So you’ve decided to take the great plunge and go into the wild on a camping trip. Good for you, there’s nothing quite like reconnecting with nature with the bird calls in the air, the great valleys, the endless horizon.
But wait… you can’t bring your trusty Nespresso coffee machine into the mountains? And there’s no Starbucks on the campsite? It’s time to go old school, or at least really tap into that dormant coffee connoisseur, by going for a specialist camping coffee maker. No-one wants to revert to making instant coffee that easily. Instead, there is a wide selection of coffee makers that can help bring that cozy home feeling to your (less comfy) tent.
We are going to go through some of our favorite camping coffee makers; explaining what to look for, what to avoid, and how to use them. This will also include some tips and tricks on how to make your camp coffee something actually enjoyable to drink and not any more hassle than its worth. Whether you’re a confessed coffee snob or a beginner hoping to capture the essence of your morning coffee before work, keep reading to discover what the best camping coffee maker is for you.
The Top 15 Camping Coffee Makers
1. Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
Weight: 11.8 oz | Type: Press | Capacity: 1 Cup
Wacaco’s Nanopresso is the ideal answer to how you can have your luxurious espresso whilst traveling away from home. Made for the espresso lover, it is an innovative way of making more specialist coffee than just your standard filter brew. The powerful pumping system offers you barista-style espresso whilst out in the sticks, without any hassle of batteries and electricity. Packed full of technology and a detachable coffee cup, the Nanopresso is surprisingly lightweight and compact.
2. Stanley Adventure All-in-One, Boil + Brew French Press Coffee Maker
Weight: 10 oz | Type: Press | Capacity: 3-4 Cups
For the more rugged campers, you have the all-in-one french press from Stanley, a well-known brand for selling some of the best camping coffee makers. A classic design made with stainless steel and fold-away handles, it is a quintessential camping coffee maker. This all-in-one French press can also double up as your cooking gear: capable of cooking soups and boiling vegetables also.
3. Jetboil Flash Java Kit Camping and Backpacking Stove Cooking System
Weight: 13.9 oz | Type: Press | Capacity: 1-2 Cups
Jetboil’s Flash Java Kit is pure efficiency personified in one product. A silicone french press coffee maker nestles inside a cooking vessel allowing you to carry everything you need without any worries. It comes with a 1-liter cooking cup, stove, french press, fuel igniter, and a cup. This means you have literally everything you could need all in one system.
4. Eureka! Camp Café 12 Cup Portable Camping Coffee Maker
Weight: 2.5 lbs | Type: Drip | Capacity: 12 Cups
Camp Café from Eureka! can provide for a seriously large size of campers, with a capacity of 12 cups. Not only can it make the 60 oz carafe of coffee, but the 2.5-liter boiling pot can also be used to cook all of your meals. Although it is a larger coffee maker, the entire operation nestles inside the boiling kettle so you can easily pack it away. With a fun approach to camping, the Camp Café ensures you can make a speedy brew and easily pack away ready for a hike.
5. MiiR Pourigami
Weight: 4 oz | Type: Drip | Capacity: 1 Cup
It may look like a piece of technology off a spaceship but the MiiR Pourigami may end up being your new essential coffee making equipment. This portable coffee dripper is designed to be able to be folded up flat and placed away in a pocket. Coming in at only four ounces, with the stainless steel panels coated in Hardshell, it is a miniature wonder! Pourigami simplifies coffee-making into something you can easily carry in your palm without sacrificing flavor.
6. Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper
Weight: 2.9oz | Type: Drip | Capacity: 1-2 cups
Sea to Summit have perfected their pocket-sized barista with the X-Brew coffee maker. It collapses down to be easily popped away in a pocket of a backpack and can be assembled to make a quick brew at any point. The X-Brew has an innovative design with a spiral pattern which creates a consistent drip speed, ensuring you extract all the goodness from the coffee grounds. With the reusable filter, all you need is some hot water and your favorite mug to make a coffee on the road.
7. GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip
Weight: 0.4 oz | Type: Drip | Capacity: 1 Cup
When you think about the best lightweight and compact coffee makers, GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip should be at the top of your list. The materials manage to be sturdy despite the lightness, with a nylon filter and plastic legs that clip straight onto your mug. The Ultralight Java Drip comes in at less than 0.4 oz and is surprisingly capable of making cups of coffee that could rival your home coffee maker.
8. Coleman 9 Cup Coffee Percolator
Weight: 1.6lbs | Type: Percolator | Capacity: 9 Cups
Coleman is another brand known for embracing the cowboy feel of camping, with their rustic products. With a wide range of coffee makers for camping, their nine cup coffee percolator offers large capacity at an affordable price. Capable of making nine cups of coffee, it also has a spout design for ease of use so you can pour the coffee without getting it everywhere.
9. GSI Outdoors Javapress 30 Fl Oz
Weight: 12.8oz | Type: Press | Capacity: 30 fl oz/3 Cups
The GSI Outdoors Javapress combines the ease of your home french press with the great outdoors. The sporty light design is perfect to carry around on the go or be attached to your backpack for easy access. The simplicity of a french press means that you can have a morning coffee ready in less than 10 minutes, wherever you are!
10. Coleman Enamelware Percolator, 14 Cup
Weight: 1 lb | Type: Percolator| Capacity: 14 Cups
This percolator looks and feels like it has been used in the mountains for years. The double-coated enamel is beautiful and durable, with a stainless steel rim. Coleman brings together their rustic outdoorsy brand with clever material choices to make a coffee maker that looks like something you would want to pass on to your children (with the hard-wearing enamel ensuring that you could). This is the ultimate large group of campers percolator, simply pop your ground coffee and hot water in and wait around the fire for your perfect frothy cup of joe.
11. GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip
Weight: 0.5 oz | Type: Drip | Capacity: 1-12 Cups
The GSI Outdoors Java Drip provides backpackers with a super small coffee dripper that you can pop open whenever you want to make a quick brew. It is easy to carry around as it packs down to a height of only one inch and includes a snap-on lid to keep it secure. This small size doesn’t stop it from extending up to brew up to 12 cups of tasty coffee.
12. Primula Coffee Brew Buddy
Weight: 1.6 oz | Type: Drip | Capacity: 1 Cup
Primula’s Brew Buddy is the ultimate answer for an ideal single-serve coffee maker, one that can be popped into your pocket and pulled out whenever needed. The teabag style coffee brewer system means that you can get whichever mug you want, place your coffee grounds in, fill with hot water and have a perfect cup ready. This no-fuss approach to coffee making can be that moment of peace on your camping journey.
13. Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite Percolator
Weight: 2.25lbs | Type: Percolator | Capacity: 4-8 Cups
As the name says, Farberware is a classic household name that provides reliable and good value products. This percolator follows in the brands’ footsteps as a high capacity, inexpensive and reliable coffee maker. The best part of this percolator is how easy to use you’ll find it, just get your flame ready and gather everyone around to wait for your fresh cups of coffee. With the large capacity, you can easily make enough coffee for your whole camping group.
14. Gourmia GCM3250 Digital Touch Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Weight: 2.38 lbs | Type: Drip | Capacity: 20 oz
The Gourmia digital pour-over coffee maker is the best choice for those who want complete accuracy and control over their morning brew. The digital scale is optional with batteries, allowing you to perfect your ratio or follow the machine’s recommendation, or you can measure out your coffee yourself for a digital-free trip.
15. Stanley Unisex Green French Press Mug
Weight: 2.5lbs | Type: Press | Capacity: 48 Oz
The best cups of coffee are the ones shared with your camping crew around the picnic table: Stanley’s French Press Mug allows you to do exactly that. With a large capacity and vacuum insulation, you can make a large pot of coffee so even the lazier campers get a chance to have a drink by the time they wake up. This timeless french press is so tough that you could drop it without a worry or even a dent.
