Our best gift ideas for those who have (almost) everything
Outdoor Activities | December 1, 2023
February 24, 2023
Just because you’re out camping doesn’t mean you should forgo every little luxury. And seeing as many of us share a caffeine addiction, a great cup of coffee is certainly one of those essential luxuries that should be a part of your morning ritual. There are many products on sale for campers hoping to start their day of outdoor adventure with a good coffee, but can coffee ever be as good while camping as it is at home? Yes, it can be! The SAIL team is here to help you choose the best camping coffee maker for your needs.
In this article, you will learn all about:
Gone are the days when the only camping option was a battered old percolator. There are many ways to prepare coffee, and many coffee types to choose from, even in the middle of the wilderness. Whether you prefer drip coffee or a strong espresso shot, there is a camping coffee maker for you. However, it’s important to note that some coffee makers could require a bit of patience, or may be a bit complex. Your final choice will therefore be influenced by the type of coffee you drink, and how dedicated you are to making it. The final consideration will be your camping style. Are you taking the car and parking in a frontcountry camping spot, in which case weight isn’t an issue, or are you thru-hiking and only have a bit of space in your backpack?
Here is a bit of guidance to help you make the right choice.
Experienced campers will have heard of this camping coffee maker, often described as the perfect way to make a great cup of coffee. The device works a little like a percolator to make one (great) coffee at a time. Perfect for solo trips, maybe not so much if you are catering for a whole bunch of campers!
The AeroPress is very easy to use. Simply put coffee grounds in the brewing chamber, add a round paper filter at the bottom of the lid and fill the chamber with hot water. Let everything brew for about a minute and a half. Rest the AeroPress directly on top of your empty mug, press the plunger and watch coffee fill your cup as it passes through the filter. Coffee enthusiasts rave about the AeroPress, which also comes with a 16 g measuring spoon: the exact amount required to make the perfect cup.
Espresso enthusiasts rejoice! Even in the middle of the woods, there is now a way to enjoy the perfect espresso. The Handpresso is a small, compact device that works a bit like a bike pump. Start by building up the right pressure. Once it’s set, simply open the lid, fill with water that’s just below boiling point, fill the dome pod with coffee grounds and lock the top back in place. Pressing the button will release the espresso shot. It is also possible to use pre-filled coffee pods for a cleaner operation. Many users have opted to use the Handpresso at home as it makes for a great espresso, without taking much room.
Pour-over drips are the coffee maker of choice for drip coffee enthusiasts. Compact and often collapsible, they take next to no room in a backpack. Set it on top of your mug and add a filter in the cone, which you can then fill with coffee. Pour a bit of water over your grounds, and watch as the liquid drips slowly into your cup. Add the rest of the water slowly, pouring evenly, and let the drip work its magic. Again, this only makes small quantities at a time, so the morning coffee preparation could be a bit of a long process for bigger camping parties with lots of people.
This is probably the easiest way to make coffee while camping. Simply add a few spoonfuls of coffee into the mesh filter, pour hot water and let it brew. It may not be on the same level as an artisanal cold brew from your local coffee shop, but a submersible coffee filter is very light, doesn’t take up much room and makes for a quick and easy cup of coffee just wherever you are.
The original way to make coffee in the wilderness! We probably all have a mental image of a couple of cowboys making coffee by the campfire in an old, battered up tin percolator, and these are classic camping coffee makers for a reason. First, they do make great, fairly strong coffee. Second, bigger models can brew up to 12 cups at once.
Simply fill the chamber with coffee, add water in the bottom section and close the lid. You can set a percolator directly on the stove or the campfire to boil the water. This way of making coffee could be a bit of a longer operation depending on your camp kitchen set up, but the result is worth the wait! Pro tip: if putting your percolator directly on an open flame, make sure you check that the handle isn’t too hot before grabbing it.
If a percolator is the camping coffee maker for you, have a look at brand GSI‘s product range.
A coffee press has a clear advantage: it can hold a much bigger quantity of coffee, and some bigger models can make six to eight cups at a time. Simply add coffee to the pot, pour hot water on top and cover with the plunger. Let everything brew, press down on the plunger when ready and voilà! A rich, flavourful coffee in about four minutes. Some camping coffee presses also have an insulating cover that keeps coffee warm for longer. Brand Biolite’s range of camping coffee presses is worth a look.
Some outdoor enthusiasts may be in a bit of a rush and not want to bother with making coffee, while still requiring a caffeine fix. Opt for cans of iced coffee, which can be used as a quick alternative to boiling water. If you do choose this option, remember you’ll have to bring the can back to recycle it. Some hardcore hikers also chew on coffee beans, although this may be an acquired taste. At the other end of the spectrum, frontcountry campers with plenty of room can splurge on a propane portable coffee maker. If that’s more your cup of tea (or coffee!), check out camping brand Coleman.
A last pro tip: treat yourself to an insulated mug (such as those offered by brand Yeti) to keep your coffee warm for longer. Or in a pinch, pour hot water in your mug and swirl it around to warm it up on colder mornings.