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Enjoying Camp Coffee at its Best

Dave Carter

August 27, 2020

Camping is a fun outdoor activity where you explore the great outdoors and live in a tent. It is a back to nature activity which has evolved from bringing your tents and walking to a campsite, to high-end camping or glamping. What has not changed is the need to have a good cup of coffee in the morning. Camp coffee takes many forms and is enjoyed in many ways.

Coffee requires water and coffee grounds or beans and a brewing device. Depending on the amenities and what kind of camping you do, the tools may also range in use, purpose, and the need for other accessories.


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Camp Coffee Products​

They were making coffee while camping requires more than just coffee and water. Most people nowadays are dependent on the corner coffee shop. Coffee fans may also know how to make espresso with a coffee maker. Good coffee shop quality coffee or espresso is not necessarily a part of the camping experience. Even glamping operators cannot ensure that there’s a refrigerator, much less a cappuccino coffee machine available at the campsite. However, for the hardy few who would like to enjoy their coffee while camping, there are ways and means to do it and equipment that they can bring with them.

Cowboy Coffee (kettle)​

GSI outdoor kettle set

Cowboy coffee is named after the cowboys who brew coffee with only a kettle. This method of making coffee is simple and easy. However, it takes some skill and knowledge to make good tasting cowboy coffee. Cowboy coffee starts with boiling water in a kettle. After letting it cool down a bit, you add the coffee grounds. After a little, while more and the coffee cools down some more, you add some more water. The coffee grinds should settle at the bottom of the kettle, and gently pour the coffee, ensuring that the grounds don’t flow with the brew.

Bringing your own coffee maker camping is an effortless way of making coffee, and there are some variants to this. The only equipment you need is a good quality camping coffee pot.

For campers, especially those who go out on the trail and make your tent every day, you would need a lightweight kettle set, including the kettle, like the GSI Outdoors - Halulite Ketalist II Lightweight Camping Kettle Set. Lightweight, durable, and portable camping equipment is what every camper needs. Campers also like a stainless steel kettle, instead of an aluminum kettle. Stainless steel kettles like  Snow Peak Kettle No. 1 with Lid (30.4 Oz), Stainless Steel, Silver are more robust and more durable. These kettles can withstand all the banging it can get due to all the walking problems on a trail.

You may boil water over an open fire or a grill. Or if you have an RV, you would be boiling water over a range. In these cases, a great sturdy kettle is essential. Camping kettles also have additional accessories that come with the set. These include a camping knife and spoon, a cup or a mug, and a plate. A camping kettle is not just a kettle. It has plenty of other items that you can stow in a neat package.

Coffee in a Bag​

coffee in a bag

It is easy to see the fun and pleasure of roughing it. However, some pleasures are better with some level of convenience. Preparing a coffee bag is like preparing tea with a teabag and with the same steps. After a few minutes of steeping the coffee bag in water, you would have a cup of good quality coffee. Coffee made with a coffee bag tastes better than instant coffee. Instant coffee does not carry the complex flavor of coffee.

The convenience of a coffee bag extends to the flavor choices. Pine Ranch Single Cup T-Bag Style Coffee Bags offers a choice of dark and medium roast. The Pine Ranch package contains 60 bags per box, which can be enjoyed anywhere, and at any time, just add water. Another excellent brew is CrownCode Coffee Single Serve Bags, which comes in packs of 10 t-bags.

Drinking coffee made with a coffee bag does not follow the same rituals as brewing coffee at home. However, steeping coffee is a ritual in itself. It leads to the quiet, calming effect of waiting for the coffee to steep in the water. It is a relaxing time to reflect on the outdoors' beauty while you hold a cup of warm coffee. A coffee bag is the simplest way of preparing a drink without using instant coffee.

singe serve pour over

Single Serve Pour Overs​

At home, brewing coffee can be as simple as water pouring over and through coffee grounds and dripping on to a cup. Single-serve pour-overs are packaged like a coffee in a bag. However, the drink is in an open-top container, which acts as a filter. It is hanging by the cup's lip, and hot water is poured over the open top. After pouring the desired amount of water, the drink is allowed to steep for a couple of minutes. This type of  product originated in Japan and has since become popular in other parts of the world.

