Many of us don’t always get our best sleep when camping under the stars, thanks to the hard ground, uncomfortable temperatures, and things that go bump in the night. That’s why a great cup of coffee shouldn’t go overlooked and or sacrificed when staying outdoors. Whether it’s a quick pour-over or a long-term cold brew, a cup of joe can become utilitarian rather quickly. To help you combat less-than-desired results while getting back to nature, we’ve put together a list of the best camping coffee makers to increase your chances of a quality brew away from home.
Before the Mr. Coffee automatic drip machine allowed the beverage to be made with ease beginning in the early 1970s, it wasn’t uncommon for consumers to brew a hot cup over a stove or using their own manual drip filters. These days, added convenience helps on the homefront, but when we’re outdoors, transporting (and plugging in) a coffee maker just isn’t practical. We’ve put together a list of alternatives that are easier to pack along when the need arises for camp coffee.
The Different Ways To Make Coffee
Before we get into our picks for the best camping coffee makers, we should probably define the most common ways to make coffee. While the beverage largely consists of water, coffee grounds, and heat (with the exception of cold brew), there are several different ways to get your beverage from its source. The preferred method of brewing will change from person to person, and some palates are more particular than others when it comes to desired taste.
Pour-Over: Whether you use a paper filter or a reusable mesh filter, the pour-over coffee method is the easiest way to brew coffee, especially on the go. Hot water is poured over the grounds, which is then transferred through the filter into a carafe or cup down below. Although the results may be less consistent than other methods due to the amount of guesswork involved with a human at the helm, pour-over coffee can also find a solid level of transparent flavor from the grounds themselves, especially when using gourmet blends.
Drip Machine: A glorified pour-over method, and with more consistency, the drip machine is your standard coffee maker that uses cone filters. This automated method may be hands-off, but some users might want to be able to customize the end result a bit more. This is typically the preferred method for those who don’t have time to craft an expert brew and just want something easy in the morning.
French Press: The most common form of immersion brewing (when grounds and water are mixed together) is the French press. Hot water and coffee grounds are steeped for a few minutes to get to the desired taste and then plunged through a filter, leaving the remnants underneath and isolating the liquid only. The result is murkier than pour-over coffee due to the wider filter, but some drinkers prefer the thicker body of French press coffee, which also pairs better with milk or cream.
AeroPress: More on this later, since the brand that serves as this proprietary eponym is one of our picks. Essentially, it’s a quicker, cleaner version of a French press.
Siphon: Reserved almost exclusively to gourmet coffee shops and hardcore enthusiasts, the age-old siphon method could easily be mistaken for some sort of delicious science experiment. The beverage is brewed through a vacuum tube system that heats the water inside a bulb with fire and then, after mixing the grounds in that boiling water, lets gravity bring the liquid back down and through a filter.
Cold Brew: For those who don’t have access to hot water on their trip, cold brew will be the option of choice, although it does take some time. After keeping your water and grounds mixed for at least 8 hours (preferably longer), you can filter your brew into a cup or carafe.
GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip
The GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip is a great tool for those looking to save space. At 5″ in diameter and collapsing to just 1″ in height, this pour-over brewer is super compact and durable thanks to the silicone material, which can take a decent amount of abuse before giving way. This is the prime choice for backpackers and kayakers, but also those who tend to be hasty. The built-in flange helps prevent spillage and the transparent base allows you to see how much you’re pouring so you won’t fill the cup too high.
Stanley Classic Perfect-Brew Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Made from ultra-tough 18/8 stainless steel, the Stanley Classic Pour-Over isn’t as compact as the one from GSI, but is arguably more long-lasting for those who don’t need to save as much space. The sturdy material is perfect for even the roughest of trips and allows you to get some mileage out of it. Utilizing a reusable filter, this coffee maker can be filled up to 20oz to make a full cup in just 3 minutes. When you’re done, detach the filter for super easy cleanup, with its broad dimensions letting you get inside of it easily.
