How To Make Coffee While Camping: Essential Tips And Tools

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
How To Make Coffee While Camping

How to Make Coffee While Camping: Camping and coffee might seem like an odd combination, but they truly go hand in hand.Two cups of coffee made camping style. As an avid hiker and rock climber, I’ve spent countless nights under the stars. While I can skip fancy meals and basic hygiene for the sake of adventure, I can’t compromise on fresh coffee. Caffeine is essential before tackling a long day on the trail or climbing a cliff.In this article, I’ll explore various methods to make coffee while camping and review the best gear I’ve tested, whether you’re deep in the wilderness or at a cozy campground.

How to Make Coffee While Camping: 5 Ways To Make

Choosing the right coffee brewing method is essential for making great camp coffee. While camping coffee might lack the precision of home brewing, it offers a unique and enjoyable experience. Like many other coffee moments, I think it’s all about where you are, how you are feeling at the time, who you are with.”. Here are the top five methods to brew coffee while camping, along with my recommendations for the best coffee makers for each method.

1. French Press

A French press is perfect for camping due to its simplicity. Opt for a metal French press, as glass ones are too fragile for the outdoors. They can be heavy, so they are better suited for car camping.

Top Pick: The Stanley Adventure All-In-One. This stainless steel press doubles as a camping pot, eliminating the need for a separate water boiler.

2. Moka Pot

A Moka pot brews strong coffee using steam pressure, similar to espresso. Choose an aluminum model for its durability and light weight.

Top Pick: The Primula Moka Pot. It’s affordable, durable, and easy to use. For specialized camping, consider a camping-specific Moka pot.

3. Percolator

Percolators are excellent for brewing large quantities of coffee at once. Just place it over a flame and let it brew.

Top Pick: The Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator. It can make up to 12 cups, ideal for serving a group. It’s best used in a campground rather than for hiking.

4. Pour Over

Pour over coffee is great for camping, though you’ll need to pack filters. It offers a high-quality brew even in the great outdoors.

Top Pick: The plastic Hario V60. It’s the same dripper used by professional baristas and is perfect for backpacking. For a dedicated camping option, try the Wacaco Cuppamoka, which has a built-in travel mug.

5. Aeropress

The Aeropress is my favorite for camping due to its ease of use, lightweight design, and excellent coffee. It’s also easy to clean.

Top Pick: The Aeropress Go. It includes a coffee cup that doubles as a carrying case. If you already have the Original Aeropress, simply pair it with a travel mug for a great camping setup.

My Camp Coffee Recipe

I’ve experimented with various coffee brewing methods while camping, but the Aeropress remains my top choice. Here’s my go-to camp coffee recipe:


  • 15 grams medium-fine ground coffee
  • 12 ounces water
  • Aeropress
  • Pot or kettle


  1. Boil Water: Heat water using your preferred method (camping stove, campfire, JetBoil). Use a bit of the hot water to preheat your camp mug.
  2. Prepare Aeropress: Place a paper filter in the Aeropress filter cap and screw it onto the brew chamber.
  3. Add Coffee Grounds: Measure out 15 grams of coffee (about one heaping Aeropress scoop) and add it to the brew chamber.
  4. Cool Boiling Water: Remove the boiling water from the heat source and let it sit for 30 seconds to cool slightly.
  5. Fill Brew Chamber: Pour water into the Aeropress brew chamber up to the (3) mark. Attach the plunger and pull it up slightly to create a seal, preventing leakage. Let it steep for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  6. Press and Serve: Gently press the steeped coffee into your preheated mug. Top off your mug with additional hot water to taste.

Enjoy your perfectly brewed camp coffee!

How Do You Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker For Camping?

If you’re looking to make coffee while camping without the hassle of carrying a coffee maker, cowboy coffee is your answer. This simple method uses just a pot and mimics the immersion process of a French press but without a filter. Despite its rough reputation, cowboy coffee can be delicious when done right. Historically, it was known for quality because it was always made with freshly roasted and ground beans. Here’s a straightforward recipe to make a single cup. You can easily adjust it to brew larger quantities for a group or to fill a thermos for later enjoyment.


  • 2 tablespoons of medium-ground coffee
  • 1 cup of water
  • Camping pot


  1. Boil Water: Heat one cup of water over a campfire or camp stove.
  2. Cool Water: Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for 30 seconds to reach the ideal brewing temperature.
  3. Add Coffee: Stir in the coffee grounds and mix for 15 seconds.
  4. First Steep: Let the coffee sit for 2 minutes. On a cold morning, cover the pot and wrap it with a spare piece of clothing to retain heat.
  5. Stir Again: Stir the mixture for another 15 seconds, then let it steep for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Pour: Slowly pour the coffee into your mug, leaving the grounds at the bottom of the pot.

For more variations, including methods using eggshells, a coffee bag, or a sock, check out my detailed Cowboy Coffee Recipe.

Freshly Ground Coffee Beans Taste Better

Bringing a coffee grinder on your camping trip ensures the freshest taste, but it depends on your situation. For long backpacking trips where every ounce matters, pre-grind your coffee at home, measure out servings, and store them in Ziploc bags.

If you’re car camping or on a short hike to your campsite, a manual grinder is worth the extra weight. The Porlex Mini II grinder is a great choice as it fits inside the Aeropress, creating a compact coffee kit. For more rugged adventures, the VSSL Java grinder is extremely durable, though it is heavier, making it ideal for bike-packing trips.

How Do You Make Espresso While Camping?

Making espresso while camping is challenging due to the high pressure required, but it’s definitely possible with the right tools.

Portable Espresso Makers

For high-quality backcountry espresso, Wacaco is a leading brand. Their travel espresso makers use a hand-powered pumping mechanism, similar to a bicycle pump, to generate the necessary 9 bars of pressure.

  • Wacaco Picopresso: This model excels in espresso quality but requires precise adjustments to achieve the perfect shot, similar to a traditional espresso machine. It performs best with freshly ground beans.
  • Wacaco Nanopresso: Ideal for a quick and easy shot, the Nanopresso is simpler to use and works with pre-ground coffee. It also includes a built-in espresso cup for convenience.

What About A Camping Latte?

Creating a camping latte is possible with the Espresso Maker, which functions like an enhanced Moka pot. It achieves high pressures for espresso extraction and includes a steam wand for frothing milk. Due to its weight, it’s best for drive-in camping spots.

Alternatively, a battery-powered handheld milk frother can be used with your espresso maker. Although it won’t produce the same quality of microfoam as a steam wand, it’s a lightweight solution for making a cappuccino in the wilderness.

When Is Instant Coffee The Right Choice?

Instant coffee has significantly improved from the bitter powders of the past. There are now high-quality instant coffee options that are perfect for ultra-lightweight backpacking or multi-day climbing trips. These packets are pre-measured, often include additives like creamer or sweeteners, and require no brewing gear.

Final Thoughts

There are various ways to make camp coffee, each suited to different camping styles. If you’re camping with family, a percolator might be best. For a couple’s retreat, consider a French press or Moka pot. For extreme outdoor adventures, instant coffee is the way to go.

My personal favorite for brewing coffee in nature is the Aeropress. It’s lightweight, durable, easy to use, and consistently produces strong and delicious coffee.

How do you make and enjoy coffee while camping? Share your methods in the comments below!