5 Best Ways to Make Great Coffee While Camping

Drinking a fresh, steaming mug of coffee while camping outdoors is a euphoric experience. Some even say that camping and coffee go hand-in-hand; one shouldn’t forgo the other!  You may like some of these camping coffee methods so much, that you use them at home too!

How to Make Coffee While Camping

There are multiple ways to make great-tasting coffee while camping. I’ll share five of my preferred methods, including recommended measurements and instructions for each. Pack that instant coffee away, grab your favorite freshly ground beans, and let’s get started!  

Cowboy Camping Coffee 

The easiest and most traditional camp coffee brewing method is called Cowboy Coffee. Named after herders and wranglers of livestock in the western USA, cowboy coffee is most suitable for campers with limited resources. All you need is a kettle (or a camping coffee pot), water, your favorite coarse ground coffee, and, of course, a camping coffee mug! 

Here’s how to make Cowboy Camping Coffee: 

  1. Add cold water into your kettle or camping coffee pot and bring it to a boil. 
  2. Remove your kettle from the heat and let it cool just enough to stop the boiling; about 30 seconds or so. 
  3. For every 1 1/2 cup of water, mix in about a tablespoon of coarse ground coffee. 
  4. Stir, cover, and steep for no more than three minutes. 
  5. Remove the kettle from the heat and add a tablespoon of cold water to settle the coffee grounds. 
  6. Pour into your mug and enjoy! 

Camp enthusiasts would also sometimes add a crumbled eggshell or two from breakfast to remove the bitterness of coffee and to mellow the flavor out a bit. Making coffee over high heat would sometimes result in overly acidic, bitter, or too strong coffee, so adding eggshells tempers that sharp, unpleasing taste. 

Percolator Camping Coffee

If you’re not a big fan of the taste of Cowboy Coffee, you may want to get yourself a trusty enamel percolator. 

The percolator is one of the oldest and most familiar brewing methods in the United States. It makes coffee by sending boiling water through a tube and into the top of its perforated basket. It then sprinkles water over your coffee grounds and slowly falls back down into the boiling water. The process then repeats itself until the coffee is fully brewed. 

Percolators are available in multiple shapes and sizes, and can easily be found in most online outlets and outdoor retailers. 

Here’s how to make the perfect Percolator Camping Coffee: 

  1. Fill the percolator with cold water after removing the percolator apparatus. Once done, properly reinsert the apparatus. 
  2. Add several tablespoons of coarse ground coffee into the grounds basket. For every cup of water, use one heaping tablespoon of coffee. 
  3. Place the tube-and-basket assembly back inside the device and cover it up with the lid. 
  4. Set your percolator on a campfire or your selected heat source. 
  5. Brew the coffee anywhere between eight to ten minutes. 
  6. Before serving, let the coffee rest for two minutes so the grounds settle in the bottom before pouring. 

Single Serving Pour-Overs

Specifically designed for campers, single-serving pour-overs are reminiscent of coffee made from a drip coffee maker. As a result, coffee grounds are kept separate from the water, making clean-up a breeze. 

Single serving pour-overs usually come with paper frames and pouches for quick and easy preparation. Provided that your pour-over has a large carafe, this method is most suitable for when you have large groups to serve. 

Let’s take a look at how it’s prepared: 

  1. Heat your water to near-boil temperature. 
  2. Place the pour-over dripper onto the carafe. Then, wet the filter and place it inside the dripper. 
  3. Per cup of water, add one to two tablespoons of coffee grounds into the dripper. Even out the grounds by gently tapping the dripper until everything is balanced. 
  4. Remove the water from the heat and pour 1/4 cup of water into the grounds. Start from the outer edge of the grounds, and, using a spinning motion, slowly spiral towards the middle. 
  5. Wait about 30 seconds until the grounds are sufficiently soaked and pour the remainder of the water. This time, start from the middle and spiral towards the outer edge. Do this two to three times until you poured in all the water needed. 
  6. Remove the dripper and enjoy! 

French Press Camping Coffee

If you’re a coffee fanatic, you’ve surely heard of the popular French Press. It’s designed with a cylindrical pot with a plunger and presses hot water through ground coffee using a built-in filter screen. 

Although preparation isn’t as easy as most other camp brew methods on this list, the coffee it makes is vibrantly aromatic and delicious. Worth the effort? Absolutely! 

Here’s how to make French Press Camping Coffee: 

Remove the plunger from the French Press and add 1.5 teaspoons of freshly ground coffee per single cup of water into the water chamber. Make sure the water is hot before you pour it into the device. 

  1. Stir the mixture gently for 10-15 seconds. 
  2. Return the press plunger and allow your coffee to sit and brew for about four to five minutes.
  3. “Press” the grounds by putting a slow downward pressure on the plunger. This process normally takes 10-15 seconds. 
  4. Once the plunger is pressed on the bottom of the device, your coffee is ready to serve.

Aeropress Camping Coffee

AEROPRESS Coffee and Espresso Maker - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without Bitterness - 1 to 3 Cups Per Pressing is similar to the French Press in a lot of ways. Like the French Press, it also pushes water through the coffee grounds to create an even, full-immersion brew. However, unlike the French Press, Aeropress is smaller and more convenient for camping purposes. 

To make Aeropress Camping Coffee, follow these instructions: 

  1. In a separate kettle, bring water to a boil. 
  2. Insert a paper filter into the detachable cap. Wet the filter with hot water so it sticks to the cap properly. 
  3. Assemble the Aeropress and add medium-fine ground coffee into it. Then, fill the Aeropress’s brew chamber with the hot water you’ve previously prepared. 
  4. Mix the coffee and water for 10-14 seconds. 
  5. Insert the plunger and press until it bottoms out. 
  6. Remove the Aeropress from your mug and enjoy! 

Awesome Coffee Even When Camping!

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t make great-tasting coffee. I highly encourage you to try all the listed coffee-brewing methods above on your next outdoor adventure! 

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