How to make coffee while camping?

Discover the Perfect Cup: Camping Coffee Methods. From pour-over to instant, choose your ideal brew for outdoor adventures.


There's nothing quite like sipping a delicious cup of campfire coffee surrounded by pine trees and the crisp mountain air. From instant coffee to stovetop espresso, we're here to share lots of the different methods for brewing a perfect cup of coffee while camping.


1. Manual Pour-Over Coffee Maker


For those who enjoy making pour-over coffee at home, a reliable collapsible pour-over coffee maker is a great choice (it provides a similar experience), and it's also suitable for anyone looking to save space and weight.

Just unfold the silicone model, place a filter with coffee grounds inside, and you're good to go. You'll need to find a method to heat water separately, but then you can simply pour hot water over the grounds, just like at home. Remember to wet the coffee grounds first to let them "bloom." Then pour slowly and steadily, ensuring even extraction of all the coffee grounds.

Once done, simply remove the filter from the dripper, give it a quick rinse, and fold it up



      Lightweight (4.8 ounces) and compact

      Quick and easy cleaning


      Requires a separate method to heat water

      Need to carry coffee filters and pack them out


2. Manual Travel Mug Method


Our next option is the pour-and-go travel mug method. These mugs combine many of the great features of a simple pour-over cup, but they can be a bit pricey and less portable.

You still need to boil water separately, but then you pour the water over the coffee grounds, similar to a regular pour-over process. If you're feeling extra clever, look for models with built-in filters. Some mugs come with steel filters, so you won't need to carry any filters or deal with used ones (although you'll need to make sure to clean the steel filter properly after each use).

As an added bonus, travel mugs can insulate and keep your coffee hot. They can also be used for any other hot beverages or even as a vessel for some delicious outdoor cooking.


      No need to carry/dispose of filters

      Multi-purpose mug for other drinks or food


      Slightly heavier (10.2 ounces)

      Requires cleaning of metal filter



3. Immersion Filters


Our next suggestion is the immersion filter method. This approach is simple, just let the coffee steep in hot water and then ensure you don't drink any of the coffee grounds.

We like immersion-style filters because they're incredibly lightweight, and they're also great for steeping tea (if you're camping with non-coffee drinkers). Similar to the previous options, you still need to boil water using another method, but then you simply place the filled filter into your cup and pour in the hot water.

Wait a few minutes for everything to extract, then remove the filter and sip away. After enjoying your cup, make sure to empty the used coffee grounds from the filter and rinse away any remaining coffee.

This option is very convenient in terms of actual brewing, but we do admit that it might be a bit bulky to pack.


      Super lightweight (1.76 ounces)

      No need for filters




4. Coffee Sock


Next up is a bit of a especially method - the coffee sock. While technically a real sock could work, it's probably better to invest in a coffee sock specifically designed for this purpose.

The mechanism for this method is quite similar to the ones we've seen before. Simply fill the sock with coffee grounds, then immerse the contraption into a cup of hot water. Let it steep for a few minutes, then remove the sock and enjoy your tasty coffee.

This method certainly has a unique aspect to it, and it could be a fun way to add some novelty to your camping trip. Everyone will chuckle as you pull out the coffee sock - but they'll also be impressed by the simplicity of the method.

Cleaning up is a bit more involved than the straightforward immersion filters. The easiest way is to turn the fabric inside out and rinse off the coffee grounds. Over time, your sock is bound to get stained, but you can consider those stains as a record of good times.


      Very light (1.44 ounces) and easy to pack

      No need for filters


      Tricky to clean


5. Camping Pour-Over


When it comes to camping pour-over devices, there's more to explore than just the collapsible type we've seen earlier. There's a range of hand-brewing devices designed specifically for outdoor use. Besides the basic collapsible type, it's worth exploring other options - you might find a design that suits your preferences. These are especially great options for those who want a more gourmet cup of coffee in the morning.

