Nothing beats a good morning like waking up outdoors to the morning breeze and a fresh cup of camp coffee. It is by far one of my favorite ways to wake up. That cool morning breeze, the smell of campfire and freshly brewed coffee, and the sound of birds singing. It is such a relaxing way to start the day. I have decided to make your camp coffee routine a little easier by creating this guide on how to make coffee outdoors. There are many many ways to make camp coffee but I have narrowed it down to eleven ways that can fit any outdoor adventure.
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My Past Experience Brewing Coffee Outdoors
The very first time I attempted to make coffee outdoors we were at a loss. Literally! We used a hairband, a paper coffee filter, and way too much coffee grounds. When we dipped it in the water it broke and went everywhere. Well I am here to help you avoid that mess and enjoy a nice cup of coffee outdoors by the campfire.
Before I continue I want to say that I’ve tried many of these but not all of them. Some I’ve been recommended by friends and family members through their own personal experience so I figured I’d share them with you as well.
11 Clever Ways to Make Camp Coffee Outdoors
I’m sure there are more than 11 ways to make a perfect cup of camp coffee but I’m going to go over the best ones. This all depends on the type of outdoor trip you’re doing, type of style of coffee that you prefer, and what works best for you.
1. Cowboy Coffee
Or the grainy coffee as I like to call it.
This is by far the easiest camp coffee to make… if you like grain in your coffee that is. The Cowboy Coffee is very simple. Just boil some water, add the coffee grains, let it sit for about 5 minutes and then drink as is. Grains and all! You can add sugar, honey, milk or creamer as you wish.
2. Instant Coffee
This is a very easy way to make camp coffee as well and easy to carry too. All you have to do is boil water and add the desired amount of instant coffee to the water. There are tons of options for instant coffee now a days so you can definitely pick the one that you personally like best.
- Alpine Start – The Alpine Start instant coffee is one of the top instant coffees in the outdoor industry. They also have a few different flavors such as the Coconut Creamer Latte and the Dirty Chai Latte.
- Waka Coffee – This Colombian coffee is one of my top 5 instant coffees to make.
- Maxim Korean Coffee – My dad brought this to our Fall Creek Falls camping trip and I absolutely loved it. By far one of my favorite instant coffees that I have ever tried.
- Yaucono – This coffee is from my home of Puerto Rico and by far one of my favorite type of coffee from Puerto Rico. Want to try more coffee from Puerto Rico? Here is a good variety pack that has all of my top favorites.
- Cafe Bustelo – This is another coffee that I love. I haven’t tried their instant version yet but their original blend is amazing.
3. Tea Bag Coffee
There’s several ways of making the tea bag coffee. You can create your own tea bag or buy a tea filter or even use make your own tea bag with a cheese cloth.
- If you want to create your own tea bag you can grab a coffee paper filter, add your coffee to it, and tie it off with a string. After you have tied it off you can tie another string that is long enough for you to dip in and move around in your coffee mug without burning your fingers. Once done, remove and prepare by adding anything extra that you may like in your coffee.
- You can also use a tea filter which may be easier. They have these reusable tea filter bags which work great for making your own coffee. Just add the coffee grains, close it, and place inside your mug for a few minutes before removing and drinking.
- You can also create your own cheesecloth filter the same way you would create a tea bag. Best thing about this option is that you can reuse it over and over again.
There are even some brands that make their coffees in tea bags. Here’s a few brands that you can try.
4. Pour Over Coffee Bags
This is a great option if you are looking for easy to pack and make coffee. They are very easy to use too and even biodegradable which is awesome for our planet. Just boil water and pour through the filter that attaches to your mug. My favorite brand to use if Coffee Blenders and I absolutely love their Kona Coffee blend but sadly was discontinued. They have tons of other blends available though that are just as good. Another brand that I haven’t tried yet but has been recommended to me is Kuju Coffee.
You can also get your own pour over coffee bags and just add your coffee grains to it.
5. Pour Over Coffee Stands
I have used this method of coffee making before at camp. Personally, I like to use the MSR Mugmate which is perfect. It is very similar to a pour over coffee maker (more on this below) but it is for a single coffee cup versus multiples. If you are making coffee for just one or two people then this is a good option for you.
Note: The MSR Mugmate is discontinued but this one is similar.
