Good coffee when camping requires a little bit of effort. However, if you know the right tools to bring on your outdoor adventure, then there is no reason why you can’t have the perfect cup of joe when out in the wilderness.
An abundance of big and small tools can help you create barista-level tasting coffee. Before we get into what beans go beautifully with a cup of coffee outdoors, let’s look at some of the best coffee-making techniques when camping.
8 Techniques For Making Coffee When Camping
On those backpacking trips, you don’t want to carry heavy equipment with you through the wilderness. There is also a good chance you won’t be near electricity, so boiling water will have to be done with alternative tools, and a coffee machine is definitely a no-go.
Although a Starbucks is out of the question on most camping trips, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can brew coffee. Below are just a few of the options.
1. Instant coffee
Of course, instant coffee is not our favorite way to make a hot cup, but it is a handy option when camping. All you need is your favorite instant coffee, hot water, and a cup, and you are in business. You are in business if you have a stovetop or a safe method to boil water over an open fire. Also, the instant coffees available these days are far better than they once were.
2. French Press
French press coffee is another easy option when you are out and about with your tent and other camping materials. It requires ground beans, the French press jug and plunger, and grounded beans. It only takes a few minutes to make the resulting coffee is absolutely delicious.
A percolator is another option that only requires heat, hot water, and coffee beans. It works brilliantly on a stovetop but isn’t ideal for an open fire. It’s slightly more complex than the French Press, but it’s far from rocket science. They are usually stainless steel, which is helpful for hikers as they don’t damage easily.
4. Moka Pots
Moka pots work similarly to percolators, but the science behind them is slightly different. Where Moka pots use high pressure to push water vapor through finely-ground coffee quickly, percolators allow the water vapor to trickle through medium-ground coffee slowly. Both produce great coffee, perfect for a hot cup when just up from the sleeping bag and out of your tent.
5. Jetboil Camping Stove
The Jetboil camp stove is a versatile piece of equipment for campers and anyone else who needs access to a lightweight option that doesn’t rely on electricity. The company has developed its concept across multiple product lines, making it possible to cook just about anything you might want efficiently and quickly.
There are two options for making coffee in your Jetboil compartment: you can make “cowboy coffee,” which involves simply boiling water, adding your grounds, and stirring them before allowing the coffee to brew for a few minutes.
This method has its drawbacks–namely, the potential for grounds in your cup–but it’s simple. If you’d rather avoid the grounds altogether, you can purchase one of Jetboil’s silicone presses.
6. Aeropress Coffee
AeroPress coffee makers are sold as “espresso makers, drip coffee makers, and French Presses all rolled into one.” They are one of the best options for camping coffee makers.
However, if there is a big group of you, making coffee with an Aeropress can be time-consuming and somewhat tedious.
7. Pour-Over Coffee
There are some excellent pour-over coffee options for coffee making. This brewing method often uses paper filters and uses similar technology to a dripper machine. They usually come as single-serving options. If you choose this option, ensure that you clean up after you are done using them.
8. Coffee In A Bag
You have heard of teabags, but did you know they now use the same technique to brew coffee? Folgers singles are the most common type (but that’s not to our taste). However, there are other options that are much tastier.
Equipment Needed For Coffee When Camping
Those are a few of the ways you can make coffee when camping. There are also a few pieces of equipment you will need when making coffee while camping, such as a grinder if you are using whole beans, a portable or collapsible coffee mug for your travels, and a method to heat your water. Depending on your taste in coffee, you might also need creamer, a sweetener, and milk.
What To Look For In Coffee For Camping
Different brands suit different brewing methods. However, when buying coffee for camping, you should consider what type of camping you are doing.
If you are car camping, then the weight of the brewing equipment doesn’t come into the picture. However, carrying a heavy percolator might not be the best option if you are hiking up a mountain. And you should consider the amount of packaging, as you don’t want to have an abundance of weight to carry with you when you are done with your trip.
Of course, your own personal taste comes into it too. If you prefer dark roasts, you will still prefer them when camping. So, pick a coffee you love and find a brewing method that brings the best out of those coffee beans.
12 Of Our Favorite Camping Coffees
1. Best Overall: Don Pablo Signature Blend
This medium-dark roasted blend of Brazilian, Colombian, and Guatemalan beans is one of my favorites in general, but it works especially well for the Jetboil brewing methods. The low acidity of the beans and the rich, full-bodied flavor is precisely what you want for camping coffee. The brew is smooth enough to drink black but has enough character to add some sugar and creamer (or if you’re a thoughtful camper with a cooler: milk or cream).
