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How To Make Coffee While Camping

Sometimes, it’s nice to get away from home and the office and get back to nature for a few days. While the fresh air, sunshine (hopefully), and time to relax is all well and good, you are surely going to miss a few of the conveniences of home.

Like the all-important cup of coffee, especially first thing in the morning. It’s so easy to brew up a batch of coffee in the kitchen, but what are you supposed to do without your coffee-making equipment out in the wilderness?

Luckily, you do not need any special equipment to brew up a fresh cup of joe! If you want to learn how to make coffee while camping, keep reading for our 9 creative hacks.

1. Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee
Photo by Gary Sandoz on Unsplash

If you have only the most basic equipment available when you are out camping, then cowboy coffee may be the best choice for you. It is known to have a strong taste and almost mud-like texture due to the likely presence of grounds in your final cup, but it is an inexpensive and easy way to brew up some coffee.

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • Pot
  • Egg*
  • Mug

*Not necessary, but helps the grounds settle and adds an interesting flavor.

Step 2: Boil water and add grounds.

Put about 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per cup of water right into the pot.

Step 3: Add egg (optional). Let water return to a boil, then remove from heat.

Crack open the egg and add the eggshells into the coffee pot. Wait for the water to return to a boil, then remove it and set it aside.

Step 4: Let steep. Serve.

Let the coffee steep for about 2-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee. If you find that there are still a lot of grounds floating on the top, you can try dripping some cold water in the pot to help them settle at the bottom. After steeping, serve immediately.

2. Coffee Bag

Did you know that you can buy coffee bags that are just like tea bags? Brewing coffee using a coffee bag can be inexpensive and easy – perfect for those lazy camping mornings.

Step 1: Gather supplies.

  • Coffee bag
  • Pot
  • Water
  • Mug

Step 2: Boil water.

Make sure you boil the appropriate amount of water for the coffee grounds you put in the bag.

Step 3: Put coffee bag in water and steep.

Steep for about 1-3 minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee.

Step 4: Remove coffee bag. Serve.

Do not leave the coffee bag in there as it will over-extract the grounds, and you will end up with bitter coffee. After removing, serve immediately.

3. Makeshift Coffee Bag

If you do not want to buy special coffee bags or find yourself needing a coffee fix with minimal equipment at your disposal, you can make your own coffee bag.

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Clean cloth (bandanna, handkerchief, cheesecloth, or even a paper coffee filter)
  • String
  • Coffee grounds
  • Water

Step 2: Fill the filter with ground coffee.

Lay out your filter of choice and place some coffee grounds in the middle.

Step 3: Tie it off with string.

Gather up the filter with the grounds inside and use the string to tie up the filter just above the coffee grounds. Leave a little extra string so you can easily grab the bag.

Step 4: Start brewing your coffee.

Now you just follow the same instructions for the coffee bag method: essentially, boil some water, throw your makeshift bag in for a few minutes, remove, and serve.

4. Coffee Sock

Just like with a makeshift coffee bag, you can use any kind of clean cloth for this method, but you can also buy a special coffee sock. It is another lightweight and easy option for those who do not have a lot of room for coffee-making equipment.

Step 1: Gather supplies.

  • Coffee sock (or other clean cloth)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • Pot
  • Elastic*

*If you are using a clean cloth, you may want to use this to secure it to the mug.

Step 2: Boil water. Place coffee sock over the top of the mug and add grounds.

Make sure the sock or cloth is secure, so it does not fall when adding the grounds or water.

Step 3: Slowly pour water over grounds. Serve immediately.

Let the water cool for about 30 seconds before pouring over the grounds in the sock. Pour slowly and evenly to saturate all the grounds. When finished, remove sock, and serve.

5. Instant Coffee

Yes, coffee lovers, I know, but hear me out! If you are backpacking and do not have room for extra equipment, then you may consider just packing some lightweight and inexpensive instant coffee. Yes, it can certainly be an “acquired taste”, but if you are low on options and are desperate for that caffeine fix, then instant coffee is certainly better than nothing (for some of us, at least!)

Step 1: Gather supplies.

  • Instant coffee
  • Water
  • Mug
  • Pot*
  • Spoon (or something else for stirring)

*If you do not have room for a pot in your pack, you can drink instant coffee cold, as it will eventually dissolve in cold water. The taste will possibly be worse this way, but hey, it’s up to you!

Step 2: Heat water.

You do not have to boil the water. Only heat it to the temperature you typically like your coffee if you want to be able to drink it right away.

Step 3: Add instant coffee and water to mug. Stir.

Stir until the coffee has dissolved in the water. Alternatively, if you have a thermos or other container with a tight-fitting lid, you can shake up the mixture until the coffee has dissolved.

