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Imagine waking up to the harmonious twitter of birds. You breathe in the crisp, clean air. When you emerge into the dappled morning sunshine, you’re met by the enticing aroma of the best camping coffee ever. Is there a more perfect way to start a morning while camping than with piping hot java?
There’s no reason why your camp coffee shouldn’t be as delicious and satisfying as your morning cup of coffee on any other day. You don’t need to resort to instant coffee or boiled coffee while camping. To get the best camping coffee, start with a good coffee maker. Here we rounded up a variety of camping coffee makers to fit a variety of brew methods and camp styles.
Camping coffee makers come in a range of styles. Here we rounded up 10 options to make the best camping coffee you’ve ever had. Whether you need an espresso maker or want the convenience of an automatic drip coffee maker, we’re certain you will find the best camping coffee maker for you. And most of these products brew coffee in the same time it takes to make instant coffee.
The AeroPress coffee maker is a manual espresso maker and is known for making exceptional coffee. It works with plunger action to create pressure. When you use a higher grounds to water ratio, the AeroPress can make a strong coffee that is similar to an espresso.
The original AeroPress espresso maker is designed for home use, but it is lightweight, making it easy to use as a camping coffee maker. It includes a coffee filter holder, funnel, scoop, stirrer, and filters.
To use as originally intended, you place the filter and coffee in the chamber. The funnel is included to help direct the coffee into the narrow chamber. Then fill the chamber with hot water. Let it sit for one minute, then press the plunger to force the water through the coffee.
The main drawback of the AeroPress coffee maker is the small yield. While AeroPress says it makes 1-3 cups, this refers to shots of coffee.
The AeroPress Go is also a manual espresso maker. It is very similar to the original AeroPress with one exception: it is much smaller. While you can't deny that both are conducive to making camping coffee, the Go version would also work great as a coffee maker for backpacking.
A major advantage as far as portability goes is the unique "case." The entire coffee maker fits into a small, plastic case with a silicone lid. This case protects the AeroPress from getting broken in your pack.
This case can also be used as a mug to drink your coffee brew. The AeroPress Go does weigh a little more than the original, but that's because it includes the mug/case.
So, if it's so great at making camping coffee, why isn't the AeroPress Go the number one recommendation? In a word: capacity. This diminutive camping coffee maker can make a maximum of 8 ounces at a time. For us, that's just not enough.
If you use an automatic drip coffee maker at home and want the same experience while car camping, this is the coffee maker for you. It uses propane to heat the water and power the automatic drip action. No electricity needed.
This coffee maker uses Coleman's PerfectFlow technology. This patented technology regulates gas flow so you won't have flaring or flickering, even in cold weather, high altitude, or when the fuel is getting low.
The best thing about this camping coffee maker is the capacity. You can make a full 10 or 12 cups at a time. (It is only marked up to 10 cups, but if you fill it to the brim, it will hold 12 cups.) It does take about 20 minutes to brew coffee. The good thing is that, if you're impatient, it has a Pause 'n' Serve feature so you can grab a cup before it's done without making a mess.
One oddity of this system is that, while the carafe holds 12 cups, the water reservoir only holds 8. That means that, if you want the full pot, you'll have to stand by and add more water during the brewing process.
Another drawback is the weight. At 11 pounds, you're not going to want to pack this in anywhere. That's why we recommend it for car camping only. Another drawback is the glass carafe. It would be awful to get to your destination and find that the pot broke in transit. You may want to find a metal coffee carafe.
This mini espresso maker delivers excellent camping coffee. It's small and light enough that you could even take it backpacking. It comes in two versions: GR and NS. The GR used ground coffee, and the NS uses Nespresso Original capsules.
The Minipresso's unique design features a semi-automatic piston. After you add the coffee grounds and hot water, unlock the piston and pump it to build up pressure. The average person can create 8 bars of pressure in this camp espresso maker. It takes about the same force as using a bicycle pump. You get a rich cup of espresso in the time it would take to make instant coffee.
The Minipresso includes a demitasse cup. It also comes with a carrying bag. You can purchase a hard-shell case to protect the Minipresso while traveling. If you'd like a larger capacity, you can get the optional Minipresso Tank which gives you a capacity of 4.05 ounces.
GSI Outdoors has been creating products for cooking and eating outside since 1985. So, it's no surprise that their camping coffee makers made our list. This coffee press is perfect to take along on your outdoor adventures or anywhere you travel. It's affordable and will make enough coffee to share. It works just like any other at-home coffee press. The plunger has a silicone ring to keep the grounds out of your cup.
The carafe is made from Copolyester, which is lightweight yet durable. It also means that it's shatter-proof and BPA-free. It does not give the coffee a plastic taste. Around the carafe is an insulating fabric sleeve. This will keep the coffee hot and your hands comfortable.
The sleeve has a built-in fabric handle. It works but may take a little getting used to. One drawback is that the square spout is prone to dribbling. Keep that in mind when pouring. If you're keeping the coffee to yourself, it has a Sip-It Top so you can drink right from the carafe, eliminating the need to pack an extra mug. But if you don't drink it quickly, it can become over-saturated.
