5 Ways to Brew a Solid Cup of Coffee While Camping

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No day begins without coffee, even if you're in the great outdoors.

The options are endless for brewing in the wild, but these are my tried-and-true methods for camp coffee. There is no one, correct way. I tend to use a variety of methods based on how much time I will have in the morning and how light I want to travel. Here is a comprehensive list to help you make the best decision for your adventure.


Terminology
  • Serving size: Based on a typical 8 ounce serving. If you need more, plan accordingly.
  • Price: Total cost for four servings and the device needed (think two people for two mornings)
  • Weight: Total weight of the device and four servings of coffee
  • Waste: What will you have to carry out
  • Time: How long does it take to brew once the water is boiled
  • Taste: On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being terrible, 10 being delicious

​Pour Over

  • Brand: Options are endless here, but I've always just used a cheap plastic one
  • Serving: 8 oz
  • Price: $9.95 + cost of two #2 filters + cost of 8 tbs of coffee
  • Weight: 5 oz oz (142 g)
  • Waste: wet coffee filter and coffee grounds
  • Time: 2-3 minutes
  • Taste: 7
  • Brewing tips: slowly pour water over your coffee
  • Pros: easy brewing, reusable
  • Cons: bulky, need to carry out wet filters (unless you have time to leave them out to dry)

GSI has some camping-specific pour over models: GSI Collapsible Java Drip, GSI Ultralight Java Drip.

If you aren't a black coffee drinker, there are also many easily transportable ways to tone down your backcountry brew. You can bring powdered milk, powdered coconut milk, sugar, and other flavorings in a separate bag and add it in as desired.

A word on Leave No Trace ethics. I posed the question about whether or not it was good practice to disperse your coffee grounds to the folks at Leave No Trace (as we know, coffee is a great fertilizer after all) and here is their response: "We advise for grounds to be packed out. Even though they are biodegradable—much like apple cores, orange peels, etc.—they carry a strong smell that will attract wildlife to dig them up and become accustomed to checking backpackers sites for food scraps."

This article was written by Ariana Herrick-Kunitz for Outdoor Project.

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