Camping is one of the most exciting activities, especially when getting the warmth of a campfire, fresh air, and shining stars overhead. However, chilly mornings would need the warmth that comes with drinking a hot cup of coffee. But how can you make coffee while camping? Well, there’re more options than you might think.
Considering the high number of people who go camping, most of them will want to enjoy their favorite coffee drink while camping. Whether it’s your first time camping or you’re a regular camper, this article will guide you on how to make coffee when camping. We’ll also guide you on how to make coffee while camping without fire.
Camping Coffee Essentials
There’re certain must-have items needed to make tasty camping coffee. Maybe you’ve already packed your hiking and camping gear and programmed your GPS to your destination. What you should do next is to pack the needed coffee essentials for camping.
If you can’t do without coffee, here’re the coffee essentials you should gather before heading out to your camping destination:
- An airtight container to keep your ground coffee or coffee beans fresh before brewing.
- Coffee grinder (manual option) to grind whole coffee beans.
- Coffee thermos or stainless steel coffee mug.
- Travel kettle.
- Your preferred coffee maker- You can choose from the coffee makers we’ll discuss in this article.
Best Hacks for Camping Coffee
- Cowboy Coffee
Cowboy coffee is one of the simplest options you can have for making camping coffee. With this method, you simply add ground coffee to very hot water. Although it’s very easy to make coffee with this method while camping, you may have some messy clean-up to do since the grounds won’t dissolve in water.
There’re several techniques for brewing cowboy coffee. Some of the available techniques may sound a little odd for some coffee lovers. For instance, some people make cowboy coffee by adding a raw egg or broken eggshells into ground coffee. However, such a method may have some health risks due to the salmonella that may be present in raw eggs. Rather than using such a risky method, here’re safer ways of brewing cowboy coffee. Preferably, use fine grounds.
- Sink down technique – First boil water with a kettle. Remove the kettle from the heat. Add fine grounds into the water. Return the kettle to the heat. Let it simmer. The grounds will soon settle at the bottom. If they fail to settle, add drops of cold water over the hot water to assist the grounds to sink and settle at the bottom of the kettle. You can now serve the brew, but be careful not to pour the grounds into your coffee mug.
- Scoop top technique– Boil water with a kettle and remove it from the heat. Add coffee grounds into the water. Return the kettle to the heat. Skim the ground from the surface with the help of a spoon.
- Clean cup technique– With this method, you can use a clean bandana, cheesecloth, or a coffee sock. With this method, start by boiling water with a kettle. Once boiled, remove the kettle from heat. Next, place ground coffee in the cloth. Place the cloth in the kettle. Put the kettle back to the heat and allow it to steep.
You may find the cowboy coffee method a little challenging to use while camping in areas where you must pack out any waste or where you’re dealing with backpacking. If such issues are not a concern to you or you forgot your fancy coffee brewing equipment at home, then this is the right coffee-making method for your camping adventure. Besides, this method is suitable for brewing coffee to serve both small and large groups of campers.
- Coffee Bags
Coffee bags are another simple method of making camping coffee. They’re as easy to use as teabags. Coffee bags work exactly like teabags. Although this coffee brewing method is a little old school, it might save your day while camping.
To make coffee with coffee bags, put a coffee bag into your coffee mug. Fill the mug with very hot water. Allow it to steep to the desired strength. Once done, remove the coffee bag. You can make your own coffee bags with a paper filter or a cotton handkerchief.
Coffee bags are most suitable for bike packers and backpackers. They’re also suitable for campers who don’t want to use any brewing apparatus and still want to brew with ground coffee rather than instant coffee.
- Instant Coffee
Although instant coffee may not taste as great as brewed coffee, it’s a perfect choice for camping. It’s packable and lightweight. It doesn’t require any coffee brewing apparatus. Although it doesn’t have a great reputation among coffee enthusiasts, innovativeness in the coffee industry has led to improved instant coffees that are worth trying out, especially for camping purposes.
The best instant coffees for camping are those packed in small packets. You’ll only need one packet per cup of coffee. You can also buy instant coffee packed in a small container. Thus, you won’t have trouble storing the coffee, unlike coffee grounds that require special storage.
Instant coffee dissolves quickly in hot water. Thus, it offers a quick coffee fix while camping. You’ll only need a camp stove or campfire to heat enough water with a kettle. Upon boiling water, pour it into a coffee mug. Next, add enough instant coffee and stir thoroughly until it’s fully dissolved.