Think of this camping coffee maker as a manual Keurig. It produces quality instant coffee. It's great for people who enjoy the convenience of K-cups at home and want the same convenience in the great outdoors. It's lightweight and easy to pack.
To use, simply place the K-cup in the coffee maker then pour hot water into the water reservoir. Then place it over your travel mug or coffee cup. The pump at the top compresses the air to force the hot water through the coffee grounds. The water reservoir is microwave safe, so it can act as a low-cost, portable Keurig-type coffee maker for when you're on the go.
Although this coffee maker only brews a single cup of coffee at a time, it's easy to make multiple cups, one after the other. Just replace the old K-cup with a new one, then pour the still-hot water in your kettle into the reservoir. Press, and there's another hot cup of Joe in seconds.
If you prefer to use your own ground coffee, this machine comes with a reusable cup. This option can be messier, but it will allow you to use your own grounds to make excellent instant coffee when there's no electricity around.
The moka pot coffee maker came along shortly after the invention of the espresso maker. The two technologies produce a similar end product. The big difference is that while the espresso machine was large and designed for industrial use, the moka pot is perfect for making coffee at home.
The Bialetti Moka pot is the original, dating back to 1933. The iconic eight-sided design is still prevalent today. It works on any flame, making it a great choice for a camping coffee maker. It also works on your home electric or gas stove.
The moka pot is simple and easy to use. You put water in the lower chamber and ground coffee in the middle chamber. As the water boils, it pushes the steam up through the grounds similar to a coffee percolator. The difference is that, unlike a coffee percolator, the brewed coffee does not continue to circulate. The brewed coffee settles in the upper chamber. When you hear the gurgle, the coffee is done.
This particular moka pot makes about three shots. You can find larger models that hold up to 25 ounces (12 espresso shots). The coffee maker is made from aluminum. It's lightweight but should not be put in the dishwasher. Simply rinse with water when finished. It is a little heavier than some of the plastic camping coffee makers on the list, but the metal leads to greater durability.
This is the second GSI Outdoors entry on our list. This is the best coffee maker for people who appreciate the art of pour-over coffee but don't want the bulk and weight of a traditional dripper.
When collapsed, this coffee maker measures 5.6-inches in diameter and is a mere 1 inch high. It weighs less than 5 ounces. The dripper comes with a snap-on lid to keep it protected during travel. It's a solid contender for a backpacking expedition.
The dripper is made from silicone, and the base is made from clear polypropylene. The clear base lets you see how much coffee is in the cup or carafe so you won't overfill.
This dripper used standard #4 cone filters. You'll love the versatility. You can make a single cup of coffee or up to 12 cups at a time. With pour-over coffee, proper technique will make or break your brew. If you're not already familiar with this method, be sure to check out our guide How to make Pour Over Coffee.
The Bodum Travel Press is a great camping coffee maker for people in a hurry. It's handy around the camp, and can also work as your daily brew method in town.
You don't have to wait for your coffee to brew before you leave the house or campsite. Put in your coffee and hot water, then put the lid on, leaving the plunger up. Now you're on your way. After four minutes slowly press the plunger down and enjoy. The silicone and mesh filter keeps the grinds at the bottom of the cup and out of your mouth.
The mug is made from stainless steel and has a silicone band that is non-slip and keeps your hand cool. The lid matches the silicone band. You can get this in black, red, or lime green.
If you need a lighter-weight travel press, the Bodum Travel Press is also available in double-wall, insulated plastic. The plastic version comes in white, red, black, and brown. Both the stainless steel and plastic version will keep your coffee warm for hours. When you're done, you can put all the parts in the dishwasher.
The Brew Buddy is the smallest and most lightweight option we have found. It may be the best coffee maker for backpackers.
While Primula calls this a pour over coffee maker, it's more of an immersion brewer (unless you have a very tall and narrow coffee mug). The rim sits on your mug, and the filter hangs below the rim. This means that, as you pour, the grinds in the filter will soon be immersed.
The end result will have a taste and texture similar to a French press rather than a pour over. Because of this, you could potentially end up with over-extracted coffee. On the plus side, this coffee maker would be a great option for loose-leaf tea.
The Brew Buddy is easy to clean. Just dump the grounds and rinse in water. It's easiest to rinse in running water, if available.
When it comes to deciding which is the best camping coffee maker for you, there are many factors to look at. No single coffee maker will be best for everyone. Here are some things to think about to help guide your decision so you can enjoy the best coffee possible when you’re out in the wild.
Capacity may be the number one decision-maker when looking at camping coffee makers. Be sure to note if the capacity refers to espresso-like coffee or regular strength coffee. While the AeroPress has a capacity of 10 ounces, that’s equal to two or three servings. For regular coffee, 10 ounces is a single cup of coffee.
Think about how many people will you be making coffee for. Several of the coffee makers on this list are ideal for making a single cup of coffee. If you’re brewing for a crowd, you might want to choose either the Coleman Portable QuikPot Propane Coffee Maker or GSI Outdoors JavaPress French Press.
