9 Best Ways to Make Coffee While Camping

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How to Make Coffee While Camping

Great coffee isn’t just limited to coffee shops and fancy kitchens. You can get great coffee just about anywhere, even while you’re camping. 

While you might associate camping with roughing it and getting by with what little you can carry on your back, there’s no reason why you can’t have great coffee in the great outdoors

This is how you can do just that:

9 Best Ways to Make Coffee While Camping

Making coffee while camping can be done in nearly as many ways as you can at home. You might not be able to use that high-end espresso or drip-brew machine. 

However, a lot of other methods are open to you. Some require very little kit and can save you having to carry a lot of extra pots and pans. These are the best ways that you can brew up coffee while camping:

Method 1: Instant Coffee

This might be the most popular method. It is really quite simple and you don’t have to carry much extra with you. This is all you’re going to need:

  • Instant Coffee Granules
  • Pot for Water

Your water boiling pot is pretty much going to be a constant through these methods! A small pot to boil water can be used for cooking too, so most campers are going to have one with them. 

Making instant coffee is simple, this is all you’ll need to do:

  • Boil the water
  • Add water to mug with instant coffee granules
  • Stir

This method cuts down on what you need to carry. The downside of this is that most instant coffee doesn’t taste great. It has typically been freeze-dried for a longer shelf life and chemically treated to make it dissolve entirely in hot water. You can get instant coffee that tastes good though. Specialty instant coffee might be worth carrying when camping since it gives you a good tasting cup without a lot of hassle.

Method 2: Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is definitely a step up from instant. This is about as low tech as you can get, but it can still taste great. Like most other methods of brewing with whole bean coffee, the end result is going to come down to what beans you’re using. 

Cowboy coffee is a traditional way of making coffee. It can be done without gadgets, this is all you’ll need:

  • Pot to Brew Coffee in
  • Ground Coffee

Simple enough right? So this is how you make great coffee out of one pot and some fire: 

  • Add your water to your pot and boil it
  • Once boiled, take it off the heat for around 30 seconds. This gets it to be the best temperature for brewing
  • Add roughly two tablespoons of ground coffee per 8 oz of water. This ratio works the best with this method
  • Let the grounds steep in the hot water for 2 minutes
  • Stir the mixture, then let it sit for 2 more minutes
  • The coffee is now ready, but you have to separate the grounds from the water
  • Add a bit of cold water to the surface of the grounds. This will send your grounds to the bottom of your pot
  • Strain the coffee out of the pot and into the mug.

The key part of making cowboy coffee is the straining to keep coffee granules out of your cup. You do this by positioning the pot to pour as horizontally as possible, dribbling out only a little water at once will prevent the grounds from spilling over, even those that haven’t sunk fully yet. If you do this right, you should get a cup of coffee that’s as clear as those made with a filter.

Cowboy coffee is low-tech, but it can taste great. This is a rustic way of brewing but one that requires pretty much no equipment. If you’re camping for a few weeks, you’ll have more than enough chances to perfect this brew method.

Method 3: Pour Over Coffee

Pour over coffee is one of the simplest to make at home and brings out the subtle flavors of a blend of your coffee. It is also relatively easy to make when you’re out camping too. This one requires a little more kit, but most of it can be easily carried. This is what you’ll need:

  • Pot to Boil Water
  • Pour Over Cone
  • Filter
  • Coffee

This is a couple of extra pieces of kit to add to your camping bag, but a coffee filter and pot are relatively easy to carry since they’re small and light. This is how you can brew pour over coffee while camping:

  • Boil your water
  • Place the filter into the pour over cone
  • Place coffee in the filter
  • Put filter over the cup
  • Pour the boiled water over the coffee, saturating all of it evenly. Only pour a bit at first to allow the coffee to bloom.
  • Pour the rest of your water and let it drain into your mug.
  • Dispose of the grinds and rinse out the cone

This method is really quite easy. Since all it needs is a pour over cone, you can quite easily recreate your at home-coffee experience while you’re out camping.

Method 4: French Press Coffee

The French press method is a great way to draw out the delicate flavors of your coffee. Making coffee while camping with a French press is pretty much as simple as making it when you’re at home. This is all you’re going to need:

  • Pot to Boil Water
  • French Press
  • Coffee

The French press itself is pretty much the only extra bit of kit you’re going to need. Preparing coffee while you’re camping with a French press is also quite easy, this is how you do it:

  • Boil the water
  • Let the water sit for 30 seconds to get it to proper brewing temperature
  • Preheat the French press using boiling water
  • Put your coffee into the warm French press
  • Pour water over the coffee, soaking the grinds evenly
  • Stirs the contents of the French press
  • Let the grinds steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on your preference.
  • Plunge the filter of the French press down.
  • Pour the coffee from the French press into your cup.

