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Guide to Coffee Makers Made for Camping

The majority of campers prioritize their transportation, equipment, safety, and items they’ll need for comfort and convenience while out in nature. These are their top priorities when planning a trip. But getting a quality caffeine fix in the middle of a forest or at the top of a mountain may be the top priority for campers who are coffee enthusiasts. For other folks, merely being able to operate well during the day requires their morning coffee. However, while on a camping trip, there are many things you must be ready to give up, but a decent cup of coffee does not have to be one of them. Fortunately, there are tons of ways for you to savor a delicious brew in the woods or in the mountain tops. From quick cups to meticulous pour-overs to effective crowd-pleasers for a group, there is a camp coffee maker for your morning coffee ritual.

Things to Consider in Choosing a Camping Coffee Maker

drip coffee, outdoor

If you’re dedicated to making your own coffee out in the woods or in the mountain tops, you have to first consider the type of coffee maker you’re going to bring with you, especially if you’re planning on backpacking on this camping trip of yours. Because no matter how much you love coffee, you have to love yourself more. You don’t want to make stops every 5-10 meters to rest due to the heavy load you’re carrying. So, consider the following in choosing a coffee maker to bring with you.

  • Size and weight – This is particularly important if you’re planning on backpacking for obvious reasons. You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy and bulky coffee maker in addition to the already heavy and bulky camping equipment and gears you’re carrying. But, if you’re camping in an RV, you could probably opt for a more bigger and more functional coffee maker.
  • Typical group size – When you go camping with friends, it’s always nice to have someone to drink your coffee with. No talking required. Just each other’s company as you sip a decent cup of camp coffee, with the fresh mountain air and the beautiful scenery of nature. Consider the typical number of people you go camping with in choosing a coffee maker. It would be a shame if only you were the one with coffee in hand. Also, it would be such a hassle if you’d have to make coffee multiple times to accommodate your group’s coffee needs.
  • Speed – You’re out in the woods, far from civilization and comfort, it’s best to make your coffee making ritual more efficient and less hassle. Consider the time you will need to make your morning cup of energy in choosing your coffee maker. We know there are hardcore campers out there who are comfortable with the uncomfortable (and sometimes even crave for the uncomfortable), but there’s nothing wrong with finding comfort in the familiar things – like, a decent, hot coffee in the cold windy breeze of the outdoors.
  • Ease of clean up – Again, you’re already in a relatively slightly inconvenient place to make coffee (although, not at all times), don’t make the clean up twice as hard. Take into consideration the time and effort you have to put into cleaning after you use your coffee maker.

Coffee Makers for Camping

We have listed a variety of camp coffee brewing techniques for you to choose from, ranging from the lightest and most basic to the bulkiest and most complex. Though each has its own  advantages and disadvantages, you will need to choose the coffee brewing method that best suits your preferences.

Instant Coffee – Instant coffee is perfect for both camping and backpacking because it is compact, lightweight, simple to prepare, and requires almost no cleanup. This method is perfect for anyone who wants an absolutely quick, hassle-free, impossible to mess up morning coffee-making experience or who has a motivation to save space or weight. If you’ve had unsatisfactory instant coffee experiences in the past, we’re here to tell you that instant coffee has undergone a lot of innovation recently. An explosion of delicious tasting instant coffees has been developed. If it’s been a while since you’ve tasted instant coffee, it could be worthwhile to try a few of these brands.

Coffee Bag – Steeping a teabag has a lovely simplicity to it. Why not use the same logic to coffee? A coffee in a bag is perfect for anyone who prefers to forego using instant coffee while also not wanting to bother with a coffee maker. Additionally, coffee-in-a-bag often tastes more like a regular cup of coffee than instant coffee because the grounds don’t need to dissolve into the liquid. The best and unique feature of this coffee-in-a-bag is that creating your own coffee “teabag” is simple. Simply put the center of a standard coffee filter with ground coffee in it. Gather the filter’s sides together and knot them together with a thread or string, leaving a tailing end.

