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The Ultimate Camp Coffee Guide: How to Make Coffee While Camping

Camping Coffee

For many people, enjoying a cup of coffee is the perfect way to start the day. While you may not be able to bring all of your coffee-making gear out to the campsite, there are plenty of ways to get your daily coffee fix while enjoying the outdoors.

French Press

French Press

The French press is one of the simplest ways to make coffee. While traditional French presses are made of glass and can easily break, more rugged options are now available as well. Many modern French presses are made of durable plastics that can easily withstand the great outdoors.

Making coffee with a french press is extremely easy. Simply add coarsely ground coffee to the carafe, and drizzle in some hot (but not boiling) water. Wait 30 seconds to let the coffee bloom, and then add the rest of the hot water. Most people let their french press steep for 3-5 minutes, but the longer it steeps, the stronger your coffee will be. Then, press the plunger down and enjoy your coffee.


The Aeropress is one of the most popular ways to make coffee, and it is perfectly suited to camping. An Aeropress is essentially a combination between a pour-over and a French press. It’s a little more expensive than many other coffee-brewing methods, but the Aeropress makes smooth, gourmet-style coffee. If you are picky about your coffee, the Aeropress is the perfect option. You can even make shots of espresso with an Aeropress.

There are dozens of ways to make coffee using an Aeropress, but the inverted method is one of the most popular. First, place the plunger, facing-up, onto a flat surface. Put the base on top of the plunger and insert the plunger just a little bit. Pour your grounds into the base. Drizzle a little hot water into the grounds, and then fill with the remainder of your water. Attach the filter to the top and put your cup upside down on top of the filter. Flip both the Aeropress and the cup over. Push the plunger down completely.

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is by far the simplest way to make coffee. No specialized equipment is needed for this method, as long as you have a heat source, some water, and a kettle. Those who take a minimalist approach to their camping experience will appreciate the simplicity of this method.

Making cowboy coffee is as simple as boiling water. Just bring your water to a boil, and let it cool until it’s just below boiling temperature. Then, add your coffee grounds. Stir the grounds and let them settle to the bottom of the kettle. Slowly pour the coffee into a mug to avoid getting any grounds in your cup.

Instant Coffee

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is packable, lightweight, and super-convenient. However, instant coffee powder generally produces low-quality coffee. Despite some recent advancements in the instant coffee industry, it remains one of the least flavorful types of coffee that you can buy. However, some campers may not be concerned with the quality of their coffee. If you just need a little kick in the morning, and nothing else, instant coffee could be a perfect solution for you.

The method to make instant coffee will vary from brand to brand. Generally, though, you will stir powdered coffee into hot water until the powder is dissolved completely.



A percolator will give you higher quality coffee than the cowboy coffee method, with minimal additional gear needed. In a percolator, water heats up and moves upward through a tube. The hot water is sprinkled over your coffee grounds, before trickling back down into the kettle. This process continues, cycling the water until it has been brewed into coffee.

Using a percolator is very simple. First, open the lid and remove the tube and basket insert. Fill the kettle with water and place coffee grounds into the basket insert. Put the tube and basket piece back into the kettle, and place the percolator on a heat source. It should take 8-10 minutes for your coffee to finish. It’s a good idea to let the coffee rest for a couple of minutes before serving -- this will allow any grounds to settle before you serve the coffee.

Pour Over

Pour Over Coffee

A pour-over is a great way to make coffee while camping. You can either buy single-use, single-serving pour-overs or reusable pour-over frames that make several cups of coffee. Pour-overs make excellent, gourmet-style coffee but it will take some practice to master the technique.

Either way, the principle is the same: you pack coffee grounds into a filter that sits above an empty cup. Then, you pour hot water through the coffee grounds. Coffee is brewed as the hot water passes through the coffee grounds and the filter.

Moka Pot

Moka Pot Coffee

If you are especially picky about your coffee, an Italian-style moka pot may be perfect. Moka pots are made to brew espresso, but you can combine moka pot coffee with water for an Americano. Moka pots come with a metal filter basket, so you won’t have to purchase or pack extra filters.

A moka pot is a simple device. It consists of a bottom reservoir and a serving carafe, which are separated by a metal filter. Water is placed into the bottom reservoir and coffee is packed into the metal filter. As the water boils, the steam rises through the coffee grounds and collects as brewed coffee in the serving carafe.

Cook System with Coffee Attachment

Jetboil Frenchpress Add On

Many popular outdoor cooking systems can be equipped with French press-style plungers. This can reduce the amount of gear you need to carry. Unfortunately, French presses use a lot of grounds and can be difficult to clean. But, if you are already using your cooking system to boil water, a coffee attachment is a simple, convenient way to get your caffeine fix.

Camping Drip Coffee Maker

Most people make coffee with a traditional drip coffee maker at home. Now, you can take your drip maker with you to the campsite. Some models are designed to be placed directly on a camping stove. Others are made to accept small propane tanks that power an integrated heating element.

Camping drip makers function exactly like their at-home counterparts. You simply pour water into the reservoir, swing open the front filter basket, and add your grounds. Turn on the stove or activate the propane, and you’ll have coffee in about 10 minutes.


Along with brewing the coffee, you’ll need a couple of other accessories to get your coffee fix.


Camping Coffee grinder

It’s certainly easier to just bring pre-ground coffee. But, as most coffee aficionados know, freshly ground coffee is going to taste much better. If you are using specialty coffee, it is definitely preferable to grind your own coffee beans. Most camp-friendly coffee grinders will be manually-operated, functioning with a hand crank to grind your beans to your desired coarseness.

Travel Mugs or Coffee Cups

Camping Coffee

Before packing your drinkware, consider where and how you will be drinking your coffee. If you’re going to be drinking coffee while hiking or trekking through the country, you’ll want something with a locking, watertight lid. Also, consider the size of the travel mug -- if you are hiking all day, you may want more than the standard 8-10 oz serving size.

On the other hand, if you’re going to enjoy your coffee huddled around a campfire, simple coffee mugs or enamel cups will work just fine. Some coffee boilers include two or four enamel cups. If you plan on making cowboy coffee, buying a bundled set can save you some money.