Hot water used in pour-over coffee is not as hot as water coming from a percolator. Percolating results in coffee that does not have a slightly burnt flavor of drip coffee. Also, pour-over coffee is milder and has a fresh-brewed on the table flavor. If you want fresh coffee, single-serve pour-overs brew in front of you, while you wait.

Costa Rica is famous for its beach and its brews, and Twin Peaks Costa Rican Single Serve Pour Over Drip Bag Medium Roast Coffee is a good representative of true Costa Rica coffee flavor. It is rich and handy with a robust flavor profile.

For bold flavored coffee, try Kuju Coffee Premium Single-Serve Pour-Over Coffee 10-pack. It uses eco-friendly packaging materials along and is nitro-flushed before sealing. The nitro-flushing replaces oxygen in the air inside the packaging and seals in the flavors for a longer time. Keeping the coffee grind fresh is important if you are going camping.

Most people like the mild flavor of the Single-Serve Portable Pour Over Drip Coffee Kenya Medium Dark. It has the bold, sweet flavor notes of molasses biscuit, honey wheat, and the bitterness of sweet chocolate. The Kenya Medium Dark blend serves as an after-dinner cup of coffee as you sit around a campfire. It is uniquely elegant and convenient.

Pour Over Stand​

pour over stand

A lovely way to enjoy coffee is using a pour-over stand, which is made of stainless steel or plastic. You place a paper filter inside the pour over stand. It is common practice to pour hot water through the filter to moisten the paper filter to remove the paper's slight taste. After this, coffee grinds are placed on the coffee filter. Water is poured over the conical pour over stand. As the water passes through the stand, it captures the flavor and releases the sweet aroma of coffee. If you have a pour-over stand, you only need a paper filter, coffee grounds, and water.

Stainless steel pour-over cones are more popular than those made with other materials. Some cones like the Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Cone Dripper with Cup Stand - Paperless and Reusable don’t need a coffee filter. The cone has fine holes where the hot coffee seeps and drips onto a cup. Pour Over Coffee Dripper Stainless Steel Coffee Filter is another stainless coffee pour-over cone. It is a dual-layer filter paper-free pour over a set, which also allows for coffee immersion.

New technology is used in the Blue Brew BB1004 Stainless-Steel Pour Over Coffee Dripper, with Double-Layered Titanium Filter. The dual-layer titanium layer is as strong as still, but lighter. This lightweight pour-over cone is a great companion when camping.


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bripe set

The brew pipe kit is a new twist on an old concept. It is a small kettle shaped like a pipe allowing the brewing of a single serving of coffee. The BRIPE- Coffee Brew Pipe Kit, Portable Outdoor Coffee Maker, is a unique companion, especially when you will be camping in the woods, a long distance away from any other person or camping station. If you expect total isolation, you can prepare your coffee in a pipe-shaped kettle with no larger equipment.

Aero Press​

aero press

A popular single-cup brewing method makes use of the aero press. It is a fun way of extracting more coffee flavor from medium ground coffee. To make it work, you only need to add hot water and a total brewing time of 2 minutes. The convenient AeroPress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press, 1-3 Cups, is a relatively large model that can brew up to 3 cups at a time. Consider the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Tote Bag - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without Bitterness a bargain with its tote bag. You can proudly carry this set anywhere you want. Great tasting coffee 2 minutes after the water boils.

The Aero press coffee is a quick, good quality brew because it extracts the flavors without burning the coffee grinds. This device uses the science behind espresso, French press, and pour-over cones. The best part is the ritual of making your coffee by pressing the coffee straight onto the cup. The resulting coffee is satisfyingly good.