Single Serving Pour-Overs – Single-serving pour-overs, which include pre-ground coffee on a foldable paper pour-over stand, are the next level up from instant coffee and coffee-in-a-bag (at least in terms of convenience). Single serve pour-overs are great for those who want the enhanced flavor of a pour-over but want to minimize their backpack weight and conserve space (and don’t mind packing out wet grounds). While it’s true that you’ll need to pack out the paper filter and the wet grounds (more so for hikers than for car campers), the coffee you’ll have will taste much more like a standard pour-over. Single-serve pour-overs can be a particularly appealing substitute for instant coffee because they are offered in a compact, light-weight box. Same with coffees-in-a-bag, you can also create your own single serve pour-overs. Single-brew paper pour-overs are available either online or in the supermarket. Then, you can either pre-fill them at home and store them in zip-lock bags to maintain freshness while also keeping the coffee grounds in place, or you can fill them with your preferred ground coffee while camping.

Pour-over Stand – In relation to single serve pour-overs, you may consider using a pour-over stand if “cost per use” is more important to you than “easy of use”. There are various lightweight, portable, and robust pour-over stands designed primarily for campers, unlike the fragile porcelain pour-over stands typically used in coffee shops. This method is perfect for coffee enthusiasts. Particularly those who prefer to grind their own beans at the campsite. This technique actually does extract a lot of flavor from the coffee, which is why baristas prefer to use it. It works well for 1-2 persons because this procedure takes time.

AeroPress Coffee Maker – This is a crowd favorite among avid campers who are also coffee lovers. The Aeropress makes exceptionally rich and smooth coffee by combining a pour-over, French press, and pneumatic press. For the past few years, the Aeropress has been the campers’ go-to camp coffee maker because of its efficient brew time, incredibly easy cleanup, and small size. This method is suitable for RVers, vehicle campers, van lifers, and coffee-obsessed backpackers. It works for groups of 2-4 people as long as you have some patience because it brews one cup at a time.

Camping French Press – The normal glass carafe is not really made for the rugged life of camping, despite the fact that many people prefer the simplicity of a French press. It is therefore best to leave the glass at home and purchase a sturdy camping-style French press instead. The French press uses a lot more (coarse) grounds than other methods and requires more cleaning than many other options in this list, but it’s great for making a lot of coffee with little work. A camping french press is perfect for anyone who appreciates a sensible brewing method that yields rich, deep coffee. For smaller groups of 2-4 people, this is a wonderful alternative.

Cook Systems With French Press Attachments – French press plungers are offered by many integrated cook systems. With this method, t he amount of equipment you need to carry is reduced because these plungers are made to function with these rapid hot water generators. If you already utilize your integrated cook system in the front country to quickly make hot water, this approach is great. Or perhaps you really, really enjoy drinking French press coffee when traveling and don’t mind carrying the wet grounds out.

Stove-Top Percolator – Coffee lover campers have trusted on the reliable old-fashioned percolator for years. A metal basket containing coffee grounds is connected to by a metal tube. Water percolates up the tube and into the basket as it boils. Using a camp stove or campfire, this technique works excellent for brewing large volumes of strong coffee. The efficiency of this brew method for small and/or large groups will depend on the size of the percolator. This is a decent choice for RVers, vanlifers, and vehicle campers.

Moka Pot & Portable Espresso Makers – The Moka Pot might suit you if you enjoy robust Italian coffee. Extra-strong Italian coffee made with this stovetop espresso maker can be enjoyed on its own or blended with hot water to create an Americano. You won’t ever need to buy or dispose paper filters because the Moka pot has a built-in metal filter basket.

Morning coffee is one convenience of home that is difficult to leave behind, regardless of how rough you intend to get or how light you intend to keep your load. Fortunately, and as obviously listed above, there is no shortage of portable coffee makers for campers who need a caffeine boost. All you have to do now is to choose and purchase. 

If you want to learn more about coffee makers, you may also check out our Guide to Picking the Best Coffee Maker for You.

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