We're particularly excited about a model from GSI Outdoors (pictured above) that features ingeniously designed legs to secure the filter over your cup. Simply fold the legs out and clip them to the cup. These should fit most cups - but be sure everything is secure before you start pouring. It would be a shame if a collapsing dripper wasted any precious water.

This particular model comes with a fabric filter, so you don't have to worry about dealing with paper filters. Plus, it folds up nicely, sliding into a crowded backpack with ease.

Overall, we're fond of this option, though the legs do appear a bit ungainly.


      Lightweight - 3.2 ounces

      No need for filters


      A bit unstable


6. French Press


For all the French press enthusiasts out there, it's a method that can certainly be taken into the wild. There are a variety of small French press models designed for camping, and it's worth exploring to find what suits you best.

Many of these models offer more than just coffee-making capabilities. For instance, you'll find options that allow you to boil water in one container (useful for cooking) and then brew your coffee in another. This could be handy. French press options definitely mean packing heavier and bulkier items, but if you can use it for dual purposes, it might be a good choice.

A nice benefit is that you don't need to deal with any filters. Cleaning is a breeze - just pour out the residue and give the press a quick rinse.

While a French press might add a touch of sophistication to your wild mornings, it does lack some of that rugged outdoor feel - but we still have more options to consider!


      Multi-functional: boil, brew, steep

      Brews more than one cup at a time


      Large and fairly heavy (10.1 ounces)



7. Drip Filters


Our next method takes us back to something you might have seen in old Western movies. The so-called "cowboy coffee" method is both reliable and straightforward. While it might not produce the best coffee, we appreciate its simplicity.

Just bring some water to a boil and pour it over the coffee grounds. Stir the mixture and let it boil for a few minutes. Once the coffee has fully extracted, carefully pour it into a cup. If you're feeling extra resourceful, take slow sips to avoid drinking too much of the coffee grounds. Alternatively, let the coffee grounds settle on the surface and carefully sip, leaving most of the grounds behind. You won't be able to avoid them all, but that's okay—it's all part of the rugged experience.

For an added twist, some people recommend boiling an egg in the coffee. The egg will quickly cook and blend all the coffee grounds together. This might make it easier to avoid drinking those pesky coffee grounds. While it's a bit unconventional, it's a fun way to add some character to your camping journey. Expect some laughs as you whip out your coffee-egg combo—but they'll also be impressed by the ingenuity of the method.

For making cowboy coffee, all you really need besides the basics is a kettle.


      No need for any fancy equipment

      Simple and quick


      Not the best taste

      Leaves coffee grounds in your cup


8. Instant Coffee: What's the Scoop?


While all these are wonderful and fun choices, they might not be the most practical when it comes to sleeping in a tent. Of course, the easiest thing to do when you're bleary-eyed in the mountains is to resort to simple instant coffee. But is that really the best option for your campsite?

For me personally, this has been the most convenient choice. Dependable instant coffee has helped me survive some challenging mornings on the road. In recent years, instant coffee has come a long way, and it's easy to find options that provide both caffeine and flavor.

While all the options above are great for those who truly want to brew coffee in the morning, it's worth checking out these instant options.


      Extremely simple

      Minimal cleanup


      Can be pricey

      Coffee might not be top-notch


Choosing Convenience for Outdoor Adventures


When making this decision, convenience is definitely the key consideration. While we all love coffee and would go to great lengths for a perfect brew, the second day of hauling coffee equipment up and down hills and struggling with unfamiliar conditions on the campsite is when you'll really appreciate having chosen the most convenient option.

And convenience isn't just about the brewing process. It extends to everything from packaging to how coffee equipment fits in limited space. You should also consider factors like whether you need to heat water over a fire or camp stove and what kind of cleaning will be required. All these little things become more challenging in unpredictable campsite conditions, so carefully consider these choices.

So, whether you're after the perfect pour-over or just need that quick caffeine fix, choose the method that fits your camping style and brings you the most joy. After all, there's nothing like a hot cup of coffee to make your outdoor adventure even more memorable.


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