Moka Pot​

Bialetti Express Moka Pot

The Moka pot is an iconic Italian kitchen coffee equipment. It is simple to use, it produces great coffee, and it is old school in a great way. It works like a siphon but closed the lid, and without the theater. The great thing about the Moka pot is that you can bring it along with you camping. It looks right at home beside an open campfire. It is durable, looks tough, robust, and makes great-tasting coffee. One of the most popular coffee pot is the Bialetti Express Moka Pot, 6 -Cup, Aluminum Silver. Of course, it’s an Italian brand, and can be temperamental. It may need some experimentation to get the taste right, and when you do, you can relax in front of your tent with a great feeling of achievement.

Another Italian brand is the GROSCHE Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker Moka Pot, which makes a concentrated coffee drink. The Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker is a modern incarnation with simple safety features, including heat-resistant plastic parts. Not to be outdone is the Yabano Stovetop Espresso Maker, 6 Cups Moka Coffee Pot. If you want to make espresso while camping in the middle of a forest, this is the one you should bring along with you. It is safe to use and has modern safety features like a fire retardant handle.

Cook Systems with French Press Attachments​

windburner cooking set

After purchasing the best coffee syrups and your favorite grounds or beans for home, you may notice that most coffee products don't have an expiration date. However, despite this, even the best coffee beans or grounds expire eventually. There are several reasons and factors why coffee goes bad and why it spoils faster than its expiration date (if applicable). These can include the form the coffee is in (whole beans or grounds), how it's roasted, and how it's stored.

According to studies, coffee doesn't last forever because it's composed of degradable compounds that break apart over time. These compounds include lipids, carbohydrates, and amino acids, and they break down chemically and physically over time. It alters the quality and overall taste of the caffeinated beverage.

If you want to preserve the taste of your brewed coffee, you can store coffee in an airtight container and place it in a cool, dry, and dark place. If you store coffee this way, you can use it a few months past its expiration date, allowing grounds to pass a couple of months its prime, instant variations for twenty years, and whole beans for nine months.


gsi percolator

Coffee lovers would know what a percolator is and how it works. But if you are new to brewing and are still exploring various coffee preparations, the percolator is a must-try method for you. It is the same as the campfire coffee pot that many campers use, but it is the first method of preparing this heavenly brew.

Using the percolator is very straightforward. It works on any heat source, whether its a stove, a campfire, or plugged into a socket if it’s electric. This pot has inner chambers and tubes that work wonders to extract exquisite coffee flavors from the grounds. Boiling water will travel to a tube towards the chamber where the grounds are placed and drip towards the bottom several times to get as much flavor and aroma for your brew. The outcome is a bold, often thick and intense brew. It may not be for everyone, but if you love your coffee strong, you’ll love to have one of these percolators.

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee Pot is tough and convenient to take along on camping trips and hikes. You can prepare coffee for two or more using this sturdy, stainless steel pot. Likewise, the rugged camp coffee pot, Coletti Bozeman Percolator Coffee Pot - 9 Cup Camping, is another ideal companion if you like to brew extra cups for your mates. It includes filters, so you’ll have fewer grounds joining your brew.

If you are after a larger capacity percolator, the Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator, 12 cups, or the 14-cup version are ideal choices. It can be time-saving to brew a large batch in a single preparation so everyone can enjoy a cup of joe. On the other hand, after a smaller capacity unit, the Farberware 50124 Classic Yosemite Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator - 8 Cup Silver is one of the top choices by outdoor coffee lovers.

Portable Espresso​

wacaco nanopresso portable espresso Machine

If you can’t go on a day without a cup of joe, you’ll thank the creators of portable espressos. These convenient and lightweight espresso makers are ideal for travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and ultra-chic gadgets. But not all portable espresso makers can give you a rich and crema-filled shot.

