How To Make The Best Coffee When Camping

How To Make The Best Coffee When Camping

There's nothing quite like waking up to the crisp morning air while camping and savoring a hot, aromatic cup of coffee. Whether you're a coffee connoisseur or simply need a caffeine kick to jumpstart your day in the great outdoors, knowing how to make coffee when camping is essential. In this guide, we'll explore five different methods for brewing coffee while camping and provide an expert review of each. We'll also compare the experience of making coffee outdoors to the comforts of home and highlight key products like the Aeropress that can elevate your camping coffee game.

Related: Top 10 Best Tents for Wild Camping 2024

Coffee Suggestions

1. Cowboy Coffee:

Method: Cowboy coffee is the most primitive way to brew coffee while camping. Simply bring water to a boil, add coffee grounds, let it simmer, and then strain the grounds. Two methods are:

Sink-down Method: Heat a kettle or pot of water until boiling. Remove from heat and add coffee grounds in. Return to low heat and simmer. The coffee grounds should start to sink to the bottom after a few minutes. To encourage them to sink, add a table spoon or two of cold water on top. Then gently pour the coffee into cups, making sure not to agitate the grounds which have sunk to the bottom. 

Scoop-top Method: This will create a less intense flavour. Simple follow the process of the sink-down method but make sure to skim the coffee grounds off the surface before they begin to descend to the bottom of the kettle/stove.

Expert Review: Cowboy coffee is rugged and straightforward, perfect for those who want a genuine campfire experience. However, the lack of precision in brewing may result in inconsistent taste.

2. Pour-Over Coffee:

Method: Bring a pour-over cone and paper filters. Place it over your cup, add coffee grounds, and pour hot water over them in a slow, circular motion.

Expert Review: Pour-over coffee offers more control over the brewing process, resulting in a cleaner and crisper taste. It's lightweight and perfect for campers who enjoy a bit of finesse.

3. French Press:

Method: Bring a portable French press (preferably not glass), add coarse coffee grounds, pour hot water, let it steep for a few minutes, and press down the plunger.

Expert Review: French press coffee brings out rich flavours and a full-bodied taste, making it a camping favourite for those who prioritize taste and don't mind carrying a bit of extra gear. One thing to note is the extra cleaning needed after using the French press, due to the amount of grounds needed and also the equipment that creates the rich coffee. Perfect for smaller groups of up to 4 people.

4. Instant Coffee:

Method: Simply boil water, pour it into a cup, and add instant coffee. Stir and enjoy.

Expert Review: Instant coffee is incredibly convenient for camping. While it may not offer the same depth of flavor as other methods, it's quick, lightweight, and perfect for those on the move.

5. Aeropress:

Method: The Aeropress is a portable coffee maker that uses air pressure to extract coffee flavors. Add coffee and hot water, stir, and press the plunger.

Expert Review: The Aeropress strikes a balance between convenience and quality. It produces a clean, full-flavored cup of coffee, making it a top choice for many campers.

Aeropress Demo

6. Coffee In a Bag:

Coffee in a bag, often known as "coffee bags" or "coffee sachets," is a convenient and mess-free way to enjoy coffee while camping. These bags are similar in concept to tea bags but contain ground coffee instead.

Method: Coffee bags, similar to tea bags, placed in hot water, steeping for a few minutes, and enjoying the brew without the need for specialized equipment.

Expert Review: This is for campers who have little time to spare. They are pragmatic: reducing weight, limiting prep time and ready to go at any moment.

Camping vs Home Brewed Coffee

Making coffee outdoors is a unique experience compared to the comfort of home brewing. You'll find:

A deeper connection with nature as you savour your coffee amidst breath-taking landscapes.

A sense of accomplishment when brewing coffee using minimal equipment.

A heightened appreciation for simplicity and the taste of a well-brewed cup.

However, camping coffee can lack the consistency and precision of home-brewed coffee due to environmental factors like wind and temperature fluctuations. Do not expect to nail the taste first time but a simple coffee will go a long way especially when winter camping.


When it comes to making coffee while camping, there's no one-size-fits-all method. Your choice depends on your preferences and priorities. If you're a purist, go for cowboy coffee. For precision and taste, choose pour-over or French press. For convenience, instant coffee is your best bet. And if you want a balanced solution, the Aeropress is a top contender. So, pack your camping gear, select your preferred method, and start your day with a delicious cup of coffee that complements the beauty of the great outdoors. Happy camping and brewing!