How To Make Coffee While Backpacking

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If you are a car camping or a backpacking enthusiast, you should know how to make coffee while backpacking. A cup of steaming hot coffee is the best way for starting your day when you are out on an outdoor adventure like camping trip.

Crawling out of your warm sleeping bag to the chilling breeze of the mountainside can be a bit daunting unless you have the aroma of brewed coffee beckoning at you.

Brewing coffee when camping is one of the outdoor activities adventurers like hikers and campers must try. It brings pleasure to coffee drinkers to experience making coffee while camping. Whether you camp in the wilderness or you are on a glamping experience with a bubble tent, strong coffee will do wonders for your spirits.

For some people, nothing is more exciting in this world than camping trips and waking up in the middle of nowhere to see the sunrise while waiting for the coffee pot or under the stars while taking a shot of your own style of camp coffee. Picturesque, eh? Just make sure to bring your own coffee grounds and coffee mug when camping!

Backpacking Coffee

For coffee lovers or coffee drinkers, either instant coffee grounds or coffee brew bags, or coffee tea bags, nothing beats a delicious coffee in the morning. And you will miss this luxury if you do not know how to make coffee while camping.

Making camping coffee is not as complicated as some might think. It will not require a bulky or unnecessary add-on to your load during the camping trip or car camping. Just hot water

There are several ways to make good coffee using your favorite instant coffee brands while camping without bringing your home coffee maker together with its power supply. There are many types of camping coffee makers anyway. You can invest in a good one.

 Here’s the list of ways how to make coffee while camping:

Instant Coffee Camping – How To make coffee while camping

Although instant coffee is the easiest and most convenient way of getting your dose of caffeine while camping, it has some reservations when taste is concerned.

This method is ideal for backpacking campers who want to save space and reduce the weight of loads of their backpacking backpacks. Instant coffee is lightweight, packed in small sizes for convenience, and does not require any special equipment or tools like a coffee grinder or special instructions to prepare it. Also, it doesn’t involve any complicated brewing process.

If you choose to go by this method, ensure that you find a decent, high quality brand of instant coffee. Otherwise, you might end up choosing a brand whose taste is terrible. Thankfully, technology and innovation has improved the way in which coffee is refined. You can be sure of finding instant coffee with a surprisingly great taste perfect for your camping trip.

The simplicity in making a fresh mug of instant coffee might probably be the reason why most backpackers prefer this method during camping trips. All you need to do is boil water over the campfire or camp stove, pour into a coffee cup or coffee mug, pour a packet of the instant coffee, stir, and voila! You now have an amazing coffee to complete your morning. The beauty of using instant coffee is there are no coffee grounds left on your mug making it easy to clean.

If you bring your  travel coffee mug to keep coffee hot with you, you can make extra coffee and keep it for later.

Coffee Bags for Camping – How To Make Coffee While Backpacking

Just as the instant coffee, coffee bags is another hassle free way of making coffee while you are outdoor on a camping or backpacking adventure. If you really love to drink coffee, and your day is not complete without having a cup of coffee, there will always be a way to squeeze in a small portable coffee maker and some instant coffee granules.

The difference in these two methods however lies in the fact that unlike in the instant coffee where you pour the packet contents directly in your mug with hot water from the pot, the coffee grounds in this method is kept in a bag similar to the commonly known tea bag. The coffee grounds are not directly poured into the mug but rather the coffee bag is put in the hot water and left to sit for a minute or two.

This method is also ideal when backpacking since coffee bags are light in weight and you can carry quite a good number of them. Just ensure to buy the best tasting brand since most of the brands do have a nasty taste.

If you do not fancy the coffee bags from the stores, you can improvise your own coffee bags and fill them with your favorite coffee so that the coffee flavor is not compromised. Best to grind your coffee fresh to enjoy full aroma and tasty cup of coffee. You will find making your coffee bags for camping very easy.

Best Camping Percolator

If you would love to brew coffee while camping over the campfire using fewer accessories, a camping percolator is an ideal way of doing so. If you use a camp stove, keep the flame low or medium strength. The camping coffee method using a coffee percolator is only good when camping as a family. Therefore, for coffee lovers, if you are going camping alone, it is recommended to bring a coffee thermos to keep the excess coffee hot and drink it later.

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A percolator comes in handy when you are camping as a big group since it is able to make several mugs of coffee at a go. Coffee brewed using a coffee percolator tastes much better than what you would get from instant coffee or coffee bags for camping.

If you are unfamiliar with how a coffee percolator brewing process, here it is:

  1. First, remove the coffee basket and tube from the percolator and fill it with water
  2. Put a tablespoon or two of fresh ground coffee in the basket and put the basket and tube inset inside the percolator and close the lid
  3. Place your percolator over the campfire stove or camp stove/camping stove (low to medium flame)
  4. As the water heats up, it is pushed up via a small tube insert. The hot water then drips through the coffee beans in the little basket and drips back into the holding space.

This process continues until the coffee is ready.

This method is simple to use and afterwards, it is easy to clean up. However, you should be more careful when using this method because if you leave your coffee unattended, it can become excessively thick and bitter.