Consisting of just three panels that you can easily put together to make your beverage, the MiiR Pourigami pour-over coffee maker can literally fit inside your pocket. Fold up the 5″ by 2.5″ panels to stow away effortlessly at under ⅓ of an inch in combined thickness and weighing only 4oz in total. Constructed from medical-grade stainless steel with a Hardshell powder coat for extra grip, this pour-over also will last you for years, with a limited lifetime warranty to back it up. Each Pourigami comes with a carrying case for extra room to hold your #2 conical filters as well.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
The AeroPress isn’t just a travel coffee maker, but a new way of making coffee altogether. Taking the French press method and perfecting the flavor by removing the bitterness and acidity that you get from over-brewing your beverage, the device works by plunging your mixture of water and grounds through a screw-on filter down below and into your cup. A delicious drink can be made in just 1 minute through the immersion method, compared to other methods, which take several minutes and have much less consistency.
Snow Peak Collapsible Coffee Drip
For the past 60 years, Snow Peak has done nothing but firmly establish itself as a major player in the outdoor cooking gear industry. The Japanese outfit’s Collapsible Coffee Drip not only balances utility with sleekness on the visual end, just like we’ve come to expect from the brand, but serves as one of the most useful pour-overs out there. Compatible with Chemex and Hario V60 filters, the stainless steel cone also pairs well with Snow Peak’s Kettle No. 1. The built-in stand lets it rest comfortably atop your carafe or mug and when you’re done, it folds up conveniently so you don’t have to think about it again until tomorrow morning.
ESPRO P1 Travel Coffee Press
You don’t need to sacrifice cafe-level flavor in your coffee when roughing it outdoors. ESPRO’s P1 Travel Coffee Press is essentially a French press for on-the-go adventures. Doubling as a vacuum-insulated travel mug, this leak-proof stainless steel container utilizes a double micro-filter technology for a clearer drink that doesn’t continue to brew and get bitter from sitting inside, as though you’ve already transferred the coffee to a separate mug altogether. ESPRO has digital brew guides on hand to help with maximizing the device’s performance.
Farberware Yosemite Stainless Steel 12-Cup Percolator
Made from tough stainless steel, this old-school stovetop coffee maker from Farberware might require fire or heat to perform, but its large size is best for group camping or RV trips. The clear glass knob on top lets you keep track of its progress and the permanent filter basket prevents waste and messes. Farberware has been making trustworthy kitchen supplies for over 100 years, and this coffee maker is no different. Extremely durable and dishwasher safe, the Yosemite Percolator also comes with a lifetime warranty, just like all of the company’s kitchenware.
Some coffee drinkers exclusively love the richness and intensity of espresso. However, a good cup of Italian brew is difficult to make in your own home unless you have a machine to help. That’s where Handpresso comes in, a device that allows you to use either E.S.E. pods or coffee grounds to make a 1.7oz cup without any electricity whatsoever. Using 16-bar pressure with the push of a button, the Handpresso works like a bicycle pump to infuse your hot water into the coffee itself, coming out the other side for a tasty, creamy shot.
Jetboil Flash Java Kit
Jetboil has a slew of convenient and time-sensitive cooking gear for your next trip, including its Flash Java Kit, a French press coffee maker that boils 1L of water in just 100 seconds thanks to the company’s patented FluxRing technology. The single-push button ignites the propane cooker and a color-changing heat indicator lets you know when the water is ready to add coffee grounds. After you plunge your brew, the insulated cup keeps it warm until you’re ready to pour. The 100g JetPower propane tank is good for boiling up to 10L of water, but larger sizes are available as well.
Coleman QuikPot Propane Coffee Maker
Bringing your traditional coffee machine to the outdoors, Coleman’s QuikPot uses a propane tank to heat up water to fill a 10-cup glass carafe. Each 16.4oz tank (sold separately) lasts up to 4.5 hours of usage, but that’s more than enough for even your longest trips, and then some. The automatic drip machine has a pause-and-serve feature so you can remove the pot in the middle of a brewing cycle for a quick pour. PerfectFlow technology ensures consistency that even most home-brew machines don’t have, and the removable filter basket is dishwasher safe.
The 10 Best Suspended Tree Tents
If you don’t love sleeping on the ground when camping, then invest in an alternative found in our guide to the best suspended tree tents.
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