It is nice to wake up to the sights and sounds of nature when camping. It is even better to take in the beauty of nature at sunrise as you enjoy the warmth and comfort of a freshly brewed mug of coffee. Coffee smells and tastes so amazing in the great outdoors. The rich aroma wafting over your campsite is enough to lift your spirits even before you take a sip.
Instant coffee, while convenient for the outdoors, doesn’t come close to the real thing in terms of taste and satisfaction. You want the smooth and rich flavor of freshly brewed coffee even when far away from your coffee appliance or favorite coffee shop. Thankfully, there are portable coffee makers for all brewing styles from drip, French press, percolator, and even espresso makers. Equipped with a top-rated backpacking coffee maker, you will be able to make and enjoy flavorful coffee just the way you like it even when off the grid.
Below are our top ten picks of the top-rated camping coffee makers. They are lightweight, easy to pack up and take with you, and they make great tasting coffee. Our buying guide and FAQs section offer advice on what to look for when choosing an outdoor coffee maker. Read on to find your perfect camp coffee maker.
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How To Choose A Camping Coffee Maker – Buying Guide
When you appreciate good coffee, mediocre coffee won’t do when camping. Your outdoor coffee game will depend on the equipment you use and your brewing technique.
The first step to a great cup of coffee is to get the right device. There is a wide range of great camping coffee makers out there from espresso makers, pour overs, to percolators. The brewing requirements, process, and flavor of the brew are different with each one. So how can you tell what is the best camp coffee maker for you?
This will depend on how you intend to use your coffee machine. To select the right camping coffee machine for your needs, keep in mind the types of camping excursions you undertake, your preferred brewing style, the number of people you will be serving, and how you want the final cup to turn out. Here are the most important factors to consider when buying a coffee brewer for use when camping:
Ease Of Use
As with any camping equipment, ease of use is a very important consideration when choosing a camp coffee machine. A convenient coffee machine for the outdoors is easy to use and maintain even with limited resources.
When you just stepped out of your sleeping bag and need a cup of coffee to wake up fully, having to put too many parts together and follow a complicated brewing process will be frustrating.
A streamlined design that is easy to assemble and has a simple brewing process will offer the best experience. A simple setup with fewer components also makes the gadget easy to clean so you can brew another cup or get started on the day’s adventure.
Before you hit the order button for your camp coffee brewer of choice, make sure you review its assembly and coffee making process, cleaning instructions, and the kind of filters and accessories it requires. Check its user reviews to get an idea of what kind of experience you can expect when out there.
However, ease of use will also depend on the brewing style and you may have to be patient if you want the best flavor. Brewing the first-class pot of coffee in the wilderness will involve a more sophisticated process but the end result will be worth the extra effort. A more involved coffee making ritual can also add some comfort to mornings spent outdoors.
Even when you badly need that hot cup of coffee in your hand to fight the morning chill and become functional, instant gratification isn’t possible as it takes a coffee machine several minutes to extract flavor from the coffee ground and produce great tasting coffee. Even instant coffee involves boiling the water first.
However, you don’t want to wait too long for your freshly brewed cup of joe. A good camp coffee brewer should be able to make a delicious cup of coffee reasonably fast without sacrificing flavor. Most camping coffee makers brew in three to twenty minutes depending on the quantity of coffee and the desired strength.
Brewing speed will also depend on how sophisticated your preferred brewing style is. If the flavor and taste are very important to you and you’re using a percolator or French press, you will have to wait a little longer to enjoy your morning treat.
Coffee is one of those things where enthusiasts have their own personal preferences. There are different ways to brew a cup of coffee and you definitely have your favorite.
The good news is that no matter how you love your coffee, you can find a portable maker for your brewing style. You can brew up your favorite drink exactly how you like it even in the wilderness away from electricity.
There are drip or pour-over, percolators, espresso makers, and even French press for camping. The brewing style affects the texture, potency, and overall taste of the coffee.
Be sure to confirm what kind of brewing style the machine you’re considering offers so you can make choose a unit that will produce the strength and flavor you like.
When it comes to camping gear, size and weight always matter. You want a portable coffee machine for camping that is easy to pack and carry. Not a huge and heavy appliance that will take a lot of space and weigh you down.
Make sure you check the weight, dimensions, and packability of your chosen coffee machine so you can pick a size that will be convenient to bring along on your excursions.
The brewing capacity is another aspect of size to check depending on how many people you will be preparing coffee for. Ensure the coffee brewer of your choice will be able to fulfill your camping coffee making needs in an efficient way.
