How to Make Coffee While Camping

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Last updatedLast updated: November 28, 2021
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Ah, camping. Such a great way to spend time with friends and family. Or maybe spend time alone. But of course, the best part is actually being close to nature. To sit in the outdoors and listen to the bird song and stare up at the night sky, counting all the stars, you can never see this at home.

And while there are plenty of things that can be difficult when camping, one of the luxuries of the modern world you don’t have to give up is your coffee. That’s right! There are actually quite a few ways to brew a cup of joe while you are out in the woods or on a mountain or wherever you go camping. So, if you’re asking yourself: “how to make coffee while camping”, you’ve come to the right place. The information below will provide you with all you need to know.

Instant coffee

How to Make Coffee While CampingInstant coffee is probably the fastest and easiest way to brew coffee while camping. And with so many different brands offering instant coffee packets specifically for coffee while camping or on the go, there’s something for everyone. While the specific instructions may vary from brand to brand, there are some steps that are the same across the board. Follow the steps below to learn how to brew instant coffee while camping.

You will need:

  • A mug (of course)
  • Instant coffee
  • Water
  • A way to boil your water

First of all, you will have to wait to get your water boiling. This can take a few minutes if you’re using a pot or kettle over a fire.

Once your water is boiling, put your instant coffee in your mug. Then add the boiling water. Wait a few seconds until the powder dissolves.

Voila! Your coffee is ready.

It may not be the finest tasting coffee you’ve ever had, but it will get the job done.

Cowboy coffee

Cowboy coffee is one of the old ways of making a cup of joe on the road. Specifically named after the way cowboys used to brew it while they were driving cattle across the American plains. It’s easy to do and is a good option if you don’t want to carry a lot of gear or put in a lot of effort. If you’re wondering how to make cowboy coffee while camping, here is what you will need:

  • Ground coffee of your choice
  • A kettle that can heat water over an open flame
  • Water
  • A mug

First, fill your kettle with water and set it to boiling over your fire. This could take a few minutes or longer, depending on how hot your fire is and how close the kettle rests to the flames. When it’s reached boiling, remove the kettle from the fire and let it cool for about thirty seconds. Then stir in two tablespoons of your ground coffee per serving needed.

Let the coffee rest for two minutes so it can steep. Stir it and then let it rest for another two minutes.

Your coffee is now ready to drink! Carefully pour the coffee into your mug, trying to avoid disturbing the grounds on the bottom of your kettle.

Cowboy coffee is easy to make and fairly quick, but it can lead to gritty content, no matter how carefully you pour it.


What if you want to carry minimal equipment but want coffee that tastes better than cowboy coffee or instant coffee? Then consider getting yourself a percolator!

An enamel percolator is great for making coffee while camping, as it will brew your coffee directly in the kettle.

Percolators are neat little appliances that work by pushing your heating water up a tube and sprinkling it over your coffee. The water then drips back into the kettle. This process repeats over and over again until the water has turned into brewed coffee.

What do you need?

  • An enamel percolator
  • Ground coffee
  • Water
  • A mug
  • Round paper filter (optional)

To brew coffee with your percolator, open the lid and remove the tube and basket insert inside your percolator. Fill your kettle with water and put two tablespoons of ground coffee per serving inside the basket. If you want to try to limit grounds in your coffee, you can use a round paper filter in your percolator, though this will create more waste. Put the tube and basket back into the kettle and close the lid. Set your percolator on your heat source and let it brew your coffee for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it rest for 2 minutes. And now, your coffee is ready to drink!

Pour-over coffee

How to Make Coffee While CampingAnother great option for easy-to-use camping coffee brewing is pour-over coffee. It’s along the same lines as instant or cowboy coffee but tends to make a better drink as well as limit the grounds in your mug. It’s quick and easy, though, and takes up minimal space while tasting better than instant coffee.

