Imagine waking up to the crisp air of the outdoors.
The hustle and bustle of the city have faded into obscurity.
Car horns have become bird songs, street lamps have transformed into towering trees, and stress has slipped into relaxation.
The only thing that could make your mountainside morning perfect is a fresh cup of coffee.
But you’re dozens of miles from the nearest Starbucks!
You’ve got to play the role of campsite barista to satisfy your caffeine craving.
Don’t fret though, I’ve got you covered with a few easy techniques and tips on how to make coffee while camping.
Start With a Heat Source
First, ask yourself: How are you going to get hot water?
You may try and rebuild the dying embers of last night’s campfire, but that can be a lengthy, frustrating process.
Or, you could use a camping stove to heat your water.
I prefer to utilize the campfire when available but always carry a MSR WindBurner stove and gas canister in case of inclement weather.
Choose Your Brewing Method
Now that you have heated your water let’s look at 5 methods of brewing campsite coffee.
1. The Easiest Way? Cowboy Coffee
The cheapest brewing method by far is to whip up a pot of gritty cowboy coffee.
Add regular coffee to your pot (or mug), pour in hot water, wait five minutes, and drink!
You may get grounds stuck in your teeth, but you’re in the middle of the woods, who cares?
2. Bag Your Coffee
Similar to tea bags, coffee bags provide a simple solution to obtain your caffeine fix.
Place the bag in your mug, pour in hot water, then steep for a few minutes just as you would with tea.
Although simple, the quality of coffee sometimes falls victim to the bag’s convenience.
Here’s how you can skip the store prices and make your own: Take a standard coffee filter, then add one heaping scoop of coffee grounds in the center.
Fold up the sides of the filter and tie off with twine – unscented dental floss works surprisingly well too.
3. Single Serving Pour-Overs
For those traveling solo, one-cup filters are a cheap, lightweight option to brew your morning coffee.
The plastic cone typically comes with a built-in mesh, which can be placed directly on top of your coffee mug or thermos.
Add in your pre-ground coffee and slowly pour hot water over the top, letting the freshly-brewed liquid drip down into your cup.
Make sure you put the mug or thermos on a firm surface before you start to pour, as some of these plastic filters can be flimsy, and you don’t want to spill scalding hot water all over the campsite.
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4. French Press Style Coffee
One of my favorite luxury items on the campsite is the French Press.
There is just something about this contraption that makes the coffee taste much more…fancier!
While your typical kitchen coffee press may take up too much room in your backpack, a travel version will slip right in.
The best part is that you can drink right out of the press, saving the hassle of washing multiple cups!
5. Instant Coffee
While nothing beats a freshly-brewed cup of Java, lugging around a giant brewing device can be taxing and expensive.
For the times that you want to pack light on the trail, try out single-serve instant coffee packets. Just heat up your water, add the dissolvable grounds, and enjoy!
Your Brewing Gear Checklist
Let’s review a few of the essentials you need to make a great cup of camping coffee.
- Heat source – campfire, gas/alcohol/wood camping stove (MSR PocketRocket 2)
- Coffee – Coffee grounds, coffee bags, or instant coffee (Our favorite: Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend)
- Metal Pot to heat water
- Brewing Device – French Press, paperless filter (stainless steel coffee filter), regular paper filters
- Trash bag to pack out used coffee grounds
Wrapping Brewing It Up…
There’s no reason for you to miss out on your morning cup of coffee while camping.
There are dozens of techniques to get your caffeine fix in the wild, but all of the mentioned methods above have been thoroughly tested by yours truly – and trust me, I get the jitters without my morning cup of coffee.
Do you have a burning question about being a campsite barista? Do you have another outdoor brewing technique we left out?
Comment below to spread the camping love and get outdoors!