If having a great cup of coffee every time you go camping is just as important as it is when you’re doing things you’re not as crazy about (like going to work or scrubbing out bathtubs), the Fresh Off the Grid website wants you to know that they’ve got you covered. Not only are Megan and Michael passionate about joe, but their “Ultimate Guide to Camp Coffee” is required reading.
It will likely introduce you to terms, brands, and methods you’ve never heard of, including coffee brands that belong on your shopping list. Make yourself a hot cup of your favorite brew, read our reviews, and grant yourself a Ph.D. (piping hot drink) from Coffee University.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
As long as you are only making coffee for three people, and you don’t mind packing up a coffee set that includes 5 separate elements, this affordable AeroPress product will even churn out espresso. According to manufacturer claims, you’ll get your joe fast and without bitterness.
A favorite of consumers on the go, this AeroPress’s design has been patented and relies upon a full immersion brewing process to produce a full-flavored brew that is being marketed as the modern-day equivalent of the iconic French press.
Unlike the engineering of original French press coffee makers, all of the elements used to manufacture this product are Phthalate- and BPA-free. It only takes a minute or so to brew your beverage, and you can expect a tasty jolt of caffeine that gets your morning off to a fast start. Prefer a drink that’s more sophisticated?
This coffee maker can churn out lattes, cappuccinos, and other exotic beverages, too. Use AeroPress paper micro-filters when you make your morning cup, so you don’t have to deal with grit and coffee grinds at the bottom of your cup. You’ll need to come up with a carry bag to contain the press, funnel, scoop, stirrer, 350 micro-filters, and filter holder so it won’t run loose in your backpack.
This Nanopresso travel coffee maker is bringing sexy back, but it will set you back three times the amount of cash as the aforementioned AeroPress model. In return for your investment, you get a cool zippered protective case that corrals the unit, and since this coffee maker is manually operated, who needs a power source to produce enough coffee to start the day right?
As an upgraded version of WACACO’s Minipresso, this coffee maker is even smaller in size, but it brews like crazy courtesy of the patented pumping system that helps you deliver a maximum of 18 bars (261 PSI) of pressure. That’s more than most home espresso machines output! It matters not which grind you prefer, just fill the basket, add water, and engage your biceps accordingly.
According to Wacaco, the Nanopress requires 15-percent less force to pump it compared to its elder sister, the Minipresso, so you don’t have to spend as much time at the gym to operate it. Small, light, clever, and somewhat space age in appearance, this compact coffee maker loves to travel almost as much as you do, and since the lined water tank holds up to 80ml of water, you can fill a mug rather than a demitasse cup. No worries about burning your hands.
The outer casing protects them from the heat. If you love everything about this product and want more, add a Nanopresso NS Adapter and/or Barista Kit accessories to your order.
GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip for Drip Coffee
You’ll spend more on a burger and fries than you would on this uber-simple camping drip coffee set, and that fast food meal is going to disappear long before this dripper gives up the ghost. Engineered expressly for camping and backpacking activities, each ultralight component makes quick work of your desperate need for a morning jolt, and according to folks who have bought this product and wouldn’t trade it for the world, who needs anything more sophisticated?
Crafted of nylon and clear polypropylene, this lightweight duo consists of a mug and basket that attaches to the mug with grippers, so all that will be required of you is to boil some water, connect the two components, fill the basket with your fav grind and do your thing. Weighing less than half an ounce, this set gives you the two gifts campers crave most: feather-light weight and your ability to make a bold cup of coffee that won’t taste muddy.
Find anything about this clever set that’s defective, and GSI stands behind this product’s integrity 100-percent, so you get your coffee and your manufacturer’s warranty, too. Given the company’s 30 year history of quality high-performance products, you won’t need cream or sugar to get the day off to a fast start.
Hario V60 Plastic Coffee Dripper
If the queen went camping in the Australian outback, we’re pretty sure that she would choose this elegant-looking Hario V60 plastic coffee dripper that looks like it’s made of crystal rather than plastic. In fact, she could acquire one in every color Hario makes if she awakens and happens to be in the mood for red.
Weighing just ounces, the size one dripper makes either one or two cups, and you can even select your favorite brew time and temperature. Further, if this dripper won’t work for her majesty’s entourage because it’s too small, she can order the dripper in larger sizes, 2 or 3.
Enjoy maximum expression and a large, single hole that speeds water through the basket, so the coffee tastes fresh and delicious. No more soggy grounds left behind since this dripper squeezes every drop out.
Featuring spiral ribs made of FDA-approved, food-safe plastic that is laboratory approved, you’re assured material that doesn’t contain harmful substances, and even if you forget and leave it too close to the fire, it remains safe even if it melts! Fabricated in Japan to exacting standards, the plastic is heat resistant to 100-degrees F (90-degrees C).
