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 you go camping you sacrifice a lot of home comforts, but coffee shouldn’t be one of them. 

If you love to get outdoors and want to know how to make coffee while camping, you have come to the right place. 

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

>> Click here to see our favourite camping coffee maker now.

Check out the best camping coffee makers below in our comparison chart. 

You can 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 Press4.8Check
French PressGSI Outdoors JavaPress Coffee Mug4.6Check
Thermal Pour Over Travel MugCoffee Gator Paperless Travel Brewer4.3Check
Portable Espresso MakerWacaco Minipresso4.7Check
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 good 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

Good quality coffee beans are the starting point for a great cup of coffee. How you store the beans is as equally important as how you brew them.

Make sure you 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 brew 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 Easy Ways

1. Instant Coffee For Camping

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

Despite its bad reputation amongst coffee snobs, instant coffee is the quickest and easiest way to make coffee camping and gets the job done. 

The good news is instant coffee is making a comeback and there are some reasonable options to choose from.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Inferior quality coffee

How to make instant coffee when camping

What you need
  • Instant coffee sachet
  • Boiling water
Brewing Steps
  1. Pour hot water over coffee grounds in a cup
  2. Stir to mix and wait for a few minutes for flavor to release
  3. You’re done! Drink and enjoy.

Best Instant Coffee for Camping

Some of the best camping instant coffee options include: 

These lightweight sachets by Starbucks are a practical choice for hikers and backpackers.

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

Pick a brand that suits you and you’re good to go. 

2. 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. 

Is there anything better than sitting by the fire as your coffee brews on an open fire?  This camping coffee method combines the advantages of simple equipment and the ability to serve several cups of coffee at a time.  

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Coffee is thick & dark
  • Quality can vary

How to make cowboy coffee camping

There are a couple of different ways to brew cowboy coffee but here we keep it simple.

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 and pretend you’re a real cowboy, or girl!

Best cowboy coffee pot

This GSI Outdoors Coffee Percolator is perfect for large groups as it has a 20 cup capacity.

Full steel construction means this camping coffee boiler pot can be used on a stove or directly on the campfire.

Note this pot will get hot – be careful picking it up and be sure to use a towell or glove to hold once boiled.

3. 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 device for you. 

They find a balance between easy operation and quality coffee taste and are the best portable coffee maker for camping in small groups and the best way to make coffee while backpacking. 

There are many single cup pour over coffee makers, but we love the ultra-light collapsible silicone coffee drippers

Pros

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

Cons

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

How to make pour over coffee camping

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

Best pour over coffee maker for camping

One of the best collapsible pour over coffee makers is this silicone coffee filter by Kuissential. It is the perfect size to fit in your backpack, is 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.

4. 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 these single cup coffee filters is that they don’t allow any coffee grinds to pass through and they are very easy to wash too.  You can simply rinse them with 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Slower process
  • Makes only one cup at a time

How to brew coffee with a single cup coffee filter

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.

Best pour over mesh filter for camping

The Primula brew buddy is a camp coffee filter that sits on top of your camping cup.

The extra fine mesh filter keeps the coffee grounds out of your cup and means no paper waste to store while camping.

The slim, lightweight design and minimal wash up makes this filter one of the best ways to make coffee while camping in the backcountry.

5. Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker

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

This coffee press for camping provides you with one of the closest coffee styles to espresso without a machine. It is really a hybrid style between the french press, pour over and 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 when packing!

Pros

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

Cons

  • Not as strong as espresso
  • More steps than other methods
  • Paper filter waste

How to make camp coffee with an Aeropress

What you need
Brewing Steps
  1. Place the filter in the bottom cap & attach to the press chamber
  2. Add 2 spoons of coffee grounds to 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!

Best Aeropress for camping

The Aeropress is made of durable lightweight plastic and this set comes with paper filters, scoop, funnel and stirrer. 

Cleaning is super easy. Simply remove the paper filter and grounds and rinse! 

This one comes with a convenient tote bag to store everything together.

6. Moka Pot For Camping

The moka pot method is one of the best ways to make camp espresso without an espresso machine. It is a great choice for lovers of strong Italian espresso and those who are looking for a simple method to make the best coffee while camping.

The Moka Pot or stovetop espresso maker is a popular camp coffee method as you can brew a single cup or coffee for 8 people using one coffee maker.

If you have access to a gas stove and you are an espresso enthusiast we think this is the best coffee camping pot option.  

It is quick to brew, easy to clean up and produces a great cup of coffee. It is a great choice if you love the flavor of dark roast espresso beans or strong coffee.

We don’t recommend this option if you’ll be using an open campfire as many units have a plastic handle.

What makes this option even better is that you can use the Moka pot at home too!  Many people tend to use them at home instead of more expensive coffee makers

Pros

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

Cons

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

How to make stove top coffee

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.
  6. Pour the coffee into your mug and enjoy.