6. One Cup Coffee Dripper/Pour Over

making coffee in coffee dripper
Photo by Rawpixel

A one-cup pour-over coffee dripper is a good choice if you have the space for a small and lightweight brewer and are only planning on making one cup of coffee at a time. You will need to also pack some coffee filters for this brewing method, but you will be getting a clean-tasting cup of coffee.

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • One cup coffee dripper
  • Coffee grounds (you may find a fine grind works best)
  • Water
  • Paper filters
  • Mug

Step 2: Boil water and place dripper.

While the water is boiling, put a filter in the dripper and place it on the top of your mug. Wet the filter a bit to prepare it for brewing and discard any water that flows into the mug.

Step 3: Let the coffee grounds bloom.

Once the water has finished boiling, pour about a quarter of it over the grounds to allow them to bloom for about 30 seconds. Blooming helps bring out the aromas and flavors of the coffee.

Step 4: Pour in the rest of the water in a slow and circular motion. Serve immediately.

If you have something with a spout available for pouring, it will make this process much easier. Either way, try to keep the flow of water slow, even, and consistent as you pour it over the grounds in a circular motion. After all the water has dripped through into your mug, serve immediately.

7. French Press

man pouring coffee from french press
Photo by Rawpixel

If you find you have even more room to spare for coffee equipment when camping, then consider bringing along a French press. What is nice about this brewing method is that you can typically make more than one cup at a time (depending on the size you buy, of course), which is great if you are camping in a small group. Plus, you will end up with a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee, and who doesn’t want that?

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • French press
  • Coffee grounds (coarse grind)
  • Water
  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Mug

Step 2: Boil water and add grounds to French press.

Make sure you add enough grounds for the desired amount of brewed coffee.

Step 3: Pour the hot water into the top of the French press. Stir.

Wait at least 30 seconds for the water to cool down slightly after boiling. Then pour it on top of the grounds and give it all a quick stir.

Step 4: Let it steep, then plunge.

Put the lid on top and let it steep for about 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee. Then slowly press the plunger to the bottom.

*Note: if you are looking for a durable French press that does single servings, try the GSI Outdoor JavaPress. You can use it just like you would a regular French press, but it is more suitable for the outdoors.

8. Percolator

For large groups of coffee-loving campers, you may consider bringing along a percolator. They can be a bit bulky and heavy to lug around if you are spending a lot of time hiking with your equipment, but if you are mostly going to be camping in one spot then a percolator should not be too much trouble.

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Percolator
  • Ground coffee (coarse grind)
  • Water
  • Mug

Step 2: Fill percolator with water.

Take apart the percolator, and then fill the pot with cold water just above the halfway mark.

Step 3: Place grounds in filter. Reassemble percolator.

After you have the grounds and water in there, put the percolator back together.

Step 4: Boil water in percolator. Let sit for 4-6 minutes.

When you start to hear gurgling sounds, you will know that it is brewing.

Step 5: Remove from heat. Serve.

Percolators will help retain the heat of your coffee for longer than some other options, so you may be able to get a couple of servings in before the coffee gets cold.

9. AeroPress

Photo by Sean Benesh on Unsplash

It may be kind of clunky, but an AeroPress is a portable device that can make a clean-tasting cup of coffee. It may seem like there are a lot of steps involved, but once you become accustomed, it can be quick and easy!

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • AeroPress
  • Water
  • Coffee grounds
  • Pot
  • Paper filter
  • Mug

Step 2: Boil water and prepare Aeropress.

Put a filter into the cap and lock it onto the brewing chamber. With the cap facing down, place it on top of your mug. Run some water through it to wet the filter and warm the mug.

Step 3: Add coffee grounds to chamber, and then pour water. Bloom.

Put a generous number of grounds into the Aeropress chamber. Then, after the water has cooled slightly, pour a little water over the grounds, allowing them about 30 seconds to bloom.

Step 4: Stir grounds and pour in more water. Place plunger on top. Wait 45 seconds.

Pour in more water up to the #4. Then, create a vacuum seal by putting the plunger on top of the chamber.

Step 5: Remove plunger, stir, then add more water. Replace plunger.

Again, fill with water up to the #4, then replace plunger.

Step 6: Press down on plunger for at least 20 seconds. Serve.

Make sure you are applying consistent downward pressure. Serve immediately.

How to Make Coffee While Camping? There Are Lots of Ways!

While making a nice cup of coffee can be difficult while outdoors, it is certainly not impossible. Whether you have room for some extra coffee-making equipment or not, using any of the methods mentioned above, you can be sure that you will not have to go without that delicious elixir: coffee.

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