You will need:

  • Single-serve pour-over (brand of your choice)
  • Hot water
  • Mug

Much like the instant coffee, pour-over coffee comes in single-serve pouches. But instead of a powder that dissolves, this pack consists of a small paper frame and a pouch that is filled with ground coffee. You open the frame, place it over the top of your mug, and then pour boiling water through the pouch.

It functions a lot like a tea filter, actually. The grounds are kept separate from your drink, so you don’t have to worry about grit, though you will have to deal with the wet grounds and wet paper pouch. Still, the coffee tends to taste much better than cowboy or instant coffee. You can also purchase reusable stand pour-overs as well if you plan to use this method regularly.

Moka pot

What if you’re someone who not only loves but actually needs a cup of strong Italian coffee in the morning amongst the trees and fresh air? Well, a Moka pot might be the choice for you!

The Moka pot, which is also called as a stovetop espresso maker, produces robust Italian style coffee that will even let you make drinks like an Americano while camping.

The Moka pot includes a built-in metal filler basket so you won’t have to deal with paper filters at all, which is great for the environment!

You will need:

  • A Moka pot (of course)
  • Water
  • Coffee of your choice

Moka pots work pretty simply. They have three chambers: the bottom chamber for water, the middle chamber with the metal filler for your coffee, and the top chamber, which acts as a serving carafe.

You put your ground coffee in the filler basket, and the bottom chamber is filled with water. After that, you are ready to place the Moka pot on the fire. When the water boils, the steam travels through the ground coffee and collects in the top carafe.

Now you’re ready to drink your delicious coffee!

French press

What if you just cannot survive without your morning cup of French press coffee while you’re camping? Well, in the past, you would just be out of luck since French presses are typically made with glass, which is not a great choice for hauling out into the woods. The good news is, there are some more modern options on the market that you can use while camping. They’re especially durable, but they do require you to use much coarser ground coffee.

What you need:

  • A durable French press (as expected)
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Mug

In order to use a French press, you spoon the coarsely ground coffee into the bottom chamber. Then drizzle a little bit of hot water to let the coffee expand and bloom before filling the container with hot water. Next, stir it all together and then wait 8-10 minutes for the coffee to brew (if you need coffee right away and don’t mind it being less strong, you can brew for as little as three minutes.) Once that’s done, depress the plunger.

Your French press coffee is ready to drink!
How to Make Coffee While Camping

Submersible filters

What if you’re someone who loves coffee, yes, but also sometimes you want tea? Well then, a submersible filter for camping is the best of both worlds for you!

A submersible filter is similar to single-serve pour-over pouches, but the ground coffee (or tea) is submerged fully in the water in your coffee cup.

What do you need?

  • A submersible filter
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Mug

Fill the submersible filter with your ground coffee (or loose-leaf tea if you prefer) and make sure the lid is closed. Put the filter in your cup, and then slowly pour hot water over the filter into your mug. Let it sit there for a minute before filling your mug the rest of the way. Let it brew for as long as you prefer (3-5 minutes for tea and upwards of 10 minutes for coffee, depending on how strong you want it.) When you’ve steeped it long enough, remove the filter and drink to your heart’s content!


Okay. But say you’re camping with friends and need three cups of coffee at a time. And what if you really hate cleaning up? Well then look no further than the AeroPress.

The AeroPress is by far the easiest option for clean up, and it can make three cups of coffee at the same time, which is great for camping with friends or family!

What do you need?

  • AeroPress (of course)
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Filters for your AeroPress
  • A sturdy mug

To use the AeroPress, you put a filter in the bottom cap and then tighten it onto your press. Put two tablespoons of ground coffee into the larger tube of the press, or the chamber, as it’s called. Set the chamber on top of your sturdy mug. Take your very hot water and pour it into the chamber. Then use the press’s paddle to stir your coffee and water for a few seconds. Finally, insert the plunger into the chamber and slowly press down until it can’t go any further.

The AeroPress is a bit like a French press and a bit like a pour-over or a submersible filter too, but your mug will need to be sturdy enough, so it won’t tip over while you’re pressing the plunger.
How to Make Coffee While Camping


The Bripe is kind of a funny word to say. And, honestly, the Bripe is kind of a funny way to drink coffee while camping, but truthfully it works really well at making a shot of espresso-like coffee. It’s also really easy to use and doesn’t even require a mug, because you drink directly out of the Bripe itself.