Some of these camping coffee makers are easy to brew several batches in a row. The Presto Single Cup Coffee Maker only makes 10 ounces at a time. But it can still be a good choice if you’re brewing for multiple people. Heat a large kettle of water, then for each cup just pop in a new K-cup, pour the water, and press. You can easily make coffee for several people in just a few minutes.
The majority of the coffee makers for camping on this list require you to heat the water separately. Be sure to have some type of kettle at your campsite. When looking at kettles, think about what type of heat source you will have. Some camp kettles can simply be placed on the grate of your fire pit. Others are designed to be used with a propane stove.
Two coffee makers for camping on our list do not require you to heat up water separately. The first is the Coleman Portable QuikPot Propane Coffee Maker. You hook up a propane canister to this model and it acts just like your electric automatic drip coffee maker at home. The other exception is the Bialetti Moka Pot. This coffee maker is similar to an old-fashioned coffee percolator but with much better results. It can be placed on a camp stove or over your open fire.
How do you make coffee at home? You don’t have to resign yourself to instant coffee when you’ll be living out of doors for a few days. You can find a camping coffee maker to match your preferred brew style. If you’re a pour-over aficionado at home, then you’ll want to bring a pour-over dripper like the GSI Outdoors Java Drip Collapsible Pourover Coffee Maker. On the other hand, the AeroPress and Wacaco Minipresso can satisfy the requirement for espresso.
What would be a welcome addition when car camping could be a nightmare if you’re having to haul your gear many miles each day. We mostly steered clear of stainless steel coffee makers because of the extra heft. Be sure to note the weight and dimensions of any coffee maker you’re looking at. Camping coffee makers on our list range from under 5 ounces to a hefty 11 pounds.
We listed coffee makers made from glass, plastic, and metal on this list. Your choice of material will affect both durability and weight. Some plastics and aluminum offer durability without compromising weight. Those are big concerns if you’re backpacking. If you need to fly to the place where you’ll be camping, then durability and weight will also be a concern. If you’re choosing the convenience of car camping, then feel free to choose whatever materials your heart desires.
Camping coffee makers on our list range from around $5 to over $150. You’ll have to decide on the balance between cost and features. While that $15 option may seem great, if you will hate using it, is it really a bargain?
This will vary by person. But for an all-around camping coffee maker that will work at home and the campsite, we recommend the AeroPress Coffee Maker.
We strongly recommend having some type of kettle at your campsite. You can heat up water in a pot, but many of these coffee makers require precision pouring. As for the heat source, depending on the kettle, you can heat water on the campfire or a propane stove.
Just like at home, the basic ingredients are quality, freshly ground coffee, and hot water. You'll need a way to heat the water, and you'll need some type of device to expose the ground coffee to the hot water. You can keep it as simple as boiling grounds in water or purchase a coffee maker designed for camping. You may want to pre-grind your coffee, or you can bring a simple manual coffee grinder.
There are many ways to brew camping coffee on a propane stove. The simplest way is to boil water and then toss in some coffee grounds. The most common way is to first boil water in a kettle on the stove and then use a camping coffee maker. You can use a coffee maker like an AeroPress to make espresso, make coffee in a French press, or make pour over coffee.
Put your measured coarse ground coffee in the French press. A good ratio is one part coffee to 15 to 17 parts water. When your water boils, pull it off the heat and let it cool for about 30 seconds. Then you'll pour in the hot water. You'll want to pour slowly in a circular motion, making sure that all the grounds are wet. Put the lid with the plunger on, and let it sit for four to five minutes. Then slowly press the plunger down and enjoy.
Yes. The simplest camping coffee method is to simply toss coffee grounds into a kettle, add water, and let the water come to a boil. Pull the kettle off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. It may not be the best camping coffee, but it's easy. Some camp kettles have a strainer at the spout to keep the grounds out of your coffee cup. Here's a trick: Once the coffee has brewed, put some cold water on top. The cold water settles to the bottom, taking the coffee grounds with it.
A camping coffee percolator is designed to go over the open flame of a camp stove or your campfire. You put coffee in the basket, add water, and place it over the heat. As the water heats, it is pushed up through a center pipe and then percolates down through the coffee grounds. Consult the manual to determine how long it should percolate.
We covered quite a few coffee makers for camping, so which one do we feel is the best for camping coffee? Our all-around top pick is the Original AeroPress. It’s as fast as instant coffee but creates a rich, full-flavored coffee similar to espresso. We also like that these coffee makers can also be used at home for your daily cup of coffee. The AeroPress Go is a very close second, which is smaller than the original.
When portability is the only concern, the best coffee maker would be the Brew Buddy from Primula. It’s tiny and weighs less than an ounce. The cost makes it one of the cheapest coffee makers around. If you’re needing a budget brewer to make camping coffee for several people, you might want the GSI Outdoors JavaPress French Press. It will brew up to 30 ounces at a time
Whichever brewer you choose, we’re sure you’ll enjoy your camping coffee experience. When you get back, be sure to let us know how it went!