Buyer’s Guide to Camping Coffee Makers
As you’ve probably discovered from a quick google, there is a vast variety of coffee makers out there. It can definitely be an intimidating experience going to buy your first coffee maker for camping. We want to help by breaking down the most crucial features to look out for when deciding on the ideal coffee brewer for you.
The different types of coffee makers are one of the biggest considerations for any coffee drinkers. Coffee is going to taste different depending on how it’s made: your french press and percolator are going to make quite different tasting coffee. Here is a quick run-through of the three main coffee makers that people opt for when camping.
If you’re going out into the wild, you might as well go full wild west with a traditional coffee percolator. Camping coffee percolators are familiar to stovetop coffee makers you may have used at home. The rustic nature of percolators results in a more intense full-bodied flavor than a french press or filter coffee. A vintage-style percolator can also add a little splash of retro to your morning camping table. It works by using heat to drive water up from the lower chamber via a tube and then filters through the coffee beans. This cycle repeats to create the rich coffee that percolators are known for.
A french press is a common way to make your coffee even at home, you’ll find one of these lurking in most coffee drinkers household. Its ease of use means that it is a staple on a camping trip, requiring only hot water and your coffee grounds to make a rich cup of coffee. Taste-wise, it produces an aromatic and vibrant coffee brew owing to the natural oils and microscopic grounds that the french press allows into the final cup of coffee.
Drip coffees, or you may know it as the pour-over method of brewing coffee, is another super popular method of brewing coffee. It is fairly simple whilst allowing you to change the flavor by tailoring your brewing process. For these you’ll need a filter of sorts, this could be a paper filter or your coffee dripper may come with a reusable metal one. Coffee drippers usually result in a more nuanced hot beverage due as the brewing method fully allows all the flavor notes of the coffee beans to come through.
Is one cup enough to get you crawling out of your tent in the morning? Or are you going to need a whole jug of coffee to be able to consider going for a hike? This is all going to affect what the best coffee maker will be for you. Obviously, if you’re planning to make a pot of coffee for the whole camping group you’ll want to go for a much larger capacity. This usually means going for something bulkier and more durable, but we will touch on these aspects later on.
Capacity can be a tricky aspect to decide upon when it comes to camping coffee makers. Whilst many companies say the capacity is technically two cups, this is measured in espresso-type cups rather than the big cup of joe you might be used to. Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your homely comforts of a huge vat of coffee. The best way to figure out your ideal capacity is to measure how much coffee your favorite mug at home can manage and use this to decide upon the capacity to suit you.
Single-serve coffee makers can help with this as they are usually done with the drip method. These usually go on top of your cup and you can adjust the amount of coffee and water exactly to your ideal mug. This allows you to make your perfect cup of hot coffee. Unsurprisingly, this is a favored method for individuals going camping as you can tailor your brew perfectly, and it goes straight into your favorite mug. No hassle, no mess!
The weight of the coffee maker you decide upon will depend on the form of camping will be of varying importance. If you are car camping with a trunk full of space then it won’t matter as much if you go for that heavier percolator or a larger capacity coffee maker.
If backpacking then going for a lightweight coffee maker will your best option. For some coffee aficionados, this means prioritizing something that could pack away easily over the brew itself. Whilst no-one wants to sacrifice flavor in their morning brew it would be impossible to carry a 1-2lb coffee maker in a backpack during a hike – trust us, you don’t want to try that!
Time truly is of the essence when it comes to your morning cup of coffee. For some, this means that you want a coffee maker that’ll be quick and easy in the morning. However, you do not want to sacrifice the taste and strength of your drink by going for a method that is too fast. If making a large batch of coffee you want to take your time brewing a larger pot to maintain that same strong flavor in every cup.
Whether you’re bustling around with a backpack or filling the trunk of your car with your camping equipment, you’ll need a coffee maker that can withstand a little rough and tumble. Camping is all about being in the great outdoors, so the durability and wear of the coffee maker is extremely important.