What you will need:

  • Your Bripe
  • Water
  • Coffee

The Bripe looks like, well, a tobacco pipe actually. And it brews coffee much the same way one would smoke a tobacco pipe. You place water and ground coffee into the cup or bowl of the Bripe. Then you boil the water either using a stovetop or a lighter if you prefer. Once it’s reached a safe temperature (and many Bripes come with attached thermometers) sip your coffee through the attached straw.

And there you go! You’re enjoying your coffee straight from your Bripe! People may ask you about it, or possibly give you a strange expression, but you’ll be enjoying your coffee while camping, and it won’t matter in the least.

MacGyver coffee

Okay. You really want your coffee in the morning while camping. But you don’t want to lug around a coffee press or filters or anything else, really. You’re camping! You want to live as rustically as possible!

Well, if you’re not picky about how fast your coffee brews, then maybe you should try the MacGyver coffee brewing method.

MacGyver coffee doesn’t require any special gear, which makes it a great choice for long backpacking trips.

Here is what you need:

  • A rubber band
  • Cotton cheesecloth or a foldable mesh coffee filter
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Mug

This technique is fairly easy. All you need to do is place some of the cheesecloth or your mesh filter into your mug, making it into a little bowl. Use the rubber band to secure the extra cloth to the outside of your cup, keeping the cloth bowl in place. This will serve as your coffee filter. Add two tablespoons of coffee to your cheesecloth bowl/filter in your cup. Add a little bit of very hot water to your cup and allow the coffee to expand for about a minute, then fill the rest of your cup with hot water. Be careful not to overflow your filter or cup. Once the mug is full, carefully remove the rubber bandб and your filter with used, wet coffee grounds.

Time to drink your coffee!

Portable coffee makers

How to Make Coffee While CampingFinally, if you’re someone who doesn’t care what it takes, that you need your perfect brewed coffee every morning while camping no matter how deep into the woods you are, well, the good news is there’s a couple of options for you!

That’s right, there are actual full-blown, portable coffee makers.

There are some different kinds, depending on your needs:

  • Portable mini espresso makers are generally hand-powered. The instructions may vary between brands and models, but if you like espresso shots, this is probably the best bet for you. Generally, finely ground coffee is placed into a compartment, and hot water is added to another. The pressure builds, and the water pushes through the ground coffee, pulling a shot.
  • Rechargeable coffee makers are also a great choice. You can even find ones that work almost exactly like a Keurig or other pod coffee machines. They’re practically indestructible and let you prepare your coffee the way you normally would, but you’ll have to pay a pretty penny for one and haul it to and from your campsite or wherever else you’re bringing it. They can make coffee with reusable pods if you want to limit your waste. All this one takes, though, is putting in a pod, pressing a button, and waiting for the coffee to fill your mug. Done!
  • Camping drip coffee makers work exactly like your machine at home, except they don’t need electricity. However, you will need a camping stove or a burner to use them. If you want to make coffee the exact same way you do at home, this could be a good choice for you. You’ll just need to bring all the supplies, too, from coffee and filters to a unit itself with a carafe. It’s a lot to pack and carry, but you’ll have your coffee just the way you like it.


There are different ways you can make your coffee while camping, whether you’re backpacking alone, or setting up a campsite with a group of friends. If you don’t want to buy a bunch of equipment, you can choose simpler methods like using instant coffee, the cowboy method, or even the MacGyver. However, if it’s high-quality coffee that you’re looking for, you might want to make sacrifices and bring an espresso maker, French press, or the AeroPress with you. Or, of course, you can bring your portable drip coffee maker. Either way, you can have coffee out in the woods every day if you want. It’s really not difficult at all. You just need to find the perfect balance for you, and you’ll be sipping a cup of joe or a shot of espresso while camping in no time.

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