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5 Easiest Ways To Make A Good Cup Of Coffee While Camping


Article Categories: Travel
Article Tags: Camping Gear | Camping Tips | Travel

For die-hard coffee aficionados, there’s no greater pleasure than that first cup of liquid gold in the morning. There’s no need to settle for subpar coffee, even in the wilderness.

That’s why today we’re going to explore five simple methods to brew a tasty cup of coffee on your next camping trip. Grab that retro enamel mug, and let’s get started.


Essential Camp Coffee Gear

A camp coffee kit would not be complete without the following:

  • Your favorite coffee beans or grounds: The perfect camp coffee starts here! Pack your favorite coffee beans or pre-ground coffee. If you have a grinder, we recommend using whole beans for a fresher, fuller taste.
  • Coffee grinder (optional): This one’s totally optional, but if you love the smell and flavor of freshly ground beans, don’t forget your portable grinder. A manual burr grinder (we like the TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 grinder) gives you a smooth, even grind and an exceptional cup of coffee.
  • Portable camp stove: Unless you’re going old school and brewing your coffee over an open fire (always an option!), pack a portable stove for faster brewing. Whether it’s a Coleman gas-powered stove, a lightweight backpacking stove, or an electric kettle, anything that can provide reliable heat for your water will do.
  • Water kettle or pot: Along with a stove, you’ll also need a vessel for heating your water. For faster boiling, invest in an aluminum kettle that conducts heat more efficiently than steel. It should also include a spout to prevent unwanted spills or burn injuries.
  • Coffee filters (if applicable): Depending on your brewing method, you may need coffee filters to prevent grounds from finding their way into your cup. Double check your brewing method’s requirements (ex: pour-over) and pack the right filters.
  • Mug or insulated flask: Don’t forget to bring along your trusty sidekick—a coffee mug or an insulated flask to keep your coffee piping hot and delicious. Hydro Flask has its own dedicated line of coffee mugs, but any insulated mug that’s durable and will keep your coffee warm will do.
  • Stirring utensil: For those moments when you just can’t resist jazzing up your coffee with creamer or sweetener. I always have a stash of wood stirrers from my local coffee shop just for this purpose!


Pro Tips for Packing Your Camp Coffee Kit

  • Consider multipurpose items: Look for gear with a variety of uses, like a mug that moonlights as a measuring cup or a collapsible kettle for space-saving convenience.
  • Make use of nesting and stacking: Remember those Russian nesting dolls from your childhood? Now apply that concept to your coffee gear. Nest smaller items inside larger ones and stack items like mugs or bowls to maximize space.
  • Use storage bags or containers: Keep your coffee equipment organized by using resealable bags or containers for items like coffee filters, stirring utensils, and measuring spoons.
  • Pack for the road: Choose coffee equipment made of durable, lightweight materials. Use plastic or silicone mugs, filters, and aluminum kettles, which are lighter and less likely to break in transit.
  • Test drive your setup: Before heading out on your camping trip, test your coffee-making setup at home. You can adjust, tweak, and see if anything is missing before hitting the road.


5 Easiest Methods To Make Camp Coffee


Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is the ultimate solution for lightweight, compact, and hassle-free coffee preparation in camp. If you haven’t tried it recently, you might be skeptical, but let me tell you, the world of instant coffee has undergone an incredible transformation. The days of weak and mediocre instant coffee are long past.

Nowadays, dozens of companies produce instant coffee that comes close to the flavor and complexity of a freshly brewed cup, from well-known brands like Nescafé and Starbucks to more niche producers like Four Sigmatic, Hikers Brew, and Alpine Start.


Instant coffee pros:

  • Lightweight and compact, perfect for backpacking and camping.
  • Quick and convenient, requires no specialized equipment.
  • Minimal cleanup, saves you time and effort.
  • Generates less waste compared to traditional brewing methods.


Instant coffee cons:

  • Flavor may not match the robustness of freshly ground coffee.
  • Depending on personal preferences, you may need more packets for a stronger taste.
  • Some instant coffee brands can be pricey.
  • Not a good option for larger groups.