2. Best for Jetboil And French Press Coffee Makers: Real Good Coffee Company Donut Shop Roast
There is a reason that the coffee at donut shops is so popular, and it’s not just because coffee generally works with donuts. The Donut Shop Roast from the Real Good Coffee Company has a sweet, balanced flavor without additives: just medium-roasted coffee beans from Central and South America. It’s nutty, rich, and almost luxurious, and the Jetboil method of brewing highlights these features rather than muddling them. It also goes brilliantly in a French press, with the flavors slowly developing before you hit the plunger.
3. Best for Instant Coffee Lovers: Alpine Start Instant Coffee
Alpine Start instant coffee was created by someone who loves the outdoors (as the name would suggest), and it is one of the best instant coffee options on the market. When drinking it on the go, all you require is a pot to boil your water, a cup, and these instant coffee beans. There is the original blend for those who like to keep it simple, but there are other options, such as instant coffee with creamer and chai latte.
4. Best for Single-use Coffee Users: Mt. Hagen Coffee
Here’s another instant coffee option. It comes in single servings, and it’s a delicious option if you want a high-quality, balanced cup of coffee to start your day. Just like Alpine Start, it requires very little work – just water, the beans, and a little creamer if you wish. If you choose this option, you don’t have to carry an extra piece of equipment (such as a coffee pot), and its ease of use is unbeatable.
5. Best for Coffee Bag Enthusiasts: Steeped Coffee
Steeped Coffee offers a single-use compostable coffee bag experience like no other. The coffee bag works similarly to a mesh filter, and its coffee is surprisingly good. May luxury hotels are moving towards coffee bags as a way to reduce the environmental effect of plastic pods. However, they also work brilliantly when on a camping trip.
Libra Coffee Portables is a pour-over coffee option that gives outdoorsy types a chance to have luxury coffee in the wilderness. These coffee filters are a great way to let your coffee brew by the campfire. And the coffee flavor is surprisingly strong in the finished product too.
However, the brand might not be to your taste. If that is the case, you should consider one of the Ultralight Java Drips on the market. Their built-in reusable nylon mesh filters allow you to make pour-over coffee using your favorite beans, which is ideal for camping trips.
7. Best for Aeropress Coffee: Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co.
These Fair Trade and organic beans are single origin and bring a delicious taste to your Aeropress coffee. The roaster was having a good day when he worked with them, and an Aeropress will bring out all the complex flavors they have. They are also relatively inexpensive at about $15 per bag, so you get an excellent deal on your beans.
8. Best For Percolators: Fresh Roasted Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazu
This single-origin coffee is an excellent low-acidity option that goes well within a percolator. It’s a crowd-pleasing medium roast with plenty going for it and has proved to be very popular with both seasoned and inexperienced coffee drinkers. The percolator’s brewing method brings out flavors of honey and chocolate, which sit well on the tongue and give a sense of luxury no matter where you are drinking it.
9. Best For Moka Pots: Sulawesi Kalossi
If you are looking for simplicity, the best camping coffee maker is probably the Moka pot. And if you are looking for the ideal coffee to use when making a coffee this way out in the backcountry, then Sulawesi Kalossi is an excellent option. This single-origin arabica gives off a light, creamy, balanced flavor that most of you will absolutely love.
10. Best for Organic Lovers: Lifeboost Espresso
If you are looking for an option that is both organic and delicious, then this high-quality arabica coffee could be for you. It’s Fair Trade, mycotoxin-free, and ideal if you want your brew to feel that little bit healthier. It’s a dark roast, so not suitable for people who don’t like a more intense flavor. However, if that is your thing, then you will love this.
11. Best for Beside The Campfire: Caffe Vita Bistro Blend
If you are looking for a delicious cup beside the campfire, the smoky full-body flavored Caffe Vita Blend will be ideal for you. It’s a beautiful blend of coffee coming from several regions, including Indonesia, South America, and East Africa.
12. Best for Keto Diet: VitaCup
Just because you are camping doesn’t mean you can’t keep your keto diet going. VitaCup is an excellent option, and keto dieters love it. It contains MCT oils and vitamins B1, B5, B9, B6, D3, and B12. Brilliantly, these vitamins don’t affect the coffee’s taste, with the Brazilian and Mexican beans combining for a perfect cup.
Of course, other coffees go brilliantly with camping. However, our pics were meticulously picked after extensive research.
We looked into the perfect coffees for each scenario, then compared each of them to come up with the above list. If we have missed out on any brilliant selections, feel free to let us know though!
Why You Can Trust Us
Each of Full Roast Coffee’s authors is a coffee expert. We know all there is to know about everything in this field, from the roasts to the grinders, to the brewing methods. And the author of this article is also a keen outdoorsman, so they are ideally placed to discuss both camping and the perfect coffee to go with it.