If you like cold brew or iced coffee, you can use cold water and instant coffee to make the brew. In this case, you won’t have to heat the water. However, brewing with cold water may require more time for the instant coffee to dissolve completely.
If you’re a camper who likes saving space and traveling with the least possible weight, or you like bike packing or backpacking, this method is perfect for you. It’s also perfect for anyone who doesn’t have any coffee brewing equipment.
- French Press
Although the French press is loved for its simplicity, the typical types that come with a glass carafe aren’t suitable for the rough life of campsites. Luckily, you can find durable and less delicate models. Besides, this coffee maker can be used to brew enough coffee for a crowd. It works best with coarse ground coffee.
To use a French press, add coarse ground coffee into the carafe. Add a little amount of hot water. Doing so will degas the grounds. Next, fill the carafe with very hot water. Stir and allow the coffee to brew for about 10 minutes. Place the lid over and push the plunger down to separate the brew from the grounds.
The French press method is most suitable for van, RV, and car campers. It’s also suitable for any camper who loves a simple brewing method that makes rich-tasting brews.
- Single-Serve Pour-Over
Another simple method for brewing coffee is using single-serve pour-overs. They’re specially designed for campers. The ground coffee remains separated from water, making it easier to clean up after brewing.
With this method, you’ll get a brew that tastes almost like regular pour-over coffee. It’s a great alternative to brewing with instant coffee as it tastes more like brewed coffee. Besides, it comes in small, lightweight packages.
A single-serve pour-over features a paper pouch and frame. The pouch contains ground coffee. To make coffee, you’ll expand the frame and place it on your cup. Next, pour very hot water into the pouch slowly. Once the cup fills up, remove the pouch and enjoy your brew.
Campers who don’t want instant coffee and anyone who likes bike packing or backpacking for camping will find this method very useful. It’s also a great method for campers who like keeping the weight of their luggage low and save space.
- Pour-Over Coffee Stand
If you don’t mind using a more challenging method of making coffee while camping, then consider a pour-over coffee stand. Most of these stands are made of ceramic. Thus, they’re quite heavy and less favorable for camping. However, you can find more compact and lightweight stands for easier use while camping.
With this method, you’ll fill a cloth or paper filter with ground coffee and place it in the funnel dripper. Next, place the dripper over the stand. Set a mug beneath the dripper. Heat water until it’s about to boil. Pour the water into the coffee filter in slow, circular motions. Preferably, use a gooseneck kettle to pour water over the grounds. A gooseneck kettle can pour water steadily and smoothly without dribbling, which is what you want for a great-tasting pour-over brew.
If you’re a coffee lover and camper who likes a serious coffee brew, this method is suitable for you. It’s also a great method for serving groups of around 4 people.
Bripe is one of the most innovative coffee brewing systems. To make coffee with this system, you’ll need to add ground coffee into the Bripe. Next, heat the Bripe with a stovetop or lighter until the water boils. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
Once cool, sip the brew through the straw attached to the Bripe. It contains a filter that strains the grounds when sipping.
Although the design behind this coffee brewing system sounds hilarious, it’s a very efficient method. In fact, it makes espresso-like brews.
The Bripe system is suitable for campers who want a quick coffee fix. However, you should be ready to answer many questions from curious campers around you as they might think you’re using some sort of a tobacco-smoking pipe.
The AeroPress is a highly innovative coffee maker. Its design features a combination of a French press, pneumatic press, and pour-over coffee maker. It makes a very smooth and rich brew. The AeroPress works by compressing ground coffee into a tiny puck. Thus, it’s very easy to do clean-up after brewing.
Essentially, there’re two different techniques of brewing coffee with an AeroPress. Regardless of the method you use, it’s recommended to brew with fine espresso coffee grounds.
- Inverted method– With this method, place the plunger that comes with the Aeropress on a flat, sturdy surface. The plunger should face upward. Next, place the back area of the base over the plunger. Insert the base slightly. Put enough espresso grounds in the base. Degas the grounds by drizzling in some hot water. Then fill the compartment with hot water. In this setup, you’re using the Aeropress like a regular French press. Position a filter on top. Place a cup over the filter in such a way that the cup faces upside down. Flip the assembly carefully such that your cup sits below the Aeropress. Depress the plunger.
