Making Coffee Camping – A Guide to Great Camp Coffee

If you’re like me, you can’t start your day without a steamy cup of coffee to revive your senses and fuel your body. When camping we have to sacrifice a lot of things, but coffee shouldn’t be one of them. 

If you love to get outdoors and drinking coffee is part of your daily routine, you are in the right place. 

Here we share 10 options for making coffee camping that will satisfy your caffeine cravings. 

Click here to see our favourite camping coffee maker now.

Check out the best camping coffee makers below and read more about each method in the guide to making coffee while camping below.

MethodProductImageOur RatingPrice
Instant CoffeeStarbucks Colombia Instant Coffee3.5Check
Cowboy CoffeeGSI Outdoors Coffee Boiler3.7Check
Pour Over CoffeeCollapsible Pour Over Filter4.2Check
Single Cup Coffee FilterPrimula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy4.0Check
Multi Cup Filter CoffeeAeropress4.5Check
Moka PotBialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker4.8Check
French PressSecura Stainless Steel French Press4.7Check
Thermal Pour Over Travel MugCoffee Gator Paperless Travel Brewer4.3Check
Portable Espresso MakerWacaco Minipresso4.5Check
PercolatorFarberware Coffee Percolator4.0Check
Drip Coffee MakerColeman Camping Coffee Maker.4.1Check

What to Consider When Making Coffee Camping

We all aim for a rich tasty cup of coffee. But when looking for the best way to make coffee camping, there are some unique brewing factors to consider. 

There are pros and cons to every method, so consider these factors before reading on and deciding how to make coffee camping. 

Car Camping vs Backpacking

Perhaps the first aspect that springs to mind when you think about making coffee while camping is portability. 

Normally, people lean towards lightweight options like instant coffee, coffee filters or hand-powered espresso makers, as they’re easier to pack. This makes perfect sense if you’re backpacking or hiking. 

However, if you’re car camping or traveling by RV, we advise you to invest in a good quality french press or stovetop espresso maker – especially if your camping trip is more than a couple of weeks long.  You do not want to spend weeks camping while drinking humble instant coffee!

Best Way to Make Coffee Camping - Mountains Outdoors

Coffee Beans Storage

Fresh coffee beans are the starting point for a good cup of coffee. How you store the beans is as equally important as how you brew them. Make sure to keep them in a dry place and inside a well-closed airtight container. Do not try to put them inside your camping cooler or expose them to moisture as this will ruin them.

Solo or a Group?

When considering how to make coffee while camping, one of the most important considerations is the size of your group.

Are you camping by yourself or with a partner? Maybe with a group of friends? You should keep this in mind while choosing the best camping espresso maker.  Some methods will not suffice for more than one person.

Power Source

Besides coffee, the basic element you need for camp coffee is hot water. 

Your style of camping and camp location plays a vital role in choosing the best camping coffee method. Will you be in a place where you have access to electricity? Will you have a gas stove? Or will you be dry camping and using the campfire? 

how to make coffee when camping - campfire and mugs

Clean Up

When choosing how to make coffee when camping, you should also keep in mind the effort and tools needed to clean up your camping coffee pot. 

If you have limited access to water, look for the camp coffee maker with the least parts to clean. The best options would be a silicone pour over dripper or a moka pot – both of which can be wiped out easily.

Whole, Ground or Instant Coffee

As you decide which method of making coffee camping is best for you, consider whether you will carry whole fresh beans, ground coffee or instant.
 
The best coffee for camping will depend on the method you choose below. For example if you want to make espresso camping, freshly ground espresso beans will give the best result. For other techniques such as cowboy coffee or  a camping percolator, pre-ground coffee beans are fine.
 
 
Now you know what factors to consider, let’s take a look at the different ways of making coffee when camping. We share the best camping coffee makers plus tips for how to brew coffee while camping for each maker.

How to Make Coffee While Camping – 10 Ways

1. The Easy Way: Instant Coffee

You heard that right. We know this is not the answer you’re here for. But let’s face it, if you’re backpacking and only carrying essential gear, a coffee machine won’t be one of your top priorities. 

Despite its bad reputation amongst coffee snobs, instant coffee is the easiest way to make coffee camping and gets the job done. Also available in lightweight sachets, it is a practical choice for hikers and backpackers.

A wide variety of options are available now, including decaf and flavors like hazelnut or vanilla. 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • No special equipment needed
  • Best space saver option

Cons

  • Inferior quality coffee

What you need

  • Ground coffee sachets
  • Hot water.