The main issue with brewing coffee this way while camping is the mess. Doing this isn’t going to be all that clean. The grinds can be a hassle to get out when brewing at home, let alone camping. If you’re willing to get your hands a bit dirty though or boil some extra water to rinse the French press out, this is one of the best ways to get a great cup of coffee while you’re camping.

Method 5: Aeropress Coffee

The Aeropress is a relatively new way of brewing, but it has become pretty popular. This method is similar to a French press and can make your coffee taste really good without too much set-up. An Aeropress is a dedicated bit of kit, so it does mean you’ll have to carry a bit more with you while camping! This is everything you’ll need:

  • An Aeropress
  • Aeropress Filters
  • Coffee
  • Pot to Boil Water

The Aeropress itself is made up of a few parts. You have the main chamber which holds the coffee and water, the plunger that pushes through it, the filter cap at the bottom, and if you have room there is a funnel and paddle to make brewing a bit simpler. However, only the plunger, chamber, and filter are actually needed. This kit can be stored fully assembled, making it a hand-sized package to carry. 

  • This is how you can make great Aeropress coffee while camping.
  • Boil your water
  • Attach the filter cap to the base of the Aeropress with a paper filter inside of it
  • When water is boiled, pour a small amount over the paper filter to get it ready
  • Put your ground coffee into the Aeropress
  • Place the Aeropress over your mug
  • Pour the water to the mark for how much coffee you’re making into the Aeropress
  • Some people like to leave this to steep for a minute or two, or bloom the coffee then add the rest. This is optional though, so experiment and see what flavor works best for you
  • Plunge down to push the brewed coffee out of the Aeropress and into your mug

That is one method to brew up Aeropress coffee. This is a relatively easy way to do it and clean up isn’t too hard for you since all grinds are contained in the chamber.

There is an alternative method for the Aeropress that a lot of coffee drinkers swear by. The inverted method takes a little more time, so it might be a bit more fiddly to do while camping. If you’ve got the time though, it can be a great alternative way to brew coffee while camping.

  • Place the plunger upside down, so the plunging side is pointing upwards
  • Put the chamber onto the plunger, the same way it would normally plunge but now upside down
  • Push it down a little bit, so the up-side-down unit is secure
  • Place your coffee into the upside-down chamber, so it is sat on the top of the plunger
  • Add your water, and stir
  • Leave it to steep for a couple of minutes
  • Put the filter cap with a soaked filter inside of it onto the top of the Aeropress and secure it 
  • Flip the Aeropress the right way round and plunge the coffee into a cup

This method is a little more complex, but it isn’t any harder for you to do while camping than at home. An Aeropress is a great compact way for you to brew great coffee while outside.

Method 6: Hand-Powered Espresso Maker

A hand-powered espresso maker is a particularly specialist piece of kit, but it can let you get proper Italian style coffee when you’re out camping. The only real drawback of this method is that it can take a little while to get the hang of pumping properly. This is everything you’ll need:

  • Hand Powered Espresso Maker
  • Metal Filter
  • Coffee

The machine itself is pretty much all you’re going to need. Well, that and the physical ability to pump out a rich espresso. This is how you do it:

  • Boil your water
  • Pour it into the assembled espresso maker and leave it for around 30 seconds
  • Put your ground coffee in
  • Once the coffee settles, start pumping your espresso out
  • This should form in the cup on the bottom of the espresso maker

Hand powered espresso machines can be tricky, but once you get the hang of it you can enjoy really good espresso no matter where you are.

Method 7: Percolator Coffee

Percolator coffee is one of the simplest ways to brew. That’s why it is so easy to brew this while camping. This is all you’re going to need:

This is nice and simple compared to some of the other methods available. This is all you need to do:

  • Fill the bottom chamber with water
  • Add your coffee in at the top
  • Heat the percolator and let the water reach the right temperature
  • Let the coffee percolate for a few minutes, then it is ready to pour and drink

Taste doesn’t have to suffer just to make brewing simple. Percolator coffee will taste great if you brew it right and it can be done easily while camping.