- Top-down method– Insert a filter in the Aeropress. Place the base over a cup. Put espresso grounds into the AeroPress. Drizzle some hot water over the grounds to degas. Next, fill the base with hot water. The water will start dripping into the cup slowly. Wait for about 15 seconds. Next, depress the AeroPress plunger. The top-down method works like the pour-over method but features a plunger like a French press.
An AeroPress is ideal for car camping, RV camping, and van camping. It’s great for serving groups of up to 4 people.
The percolator is an old-fashioned coffee maker. Regardless, it’s a great coffee maker for campers who love coffee. It features a metallic tube that runes into a metallic basket. The basket is filled with ground coffee. Its mode of operation features boiling water that percolates through the tube into the metallic basket.
To use a percolator, start by opening the rid. Next, remove the metallic tube and metallic basket. Add water to the kettle until full. Add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for each serving into the basket. Add a filter in the basket to separate the grounds from the brew.
Once done, assemble back the basket and tube. Cover the percolator with the lid. Place the percolator over a source of heat. If the percolator comes with a clear lid, you’ll find it very interesting to view the water turning into a brown brew. If the lid doesn’t allow you to view the brewing action, allow the coffee to perk for about 10 minutes.
Next, remove the percolator from the heat. Allow it to settle for about 2 minutes. Doing so will allow any grounds in the brew to settle. Thus, you’ll reduce the chances of the grounds getting into your cup when serving.
A percolator is suitable for brewing strong coffee over a campfire or camp stove. It’s ideal for van camping, RV camping, and car camping. It brews coffee that can serve large groups.
- Moka Pot
Any camper who likes strong Italian espresso would love brewing with a Moka pot. A Moka pot is a stovetop type of espresso maker that brews strong Italian coffee. You can take the brew in its original form or make Americano coffee out of the brew by mixing it with some hot water. It features an inbuilt metallic filter basket. Thus, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of buying and disposing of paper filters.
To make coffee with a Moka pot while camping, you’ll need to put water in the bottom reservoir and pack ground coffee in the filter. Place the pot on a stove. Once the water starts boiling, it’ll steam upward through the ground coffee and collect in the carafe at the top.
- Portable Espresso Makers
Portable espresso makers, especially those that are hand-powered, are a great choice for making espresso while camping or in other outdoor applications. If you love espresso shots, a portable espresso maker will be the perfect coffee maker to carry along in your camping adventure. A portable espresso maker is ideal for van camping, RV camping, and car camping.
Although the working mechanism of portable espresso makers varies from one model to another, the general procedure involves packing fine ground coffee into a specific compartment and putting hot water in the compartment. Pressure builds within the water compartment and the resultant steam forces its way through the ground coffee to pull a shot.
How to Make Coffee While Camping Without Fire
What if you’ve gone camping but you don’t have a campfire or camp stove? How can you make coffee without fire? Well, it’s quite possible. Your best bet would be to make cold brew. To make cold brew, you need time rather than heat.
Cold brew is especially loved by individuals who have acidity issues as it contains less acidity than hot coffee. It’s also great for any coffee lover who wants a cold drink to quench their thirst when camping under the hot sun.
It’ll take you at least 12 hours to have a ready cold brew. Essentially, there’re two main methods of preparing cold brew including:
- Using a manual coffee maker
With this method, you can either use a French press or an AeroPress. You’ll need coarse ground coffee to prepare cold brew. To use a French press to prepare cold brew, place coarse coffee grounds into the carafe. Add fresh water and stir to soak and mix the grounds with the water. Place the lid in place and leave it down for at least 12 hours. Once done, remove the lid. Pour the coffee into a jar and serve the brew.
- Straining with a paper filter
Not everyone may have the luxury to own or carry a French press for camping. In that case, you can still make cold brew without one. First, add coarse ground coffee into a mason jar. Add water and mix them. Allow them to brew for at least 12 hours. Next, put a paper filter over another jar, which should be empty. Pour the brewed solution over the filter to separate the grounds from the brew. That way, you’ll be left with a ready cold brew.
Making coffee while camping can be a very enjoyable experience in addition to the fun and adventure that comes with camping. The good thing is that as a coffee lover, you’ll still have numerous ways of brewing tasty coffee when camping. Besides, most of the options available are easy to use. Also, there’re several portable coffee makers ideal for camping. Hopefully, you’ll find a great option to make your favorite coffee drink while camping from the methods mentioned in this article.