Brewing instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Add instant coffee to your mug (you can use instant coffee packets or 1 teaspoon of coffee granules for every cup of hot water).
  3. Pour the hot water over your instant coffee.
  4. Stir the mixture until the granules completely dissolve (if you taste any grittiness, you may have used too much coffee).
  5. Add milk, cream, or sugar to taste.
  6. Savor your delightful brew!


Coffee Bags

Coffee bags are instant coffee’s sophisticated cousin. Instead of dumping the grounds straight into your cup, they come neatly sealed in individually packaged tea bags. Just like instant coffee, the key to happiness is choosing a brand that tickles your taste buds just right.

Coffee bags are simple, and that’s just what we crave from nature, right? Portable, lightweight, and hassle-free, this brewing method is perfect for caffeine lovers on the go. Some coffee bag brands worth checking out include Wildland Coffee and Steeped Coffee.


Coffee bag pros:

  • Convenient and portable, no need for extra equipment.
  • Offers a brewing experience comparable to tea bags.
  • Individually packed for freshness.


Coffee bag cons:

  • Brewing time can vary based on desired strength.
  • Lack of control over coffee grind size.
  • You might need to use more coffee bags to match the desired coffee strength.
  • Not a good option for larger groups.
  • Coffee bags are generally pricier compared to loose coffee beans.


Brewing Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Place the coffee bag in your mug.
  3. Pour hot water over the bag and let it steep for 4-5 minutes for a nice, strong brew.
  4. Increase steeping time or add another bag to achieve desired flavor.
  5. Add milk, cream, or sugar to taste.
  6. Savor your delightful brew!



The pour-over method is my favorite way to make coffee on a camping trip. The process is simple enough: just pour hot water over freshly ground coffee of your choice, let it slowly drip into your mug, and voila! The result? Top-of-the-line drip coffee perfect for any front-country adventure. You have a couple of pour-over options, too. You can use your own pour-over device or a single-serve pour-over solution. GSI Outdoors sells a pour-over device designed for camping and backpacking, while Kuju Coffee offers a selection of single-serve pour-over bags.


Pour-over coffee pros:

  • Produces a flavorful, fresh cup of coffee that instant coffee cannot match.
  • Pour-over devices can be lightweight and compact.
  • Greater control over brewing variables.
  • No need for a filter in most cases.


Pour-over coffee cons:

  • Requires additional equipment (pour-over device and filters).
  • Brewing process takes longer than instant coffee or coffee bags.
  • Not the best option for larger groups.
  • Higher risk of burn injuries.


Brewing instructions:

  1. Set up the pour-over dripper or single-serve bag over your camping mug or vessel.
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of grounds per cup of water.
  4. Slowly pour water over the medium-sized grounds, starting from the outside edge and working your way toward the middle.
  5. Remove the dripper or single-serve bag and dispose of coffee grounds.
  6. Savor your steaming cup of liquid gold!



The AeroPress takes quality camp coffee up a notch. With its quick brewing capabilities, you can make up to three cups of coffee in no time. And when you’re finished, just toss out the grounds and rinse for easy cleanup. What sets the AeroPress apart is its adaptability—the brew is highly adjustable, allowing you to create anything from a mild morning cup to a rich espresso-like delight. While it may not be the tiniest coffee maker, it’s still more compact than hauling around a coffee maker, and it produces enough coffee to satisfy a small group of caffeine-deprived campers. (Available on Amazon, REI,  and Aeropress)


Aeropress coffee pros:

  • Creates concentrated, full-bodied coffee.
  • Offers versatility with different brewing methods.
  • Lightweight and compact for camping convenience.


Aeropress coffee cons:

  • Requires additional equipment (AeroPress and filters).
  • Involves a more intricate brewing technique.
  • Not good for large groups.


Brewing instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Insert the filter in the basket and attach it to the brew chamber.
  3. Attach the brew chamber/filter basket to your camping mug.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of medium-fine grounds per cup of water.
  5. Slowly pour hot water into the brew chamber to saturate the coffee grounds.
  6. Give it a gentle stir to ensure full saturation.
  7. Place the plunger into the brewer, creating a seal. Let the coffee steep for 1-2 minutes based on your desired strength.
  8. After steeping, apply gentle pressure on the plunger, gradually pushing it down. Aim for a slow and steady plunge, taking 20-30 seconds.
  9. Remove the AeroPress from your camping mug and enjoy!