If you’re a solo hiker, a backpacker, or are going on a longer trip, every inch and ounce matters, and you’ll want a lightweight and packable coffee brewer. Even for car camping excursions, you will want a coffee machine that is reasonably sized for outdoor use.
While most camping coffee makers are within an affordable price range, there is still a large variance in pricing and features among the options to justify an assessment of what you’re spending and what you’re getting in return. This will ensure you choose the right unit at the best price and get the best value for your money.
The most expensive options offer sophisticated brewing techniques, large capacities, and are made of high-quality and durable materials. However, this doesn’t make them necessarily the best options for you. There are also very affordable options that feature good quality construction and make delicious coffee. They may lack complex programmability and features but they are fairly durable.
The best approach is to choose a portable maker that meets your personal requirements and preferences and also falls within your budget. All the options in our campfire coffee brewer reviews are top rated camping coffee machines that make great coffee, are sturdy in quality and are accessibly priced making them incredible deals.
For camping, you want a high-quality and sturdy machine that will withstand being transported frequently and exposed to rough terrain and unforgiving weather elements. If it is a percolator, it should also be able to withstand the intense flames of a camping stove or campfire. This will ensure that it will serve you for a long time.
An outdoor coffee pot should be rugged and weather-resistant and have a sturdy and well-balanced build. To assess the quality of a camp coffee maker, pay attention to the materials used in its construction, how the handle is made, the kind of filter it has, and read user reviews.
When it comes to outdoor coffee pot materials, stainless steel construction is superior. It is strong, doesn’t break or crack easily, is resistant to corrosion, doesn’t affect the natural coffee flavors and oils, keeps the coffee warm, and cleans up easily. It also has an attractive classic shine that can be polished.
Although glass is aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t add unpleasant flavors to coffee, its vulnerability to shattering and breaking makes it a poor choice for outdoor use. Plastic is hard to break and isn’t affected by rust but it can add unpleasant flavors when exposed to hot water.
Check that the handle is sturdy enough to handle the weight of the maker when full and ergonomically designed for ease of lifting from the fire and pouring. Inspect the interior components such as the stem and basket to ensure they are also well-made to last. Metal interior components are ideal because they don’t interfere with the flavor.
Another indicator of quality that will give you confidence that you are making the right choice is an impressive warranty. You will have peace of mind knowing you’re covered in case of defects that are the manufacturer’s fault. Don’t forget to take a look at what owners and users of a particular machine are saying about it. If there is a major issue with a coffee brewer, you will be able to tell because there will be many genuine complaints about the issue.
As you can see above, camping coffee makers come in a number of designs. The design depends on the brewing style a maker offers. Most percolators have a classic kettle design for even diffusion of heat.
A vertically pointing cone design is meant to optimize the saturation of the ground coffee when making coffee using the pour-over drip method. Over-saturation is a common problem with flat-bottomed coffee brewers because of water pooling at the edges.
The design will also affect how easy the appliance is to pack and carry. Some camping coffee makers are designed to come apart and pack into a compact size that can easily fit in a backpack or travel bag. Those that don’t compact are designed to serve large groups of campers when car camping or to be kept in an RV.
The best camping coffee makers will also have a design that is easy to assemble and disassemble. A wide base is essential for stability. A well-designed pouring spout makes it easy to serve the coffee.
When shopping for a campfire coffee brewer, it is important to evaluate how easy each device you’re considering is to pack and carry. This will ensure that you pick one that will suit your camping setup and means of transport. Most camp coffee makers designed to serve one person on the go are lightweight and easy to pack into a backpack or storage bag.
If you’re looking for a brewing device for backpacking, hiking, mountain climbing or any other outdoor activities where you need to pack ultralight, the lighter and compact a coffee machine is the better even if you may have to sacrifice some flavor. Pour-over brewers are usually lightweight and compact but their cone shape can make them hard to pack in a camp kitchen box or backpack. However, some can be attached to the exterior of a backpack.
If you enjoy group or family car camping excursions, you will need a bigger coffee brewer with a generous capacity so you will be able to efficiently make a lot of coffee for everyone. Luckily, portability won’t be a major concern since you will be bringing your car or RV and will be at a stationery campsite.
Don’t forget to take into account the coffee supplies and accessories that will make up your coffee camping kit. You may want to add a creamer or sweetener to your coffee. For ultralight backpacking, you can pack travel size packages of grounds and other supplies you will need.
The water capacity of a camping coffee brewer will dictate the amount of coffee you will be able to brew in one go. How much water the water reservoir can hold is an aspect you will want to pay attention to in order to choose the right brewer size for your needs.
