Coffee and camping. It's the perfect combination for outdoor lovers who can't seem to part with their beloved morning cup of Joe. But, sometimes, the thought of lugging around an espresso machine or a complicated French press on a hike can be intimidating.
Luckily, you don't need to give up your favorite caffeine fix just because you're on the trail. In fact, there are plenty of ways to make great coffee while camping, so you won't miss a single sip!
In this article, we'll cover all the best methods for making coffee while camping in any setting. We'll talk about which brew methods work best in each environment, how to set up your apparatus and grind your beans, and more. By the end, you'll have all the information you need to make delicious coffee while enjoying nature! And without further ado, let's get started!
The Best Ways To Make Coffee While Camping
We could spend days talking about all the different coffee brewing methods out there. But when it comes to making coffee on the go—especially in an outdoor setting—there are three main methods that work best: pour over, immersion brews (like French Press or Aeropress), and Boil & Brew (or Cowboy Coffee). Let's take a look at each one in more detail:
#1 Pour Over
Pour over is a great method for getting full flavor from your beans when camping with limited equipment. All you need is a filter (which can be anything from paper filters or cloth filters) and some kind of heat source (like an open flame stove).
The trick here is timing—you want to let the water dwell on top of the grounds long enough to extract but not so long that it becomes bitter or astringent. Pour overs also allow for complete control over extraction time and temperature which makes them great for dialing in your perfect cup.
Pour Over Equipment & Set-Up
- Filter - You can use either paper filters like Melitta or Hario V60 filters, or reusable cloth filters like those from Kone or Able Disk;
- Kettle - A pour over kettle gives you precise control over pouring and water temperature;
- Grinder – Depending on where you’re camping (car camping versus backpacking) will determine what type of grinder you should bring;
- Scale – This helps ensure that each pour over has consistent grounds-to-water ratios;
#2 Immersion Brews
Immersion brews are another great way to make good coffee while backpacking or car camping since they require minimal equipment and setup time. They’re often referred to as “full immersion” brews because they steep in hot water instead of being strained through gravity (as with pour over). Examples include French Press and Aeropress—both popular among campers due to their simplicity and robust flavor profiles..
Immersion Brew Equipment & Set-Up
- French Press – A plunger style brewer that steeps grounds directly into hot water before plunging them down into a beaker;
- Aeropress – A cylinder style brewer that uses air pressure instead of gravity to push hot water through grounds;
- Grinder – Again depending on where you’re camping will determine what type of grinder you should bring;
- Scale – As before helps ensure that each brew has consistent grounds-to-water ratios;
#3 Boil & Brew
Boil & Brew refers to any method of making coffee by boiling ground beans in hot water directly on an open flame stovetop. It’s often referred to as “Cowboy Coffee” due its roots in American frontier culture—it was/is traditionally made by cowboys out herding cattle without access to electric kettles or elaborate apparatus.
This method is great if weight is an issue since all you need is ground beans, hot water, and something heatproof enough to hold both together like a stainless steel mug with lid Or aluminum pot). Boil & Brew is also the quickest way for campers looking for an instant caffeine fix since it only takes minutes from start to finish!
Boil & Brew Equipment & Set-Up
- Beans – Preferably freshly ground medium coarse so that they don’t slip through mesh percolator basket/grind too fine, which results in astringency;
- Kettle/Pot – Anything heatproof enough AND light enough so as not add extra weight to your campaign bags;
- Mug - Make sure to have a durable mug to pour your coffee into that can travel in a backpack or small bag
There are a variety of different ways that you can brew coffee on your next camping trip. Make sure to find the style that fits best for you based on the three different ways to brew:
- Pour over
- Immersion Brew
- Boil & Brew
The most important factor you will want to consider for your camping experience is your coffee set up. Plan ahead by having all the equipment you need to be able to make a great cup of coffee while in the great outdoors. The only thing left to do after that is have an amazing adventure.