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 more 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 even if you don’t have a fire…
HelloTrail® is reader-supported. We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you, on purchases made from our expert chosen links.
How Do You Heat Coffee Without a Fire?
Five options to make coffee camping without a fire are:
- Propane camp stove
- Electrical hot plate
- Solar powered kettle
- Rechargeable portable espresso coffee maker or kettle
- Portable cold brew coffee maker
Camp stoves come in different shapes and sizes like the small MSR Windburner Stove or a two-burner CampChef which is a basic camping must-have. If you prefer not use butane or propane to heat up coffee water you can also use an electrical hot plate but will need a suitable power source.
Another great option to enjoy hot coffee while you are camping is to use a solar kettle. The downside is the sun does need to be up for it to work. But if you are not an early riser then within 20 minutes your water can be hot enough to brew a cup or two.
If you are looking to make coffee camping without a pot then use a portable rechargeable espresso coffee maker or travel kettle. You will need a power bank or generator to recharge it but these days those items are camping necessities.
The last way to get your coffee fix without a fire is to make cold brew. Cold brew coffee usually takes 8 hours or more to be ready so you have to plan ahead. But if you are camping without a heat source this option is better than no coffee at all.
Best Ways to Make Coffee Camping
Now that you have heated your water let’s look at 5 methods of brewing campsite coffee.
1. 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. Use Coffee Bags
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 diy coffee bags: 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. Pour-Over Coffee
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.
4. French Press 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 Camping Coffee Brewing Checklist
Let’s review a few essentials you need to make a great cup of coffee when camping:
- Heat source – campfire, gas/alcohol/wood camping stove
- Coffee – Coffee grounds, coffee bags, or instant coffee
- Metal Pot or Kettle to heat water
- Brewing Device – French Press, 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 just because there is no fire.
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!