If this is a priority then focusing on a coffee maker that is made of materials such as stainless steel or enamel is best. These materials mean that you’ll barely find a crack in the maker, let alone break it during a hike. Plastic and glass are more liable to break, so the best camping coffee makers tend to have a mixture of materials to reinforce the weaker ones.
1. How can I make coffee outdoors?
As true coffee lovers know, this question is much more in-depth than you first imagine. Making coffee and making good coffee are two different things. To make a good cup of coffee outdoors you will need to consider a few things before the actual brewing aspect.
Firstly you need to have your coffee grounds, either freshly ground or a tin of ground coffee beans will work. You then measure out the ideal ratio of coffee and water for however many cups you intend to make. This process is different depending on what type of coffee maker you have decided upon so we will go through each method.
If you plan to use a percolator, prepare to be waiting around your stovetop or fire for a while. The ease of use that percolators offer means a sacrifice of time as you’ll be boiling the water as you go. Your coffee grounds go into the top chamber of the pot whilst the water is poured into the lower compartment. The brew will continually cycle through the coffee grounds until your water reaches boiling point and the spurting sound stops. You’ll want to remove this off the heat quickly so it doesn’t end up tasting burnt or bitter.
French presses are extremely popular because of the ease of making a cup of coffee. It is simple but for a great cup of coffee, the devil truly is in the details. You’ll want to first heat up your measured out water to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a piping hot mug of coffee in the end. You then put your ground beans into the press and fill it up with your hot water.
Pro Tip! – Let your coffee bloom: To get a more robust flavor in your coffee, pour a small amount of hot water in first with your grounds. You should notice it do a little bubble and foam, leave it thirty seconds, and then give it a mix and pour in the rest of the water. This allows the coffee a chance to breathe and get those finer notes of flavor in your final cup of coffee.
You then let your coffee brew away. The recommended time is four minutes but feel free to alter this depending on the strength of coffee you desire. The final step is gently pushing the plunger of your french press down. Being gentle is vital, a slow push ensures that you can keep those last pieces of coffee grounds out of your final cup. Nothing is worse than taking your first sip of coffee in the morning and tasting some ground up coffee beans.
Drip coffee is similar to a french press in so far that it is easy to use, but you need to follow a few steps carefully to make that perfect cup. If you’re using a single-serve coffee dripper, i.e. one that goes directly on top of your mug then securely attach it on.
Pour the water over the grinds but find that perfect speed in which it’s quick enough that you’re actually getting water over the grounds but slow enough that you only fill halfway up the grounds at a time. This constant trickle of water means that the coffee has time to be fully extracted and develop all that rich flavor. Finding your perfect pour-over speed is the key to delicious coffee.
2. How can I clean a camping coffee maker?
The dreaded aspect of your morning cup of coffee is the cleanup process with those finicky coffee grounds. Your clean up process will vary depending on which type of coffee maker you decide to go for. Percolators and french presses will require a full rinse out so ensure to have some extra water ready to give a little scrub.
Coffee drippers, with their reusable mesh or paper filters, are the best products in terms of clean up. A reusable filter is easily cleaned with a small amount of water and your coffee grounds are actually a prime ingredient in compost. So next time you’re camping just dump your grounds on the forest floor – you’ll be helping nature this way and making your life slightly easier.
3. Which is the best camping coffee maker?
We have split our favorites into the ideal coffee maker for an individual or small group of two to three and a larger group of four and more. The best coffee makers differ depending on what you want out of it!
For small groups, we recommend the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip for the best-tasting coffee for smaller groups. For a super minimalist approach to camping coffee makers, GSI Outdoors has managed to create an easy to use coffee dripper which is as light as a feather. It’s our top pick as you can easily make coffee for you and your hiking partner, and it can be popped into a backpack with ease. The balance of lightweight mobility with the resulting delicious brew makes it a winner for small groups of campers.
The best product for a larger group would have to be the Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Percolator. It’s a no-fuss solution to making enough coffee for the whole group. The durable stainless steel and large capacity of eight cups make it a reliable choice. Plus, the old school charm of the percolator over the fire is enough to get you planning your next journey into the wild.