How to Make Coffee While Camping – 10 Ways to Brew Coffee Outdoors

Ahhh, coffee, that energizing liquid with an unmatched aroma that tickles our nostrils in the morning. Coffee is more than a drink; it’s a lifestyle, an art, a passion. They say there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but you and your hot coffee seem to be as close to it as possible, isn’t that right? If you are committed to your relationship with coffee, you know what a struggle it can be to get your fix when you’re out and about in the wilderness. But rest assured – we’re here to show you that it can be done and teach you how to make coffee while camping


Supplies You Will Need to Make Coffee While Camping

To make coffee while camping, you will need to bring a few supplies and items with you. So Before you leave for your next trip, gather the following supplies and pack them with your camping gear.

1. Backpacking stove. 

You can’t make coffee with cold water, so you will need to find a way to boil it. You can bring a camp stove or go the traditional way by making a campfire and placing a kettle or coffee pot on top of it. Many types of camping cookware pots can also be used. Choose whatever works best for you.

Man with a coffee kettle on a camp stove

2. Coffee mugs. 

You can’t bring your porcelain cup with you on a backpacking trip, so you will need a lightweight alternative. Most campers go for stainless steel camping mugs, which are not only the most durable but also ensure heat retention (especially the vacuum-insulated ones).

3. Ground coffee. 

Unless you also want to bring a grinder with you, leave your coffee beans at home and pack fine grounds instead.

4. Water. 

Bottled water is heavy and takes up space. Luckily, you can typically find water in the wilderness. You can drink water from creeks, lakes, and rivers, but always be sure to treat the water before consuming it; you don’t want a nasty stomach bug, right? Make sure to bring a portable water filter or water purification tablets.

5. Additional supplies (optional).

Depending on the method you prefer, you may need one or more of the following: AeroPress, French press. moka pot, percolator, pour-over dripper, mason jar, coffee filter.



How to Make Coffee While Camping: 10 Bulletproof Methods 

1. Instant Coffee – The Ultimate Easy Way

Instant coffee gets a bad rap but things have changed a lot over the years. Many specialty coffee makers now offer tasty instant coffee made from high-quality beans. If you are not a big coffee connoisseur, chances are you will be able to live on instant coffee for a few days.

All you need to do is boil some water and pour it over a few spoonfuls of instant coffee. Stir and wait a few seconds until the powder is dissolved. We can’t imagine a simpler brewing method for a single serve.


2. Coffee Bag

Another lazy method of making coffee is to use coffee bags. These bags work just like a teabag. Just pop the bag into your mug, top it with hot water just off the boil, and brew for a couple of minutes. Now give the bag a squeeze with a spoon and you are done.

You can create your own coffee bag using a paper filter like the one you are probably using with your espresso maker. Just take the filter, lay it flat, fill it with ground coffee, then take some butcher’s twine and tie the filter closed. There you have it – your own homemade coffee bag.


3. Submersible Filter

Submersible filters are one of the fastest methods of brewing coffee on a camping trip. They are shaped like a cup because they go inside your mug. You need to fill the filter with coffee grounds and pour hot water. Let the grounds steep, then pull the filter out when the coffee is ready. Believe it or not, the quality of the coffee you get by using this method is actually pretty decent.


4. Cowboy Method

This is called the cowboy method because real cowboys have been doing it for years. Brewing coffee the cowboy way is also interesting because an eggshell is used to help with the process. The eggshell makes the coffee grounds deposit to the bottom of the pot, which is perfect for when you do not have a filter.

Three campers enjoying hot coffee in mugs

To make coffee using the cowboy method, you will need to pour one gallon of water into the coffee pot and place it over the flame to a full boil. After the water has boiled, simply place the grounds directly into the water and remove the pot from the heat. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes. The final step is adding the eggshell, but this is optional, so it is up to you.


5. Pour Over Method

If you are used to preparing your coffee in a standard coffee maker, you will be a pro at making coffee this way too. Boil some water in a pot or kettle and set a pour-over dripper on top of your mug. Make sure the cone filter is on too. Now add the coffee to the filter and pour boiling water over the grounds. Allow the water to seep through the filter, then add more water.

