collapsible Java Drip.
9. Best Value Ultralight Coffee Maker: Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew BuddyPros:
- Budget option that still makes a great cup of coffee
- Super portable and lightweight as a backpacking coffee maker at less than four ounces!
- No paper filters required
- Super easy to rinse clean and even dishwasher safe if you choose to use it at home
- Might take a little practice to find the ideal size grind - most users recommend a medium grind for optimal performance
- If your camping mug isn’t very deep you may have hold this unit up so it doesn’t steep as opposed to the GSI Ultralight Java Drip that has leg supports
- Lifespan is likely not very long due to the quality of construction
Here’s another ultralight pour-over coffee maker that’s ideal for backpacking use. The Primula Brew Buddy is a super affordable option for the solo hiker. If you’re looking for an exceptionally lightweight and portable unit, this might be the best value option around.
This little guy will brew a single cup of coffee in as little as 30 seconds. There are no paper filters required and it rinses clean super easy. The nylon mesh is BPA free and well-reviewed by campers and backpackers alike for holding up through heavy use.
It’s only capable of making a single cup at a time, but given its rapid brew time you can pass this one around the campsite and everyone will be caffeinated in no time. There’s a variety of reviews discussing the ideal size coffee grind, some insist this unit works best with coarse ground coffee and some campers suggest finer ground beans.
It’s a matter of preference more than anything, but based on all the user reviews you won’t want to grind your coffee too fine because the filter is not super tight and may allow some sludge to pass through. My recommendation is medium ground coffee for a clean brew with maximum caffeine and flavor extraction.
If your camping mug is not very tall, then the filter may steep in your mug – there’s no leg supports like on the GSI Ultralight Java Drip. Considering you can brew a cup in as little as 30 seconds, it’s easy enough to hold the filter above your mug if you have to. If you’re in the market for a new, taller camping mug than check out our list of the best cups and mugs for camping.
10. Most Convenient Back Country Coffee Maker: Jetboil Flash Cooking System & Coffee PressPros:
- Super lightweight (less than an ounce) camp stove attachment for your Jetboil device
- Although just an accessory to the Jetboil stove, this press pressurizes well
- Packs compact and effectively in any pack or camp kit
- Highly affordable option if you already own a Jetboil stove
- This coffee press is only compatible with the Jetboil Flash, Sol and Zip camp stoves
- Customer complaints that this coffee making system is a bit messy
- Jetboil cook sytems are expensive if you don't already own one
Here’s a super compact, lightning-quick system of making coffee in the backcountry. The Jetboil Flash Camp Stove is a fan favorite among backpackers and campers alike.
We listed this coffee maker along with the cook system it’s meant to be paired with because you’re going to be impressed with how they complement each other.
If you already own a Jetboil stove then you should be all over this one. This java press is designed for use with this stove – so you’ll need to purchase both in order to use this coffee maker. This link will take you to the coffee press itself.
The Flash is a SUPER effective stove for rapid water boiling. You’re gonna want to check out the attached video below and see this righteous product in action – the java press is featured at the 2:15 mark.
This stove can boil 16 ounces of water in as little as 100 seconds, that’s crazy fast! The Jetboil Flash incorporates the one-liter flux ring cooking cup with insulating coozie into the design which is why it’s referred to as a cooking system rather than just a camp stove.
The attached pot/mug unit is the perfect volume for boiling water for coffee, and the press attachment works wonderfully. It’s a super simple addition to your camp stove that adds major versatility.
This system makes a tasty cup of coffee, the only real customer complaints are about how difficult this coffee press is to clean. It gets a little messy but hey, you’re camping!
For more information on the Jetboil Flash itself, visit our post on the Best Portable Camp Stoves for Backpacking, it’s featured there!
11. Best Filterless Pour Over Coffee Maker: Cafellissimo Paperless Pour Over Coffee MakerPros:
- User reviews insist this pour over device makes a GREAT cup (or two) of coffee
- Filterless design simplifies what you need to pack and your clean up
- Very lightweight at just over three ounces
- Stainless steel design means no hot water contact with plastic!