Method 8: Moka Pot Coffee

A Moka pot is basically a set-up that allows you to brew espresso on a stove. Since all it requires is a heat source, you can make this while you’re camping even if you only have a fire. This is what you’ll need:

  • Moka Pot
  • Coffee

Moka pots themselves tend to be small and lightweight, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem bringing this with you as extra baggage. This is how you can brew coffee in a Moka pot while you’re camping:

  • Fill the bottom section with water and the middle with coffee. Place the serving carafe on the top of the pot, the same way you would at home
  • Put the pot over some heat. Once the water boils, it should extract the espresso upwards

The resulting coffee is going to come out as an espresso-like coffee that is intense and flavorful. This method is a lot less draining than physically pumping your own espresso! So if you’re looking for that intense hit of coffee without the work, this is a great choice.

Method 9: Battery Operated Coffee Makers

A battery-operated coffee maker can essentially give you the same experience you’ll get at home from a coffee machine, but out in the wilderness. These machines are all in one, so it will be all that you need aside from water and coffee grounds.

You can use them how you would use a regular coffee maker. It is pretty much the same process except the power comes from a battery. However, they do differ depending on the type of battery-operated machine. 

This method can give you great coffee, but the initial investment is quite a bit. If you’re serious about getting great coffee outdoors, then this might be a worthwhile way to make coffee outside for you.

Which is the Best Way to Make Coffee While Camping?

Each of those methods has its pros and cons. The simple methods can really cut down on what you need to carry, and the filter based devices like an Aeropress and French press can give you a really flavorful cup. Essentially, which is the best way to make coffee while camping comes down to what type of coffee you like. There is a way to brew most types of coffee wherever you are. So, find that one and figure out how to do it while camping.

How To Make Camping Coffee Without Fire

Brewing up coffee while you’re camping is easier than you might think, but most methods depend on one thing; fire. It is the simplest way to heat up water, which is pretty important for all these methods of brewing up coffee. This can leave you feeling a bit like a caveman, obsessed over finding fire.

This becomes a problem when some campsites don’t allow fires. Equally, rain can put a damper on your attempts to get a fire going. In these situations, you can still make great coffee.

The first way to make coffee without a fire is to use a small gas cooker. These are hot plates or grills that run off of a single gas tank. It provides a cooking flame that you can use to boil up some water. 

If any type of heat or flame is completely ruled out, then your options are limited. In these cases, you should make cold brew. Bringing equipment for this might be a bit more cumbersome. However, most cold brew recipes can be done perfectly fine in a coolbox. Failing that, some room temperature cold brew can come out quite tasty if you’re careful with your ratio of water to coffee.

How To Grind Your Own Coffee Beans While Camping

Making great coffee often comes down to your beans and how you grind them. Freshly grinding your coffee is the biggest change you can make to improve the flavor of your coffee. This might seem a bit difficult when you’re camping, but it can be done with the right equipment.

You don’t need a large burr grinder to grind your own fresh coffee. With a handheld device, you can easily grind up your own coffee beans. The best solution is to use a hand grinder since they don’t need any electricity. They’re simple to use wherever you go.

A handheld burr grinder can be an affordable choice that gives you a consistent grind that is going to taste great, no matter where you’re making coffee.

Why Is Coffee So Popular With Campers?

Why is coffee so popular with campers? It is a question that can really be applied to anyone in any walk of life, coffee is pretty much popular with everyone! However, campers in particular might be in need of a good cup of coffee.

Coffee can help you feel energized in the morning with its caffeine hit. This is particularly good if you’ve spent the night sleeping somewhere a bit less comfortable than what you’re used too. Coffee can help you feel fresh and ready to go no matter how you’ve slept. 

Coffee can also be a nice warming drink on a cold night. These are all great reasons to make coffee while camping. Another is how easy it is to make great coffee while you’re camping. It is one of the luxuries of home that can be easily recreated while out camping.

Summary and Conclusion

Making great coffee isn’t limited to when you have a fully stocked kitchen available to you. You can make great coffee while you’re camping, and without making compromises on the taste. Above are all of the different ways you can make fresh coffee while out camping. Whether you’re brewing up cowboy coffee or operating a hand-powered espresso machine, you can still have great tasting coffee no matter where you are.

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Sources

The Lonesome Art of Cowboy Coffee
https://sprudge.com/cowboy-coffee-94275.html

How to Make Amazing Camp Coffee with an Aeropress Coffee
https://www.freshoffthegrid.com/aeropress-camping-coffee-maker/

How to Make Coffee While Camping
https://www.theadventurejunkies.com/how-to-make-coffee-while-camping/