Best moka pot for camping

The Italian brand Bialetti has been keeping coffee lovers satisfied for years. 

The octagonal shape of their stainless steel moka pot distributes heat evenly and produces an authentic camping espresso in just minutes. 

In fact the Bialetti stovetop espresso maker is on our list of the best affordable espresso machines as it makes such a quality coffee. 

7. French Press Coffee Maker for Camping

A French press is one of the top camping coffee makers for many coffee enthusiasts whether they’re camping, traveling by RV or at home. 

French press coffee makers are one of the easiest coffee brewers to use, do not require a filter and are simple to clean. They also brew flavorful coffee.

As a glass french press is too fragile for camping, we recommend a stainless steel press. They can be thrown in the camp kitchen box without worrying about breaking.

If you enjoy cold brew, this is a great choice as you can use your french press for both hot coffee and cold brew coffee.

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

How to use a french press camping

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.

Best french press coffee maker for camping

The Secura stainless steel french press is the best camping french press coffee maker.

It has a three layered filter to keep the coffee grounds out of your coffee and double-walled stainless steel to keep your coffee warm for longer.

If you are looking for a large camping french press, this is a good option with a 34 ounce capacity (8 cups). 

8. All In One Pour over Coffee Travel Mug

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

Storage space is often limited when camping, which makes this coffee travel mug such a great option. You can drink coffee at camp, take it with you on a hike, or even use it for tea or hot chocolate.

An 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.

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

How to make coffee outdoors with an all in one thermos

What you need
Brewing Steps
  1. Boil the water and leave it to cool for 30 seconds
  2. Place the filter over the thermos
  3. Add 2-3 spoons of ground coffee
  4. Pour a small amount of 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 on your travel mug
  9. Enjoy your long-lasting hot coffee.

Best camp coffee thermal cup

The Coffee Gator all-in-one travel coffee thermos is one of our favorite travel coffee cups. 

The stainless steel mesh filter means no worrying about paper filters.The copper lining and stainless steel outer layer keeps your coffee hot for long periods of time.

Cool to touch, it comes in seven different colors and is one of the best camping coffee cup options.

9. Portable Espresso Camping Maker

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.

If the idea of going without a genuine espresso for days at a time leaves you feeling worried, a micro camping espresso machine is the best way to brew coffee while camping. 

Their compact, lightweight and elegant design makes them a great choice for camping and traveling. With the help of a semi-automatic piston, you can extract the finest espresso from your coffee beans in just minutes. 

Whether you are hiking, car-camping, traveling for work or in the RV, a handheld espresso maker will make some of the best coffee while camping.

Pros

  • True espresso taste
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not suitable for groups
  • More expensive option

How to make espresso camping

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!

Best camp espresso maker

The Wacaco Minipresso is hand operated and uses a semi-automatic piston to force small amounts of water through the coffee grounds under pressure.

It is a more expensive option than some other camping coffee options on our list, but is the only one that produces genuine espresso.

The Wacaco espresso maker is a great gift for your outdoor loving coffee drinker. 

10. 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 maker, 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.  They operate by circulating water through the grounds and those with a removable filter can double as a kettle.

Whilst there are electric camping percolators available, the traditional stovetop design means you can brew coffee when dry camping off the grid. 

Pros

  • Great option for large groups
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Bulky
  • More difficult to clean

How to make coffee in a camping percolator

What you need
  • Coffee Percolator
  • Ground Coffee
  • Water
Brewing Steps
  1. Fill your percolator with cold water
  2. Add coffee to the basket
  3. Replace the lid and boil
  4. Watch through the glass knob for when it is finished and enjoy.

Best camping percolator

The Farberware coffee percolator is made of heavy duty stainless steel and has a permanent filter basket.

The Farberware Yosemite can brew up to 12 cups of coffee at a time. The glass top makes it easy to see when the water starts to boil and the large size makes it great for groups. 

We think the Farberware Yosemite is one of the best camping coffee percolator coffee pot options. 

Bonus Option: Camp Drip Coffee Maker

One last option for large camping groups is a camping drip coffee pot. Just like your home coffee maker, a stovetop drip coffee maker filters ground coffee into a carafe. 

Most camp coffee drippers sit atop your gas stove and the heat boils the water before dripping through the coffee. Paper filters are required and most have a glass carafe.

If you travel by RV this is a good option for dry camping too. 

Pros

  • Good option for large groups
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Slow to brew

How to make coffee in a stove top drip coffee maker

What you need
  • Stovetop drip coffee maker
  • Ground Coffee
  • Water
Brewing Steps
  1. Fill your filter basket with coffee and add cold water to the reservoir
  2. Place on a gas stove top and switch heat on
  3. Wait for coffee to brew, then pour and enjoy

Best drip coffee maker for camping

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 carefully. 

But for coffee lovers looking for a drip coffee pot for camping, this is a great choice. 

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 or travel by RV 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 a more expensive campfire coffee pot 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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