How To Make Coffee While Camping

By: | Updated: April 13, 2021

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website.

There is nothing better than having a freshly brewed cup of coffee while out in the wilderness.

Making a good cup of coffee while camping requires some preparation and tools. Depending on how much time you are willing to dedicate in making the coffee and how much load you’re willing to carry, there are plenty of ways to brew coffee outdoors.

We will list 8 different ways on how to make coffee while camping. They range from very easy with few tools required, to more specialized ways. Let’s get started!

How to Make Coffee While Camping

how to make coffee while camping

1. Instant Coffee / Espresso

If you’re looking for a simple, lightweight, and easily packable brewing method while camping, then, instant coffee is arguably the best choice.

Unfortunately, with instant coffee or espresso you’re trading flavor for convenience as they don’t have the best reputation when it comes to taste.

Thankfully, a lot of advancements have been made for instant coffee and excellent tasting instant coffee can be easily found.

Brewing Complexity:

Very Easy

Ideal For:

Camping, hiking, backpacking, and anyone else who wants a quick cup of coffee outdoors without carrying much weight.

Brewing Method:

While each brand has its own instructions on how to prepare instant coffee / espresso, the general idea is the same.

You put the instant coffee grounds into a cup and add boiling water. Wait a few seconds until all the coffee is dissolved and you’re done. 

2. French Press

When you think of making coffee while camping, you probably aren’t thinking of fancy French presses.

However, French press coffee makers are excellent for outdoor brewing as they come in durable materials such as copper, borosilicate glass, and double-walled stainless steel – making them excellent for retaining heat even when brewing outdoors. 

The selling point of French presses though is that they are very portable, lightweight, and very easy to use. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced coffee maker, you will have a perfect cup in less than 5 minutes!

We love the Coffee Gator French Press because it has a travel canister and comes in very robust material!

Brewing Complexity:

Very Easy

Ideal For:

All outdoor activities.

Brewing Method:

  • Add one tablespoon of coffee grounds per cup inside the press.
  • Boil one cup of water per serving and let it cool for a few seconds.
  • Pour half of the water and let the coffee bloom for one minute.
  • Add the rest of the water and let it steep for 3 to 4 minutes. The longer you let it steep, the stronger the brew.
  • Press the plunger down to filter the coffee grounds from the brew.
  • Pour your coffee in a mug and enjoy.

3. Cowboy Method

The cowboy method is a simple and old-fashioned way to brew coffee.

Since it’s brewed over a campfire or a camping stove, it is ideal for the outdoors where resources can be limited.

All you need is a vessel of some sort which can be either a pot or a kettle, and an open flame. We like the option from Stansport as it comes with 4 mugs.

Brewing Complexity:

Easy

Ideal For:

Light packers

Brewing Method:

To brew coffee using the cowboy method, you need to:

  1. Boil the water on the kettle or pot.
  2. Let the water cool for 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add your coffee grounds to the kettle and stir. You will hear a sizzling sound as soon as the coffee makes contact with the water.
  4. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Once the coffee grounds settle at the bottom of your kettle, pour the coffee slowly into a cup and enjoy.

4. Moka Pot / Stovetop Coffee Makers

Moka pots or stove top coffee makers are coffee brewers originating from Europe.

Today, they are slowly becoming popular in the US as they produce a strong and rich brewed coffee. In fact, the brew is the closest you can get to an espresso without an espresso machine!

Moka pots are made of aluminum, which makes them suitable to be used on a campfire stove. However, one advice we can give is to not choose a Moka with a plastic handle since they don’t last very long when used over a campfire. 

We highly recommend Moka pots that are suitable for camping if you’re planning on using it over a campfire.

Brewing Complexity:

Easy

Ideal For:

Any outdoor activity

Brewing Method:

To brew coffee using a Moka pot:

  1. Unscrew the top portion and remove the coffee filter.
  2. Pour water into the bottom chamber just below the lip.
  3. Add fine ground coffee to the filter.
  4. Reattach the coffee filter to the bottom chamber and put the Moka pot back together.
  5. Place the Moka pot over a campfire burner and turn it to medium-high heat. Very important: Make sure that you maintain a consistent level of heat regardless of heating source used.
  6. At boiling point, the Moka pot will make a “popping” sound indicating that the coffee is brewing. As soon as the sound is over, remove the moka pot from the heat.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy.

5. Coffee Bags

Sometimes you just want to have a good cup of coffee while camping without having to carry a lot of equipment with you. If this fits your description, then coffee bags will perfectly suit your needs.

Just like brewing tea with a teabag, coffee bags provide a simple way to brew coffee. In the old days, coffee bags used to be terrible due to the subpar quality of the coffee grounds inside them, however, many startups are now starting to create coffee bags with high-quality sourced coffee inside them.