Other options are:
6. Pour Over / Drip Coffee Maker Pot
The pour over or drip coffee maker is a whole container versus just the filter portion of it. I got the one pictured above for Christmas last year and I love it when it comes to making camp coffee for more than one person. This one is called the Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker and it comes in 4 cup and 8 cup sizes.
7. Coffee Press
I was very intrigued by the idea of a coffee press system. After seeing so many other outdoor enthusiasts use this method I decided to try it for myself. By far the best way to make my coffee. It is also the easiest, too. I used the MSR Gear WindBurner Personal Pot with Wind Burner Coffee Press System and loved how easy it was to use. I was able to use the same WindBurner Stove System that I use for all my other camp kitchen cooking so I was pretty excited to add this to my system and expand it to fit our family. There are other options as well below if you would like to check those out as well.
Other options are:
Using a percolator is a great way to make a good amount of camp coffee for several people and still have a great taste. These can range from 6 cups of coffee all the way to 20 cups which is the biggest that I have seen. They are very easy to use and time efficient when it comes to making coffee for a larger group of campers.
9. Espresso / Mocha Coffee Maker
This is my daily cup of coffee. I love me some café con leche (coffee with milk). This is the type of coffee I grew up drinking in Puerto Rico but my grandma actually made it in a pot with a cheesecloth. Talking about old school. When my husband showed me how to make it in a machine I was blown away. While I am camping I use my Bialetti to make our espresso shots for our coffee. For this type of camp coffee we like to use: Yaucono, La Llave, or Cafe Bustelo.
- Bialetti – One of my favorite outdoor espresso makers ever. Add it to some hot milk and you got yourself a cup of café con leche.
- GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Maker – I haven’t used this one but have heard good things about it too. I personally wouldn’t want to carry it around with me though on a backpacking or hiking trip.
- Nanopresso – This one is much smaller and easier to carry with you on backpacking and hiking trips.
10. Battery Powered Coffee Maker
The battery powered coffee maker is another great option to make your perfect cup of camp coffee. It is not one that I personally use but have seen others use it and have heard great things about it.
Update: There used to be the Oxx Coffeeboxx brand but no longer is sold on Amazon, however, the Makita brand is still available and selling great with great reviews.
11. Propane Coffee Maker
I have never tried this one before either but definitely wanted to add it to the list. This one is not a very common one to use for weekend or short camping trips but definitely one that you can use if you prefer this method of coffee making instead. The propane coffee maker is a coffee maker that works with a propane tank instead of electricity or batteries. I thought it was a better option for those who like to camp without electric hookups on their campsite or camp at free camping areas where certain amenities are not available.
Other Camp Coffee Items You May Need
Besides knowing how to make the perfect cup of coffee outdoors, there are a few other things that you may need as well. Here is a quick list to cover all of your basics.
If you are the kind of person that likes to buy the coffee beans instead of the coffee grounds then this is an item that you must have. Don’t bring a heavy one though. The ones listed below are lightweight and perfecting to take with you outdoors.
Durable Enamel Coffee Mugs
I believe that you should use either an insulated coffee mug or an enamel coffee mug. Both of these styles are very durable for camping and backpacking trips. I have two enamel mugs and they have stood up well to the bumps and drops. You can view these here from REI or any of the ones below for ideas.
Coffee Creamer and Sugar for the Perfect Cup of Camp Coffee
This is a personal decision of course. Everyone likes their coffee a different way. Some like it lighter while others like it black with nothing else in it. If you are like me, then creamer or milk is a must. I also like to add some brown sugar or even half and half. As for creamers I like to buy single serve creamers like the ones that they give you at restaurants along with the brown sugar packets. If you are vegan, dairy free, or just prefer a plant-based option then this Laird Superfood coffee creamer option is perfect for you.
Update: I had to go dairy-free when my son was born in 2020 so I have grown to love Chobani creamer and Chobani Oat Milk Extra Creamy with my coffee with a small spoon of brown sugar. I warm the milk and sugar, froth it, and add it to my coffee. You can also try the Chobani Plain Oat Milk Barista Edition that’s perfectly made for making coffee.
Summary of 11 Ways to Brew Coffee Outdoors
Well I hope that all this post has helped you out in finding the best way for you to make coffee outdoors that works best for you. You can try several different methods as well and see which works best for each type of outdoor adventure. Now I’m curious to know… What is your favorite way to make coffee outdoors? Let me know in the comments below. Would love to learn more about how others make their perfect cup of coffee.