It can be quite challenging to figure out which product can give you great shots instead of brown-colored water. Coffee lovers know full well that high-pressure and the perfect temperature are essential in achieving the perfect espresso shot. So choosing a portable maker should not just be based on the size or style. Some other factors to consider when using these coffee makers are the water's heat source, cleaning up convenience and portability. Typically, a portable espresso machine works great with both ground coffee and pods. But most people prefer to use pods because it is easier to clean and pack up, especially when on the move.

For instance, this Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Hand Espresso Maker is a surprisingly exceptional product. It is compact and lightweight, but it does give a full-on espresso shot similar to those produced in cafes. It works with pods and grounds and carries around 80ml of water. Though it is lightweight, it feels sturdy and solid. It is an ideal travel coffee brewer and comes in several fun colors.

On the other hand, the Wacaco Minispresso GR, Portable Hand Coffee Maker, is the older version of the Nanopresso. It weighs slightly heavier, but it works great in extracting grounds or pods too. This Minispresso has a smaller water capacity at only 50ml, but it is still one of the best ones.

Additionally, if you like fancier espresso drinks, you should get a STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine. This product is ideal for those who like foamed milk with their brew. It also works well with ground coffee or Nespresso pods.

Coffeeboxx by Oxx​

coffee box by oxx

Considered as the one of toughest coffee makers globally, the OXX COFFEEBOXX Job Site Single Serve Coffee Maker is built to endure harsh working environments to give exquisite coffee to the best workers. The designer of this coffee machine noted that some appliances and items are carried around in the job sites and break rooms - and it included a coffee machine. Everything about the Coffeebox is built to last, easy storage, and designed for convenience. It has a crush-proof body and is resistant to heat, dust, and weather. It also has an extra-large water capacity with a smart spill-proof design, integrated handle, and carbon water filter. Amazingly, it also works with all K-Cups for you to enjoy not only coffee but also chocolate, tea, and other hot beverages.

Grinders (manual, as our existing article uses automatic)​

java presse manual coffee grinder

Coffee lovers know full well the importance of grinding the coffee beans just before brewing. Doing this gives you the best flavors as compared to brewing prepared coffee grounds. Fortunately, grinding at home is now possible using modern coffee grinders. There are two products that you can consider - a manual hand grinder or an automatic burr grinder.

Choosing a manual or hand grinder is ideal for travelers because it is portable, smaller, and it does not require electricity to operate. You can bring it along with your portable espresso maker to make the best coffee anytime or anywhere. Likewise, burr grinders may give you grind sizes that are not suitable for your filter or espresso. If you want to get the proper grounds, you should try using the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder with an Adjustable Setting. It is easy to use, and you are always sure about the grounds you produce.

Additionally, you can also consider the Sahara Beans Manual Coffee Grinder Stainless Steel With Adjustable Setting. Similar to more expensive ones, this product also features a ceramic burr grinder. It grinds the coffee beans without smashing them. More so, the Manual Coffee Grinder - Hand Grinder Coffee Mill is a good budget pick if you want something that will get the job done right without much expense.


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What is camp coffee made of?​

This coffee is simply any coffee that you make while camping. Before there was widespread electricity, almost all coffee was made with a pot over an open fire. To make coffee when camping, boil water in a kettle and add coffee grounds into the boiling water.

Nowadays, coffee follows the traditions of the camper. These are the fishermen and anglers, hunters, and regular hikers, climbers, and others who like to pitch a tent and spend a day or two in the wild. Those who are used to urban living would most likely bring their coffee brewer. If they have an RV, it is quite easy to avail of most of the conveniences of home, because, what else is Keurig instant coffee, if you can’t bring it along with you if you can.

How do you make camp coffee?​

There are many styles of making coffee using rustic coffee grounds. Besides these basic coffee grounds in the kettle of boiling water, there are countless variations as long as you have a heat source. In some instances, you put the coffee in a cheesecloth container and steep it in hot water. Mostly, however, the coffee was stirred into the pot and then strained when served.

