Make Coffee When Camping 

 June 26, 2019

By  Enda McLarnon

Making Coffee When Camping - The 8 Different Methods

There are many thousands of individuals who love camping, and also love drinking coffee. However as you know, it is not always that easy to use the same coffee brewing methods, when you don't have all the comforts and apparatus, that you would have in your kitchen

Worry not though, there are plenty of methods to make a great cup of coffee when you are camping. That can of course include the simple and quick cup of instant coffee.

All you really need for that is to boil some hot water, and add some instant coffee to that.

However, for most coffee lovers, the taste of instant coffee just doesn't quite cut it for them. People like to wake up in the morning, and have what coffee lovers will call "a great cup of coffee."

That of course means some ground coffee beans and some way of adding hot water to those.

As we mentioned it is just not always possible to have an electricity supply available, nor is it possible to carry your coffee machine around with you, so let's have a closer look at the various options.

how to make coffee when camping

Different Methods for Making Coffee When Camping or Hiking

Below we will list the many different methods available, so as you can see the many choices that are available.

  1. Use instant coffee
  2. Use coffee bags
  3. Percolator
  4. Cowboy coffee (coffee grounds and hot water)
  5. Filter/Drip Coffee
  6. Portable Coffee Systems - Jetboil etc
  7. Use an Aeropress
  8. Stovetop Espresso
  9. Hand Press Options

1. Use Instant Coffee

If you want the simplest method, then this is it. All you need is some instant coffee and hot water. Pour the water on the granules and then add some milk/sugar if that is your preference.

Many people will take some instant coffee in an airtight tub just for that purpose. At the end of the day, coffee granules are really light, and they don't take up a lot of room in your pack or case.

All you need to do then is boil up some water and you are good to go. You can also buy small individual sachets of coffee which are light and as such very easy to carry.

2. Use Coffee Bags

The next simplest method is of course the simple coffee bag. If you have water and a coffee bag, then again this is a very simple method. Like the method above you just pour some water into a cup or mug, and then dunk your coffee bag.

If you like your coffee strong then just leave it in for a longer period of time. There are plenty of choices for coffee bags, and these include a few decaf options.

The coffee tastes like filter coffee, so if you like that taste, then the humble coffee bag is a great option.

These are light to carry, and some of them come with a foiled seal, so easy to carry around with you.

3. Use a Percolator

This method remains a firm favourite of many campers and hikers. This is the old fashioned enamel or metal percolator that you heat over a stove or even over a camp fire.

This does make very strong coffee and many people really enjoy it. If you have used an electric version at home, then the brewing principle is exactly the same. If you know there is an electric outlet at your camp site, then it may be worth bringing your percolator along.

Most campers though will use a stove top version. You fill the pot with water, add the ground coffee to the basket, put the lid on the basket and push the whole tube and assembly into the percolator.

You simply place the percolator on the fire, (ideally on a grate) and wait for the brewing process to take place.

This usually takes a bit of time so you will need to be patient. You need to let the water percolate for about 15 minutes to get the right strength of coffee.

You can Read about Percolators by clicking here.

4. Use the old Cowboy Method

Personally this old fashioned method cowboy method would not be top of my list, but some people like the brewing method, and the old camp fire routine of making this coffee. There are a couple of methods for doing this. One tastes good and the other really tastes quite horrible.

Let's have a look at the horrible method so as you can avoid that at all costs. That method involves adding some coffee grounds to water and boiling the water. Once that happens you add a little cold water to the coffee, which helps push the grounds to the bottom. It does taste pretty bad in our opinion.

This method is for hardened coffee drinkers who can stand this particular taste.

The second method is to boil water and then remove the pot from the water, and let it rest for about half a minute. Add some finely ground coffee to the water, and then stir the mixture. Let it brew again for about 2 minutes and then stir again.

Repeat that process either one or two times, and then add some cold water. That will make a much better cup of cowboy coffee. We think it still tastes pretty bad, but still better than instant coffee.

How to make coffee outdoors

5. Use a Java Press System (French Press)

This method is growing in popularity. It works on the same principle as a French Press that you would use at home. There are a couple of different types of these and they are made by Gsi and the Zyliss brands.

The device is a mug and carafe which are separated. That stops the grains getting mixed in and avoids over brewed coffee. It uses a silicone ring plunger.

The mug is also insulated to keep your coffee hot and then most of these models have a sip it style lid. They are made of lightweight polypropylene.

6. Use a Portable Coffee System

There are quite a few portable coffee systems that people use when camping. In fact this method is becoming ever more popular with both campers and hikers alike.

The portable espresso maker is a small lightweight coffee maker aimed at making you espresso coffee when you are out and about on your travels.

You essentially use your hands to create the pump pressure, and you can get up to 18 bars of pressure.

Most home coffee machines generate around 16 bars, so this portable one is right up there with those. You add boiling water to the tank, add your coffee grains and then manually pump the water through the coffee.

We were impressed the first time we used this portable coffee system. We think it takes a little bit of practise to master this brewing technique, but it certainly works really well.

These are not a cheap purchase, so really does depend how much you like your coffee.

7. Use an Aeropress

The Aeropress is another handy and popular option for some campers. Like many of the methods listed, all you need for this one is hot water, and of course you will need to own or buy the Aeropress coffee maker.

There are a few parts to carry around with this option, but the reality is they all fit neatly into a bag, so not that big of a deal really.

It is also a very light coffee maker and that does make it very popular for campers and hikers.

Many people use this at home to make a brew that they can then take to work with them. That saves a few pounds going to the coffee shop every morning. We like the Aeropress for camping as it makes good quality coffee very quickly. The actual press time is about 20 seconds.

what buyers liked is that you can make an AeroPress coffee and clean up in literally 2 minutes. The process is basic which is to add a scoop of coffee, then add the hot water and stir.

Put the filter in the lid. turn it over and press. The cleaning up process is little more than ejecting the puck into a bin.

8. Use a Stovetop Espresso (My Favourite)

This is my favourite method of making great tasting coffee when camping out. You will of course need to own or buy an espresso, suitable to use on a stove top.

It then depends what type of cooking equipment you have to cook on. Some may have a gas stove for example and this type of maker can be used with a stove.

Even if you have no gas stove, this small pot can still be used on an open fire, though you will need to be careful. It will also make the pot turn pretty black, so will need regular cleaning.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon has a Business Management Honour's Degree and applies his professional insight, to analyse and write helpful product reviews with tips and useful advice. I am also a coffee lover and enjoy tasting all of the coffee types the world has to offer.

Enda McLarnon

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