How To Make Cowboy Coffee

The other method of how to make coffee while camping is cowboy coffee. If you read Louis L’Amor, you know how the cowboy rolls off his bedroll, wears his hat first, followed by his boots and then stirs last night’s coals, adds tinder and sticks to the fire and pours coffee into the kettle to make his cowboy coffee.

The cowboy way of brewing camp coffee is similar to the percolator brewing process. The only difference is that the cowboy coffee method features no basket. Instead of a basket, the ground coffee is poured directly into the water inside the camping coffee pot.

The camping coffee pot is placed over the campfire so that the water and the ground coffee boil together. Once it boils for some minutes, remove the pot from the fire and allow it to cool for a minute and allow the coffee grounds settle at the bottom of the pot. Pour your freshly brewed coffee slowly into your coffee mug to avoid too much grit finding its way into your mug.

As you can see, this is one of the simplest ways to brew coffee or camp coffee. It also requires minimal accessories and its therefore ideal for backpackers. The major drawback of using this camp coffee method is that your pot will be left with a thick sticky residue of coffee grounds at the bottom, which can be quite hard to cleanup. But don’t let that keep you from making an incredible camping coffee on the trail the cowboy way.

French Press Camping Coffee Maker

The French press coffee maker is another great tool for making some tasty camping coffee just as the one you usually make at home. Making coffee using French press is one of the easiest, and straightforward method to make coffee while camping. French press coffee makers are excellent for outdoor brewing because they are made from durable materials and excellent for retaining heat perfect during camping.

The first step to making French press camp coffee is to boil some water using your preferred method. Add a teaspoon or two of your preferred coarse ground coffee inside the French press and pour the hot water or boiling water into the press while waiting for your coffee bloom. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of minutes depending on how strong you would love your coffee to be.

After you steep your coffee for some minutes, press the French press plunger to the bottom of the camping press to separate the brewed coffee from the coffee grounds.

The French press is an ideal brewing coffee method for coffee drinkers when camping if you want to drink rich brewed coffee but most backpackers might not prefer it because it is quite bulky.

How To Make Pour Over Coffee

The pour over method is a relatively new concept of brewing coffee that was specifically been designed with campers in mind enjoying a cup of coffee. It is easy to use and clean up since the coffee grounds and the water are kept separate. Coffee brewed using this method is also very tasty.

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To brew coffee using this method requires you to use a boiling water to produce tasty coffee. Boil water separately and put your freshly ground coffee inside the pour over coffee filter or paper filter. Mount the pour-over onto your mug using its holders. Pour the boiling water over the coffee grounds and the coffee filter will drip some brewed coffee right inside your mug.

The pour over coffee making method is ideal when backpacking since it is lightweight and requires minimal accessories – coffee filter or paper filters, and your coffee cup. Besides, making brew coffee with a wood fire stove for camping and backpacking will add tantalizing distant smell of smoke. Perfect!

Aeropress Coffee Machine

The aeropress is one of the best ways of brewing your camping coffee. This method produces incredibly tasteful camp coffee using minimal resources. The aeropress coffee maker is small, compact and light in weight and therefore ideal when backpacking.

This method works in almost a similar way as the French press coffee maker, the main difference is while the French press pushes the coffee grounds downwards, the aeropress coffee maker pushes coffee grounds upwards, out through the topmost part of the unit.

The portable aeropress comes at an affordable cost and it lasts for years. You can buy this at the Amazon website. They are also easy to clean and can handle different coffee grounds textures, allowing you to customize your flavors and pick your favorites. The major downside is that they only brew one cup of fresh coffee at a time, which might be a tedious process and will take a lot of effort (and patience) if you will be sharing one unit as a group.

Apart from the volume, this method beats almost all the other methods when it comes to the quality of the coffee brews and the taste.


Portable Espresso Makers – Camping espresso machine

You’re not only require your massive kitchen espresso machine to enjoy a cup of your favorite espresso; with a portable espresso maker, you can enjoy your daily espresso dose from anywhere including inside your camping tent .

The portable espresso makers are small and light in weight and they will take in your camping or hiking backpack. They are easy to use and do not use electricity because most of them just require you to apply some pressure by pushing a piston and that will power the gadget and there! You have your freshly brewed espresso. The unit has different compartments which include the ground coffee section, the filter and the water section.

Conclusion and recommendation

Now that you know of the many options to make a cup of coffee while camping, there is no reason why you should deny yourself the luxury of a hot mug of coffee during your camping adventure.

Brewed coffee should no longer be confined to the coffee shops or to your kitchen. You can enjoy your camping experience without sacrificing your usual cup of coffee during those chilly mornings in the wilderness camping adventure.

Alternately, you could also try making iced coffee using cold water or putting ice on your coffee especially when the weather is too hot and you have ice on the refrigerator on your camper van or RV.

Bring your camping coffee maker with you to ensure that you do not compromise on the quality and the taste of your coffee. These units are available in the market and they do not require the use of electricity since they are battery operated.

A cup of coffee fix is one heck of a way to kick-start your day anytime you are out of home. You now know how to make coffee while backpacking and you will have a jolly good time on the trail or at the campsite.


  1. Luna Anderson

    A camping percolator is quite bulky when camping alone. For me, I choose a stainless steel mug to boil some water and making coffee is so easy. Anyway, thanks for your suggestion.

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