Great Coffee in the Great Outdoors

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    coffee products for camping

    I love coffee! I also love camping. A roaring fire, the great outdoors, the stars, s’mores, tents, bugs, occasional downpours: all of it! In fact, my family just returned from a 4-night weekend camping trip at a state park in the mountains of north Georgia yesterday. Hiking 3 miles down into the canyon each morning would not have been possible without first downing a piping hot cup of good coffee. (Emphasis on the good.)

    My camp-mates rolled their eyes at my regimented campfire coffee-making method. They don’t seem to be as in love with The Java as I am, though. Hey, to each his/her own, right? Summer is upon us here in the northern hemisphere. So let’s talk about various methods of enjoying coffee when you’re on a camping trip.

    For RV-ing, Glamping, or Yurting

    The amenities for yurts, RV’s (recreational vehicles), or “glamping” (glamorous camping) afford vacationers a variety of different options for making a daily brew. These types of setups are much more like home kitchens. Electricity is often available. Or the campsites are within mere feet of your parking spot, so lugging breakable coffee-making equipment isn’t too risky. These methods are great for the less-wild, more civilized camping scenarios.

       Coleman® Camping Coffeemaker. For all things camping related, Coleman is a trusted and well-known brand. Their tents, sleeping bags, and accessories are mid-range for quality and affordability. This particular coffeemaker is designed to be used specifically with a camping stove. The carafe is still made of glass, though. It’s best to use this at sites to which it can be safely transported. For a few extra bucks, you can also invest in a specialized carrying case. Pros: Drip coffee flavor with multiple servings and you can buy a permanent reusable filter. Cons: the highly breakable carafe is only safe for use with a camping stove.

    This is an 18-volt single-serve coffeemaker with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. It also comes with an AC power adapter if you have electricity at the site. Pros: permanent filter, cordless. Cons: price of the brewer, including extra batteries and a charger, is almost $300(!). Plus it only brews one cup at a time.

    Coffee For Tent Camping

    I relish privacy when selecting a campsite. This past weekend we chose the “walk-in” campground for the larger sites and densely wooded areas between each site. It was about a 150-yard walk from our car to the site, but the trail was clearly marked and (mostly) level. Obviously when you’re camping, you will need to make sure your equipment can withstand direct flame of a campfire. These coffee brewing products would work well in this scenario.

    Enamel Percolator   Enamel Percolator
    This is the exact same pot we used for boiling water on the fire pit grate this past weekend. (We removed the innards, though. I am not a fan of the slightly burnt taste of percolator coffee). Pros: the 8-cup metal pitcher is large, sturdy, and affordable. Cons: the handle gets hot, and the “glass” viewing knob is made of plastic (boo!). Ours showed evidence of melting from the heat of the fire.

    This handy kit includes 2 metal coffee mugs, an AeroPress with filters, a miniature hand grinder, and a bag of coffee beans. It all comes in a convenient, water-repellent canvas bag for easy transport. Pros: the coffee flavor can’t be beat, it’s easy to transport, and these woodsy-themed coffee mugs are adorable. Cons: cost (almost $200 for the kit). If you camp often, this may be a good investment. Of course you’ll need something to boil water in at your site. You’ll also eventually need additional filters.

      Handpresso® Portable Espresso Maker
    If espresso is your weakness, this little gadget would be great at a campsite. Pros: fairly tasty espresso in a tiny portable package. Cons: requires a supply of ESE coffee pods as well as a decent amount of arm strength to manually pump to sufficient pressure. You’ll need something to boil water with, and it only makes espresso.

    Wilderness Coffee for Back-Country Camping

    This sport is for the serious outdoor lover. Typically every single item that gets stowed in the backpack is carefully weighed and considered for functionality. You have to carry everything for every mile that you walk, so the emphasis is on sturdy, lightweight necessities.

    This little guy is my go-to answer for coffee when I’m camping AND when I’m at home. The 1-cup unit weighs only 1 pound and is virtually unbreakable. There are also larger sizes available if you have room in your backpack. Pros: easy to use, unbreakable, lightweight, no filters needed. Cons: the 3-cup and larger varieties take up a good bit of space in your pack.

    Jetboil® Flash Java Kit
    If you have enough space in your pack, this nifty set-up could be just the ticket. It comes with its own stainless steel burner and push-button igniter. It only takes 2.5 minutes to boil the water, and basically comes with a French press-style accessory. Pros: high product rating, fast speed, and convenient drink-through lid. Cons: the pot support has to be purchased separately, as do the Jetboil® propane/isobutane canisters. This unit won’t work with Coleman® fuel. If weight is a concern, the fuel can be heavy to lug around in a backpack.

    Portability is the Name of the Game

     MugMate® Coffee/Tea Filter
    You can’t get much simpler than this! Pros: ultra affordable, small, and lightweight (just one tiny ounce total!). No need for paper filters, and you can use whatever coffee or tea you prefer. Cons: double check the measurements to make sure this filter will rest on the rim of your cup. It’s only a single serving as well.

     Sea to Summit X-Brew Collapsible Pour-over Dripper
    The folks at REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) know a thing or two about camping! This product collapses to just 0.8 inches thick, and weighs only 2.9 ounces! It’s fitted with a superfine stainless steel double-mesh filter, so no separate filters are needed. Pros: makes 2 servings (16.2 ounces), lightweight, compact, durable, with high-quality pour-over coffee. Cons: can’t really think of any!

     Make-at-home Portable Coffee Bags
    Don’t want to shell out money on the pre-packaged single-serve coffee bags? Make your own! Complete instructions with photos are included in the link above. You can even customize theses little pouches with sugar or powdered creamer of any flavor. Pros: it’s customizable, it’s more cost effective than the store bought kind, and the bags can be disposed of after use by burning in the fire. (You can get drawstring-style bags as well as the fold-over style.) Cons: if the pouches aren’t packed properly, they could burst inside your backpack.


      Starbucks Via® Instant Coffee
    If you absolutely have to go the instant coffee route due to your hiking and camping itinerary, at least get a brand that has some decent flavor! Pros: Convenient, lightweight. Cons: it’s still instant coffee, and these little pouches are lined to keep the product fresh. They aren’t biodegradable or compostable and would need to be properly disposed of.

    Do you enjoy camping? What’s your go-to method for great coffee in the great outdoors? Let us know about your experience in the comments.

    As always, thank you for reading.

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