OXO Good Grips Venture Travel French Press
You already know the brand. Now meet the company’s latest gift to coffee drinkers who love to travel: the OXO Good Grips French Press. If you adore French coffee presses, but you wouldn’t think of bringing a glass to a campground, your prayers have been answered with this affordable and unbreakable product.
In fact, this black press is shatterproof, so if it falls off a rock on your next outing, you won’t have to mourn the loss of the only gadget that gets you up and moving in the morning. Small and tidy, the silhouette is familiar, and you don’t have to guess at what’s inside since you can peek into the windows to see how much is left in the pot.
The plunger you use to compress water and coffee grounds is crafted of silicone that won’t impair the taste of the coffee you brew, this unit comes apart for fast cleaning, and the spout adds a second level of filtration to weed out impurities in the water you use. You don’t have to be selfish. This press makes 8 cups of java, and the non-slip knob and handle won’t let you down when it comes to grip. Throw it into the dishwasher once you get home since it’s made of BPA-Free Tritan.
Primula Brew Buddy
Even if you had too many beers the night before, promise us that you won’t put this on your head while mistaking it for a hat. The Brew Buddy may look quirky, but it’s all business when the time comes to make coffee during your travels in the great outdoors.
Several of the components will look familiar, including the reusable mesh filter that holds coffee grounds until you start pouring boiling water over them to prepare your java. Whether or not you like the color red, this truly affordable gadget will make sure your budget doesn’t wind up in the red after you buy it.
Make coffee on the go and at any time you like by simply filling the basket with your favorite coffee and holding it over your mug, so it catches every last drop of elixir at exactly the strength you crave in a matter of 30 seconds or so. For folks who can’t utter a word before coffee, this alone could convince you to say yes to Brew Buddy.
Easy to clean manually or in the dishwasher, this product is as happy to make your tea as it is to brew coffee and used coffee grinds wind up where they should: in the trash, not in your cup. A final note: if you insist on eco-friendly products, this one gets you coffee you crave without adding more plastic pods or paper filters to landfills.
GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip
What separates the Java Drip from other camping coffee makers in this review? It collapses down to such a small size, you could stow it in your jacket pocket, just to make sure you don’t lose it when you’re nowhere near a Starbucks.
You’ll pay twice the amount of money on this GSI Java Drip that you would focus on the Brew as mentioned above Buddy, but both are still likely to be the least expensive food and drink prep item in your rucksack. This easy-to-use pour-over coffee maker is also red, made of silicone, and clear polypropylene materials, and it weighs next to nothing.
Whether only a caffeinated brew will do or you’re a decaf fan when you relax, you can show off your barista skills by making espressos for everyone in your crew or prepare just enough to jump-start your day. This handy tool can produce up to 12 cups of coffee at a time. The design of this product is ingenious.
A unique flange helps center the drip cone over mugs, coffee cups, and even wide-mount bottles, yet nothing spills while you’re preparing coffee for all. GSI Outdoors, as we mentioned earlier, has been around for 30 years, long enough to offer a 100-percent guarantee against defects throughout the lifetime of this product, too.
BioLite KettlePot Outdoor Cooking Pot and Kettle
If you’ve got kids (nieces and nephews will do) you might mistake this BioLite KettlePot for a sippy cup on steroids, but please keep the kids away from the contents of this compact kettle because they’re too young to drink coffee. Plan to fork over 5-times the price of the Brew Buddy for this unique item, but when you see how much it can do, despite its small size, you may not mind making the investment.
According to BioLite, this unit pours like a kettle but cooks like a pot, so you can feed from 2 to 4 people with whatever cuisine you prepare within this 1.5-liter pot. Components include the stainless steel inner vessel, kettle lid, bowl, and a stuff stack that keeps everything together until you decide to start cooking.
Given all of this versatility, you might think this appliance has the capacity to weigh down your gear, but since it weighs only 1 pound, that’s unlikely. In addition to preparing coffee for a crowd, you can use this to cook full meals, and if you’re in the mood to go big on outdoor food prep purchases, this BioLite KettlePot is compatible with the BioLite Wood Burning CookStove, CampStove and CampStove 2. Go for the mother lode, and you can stow this pot’s components into any CampStove carry case for the ultimate inefficiency.
ESPRO P1 Travel Coffee Press
Let’s say you have no desire to cook ceviche or goulash for the masses because all you want is coffee that doesn’t taste like it came from an industrial waste dump. This sleek-looking, double-walled stainless steel, and vacuum-insulated travel French press belongs at the top of your shortlist.
You’ll spend about twice the amount of cash you would for the OXO Good Grips press, but you’re getting brushed stainless steel instead of silicone, so if longevity is important to you, this press will go the distance. ESPRO promises “beautiful coffee on the go” and backs up the claim by extolling the virtues of its patented, double micro-filter that’s designed to produce coffee with a deep, rich taste while leaving no annoying grounds at the bottom of a cup.