When it’s time to caffeinate a whole bunch of campers, the best solution is the trusty camp percolator. Simply load the grounds into the basket, add water to the vessel, position it atop your camping stove, and let the magic happen. As the water boils and bubbles its way up through a tiny pipe, it gracefully drips through the grounds-filled basket, resulting in an exquisite brew. The best part? It’s easy to use and requires minimal cleanup. Say goodbye to complicated coffee rituals and hello to delightful simplicity.


Percolator coffee pros:

  • Brews large quantities of quality coffee.
  • Provides a traditional and nostalgic coffee experience.
  • Best out of all methods on this list for group camping trips.


Percolator coffee cons:

  • Requires a campfire or stove for brewing.
  • Heavier and bulkier compared to other methods.
  • Higher chance of burn injury.
  • Cleaning can be more challenging than other methods on this list.


Brewing instructions:

  1. Remove the percolator apparatus and fill it with cold water.
  2. Reinsert the percolator apparatus.
  3. Fill the grounds basket with 1 heaping tablespoon per cup of hot water.
  4. Install the grounds cover and close the lid, aligning the siphon stem with the sight glass.
  5. Apply medium heat until the first eruption of water through the siphon is visible in the sight glass.
  6. Reduce heat or remove it from the heat source altogether and let it sputter. A brewing time of around 10 minutes works well with this method.
  7. Once brewed to your liking, carefully open the lid and remove the percolator apparatus, taking care as it will be hot!
  8. Allow a couple of minutes for any grounds to settle, then pour and savor!


Camp Coffee FAQs


Can I make espresso while camping?

Believe it or not, you can indulge in espresso while camping! Moka Pots and compact espresso makers like the Wacaco Nanopresso make it possible to satisfy your espresso fix with a view!


Can I reuse coffee grounds while camping?

While it’s possible to reuse coffee grounds, it’s generally not recommended for optimal flavor. If you’re looking to minimize waste, compost your used coffee grounds.


Can I make iced coffee while camping?

Camp cold brew is super easy to make! Once you make it to camp and set up your kitchen, simply drop a cold brew packet in water, stash the container in your ice chest, and forget about it until the next morning.


What’s the best way to store coffee beans or coffee grounds while camping?

Store your whole-bean or pre-ground coffee in thick, freezer bags to keep your coffee fresh and protected. If you’re car camping, pack your coffee in a sturdy, vacuum-sealed container to keep your grounds dry, dust-free, and ready for brewing in the morning.


How do I make coffee when camping at high altitude?

When you’re high up in the mountains, things can get a bit tricky. The lower air pressure messes with the boiling point of water, which affects your coffee extraction. To counteract this, try using a slightly higher coffee-to-water ratio than you would at sea level. You can also grind your coffee beans finer than usual to increase the surface area for better extraction during brewing. And since water boils at a lower temperature in high-altitude locations, it may take longer to fully extract the coffee. For best results, increase your brewing time by a few minutes, depending on your brewing method.


Can I make coffee while backpacking?

There are plenty of options for brewing in the backcountry! Look for collapsible coffee drippers, instant coffee, or single-serve coffee bags; gear that takes up minimal space and won’t weigh you down. All of these options are convenient, easy, and ideal for those with on-the-go caffeine cravings. Just remember to stash your coffee grinds in durable, leak-proof bags or waterproof containers to avoid finding a messy surprise in your pack.

Ash Czarnota

Ash Czarnota

Ash Czarnota is a freelance writer based in Southern California with over 3,000 trail miles under her feet. She is the founder of Go Galavanting, an online community to celebrate adventurous women and highlight emerging thought leaders in the outdoor industry. A PCT alumni, Joshua Tree enthusiast and burgeoning climber, Ash uses her outdoor experiences to craft content that educates and inspires a rising generation of adventurers to embrace their inner wild. Connect with her on Instagram (@salty_millennial).