- At 5.2 by 4.5 by 3.4 inches this unit isn’t terribly packable depending on your backpack
- Somewhat fragile compared to many other coffee makers
- Pour time is slow
We’ve saved perhaps our most unique choice of camping coffee maker for last. The Paperless Pour Over Coffee Maker from Cafellissimo is an excellent quality product that is very well reviewed for making a great tasting brew.
This is definitely a solid choice for coffee connoisseurs who aren’t willing to sacrifice quality no matter where they’re enjoying a cup of joe.
Good news is, it’s both an affordable and highly portable unit. Cafellissimo has crafted this filterless pour-over coffee maker from stainless steel. It’s a touch heavier than some other portable pour-over devices but almost makes up for the added weight by eliminating the need for filters.
At about three ounces it’s still one of the lightest camp coffee options on the market.
Remember the general rule is two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water when brewing with this method. You can get two cups of joe out of this unit which is great for conserving grounds when you’re with a friend. The beauty of this device is that you get a cup of excellent coffee without having to hang on to your used paper filters.
If you’re a responsible backpacker (which here at Heavy we hope you are!) you pack out everything you pack into the wilderness. Paper filters are essentially weightless, but they can be a pain to hang onto and stash in your pack once wet and dirty. The stainless steel mesh filter of this device makes this a non-issue.
Campers and backpackers of all kinds speak very highly of the coffee quality derived from this one — you’ll likely end up using it at home due to its excellent product. This unit is 5.2 by 4.5 by 3.4 inches and non-collapsible, so it’s not the most packable option.
It’s exceptionally lightweight but perhaps a bit awkward to pack depending on your backpack schematic. As far as pour-over devices go, this is perhaps the best coffee maker on the market for camping use if you have the space to pack it. A unique and effective design at a low cost, ya gotta love it!
12. GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket MakerPros:
- Filterless drip coffee filter for a flavorful, mud-free brew
- High-efficiency screen and snorkel combine for fast, flavorful brewing
- Collapses to nest neatly within your favorite camp mug for compact storage
- Super easy clean up
- Notched, folding legs grip nearly any mug
- Some might not like the plastic design
- Although it's built robust, the legs are susceptible to snapping if you're not gentle
- Fits most mugs, but you may have to hold this drip filter over your camp mug if it has a unique design
The GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket Maker is about as simple and easy as camp coffee gets if you’re seeking a straightforward and highly portable option for your morning brew.
This is simply a pour-over device, with no coffee filter required. An integrated filter effectively separates your grounds from your brew, just be sure not to use super fine-ground coffee or else it might make it through the filter.
The Rocket employs three notched, folding legs that grip nearly any mug – so it’s a compatible device with whatever you’re drinking out of. When it’s time to pack it up, this coffee maker collapses to nest neatly within your favorite camp mug for compact storage.
Clean up is particularly easy and what truly makes this coffee maker so great! Just give it a quick rinse, and wha-lah – it’s squeaky clean again!
13. WIDESEA Camping Coffee Pot With French PressPros:
- Operates as a stainless steel French press and camp mug
- Compact, 30 ounce design
- Foldable scalding handle
- Volume scale allows for easy measurements
- Compact and space efficient design, yet there's room to nest a microstove inside
- Becomes hot to the touch
- If you don't use coarse ground coffee, you may get some grounds in your brew
- Should not be used over open fire
The WIDESEA Camping Coffee Pot With French Press is a convenient device that integrates a french press into your camp mug, while also providing a bit of storage for your coffee grounds and even an ultralight stove!
The compact, 30-ounce design is perfect for those who prefer a larger cup of joe in the morning, and also gives the camp mug better volume for stashing some other essential gear.
A foldable scalding handle makes it easy to hold this cup when hot, but be careful of the main body of the mug. The included lid has both steam outlet vents and a drinking outlet, making this quite a nice camp mug even before the integrated coffee press.
There’s furthermore a volume scale printed into the interior of the mug for making more precise measurements while cooking or brewing.
All things considered, this is a versatile and highly practical camp coffee maker at a more than reasonable price point – a great go-to from WIDESEA!
Coffee While Camping Is Key
Camp coffee is not just necessary for beginning the day - for a lot of us campers and outdoorsmen, it's a morning ritual that's both enjoyed and savored. It's a peaceful and contemplative time to reflect on the fact that you're surrounded by nature. It's a time to appreciate the scenery, sounds and smells around you and look both outward and inward. It's a time for caffeination.