Brewing Steps

  1. Pour hot water over coffee grounds in a cup
  2. Stir to mix
  3. Wait for a few minutes
  4. You’re done!

Some of the best instant coffee for camping to try include Starbucks Colombia sachets or Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade instant coffee. Pick a brand that suits you and you’re good to go. 

>> Click to buy convenient instant coffee sachets now

2. The Hollywood Way: The Cowboy Method

If you want to be fully immersed in the adventurous camping mode and want to know how to make campfire coffee,  let’s get back to basics and follow the method used by cowboys to brew coffee under the starry sky of the west. 

This camping coffee method combines the advantages of simple equipment and the ability to serve several cups of coffee at a time. Is there anything better than sitting by the fire as your coffee brews on an open fire?  There are a couple of different ways to brew cowboy coffee but here we keep it simple.

Cowboy coffee is similar to both greek coffee and turkish coffee. The flavor is more intense than other camp coffee methods as the finely ground coffee is not filtered away from the water.

Make sure that the kettle or pot you use is made of stainless steel or titanium so that it bears the heat. Watch out for plastic handles, as they will melt over an open fire. 

>> Click to check the price for the GSI Outdoors Coffee Boiler

Pros

  • Good for a large group of people
  • No special equipment needed
  • Easy to make

Cons

  • Coffee is thick & dark
  • Quality can vary

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Add water to your pot and leave it to boil over the open fire
  2. Once it boils, take it off the heat and leave for 30 seconds
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds for each 8 ounces of water.
  4. You may hear a sizzling sound which is okay
  5. Stir well and leave for 4 minutes, stirring once more in that time
  6. Add a little cold water to keep grounds at the bottom
  7. Pour slowly into your mug
  8. Pretend you’re a real cowboy, or girl!

3. Budget-Friendly Option: Collapsible pour over Coffee Maker

Are you a coffee fanatic who can’t stand instant coffee? You care about quality, but you don’t want to purchase a lot of coffee accessories?

If cleaning a French press or carrying an aeropress around seems like a hassle, a camping pour over coffee maker is the one for you. It balances easy operation and getting quality coffee taste just right!

There are many single cup pour over coffee makers, but this ultra-light collapsible silicone coffee dripper is the best portable coffee maker for camping. The perfect size to fit in your backpack, easy to clean and very affordable! 

Silicone doesn’t absorb odour, neither does it affect the taste of coffee. It does require paper filters but if you forget to pack them, or run out you can use paper towels instead.

>> Read reviews for the Kuissential silicone camping pour over coffee maker here

Pros

  • Lightweight and small in size
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Need to carry filters
  • Slower process
  • Not great for groups

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Pop open the cone
  2. Place the bottom ring on the top of your cup
  3. Boil the water
  4. Insert a paper coffee filter
  5. Add coffee grounds
  6. Pour a small amount of hot –not boiling- water to saturate the coffee
  7. Leave it for 30 seconds to bloom
  8. Stir gently and add the rest of the water gradually to avoid overflow
  9. Sit back and enjoy.

4. Easiest Operation: Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Filter

Another simple yet efficient coffee filter option is a single serve camping coffee filter. It is remarkably cheap way to make coffee camping and brews your coffee to any degree of strength you desire. 

It’s pretty straight forward to use and does not need special equipment. You can use it over your camp coffee mug as it fits over almost any size cup.

What is nice about this filter is that it takes up to 4 scoops of coffee and does not allow any coffee grinds to pass through it. It is easy to wash too – you can simply soak it in water to remove any residue.

You might need to experiment to find your desired brew strength, but the results are worth it. Perfect for hikers and backpackers or when there are just one or two campers who enjoy a morning coffee.

>> Click to read reviews and check the price for the Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Reusable
  • Affordable
  • No special equipment required

Cons

  • Slower process
  • Makes only one cup at a time

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Boil water
  2. Place the coffee brew filter over the cup
  3. Secure the wide rim over your cup
  4. Add a spoon or 2 of your finely ground coffee
  5. Pour water over it slowly and gradually
  6. Let the coffee drip into your coffee mug and enjoy.

5. Craft Coffee Option: Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker

The Aeropress espresso maker is the perfect option for the craft coffee lovers, those who will not give up the right to a quality cup of coffee even when they’re in the woods, in the mountains or by the sea. 