There is a Canadian style of brewing coffee over the campfire. After you boil water, take it out of the fire, add the coffee grounds, and then crack an egg into the pot. The egg adds a distinct flavor and is strained with the coffee grounds. It is not a traditional method, but some do it. There are other traditions in making coffee, including adding sea salt instead of sugar. This method was supposedly a staple in the US Navy. These are rough coffee methods and very far from the classy Technivorm Moccamaster coffee maker with glass carafe that well-off families have.

What can I use instead of camp coffee?​

The beauty of coffee using coffee grounds is that you can prepare it at night and cool down in the morning with the glowing embers from the campfire. There are plenty of alternatives to coffee grounds. There is always instant coffee and many methods for creating coffee from coffee grounds. For some, tea will have to suffice as long as they can boil water at the site.

If you don’t like instant coffee or do not have coffee grounds, you will bring a single-serve pour-over coffee, or coffee in a bag. Most other methods of brewing coffee require additional equipment.

Camping Coffee Essentials​

The bare essentials to making coffee are more rudimentary than cooking pan baked bread. You bring a kettle, clean cold water, and fresh coffee grounds. If you have a coffee grinder, you can make your own coffee grounds whenever you need to. Fresh water is also ideal since it can affect the taste, even instant coffee.

In the old west, wagon trains and caravans had coffee in sacks. Traveling in this manner, they ground the coffee every time they needed to brew coffee. To drink a cup of coffee, you can bring along a tin cup, or a thermos. Pour the coffee in your thermos bottle to enjoy hot coffee for the rest of the day.

Coffee to the people who enjoy the outdoor life is a luxury to be savored and includes taking the time to do the ritual of making coffee. It can start with fresh beans, a grinder and a camping stove. If you have to ask what is a coffee bean, instead, bring along ground coffee when you travel. The most important part of camp cooking is that you brew a batch for everyone to enjoy. It is not prepared per individual serving and neither is it on a hot plate waiting to be served. You take your chances with whoever brewed it, or you can make your own.

How to Make Coffee While Camping​

Making coffee on a camping stove is different from making coffee at home. You wake up early, start a fire, and use the coffee grounds to brew coffee following the above instructions. You can rough it, or you can bring your devices along. Brewing coffee without a coffee machine can be a slow and relaxing process, where you allow your body to slowly get out of its slumber, and the rough tent accommodations. There is no emphasis on anything, but to enjoy the hot cup of coffee from a camping coffee pot using fresh coffee grounds of your choice.

The Best Way to Make Coffee Camping​

It is debatable what the best way to make coffee at camp. Some are content with the kettle brewed coffee, while others would settle for instant coffee added to plain water. If given a choice, many people would make sure they have an electric outlet and use an appliance of some sort.

For campers, the best way to make coffee starts with a camp cooking setup over a campfire. Brewing coffee in any other way after that is a bonus. Either you do it the slow and long way using coffee grounds, or you have coffee in an instant by adding it to hot water. Start a fire, add cold water, wait till it boils, take the kettle out of the fire, let it cool for half a minute before adding the coffee. You can add one or two scoops of instant mix or create a big pot to share with others.

How long do you percolate coffee on a camp stove?​

Anywhere you go, if you prefer to have percolated coffee, you have to wait a while. But it doesn’t take too long if you have the right equipment. The only variable to the length of time needed is boiling the water and letting the coffee percolate. Typically, you have to brew for ten to fifteen minutes.


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Coffee lovers are close to an addiction for a lot of people. However, there is a difference between those who like coffee and those who cannot live without coffee. The former are those who go to a coffee shop to have coffee prepared for them. The latter are those who are not yet awake in the morning until after their second cup of coffee. Camp coffee is for the latter group of people. They appreciate coffee and know they need a drink to start their day. They will make coffee on their own if the circumstances warrant. In the middle of a forest, a desert, or beside a stream, they would not mind starting a fire to make coffee.


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