Different Styles To Brew Camp Coffee
There are many styles and methods of brewing camp coffee. These days you can brew up a cup or a cauldron using your favorite at-home method just about anywhere.
In this post, we will discuss and compare a few of the most popular methods. The big three for brewing coffee while camping or backpacking are use of a percolator, pour-over or drip coffee devices and of course the classic French press. We've included options that best represent each style for both regular camp use and ultralight backpacking.
are an awesome way to brew up a pot of coffee for larger groups. If you're into the whole cowboy style of camping than this type of unit is probably right up your ally.
Camping percolators can be placed right over the campfire so it's up to you whether or not you even want to use your camp stove.
Percolators work by using two separate chambers. Preferably course ground coffee is put into the upper, perforated chamber (about two tablespoons per cup) while water goes into the bottom chamber (closest to the heat source). There's a tube that connects the two chambers that the boiling water travels up (due to the heat) and pours over the grounds. This cools the water a bit as it returns to the bottom chamber to continue cycling.
Percolators are a great way to brew coffee, but they make the best coffee when heated around 200 degrees F. If you're using a camping percolator over the campfire (because you're living the cowboy life) it's nearly impossible to closely regulate temperature. Your percolator will likely heat up a bit more than is considered the perfect temperature, but hey - it's camping!
Pour Over Coffee Makers
Pour Over Devices are a bit simpler in design and function and great for smaller groups or solo use. It's essentially as simple as pouring hot water over ground coffee beans enclosed in a filter.
This style makes a mean cup of coffee - if you're serious about drinking a quality cup of joe in the morning this could be the way to go for you. Done properly, pour-over coffee is clear and free of any debris. This method also extracts a high ratio of caffeine per spoon of ground coffee so you get a lot of kick out of your brew.
Great for the passionate coffee lover who loves their morning boost. It's important to grind your coffee to the right size when using this method. Too fine and you're looking at long wait times and a potentially muddy finished product. Too coarse and the hot water will pass through the filter too quickly without extracting all the flavor and caffeine you want out of your grounds! Be attentive to what grind size works best for different filters and pour over devices.
These camp coffee devices are furthermore exceptionally lightweight and portable making them a great option for both regular camping and backpacking.
French Presses For Camping
These are my personal favorite. Utilizing a French press is a super simple method where you place your ground coffee into the press, pour hot water in with the grounds, wait a few minutes and then "press" the pressurized filter or plunger to the bottom of the unit.
The grounds are then effectively separated from the rest of the brew and wha-lah, you're ready to rock! This method of brewing makes for medium body, aroma rich coffee - it's denser and less clear than using the pour-over method but not to the extent of an expresso.
French press brewing is becoming quite popular these days and for good reason - it's quick, easy and makes a dam good cup of coffee. Carrying a French press unit is not all that practical if you're an ultralight backpacker, but we've included an impressively designed option here that you can totally get away with using in the backcountry.
Ultralight Coffee Makers
Some of us outdoorsmen require a particularly compact and lightweight coffee maker for maximum packability. If you're a backpacker, your morning coffee is supposed to get you going, not slow you down on the trail!
Some of our favorite coffee makers for lighter weight and compact size include:
- GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket Maker
- The Ultralight Java Drip from GSI Outdoors
- The Jetboil Flash Camp Stove
- WIDESEA Camping Coffee Pot With French Press
Hand Coffee Grinders
If you prefer the aroma and taste of freshly ground coffee versus already ground coffee, don't overlook purchasing a portable, manual coffee grinder for your campouts!
There are some great options for ultralight, outdoors applications. Some of our favorites include:
- Burr Portable Manual Coffee Grinder
- GSI Outdoors - Javamill Coffee Grinder
- Hero Portable Travel Coffee Grinder
Backpacking Versus Car Camping
Many of these coffee makers are designed with a more stationary campsite in mind, while others are engineered knowing you're going to cover a lot of ground after your morning coffee and need to pack light!
There are many options here that have been chosen for their high portability and extremely lightweight while the other listed units are suitable for any style of camping.
If you don't require an ultralight system that packs remarkably light, we recommend a more robust camp coffee maker for the best-tasting brews.