5 Ways to Brew a Solid Cup of Coffee While Camping

5 Ways to Brew a Solid Cup of Coffee While Camping


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.

  • 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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