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How to Make Coffee While Camping?

Imagine waking up to the serene beauty of the wilderness, the only sound being the gentle rustle of leaves and the soft gurgle of a nearby stream. Now, add to that the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Making coffee while camping isn't just about the caffeine kick; it's about preserving your morning ritual in the heart of nature. This guide will walk you through the seven best ways to make coffee when camping to enjoy your favorite brew under the open sky, ensuring your outdoor adventures are as rejuvenating as they are exciting.

Make Coffee While Camping

7 Best Ways to Make Coffee When Camping

Here are seven popular methods for making coffee while camping, each offering its own unique flavor and process to suit different tastes and camping setups.

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is a rustic and simple method that dates back to the old West, where cowboys made coffee over open fires during cattle drives.

What You'll Need:

  • Camping pot
  • Water
  • Coffee grounds
  • Heat source (campfire or stove)


  1. Fill the camping pot with water and place it on your heat source to bring it to a boil.
  2. Add one tablespoon of coffee grounds per cup of water directly into the boiling water.
  3. Stir the mixture and allow it to boil for about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for another 2 minutes to allow the grounds to settle to the bottom.
  5. Carefully pour the coffee into cups, trying to keep the coffee grounds in the pot and out of your drink.

French Press Method

French Press Making Coffee

The French press is perfect for campers who appreciate a rich and robust cup of coffee. It allows the coffee oils to remain in your brew, enhancing the flavor.

What You'll Need:

  • French press
  • Coarse ground coffee
  • Hot water
  • Spoon


  1. Add one tablespoon of coarse coffee grounds per cup of water into the French press.
  2. Heat water until just below boiling and pour over the coffee grounds in the French press.
  3. Use the spoon to gently stir the mixture.
  4. Place the lid on the press with the plunger pulled up and let the coffee steep for four minutes.
  5. Slowly press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee.
  6. Serve the coffee directly from the French press.

Portable Espresso Maker

For those who can’t go without their espresso, portable espresso makers are compact and easy to use, providing a rich concentrate even while in the wilderness.

What You'll Need:

  • Portable espresso maker
  • Espresso coffee grounds
  • Hot water


  1. Fill the espresso maker's basket with finely ground espresso coffee.
  2. Boil water and then add it to the water tank of the espresso maker.
  3. Assemble the espresso maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Pump the espresso maker to build pressure and extract the coffee into your cup.

Single-Serve Pour Over

Single-serve pour overs are ideal for light packers who prefer clean and flavorful coffee without carrying too much equipment.

What You'll Need:

  • Pour-over coffee filter
  • Coffee grounds (medium-fine grind)
  • Hot water
  • Mug


  1. Place the pour-over filter on top of your mug.
  2. Add two tablespoons of coffee grounds to the filter.
  3. Slowly pour hot water over the grounds, ensuring all the coffee is evenly soaked.
  4. Allow the water to drip through to the mug below, adjusting your pouring to maintain a steady drip.

AeroPress Coffee Maker

AeroPress Coffee Maker

The AeroPress is a versatile and durable coffee maker that combines the benefits of French press flavor with the clarity of filter drip brewing.

What You'll Need:

  • AeroPress
  • AeroPress filter
  • Coffee grounds (fine grind)
  • Hot water
  • Stirrer


  1. Insert a filter in the AeroPress cap and twist the cap onto the chamber.
  2. Stand the AeroPress on a sturdy mug and add coffee grounds.
  3. Pour hot water into the AeroPress and stir the mixture for about 10 seconds.
  4. Insert the plunger and press down slowly until you hear a hissing sound.

Percolator Coffee Pot

How to make coffee in a camping percolator? Percolators use a simple heat source to brew coffee by cycling boiling water through coffee grounds, ideal for larger groups.

What You'll Need:

  • Percolator
  • Coffee grounds (coarse grind)
  • Water
  • Heat source


  1. Fill the bottom chamber of the percolator with water.
  2. Place coffee grounds in the coffee basket.
  3. Heat the percolator over your camp stove or fire until the water begins to percolate.
  4. Allow it to percolate for 5 to 10 minutes depending on your desired strength.
  5. Remove from heat and let the grounds settle before serving.

Instant Coffee Packets

Instant Coffee Packets

For ultimate convenience and minimal cleanup, instant coffee packets are the go-to solution for many campers. This is the easiest way how to make coffee when camping.

What You'll Need:

  • Instant coffee packet
  • Hot water
  • Mug


  1. Tear open an instant coffee packet and pour the contents into your mug.
  2. Boil water and carefully pour it over the instant coffee powder.
  3. Stir thoroughly until the coffee is completely dissolved and enjoy.

What to Consider About Making Coffee While Camping?

Making coffee while camping can be one of the highlights of your outdoor adventure, but it requires some planning and consideration to ensure it adds to your experience rather than causing hassle. Here are key factors to consider:

1. Equipment Weight and Size

When you’re packing for a camping trip, every ounce matters, especially if you're backpacking. Choose a coffee-making method that aligns with your carrying capacity. Lightweight and compact options like AeroPress, single-serve pour over filters, or instant coffee packets are ideal for minimizing your load.

2. Preparation Time and Ease

Consider how much time and effort you want to invest in preparing your coffee. Instant coffee is the quickest and easiest, requiring only hot water. Methods like the French press, percolator, or espresso maker take more time and attention, which might be fine for a leisurely campsite morning but not ideal for a quick start.

3. Clean-up

Post-coffee clean-up should be straightforward and environmentally friendly. Methods that require several parts or produce more waste (like spent coffee grounds) may be less convenient when water resources are limited, and you need to pack out trash. Single-use pour-overs and the AeroPress offer easier clean-up compared to making percolator coffee camping.

4. Water Source and Boiling Method

Access to clean water is crucial, as is your method for boiling it. If you're near a clean water source, you may only need a simple water filter. Otherwise, you'll need to carry enough water for your trip. For boiling, compact stoves are more efficient and environmentally friendly compared to an open campfire, which may be restricted in some areas during dry seasons.


Overall, these seven best ways to make coffee when camping ensure that you don't have to sacrifice your beloved morning ritual for the sake of adventure. From the rugged simplicity of cowboy coffee to the refined taste of a French press, there's a brewing method for every type of outdoor enthusiast. So next time you're packing for the great outdoors, remember to include your favorite coffee-making supplies. After all, nothing complements the breathtaking view of a sunrise in nature like a warm, comforting cup of coffee.

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