Man making pour over coffee outdoors

As you can probably tell by now, the pour-over method is a bit time-consuming. If you are making coffee for a group of people, you will probably want to choose a different method. We recommend the cowboy method.


6. Percolator

Percolators were very popular until the 1970s when they were replaced by automatic drip coffee makers. This type of pot works by continually cycling the boiling brew through the coffee grounds using gravity. Because the water will continue to go through this cycle over and over, your coffee will most likely turn out really strong.

To make coffee using a percolator, you need to remove the apparatus and fill the percolator with cold water. Then reinsert the apparatus and put ground coffee into the grounds basket. Heat the percolator over the camp stove or fire and brew to your liking. You will probably need to wait about 10 minutes for the coffee to be ready. You should also allow a few minutes for any grounds to settle. Finally, you can pour your java in a mug and enjoy!


7. Moka Pot

The moka pot was invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. It is still used today all around the world, especially in Europe and Latin America. Moka pots have three chambers: for water, for coffee grounds, and a final one for the finished blend.

To brew some delicious coffee in a moka pot, you need to unscrew the top portion and the coffee filter. Now pour water into the bottom section and place the coffee in the middle section. The serving section goes on top. When the water reaches the boiling point, you will see how the brewed coffee rises into the serving chamber.

You will get a strong espresso using this method. However, you should know that moka pots can be a bit heavy, so they are not exactly the most camping-friendly option.


8. French Press

The French press was invented in the mid-1800s by two Frenchmen and over the years, it has undergone several design modifications. What’s great about this method is that it allows you to control the ingredients. You decide the quantity of coffee, water temperature, and brewing period.

Pouring French Press Coffee While Camping

The cylindrical container is designed with a plunger (just like the AeroPress below) and a built-in metal filter screen that presses hot water through ground coffee. So, you will need to boil some water, remove the plunger to place the coffee, then add water and stir gently for a few seconds. Then reinsert the plunger and leave it to rest above the grounds. We’d say the average brew time is 4 minutes, but you can adjust it to your liking.


9. AeroPress

The AeroPress is a new kitchen appliance, at least compared to others discussed above. It was invented in 2005 by American inventor Alan Adler. It is quite similar to the French press if you think about it. coffee is steeped for 10 to 50 seconds and then forced through a filter by pressing the plunger through the cylindrical tube.

To make coffee using an AeroPress, the first step is to heat water to the desired temperature. Insert the AeroPress filter in the filter basket and attach the basket to the brew chamber. Place the assembled brew chamber on a sturdy camping mug and add ground coffee. Fill the brew chamber with hot water and stir for a few seconds. Allow to settle and drip, then add the remaining water. Insert the plunger and apply pressure until the plunger reaches the coffee grounds. Remove the AeroPress when you are done.


10. Cold Brew

Let’s say your camp stove does not work and you can’t seem to start a fire either. No reason to despair – cold brew coffee comes in to save the morning. This way of making coffee originated in Japan, where it has been a traditional method of brewing for centuries.

Also known as cold pressing, this is a process that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold/room temperature water for an extended period. You will normally want to allow the coffee to steep overnight for at least 12 hours. A mason jar works just perfectly for this. Afterward, use a coffee filter to separate the coffee from the grounds.



Final Thoughts – What Will It Be?

As you can see, there are quite a few ways to make a hot cup of java while camping. Which one you choose depends on various aspects such as:

  • Are you going camping or glamping?
  • Do you need/want to pack light, or do you not mind packing a little bit of extra weight?
  • How much time are you willing to spend waiting for your coffee to be ready?
  • Are you that fussy when it comes to coffee?

Regardless of the method you pick, one thing is for sure: bad coffee is still better than no coffee at all. So kick back, relax, and enjoy that cup of joe in the beautiful outdoors!


Happy Camping!

Do you have your own awesome method for making coffee at the campsite? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.


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