The water capacity is usually expressed in ounces. Keep in mind that some of the water will evaporate or remain trapped in the machine so the coffee that comes out will be less than the water you added.
If you’re are glamping, you will want a large water capacity so you can brew enough coffee for every coffee lover efficiently without wasting too much time and fuel. If you are a solo adventurer, a unit with small water capacity will meet your needs and be easy to lug along.
The strength of the coffee a camp coffee maker brews is also an important factor to consider. You want a brewer that makes great-tasting coffee just the way you like it. If you’re very particular about the taste of your coffee, you’ll want to make sure you pick an option that allows you to use your favorite coffee grounds and produces your desired strength without bitterness. The ideal coffee maker gives you complete control over your brewing process so you can make coffee to suit your taste.
The brewing strength will also depend on how much coffee you put in, the water’s temperature, and how long you let the coffee grounds brew. The ideal coffee brewing temperature is between 195 degrees Fahrenheit and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. You can achieve this temperature when making coffee on a campsite by ensuring that the water doesn’t over-boil or allowing it to cool down a bit before pouring it over the ground coffee.
Many factors determine just how flavorful the coffee you make is going to be: the coffee maker, the brewing technique, the heat level, and the coffee grinds. As you purchase a camp coffee maker, ensure that it is compatible with your preferred coffee grounds and that it supports your brewing style.
French press coffee makers and percolators require coarse coffee grinds. For a drip coffee maker, a medium to medium-coarse grind is best. For an espresso machine, an extra-fine grind works best to ensure full extraction within a short duration. A single-serve coffee maker has a varied grind setting and can work with medium to fine grinds. If you’re using coffee pods, keep in mind that some coffee makers only work with specific pods.
Some coffee makers such as cone-shaped pour-over camping coffee makers require special filters for optimal brewing performance and ease of cleanup. When you’re out there in the great outdoors, your source of heat will be either a camping stove, grill, or open fire. Ensure you choose a coffee maker that works with your heat source.
When it comes to quantity, there are two factors you will need to consider when picking a camp coffee maker. The first one is how many cups of coffee the device can make in one brew. You want a coffee maker that suits the number of people you will be making coffee for. It is always a good idea to get a unit that can make more than you need. But keep in mind that the more coffee a coffee maker can make at once, the more expensive, bulky, and heavy it will be.
If you usually camp as a group and everyone relies on one coffee maker, a generously-sized multi-person coffee maker that can produce 4-10 cups of coffee at once is the most efficient option. There are 3-cup, 4-cup, or 8-cup camping French press machines. There are also mega-sized percolators that can produce more than 20 cups at a go. If you want a coffee maker for solo backpacking trips, one intended to serve 1-2 people is sufficient.
The second quantity factor to consider is how much coffee grounds and water you need to put in a coffee maker to brew the perfect cup of coffee. The good thing is that most manufacturers indicate the quantity of coffee and water to add. With experience, you will also be able to figure out the ideal quantity of water and coffee to use with your device in order to brew the best-tasting coffee.
Once you’re done brewing and enjoying your coffee, you will want to clean your coffee maker to ensure it stays in good condition and produces a clean flavor the next time you make coffee.
When camping, water and cleaning resources are limited and an easy cleanup process is an essential part of the ideal camp coffee maker. A good coffee maker for the outdoors should be easy to disassemble, remove the wet grounds, rinse, and re-assemble. The fewer the parts involved, the easier it will be to clean.
Pour-over brewers, especially ones that utilize paper filters, are easy to clean. An AeroPress just requires removing the piece that holds the filter and pressing the plunger to remove the coffee grounds. Cleanup for French press brewers is more involved as you have to scoop out the wet grounds and then rinse everything. Filterless options require cleaning after each use.
Once you get back home, you may want to put your coffee maker in a dishwasher for a thorough cleanup. Be sure to check whether your unit is dishwasher safe first and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Different Brewing Processes? Should I Get A Drip Coffee Maker, Percolator, or A French Press?
There are different ways to brew a mug or pot of coffee. They include drip or pour-over, percolating, and French pressing. Each brewing process requires a different type of coffee brewer and yields a different texture and taste. The good news is that you can make coffee outdoors using your favorite brewing technique. All you have to do is choose a coffee maker that suits your personal preference.
