Five Great Coffee-Making Options for Camping Junkies

There is nothing that will ruin a camping trip like rolling over in the morning, stumbling outside your tent, and realizing you have to drink pseudo bilge water in place of your delicious morning cup o’ java because you only packed the questionable instant coffee from the bottom shelf of the grocery store.

You feel me, right?

Camping coffee makers have come a long way over the past decade. Now, caffeine addicts have a variety of options to choose from for their morning fix at camp. My favorites are below…and trust me when I say I know a thing or two about this particular nectar of the gods.

Alpine Start Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is never going to be the best coffee, but Alpine Start’s is actually pretty good, and easy to pack. Photo: Amazon

Ok, I realize I bemoaned instant coffee above but that only applies to the gross stuff with the oddly large granules. Alpine Start was one of the earliest brands to bring quality instant coffee to the masses, and it shows. Their 100% high-altitude Columbian Arabica is about as good as it gets in a tiny pouch.

Snow Peak Collapsible Coffee Drip

Snow Peak’s foldable coffee drip is as simple as pour over coffee makers come, but it weighs less than five ounces, and folds up to fit easily in your pack. Photo: Amazon

Perhaps you’re moving fast and light but still prefer to opt out of the instant stuff? Take a look at this featherweight by Snow Peak. It weighs just under five ounces and collapses down to just bigger than a deck of cards. For those of you who prefer affordable pour overs, it is a great option.

Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Piston style brewers are never going to be the most space efficient, but the Aeropress is still probably small enough to keep in your pack, and is used by even the fussiest coffee lovers at home because of how much flavor it can extract. Graphic: Shep McAllister

I’d be remiss to exclude an Aeropress from the list, a perennial favorite among backpackers and campers who love their piston-style brewers. It’s constructed from BPA-free plastic and clocks in at a mere six ounces, making it easy to slip inside a backpack. Plus, it makes on heckuva cup of coffee.

Stanley Classic Stay Hot French Press

Perhaps you and your friends stayed up late at camp, not getting nearly enough shut eye? Consider your problems solved with this Stay Hot French Press that holds a whopping 48 ounces of deliciousness. Stanley uses a double-wall, vacuum insulated container that keeps the coffee piping hot until you’re ready to drink it. Plus, the easy-to-clean filter means you’re not stuck with an impossible mess while doing camp dishes.

MSR MugMate

It won’t make the best cup of coffee, but the Mugmate can turn basically any drinking vessel into a portable coffee maker. Graphic: Shep McAllister

The Mugmate is about as basic as backcountry coffee gets. This reusable coffee/tea filter allows outdoor enthusiasts to brew a cup of coffee whenever and wherever they want without worrying about too much fuss and muss. It is just three inches tall and weighs one ounce, which is just a step up from nothing. For light-and-fast hikers, it’s an ingenious device.


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