My Top 3 Favorite Ways to Make Coffee While Camping

If you are like me, you can't get your day started without a cup of coffee.

I brew coffee every morning, and camping trips are no exception. 

I have tested and experimented with nearly every method of brewing coffee while camping.

There are three methods that I have determined are the best and which depend on the type of camping I am doing and the number of people in my group.

What are the best methods for making coffee while camping?

Here are the best ways to get your morning caffeine fix while camping:

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1. The best backpacking coffee making method

The key to making coffee in the backcountry is to keep it lightweight and simple.

The best way I have found to do this is to use instant coffee. 

I have tried everything from a titanium french press to fancy backpacking pour-over options, but I have always found them to be too much work to clean.

If you are a coffee snob (like me) and hate the idea of instant, don’t discount this option just yet.

There are some really great instant coffee options these days that come very close to tasting like freshly brewed coffee.

My favorite is made by a Boulder, CO based company called Alpine Start.

I get these pre-portioned packets that dissolve in a cup of hot water.

All you have to do in the morning is heat up your coffee over your camp stove (I use a JetBoil), and then dump one of the packets in. 

The whole process takes about a minute and there is virtually no cleanup. 

Just make sure you pack out your coffee wrapper.

2. The best solo car camping coffee making method

If I’m camping alone, I use an AeroPress to make an amazing single-serve cup of coffee.

I have found the AeroPress to be the best way to make coffee when camping solo because it:

  • Doesn’t require electricity to work
  • It takes less than a minute to brew
  • It’s one of the easiest coffee brewers/makers to cleanup
  • The coffee arguably tastes better than a French press

All you need in order to brew a cup of coffee with an AeroPress while camping is a camp stove (e.g. Jetboil + fuel) to heat up water and some coffee grounds (I use coffee ground for an espresso machine).

I also bring along a thermometer like this that I can dip into the water when I’m heating it up so that it reaches the ideal brewing temperature, which is 175˚ F.

If you are new to using an AeroPress or need a refresher on how to use one, watch the video below.

3. The best small group car camping coffee making method

If you are in a group of 2-3 people and I want to quickly make freshly brewed coffee for everyone at once, I use the Classic Stay Hot French Press by Stanley.

It can make up to 48 ounces of coffee per press, which is the most efficient way to make camping coffee that I have found.

I love this French press because:

  • Makes (a lot) of delicious coffee within a few minutes
  • It keeps your coffee hot for hours even after you press it because it’s insulated
  • It is rugged and seems really durable, which is great for camping trips

Like the methods above, all you need is a camp stove and ideally a thermometer to get the water to the right brewing temperature, which is 195°F - slightly less than boiling. 

Also, don’t forget to bring French press ground coffee.

The only downside to this method is that it is not the easiest to clean if you don’t have running water, but it’s not that big of a deal.

I love this thing so much I even use it to make coffee at home.