While we still prefer the other methods on this list, coffee bags are a great option if you want a quick cup and don’t want to carry any brewing equipment on your camping trip.

Coffee bags also have one distinct advantage – the bags are entirely biodegradable, perfect for reducing trash while on your adventure!

Brewing Complexity:

Very Easy

Ideal For:

Short camping and hiking trips

Brewing Method:

  1. Place the coffee bag into a cup and fill with boiling water.
  2. Steep until your desired strength is reached and remove the coffee bag.

So simple and easy! If you can brew a cup of tea, then you can brew using coffee bags just as easily!

6. AeroPress

This is by far one of our favorite ways to brew coffee. The AeroPress is a cross between a classic pour-over, French press, and a pneumatic press. This inventive brewing method delivers incredibly smooth, rich, and aromatic coffee. 

For those on the go, the AeroPress is perfect as it’s lightweight and doesn’t have many moving parts.

The AeroPress is also super easy to clean since once you’re finished brewing, the used coffee grounds are compressed into a small puck, making them easy to discard.

Brewing Complexity:

Easy

Ideal For:

Car camping, RV life, backpacking.

Brewing Method:

There are two main ways to brew using an AeroPress – Top Down and Inverted. For both methods, you need fine espresso ground coffee as that works the best here.

Top Down 

  1. Insert the filter and place the base of the AeroPress over your cup.
  2. Put coffee grounds into the base.
  3. Pour over a little bit of hot water to wet the coffee grounds and degas them. Then fill all the way to the top.
  4. As soon as water starts slowly dripping into your cup, wait for 10  to 15 seconds.
  5. Depress the plunger.

Inverted 

  1. Place the AeroPress on a flat surface facing up.
  2. Dump the coffee grounds into the base.
  3. Pour over a little bit of hot water to degas the grounds.
  4. Fill the AeroPress with water and wait.
  5. Attach the filter to the top and place your cup upside down on top of the filter.
  6. Carefully flip the AeroPress and the cup over.
  7. Depress plunger.

The top down brewing method is similar to pour-over brewing, while the inverted is similar to French press brewing. 

Both the top down and inverted methods work extremely well and the final choice depends on you. 

7. Percolator

Coffee percolators is one of the oldest brewing methods and it is ideal for a large group of campers. Although electric percolators are starting to become popular, the most well-known version is the classic coffee percolator which goes over a campfire.

Percolators are very large, brewing 8 to 12 cups depending on the model, which makes them great for stationary trips outdoors.

As you can expect, percolators can be quite heavy so they are not suitable for those wanting to go on longer trips that require constant movement.

They are also very durable and have excellent heat retention as they are usually made out of enamel. Coffee percolators come with a reusable filter, perfect for keeping trash at a minimum while camping.

The biggest downside of coffee percolators is that the final brew doesn’t taste as great, however, if you’re looking for a simple hot cup of coffee on your camping trip, no other brewing method fits the camping spirit like coffee percolators. 

There’s something truly special about sitting outdoors brewing your coffee over a campfire!

Brewing Complexity:

Easy

Ideal For:

Stationary Camping

Brewing Method:

  1. Disassemble the coffee percolator and fill with cold water.
  2. Put the coffee grounds in the provided filter and place it into the coffee percolator pot.
  3. Place the lid.
  4. Place the coffee percolator over open fire or a heating element.
  5. Let the water come to a boil. As water boils it will bubble up through the grounds.
  6. Let the percolator boil for 4 to 6 minutes.
  7. Remove coffee percolator from heat and enjoy your coffee!

The Essential Accessories For Making Coffee While Camping

If you’re an avid camper, you know that being unprepared can ruin your trip. The same can be said with brewing coffee outdoors!

Even if you like to pack lightly, adding a few essential coffee accessories will elevate your camping experience.

To help you create a great coffee experience while you’re camping, here’s a few suggestions on what accessories or items are essential for added comfort and quality.

Manual Coffee Grinder

If you want to enjoy the full aromas and tastes of your coffee, grinding your coffee fresh is highly recommended.

Manual or hand coffee grinders were originally invented for camping. They are lightweight, durable, and portable. Some models even have built-in measuring tools to make grinding outdoors easier.

Miniature Measuring Scales

If you’re a coffee aficionado, you know that the right ratios are key for a good cup of coffee.

Bringing a miniature measuring scale on your trip will allow you to brew using accurate ratios which in the end provide for a better extraction.

Not only that, brewing using accurate measurements will help you minimize waste while camping. If you don’t want to measure ratios while on your trip, consider doing it before and store the portions separately.

Final Thoughts

Brewing coffee outdoors has to be one of the most enjoyable experiences while camping. Today, we are fortunate enough to not only have a wide range of tools to make brewing on-the-go easier, but the methods to make coffee have expanded as well.

The brewing methods on our list are some of our favorites. Which one is yours?

Avatar
by Brett