This camping espresso machine provides you with two options: Americano coffee and the closest thing to espresso.

The method is great for light or medium roast coffee beans freshly ground with a manual coffee grinder. The Porlex Mini grinder actually fits inside the aeropress cylinder for maximum space saving!

The aeropress is made of durable lightweight plastic. Cleaning it is easy; you just remove the paper filter and rinse! 

>> Click to check the price for the Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Makes 1 - 3 cups per press
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not as strong as espresso
  • More steps than other methods

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Place the filter in the bottom cap & attach to the press
  2. Add 2 spoons of coffee grounds to the larger tube (the chamber)
  3. Place it on top of your mug
  4. Add a little hot water and soak the grounds for 30 seconds
  5. Pour hot water almost to the top to fill the chamber
  6. Insert the plunger & lift it to create a vacuum seal
  7. Wait 5 minutes then slowly press the plunger to drip coffee into your cup
  8. Enjoy your espresso!

6. Italian Espresso Option: Bialetti Moka Pot

This camping coffee method is for the true coffee lovers, those who want a simple way to make coffee camping and produces excellent quality coffee. 

The Moka Pot or stovetop espresso maker is the quintessential favorite method for those who love coffee and camping. 

The Italian brand Bialetti has been keeping coffee lovers satisfied for years. The octagonal shape distributes heat evenly and produces an authentic camping espresso in just minutes. 

If you have access to a stove and you are an espresso enthusiast we think this is the best coffee camping pot option. It is a great choice if you love dark roast espresso beans or strong coffee.

We don’t recommend this option if you’ll be using an open campfire as the unit has a plastic handle.

What makes this option interesting is the fact that you can use it at home too!  In fact the Bialetti stovetop espresso maker is on our list of the best affordable espresso machines. Many people tend to use them at home instead of more expensive coffee makers

>> Buy the Classic Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker here

Pros

  • Fast brewing time
  • Range of pot sizes available for larger groups
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to use
  • Taste closest to espresso

Cons

  • Plastic handle not convenient over open fire
  • Heavier and larger than other options
  • Requires gas or electric stove

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Pour water into the bottom compartment
  2. Add ground coffee to the middle compartment
  3. Tighten the upper part of the pot to the base
  4. Heat the pot over the stove
  5. When the coffee begins to bubble, you’re done.

7. Car Camping Option: Stainless Steel French Press

A French press is the first choice for many coffee enthusiasts whether they’re camping or not. They are easy to use and do not require a filter, resulting in a delicate flavorful coffee.

As a glass french press is too fragile for camping, we recommend a stainless steel press. That’s why we think this coffee maker by Secura is the best camping french press coffee maker.  

It’s double-walled stainless steel design and 34 ounce capacity (8 cups) makes it the perfect choice for group camping.

>> Click to read more reviews and check the price

Pros

  • High quality brew
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable stainless steel
  • No filters required
  • Good for large groups

Cons

  • Not suitable for backpackers due to size

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Boil water
  2. Place the pot over a flat surface and pull out the plunger
  3. Add coffee and pour half the amount of hot –not boiling- water
  4. Leave the coffee to bloom for at least 30 seconds
  5. Stir gently then add the rest of the water
  6. Insert the plunger –do not press yet!
  7. Leave the mixture to steep for at least 3 minutes
  8. Slowly press the plunger downwards. Pour and enjoy.

8. Smart Option: Coffee Gator Pour over Coffee Maker

Dripping coffee through a metal filter into your camping coffee thermos is all that it takes to produce your coffee using this all in one travel mug. 

A smart copper mug coated with a stainless steel layer keeps your coffee hot for long periods of time. The manual dripping method unlocks a whole new range of flavors!

The metal filter saves you the effort of replacing paper filters and makes it environmentally friendly as well. Good news for the stylish ones is that it comes in seven different colors!

This all-inclusive thermal cup is ideal for brewing coffee while camping, but has other uses too! It can be used on-the-go, in your office or even at home. It comes in handy in many situations, so the investment is worthwhile.

>> Check the most recent price for the Coffee Gator Paperless Travel Brewer here

Pros

  • Thermal cup keeps coffee hot
  • Durable metal filter included
  • Fast to brew

Cons

  • Not suitable for groups
  • Makes only one cup of coffee
  • Not as easy to clean

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Boil the water and leave it to cool for 30 seconds
  2. Place the filter over the pour over
  3. Add 2 spoons of ground coffee
  4. Pour some water to saturate the coffee
  5. Leave it for a few seconds
  6. Add the rest of the water slowly
  7. Remove the filter
  8. Place the lid over your mug
  9. Enjoy your long-lasting hot coffee.