If you’re having a hard time deciding whether to choose a drip coffee maker, percolator or a French press for camping, here is some information about each type of coffee maker and its brewing process to help you make the right choice:
Drip coffee maker
Also referred to as a pour-over coffee maker, this is the most common type of coffee maker and the easiest to use. The drip brewing process involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans placed in a filter. It is important to use the right size of grounds – not too fine and not too coarse and pour the water steadily in order to obtain the best flavor. Since the water and grounds do not mix, the cleanup afterward is easy.
Choose a drip coffee maker if you want to brew a great cup of coffee quickly and effortlessly. Most are made for 1-2 people, making them ideal for solo use or for smaller groups. They are lightweight and portable making them the best backpacking coffee makers, as they can easily fit in a backpack without adding extra weight.
A percolator is the old school camp coffee brewer. This brewing process yields delicious coffee with a rich flavor. A percolator has two separate chambers connected by a metal tube. You fill the bottom chamber with water. You put the coffee grounds in the upper chamber, which is a perforated basket. You then put on the lid and place the percolator on a stove burner or open campfire. As the water boils, it percolates up the tube and circulates through the grinds.
The percolating process takes about five minutes. Once percolation starts, you will want to start a timer. A transparent glass/plastic viewing knob at the top allows you to monitor the coffee color. This method brews the best coffee when the water temperature is about 200 degrees F, the grounds course and a light or medium roast.
Choose a percolator if you want to make coffee over a camp stove or a campfire. It is also an awesome way to brew a lot of coffee for a group camping excursion. Larger sizes are bulky and suit car and RV camping.
French Press Coffee
A French press coffee maker offers a quick and easy brewing process that yields a high-end taste and flavor. You simply heat up some water over a fire or camp stove, place coarse grounds in the bottom of the press, add hot water without overfilling, and let it steep. You then gently press down the plunger to trap the grounds in the bottom and pour your drink out. This produces flavorful coffee with a fresh and rich taste.
Choose a French press coffee maker if you’re a coffee connoisseur with a discriminating taste. These units tend to be on the heavy and bulky side making them ideal for car camping. They tend to have a large brewing capacity and are great for making a lot of coffee when camping as a group.
Q: Do I Need A Special Fuel Canister To Work With My Coffee Maker?
Most camping coffee makers don’t require a special fuel canister. They only need hot water and you can use any means available to you to boil the water. Percolators designed to be placed on a stovetop will usually work with all kinds of camping stoves and fuel canisters.
If you have a propane coffee maker, you might need a specific fuel canister to connect with it. The manufacturer will state what type and size of fuel canister the coffee maker is compatible with. You can find this information in the product manual or description.
Q: Can A French Press Be Used Over A Campfire?
No. A French press for camping is designed to brew coffee by pouring high-temperature water into the press with coffee grounds at the bottom. It is not meant to be placed over a campfire. The intense flames of a campfire will damage a French press and void the warranty. You may heat the water with the pot in your camping mess kit or a kettle. If you want a camp coffee maker you can use over a campfire, you will want to consider a percolator designed for use on a stovetop or campfire.
Q: When Camping How Do You Grind The Beans?
For the best coffee flavor and freshness, freshly ground coffee is the way to go. Grinding coffee beans right before brewing produces a superior taste. You will be able to control the size of the grinds and you will have fresh grounds for a great tasting cup of coffee.
When camping, you can bring along a portable hand grinder, which is the most effective way to grind who coffee beans while on the go. You can also use a hammer or some other heavy tool to smash the beans manually.
However, grinding the beans adds an extra process to your coffee-making process. If you want to make your coffee quickly, you can eliminate this extra step by packing pre-ground coffee.
Globo Surf Overview
Heading outdoors for any adventure whether it be camping, backpacking, hiking, hunting or fishing means leaving certain luxuries behind to enjoy the simplicity of nature. A steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee to start your morning does not have to be one of them. As you can see you have a lot of options regarding what to brew and how to brew it even when off the grid.
Whether you prefer espressos, French press coffee, drip coffee, or percolated coffee, there is a portable coffee maker for camping that suits your preference. All you have to do is evaluate the features of the best camping coffee makers and select the right one for your needs. Hopefully, our camping coffee maker reviews and buying guide have given you enough information to choose with confidence.
Once you’ve found the right coffee maker, hone your brewing prowess by experimenting with different coffee grinds, water temperature, and pouring style and speed. Soon you will be able to make barista-level coffee when camping, enjoy the sense of warmth and comfort it provides and get a caffeine boost before embarking on the day’s adventure. Your mornings on campsites will be something to look forward to!
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Which of the camping coffee makers on our list is your top choice? We would love to read your thoughts or experience with camping coffee makers we’ve reviewed! Feel free to share in the comment box below!