Your brew will stay hot for hours thanks to the insulating nature of the double-walled stainless steel and you can forget leaks or breaks since this press is manufactured to exacting standards. Further, when you prepare your coffee, the extraction process “stops on a dime” and won’t continue to drip bottom-of-the-pot liquids and grounds as many French press coffee makers tend to do.
ESPRO guarantees this travel press for the length of its life courtesy of the company’s “friends for life” guarantee, and you needn’t worry about toxic materials like BPA, BPS, and phthalate because they’re never used in the manufacture of this coffee press.
Farberware 50124 Classic Yosemite Coffee Percolator
Admit it: This pot is cute. And nostalgic. And it’s pretty inexpensive, too. This 8-cup silver stainless steel classic percolator is a Farberware exclusive that gets good ratings from campers who like it’s simplicity and capacity and also because they wouldn’t think of going camping alone. Churn out delicious brews whenever the urge strikes, as long as you’ve got a fire or a camp stove to host this appliance.
Extended reading: The Best Camping Coffee Percolators
Polished to a mirror finish and accented with the clear glass knob that remains the signature perk indicator installed decades ago when percolators were first introduced to the consumer housewares market, this is a no-drama unit that comes with a permanent filter basket so no paper filters need be packed with your gear.
This pot is fully immersible and dishwasher safe, so a cursory rinse during your camping trip is all that’s required until you get home. This percolator won’t make stew or a pot of chili, but if you crave great coffee from a percolator with Faberware lifetime warranty and quality assurance guarantees, this is it.
Pick the right coffee maker type
You’ve likely surmised differences in coffee-making gear after browsing our reviews, but for a more in-depth look at types, this guide describes the most common ones.
Pour-over coffee makers (aka drippers) are the easiest, most effortless products of all, and many cost under $10, so you won’t have to make sacrifices to own one. New York Times taste testers Justin Vassallo, Thais Wilson-Soler, and Daniel Varghese brewed 150 cups of pour-over coffee to judge these coffee makers so they wouldn’t lead readers astray!
Espresso travel coffee makers operate by forcing hot water over freshly-ground espresso coffee beans. Very little water is needed to brew a cup of this mega-strong beverage. Just because a product in this review doesn’t stipulate “espresso” in its name, that doesn’t mean you can’t brew espresso when you camp.
Immersion coffee makers all fit into the French press category. These manually operated camping essentials come in all sorts of materials (e.g., plastics; glass; metal) and require a little muscle to do the job of squeezing down that mix of coffee and water, so it produces excellent taste. On the downside, immersion coffee makers are most likely to leave spent grinds/grit at the bottom of your cup.
Stovetop coffee makers are known for their tenacity, efficiency, and brew quality, but you will need a camp stove to put this type of coffee maker to work. They operate on the drip principle and come in varying designs, including nostalgic Moka pots invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and beloved by campers who belong to the glamping crowd.
Percolators are the standard-bearers of camping coffeemakers, and you’ll discover all sorts of designs that run the gamut from “wild west” to cosmopolitan styling. 11% of households own a coffee percolator, so you might have one in your kitchen. Preferred by some but seen as too complicated by others, if only percolated coffee will do, here’s your tutorial.
What to consider when buying a camping coffee maker
1. Brew time. Why is this in the first position? Because you’ve got things to do and a limited amount of time to do them. Not all coffee makers are equal opportunity brewers. Some take 30 seconds. Others will make you wait 5 minutes. If you’re the impatient sort, the second option may be unthinkable.
2. Size. Will you brew coffee for your entire crew, only your pal, or do you camp alone? This question determines your need for the right size coffee maker. Well-equipped campers tend to buy more than one type, bringing along the one that best suits that outing. On the subject of size, don’t forget that demitasse servings like espresso are smaller, so if you’re brewing only for yourself, keep that in mind.
3. Efficiency and clean up. Spending more than a few minutes cleaning out a camping coffee maker should be against the law. You’re out and about to relax, have fun, and keep cleaning tasks to a minimum. Depending upon your hygiene standards, will it be enough to toss out the used grinds and rinse components in water until you get home? Priorities, dear camper!
4. Extras. This is strictly our opinion, but choosing a camping coffee maker with lots of components that doesn’t come with a carry bag is a pain in the butt. Components can get lost, and not every manufacturer sells replacement items, which requires buying a new pot. Manufacturers aren’t being mean. They just want to sell more coffee pots.
5. Price. You likely won’t find a camping product review that matches this expansive price range. Our picks feature price tags that start at $9 and top off at $76. You can find camping coffee makers that cost less, and the sexiest brewer on the market — an Italian De’Longhi 3-in-1 Specialty Brewer — is worth the $150 price tag simply because it is a pairing of art and eye candy that deserves a museum pedestal rather than a camp stove.
There are probably more of these exotic pots floating around in the coffeesphere, but keep in mind the reason for your purchase: You’re going camping where “roughing it” is the order of the day. Bringing along a work of art like that De’Longhi defeats the purpose of your camping adventure, Dude!