9. Fancy option: Wacaco Minipresso Portable Espresso Machine

For all espresso lovers out there, we’ve got you covered. A handheld portable espresso machine produces premium quality espresso, just like the one served to you by your favorite barista. Too good to be true? Not at all.

This is a choice for lovers of espresso. If the idea of going without a genuine espresso for days at a time leaves you feeling worried, this micro camping espresso machine is the perfect choice. 

Its compact elegant design makes it pleasant to look at and pack. With the help of its semi-automatic piston, you can extract the finest espresso from your coffee beans. 

Whether you are hiking, car-camping, traveling for work or in the RV, this is one of the best single-serve espresso maker options.

As it is more expensive than some other options on our list, the Wacaco espresso maker is a great gift for your outdoor loving coffee drinker.

>> Click to purchase the Wacaco Minipresso today

Pros

  • True espresso taste
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not suitable for groups
  • More expensive option

What you need

Brewing Steps

  1. Boil water and leave it for 30 seconds
  2. Add ground coffee to the filter basket
  3. Apply slight pressure to level the grind
  4. Pour the hot water to the tank
  5. Unlock the piston
  6. Apply pressure and pump the piston several times
  7. Rich espresso crema is your measure of success!

10. Scalable Option: Farberware Stainless Steel Camping Coffee Percolator

For large groups, a camping percolator is probably the best way to make coffee while camping. Easier to make than cowboy coffee, with much larger quantities than a stove top espresso make, a percolator makes a good cup of coffee.

There are traditional enamel percolators but they are heavy. Modern stainless steel percolators are a great alternative. Whilst there are electric camping percolators available, the traditional stovetop design means you can still brew coffee when dry camping off the grid. 

There are a number of sizes in the range and this one can brew up to 12 cups of coffee at a time. We think the Farberware Yosemite is one of the best camping coffee percolator coffee pot options. It is made of heavy duty stainless steel and has a non-reactive interior. It operates by circulating water through the grounds.

The basket is removable, which means this percolator can double as a kettle.

>> Check the price and reviews for the Farberware percolator here

Pros

  • Great option for large groups
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Bulky
  • More difficult to clean

What you need

  • Farberware Coffee Percolator
  • Ground Coffee
  • Water

Brewing Steps

  1. Fill your coffee maker with cold water
  2. Add coffee to the basket.
  3. A minimum of 2 cups per serving is recommended for the best quality
  4. Cover the basket with the lid and boil
  5. Watch through the glass knob for when it is finished and enjoy.

One last option for large camping groups is the Coleman camping drip coffee maker. 

The Coleman camping coffee maker makes up to 10 cups of coffee at once and is a great option if you have a gas stovetop and don’t enjoy the taste of percolator coffee.  It does have a glass carafe, so needs to be stored well. But for coffee lovers looking for a drip coffee pot for camping, this is a great choice. 

Check the current price for the Coleman here.

What About Milk?

Plenty of caffeine addicts love to add milk to their coffee. Enjoying a cappuccino or a latte can alter your mood for the day. In fact, many coffee drinks include milk. However, it isn’t the most viable option for the camping people out there.

If you’re backpacking, there is no way other than powdered milk.

In this case, honestly, we recommend you just drink your coffee black. We share our tips for enjoying black coffee here.

Nevertheless, if you’re car camping and you will have a cooler or ice chest you can pack some milk and get this handheld electric milk frother for about 10 dollars. Et voila!

What Is Your Favorite Method?

As you’ve seen there are various ways to make your coffee outdoors while camping. There are many factors to consider when choosing the best way to make coffee when camping.

Portability and budget are important, but keep in mind that investing in more expensive options will not go to waste, because many of these options can be used at home as well as when camping. 

From plain instant coffee to sophisticated handheld espresso makers – it doesn’t matter which one you choose. As long as you’re sure that you will wake up in the morning to find your daily steaming caffeine dose waiting for you to sip in the morning breeze with a view!

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About Rachel

Creator and writer for Creators of Coffee, Rachel is an everyday coffee lover who also loves to research and share practical tips on everything to do with coffee. Favorite way to make coffee: With an Espresso Machine

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