How To Make Coffee While Camping

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Coffee is as essential to camping as campfires. There are 3 simple ways to make coffee while camping. You can make instant coffee, which is popular among backpackers. You can use an Aeropress, which is popular among people who are car-camping. And there is a percolator which is popular among nostalgic campers or making coffee for many people at once. And the rest of the article will explain each option in detail.

If you want to make coffee while camping, you need to boil water. The simplest way to boil water is with a gas stove.
Check out the best portable stoves from Amazon.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is the simplest and lightest option. This is why people who are backpacking or doing dispersed camping often prefer instant coffee. All you need to do is boil some water and pour it into your cup with the coffee grounds. And stir. The water can be boiled in your stainless steel water bottle or tea kettle. I prefer Folgers that comes in the tea bags.


This is similar to a French press but it’s an improved version because it can use smaller ground coffee. Because it requires ground coffee and its own kit, this is bulkier than instant coffee. But it’s not large, and if Texas Rangers hunting down bad-guys on the frontier managed to carry coffee with them, I’m sure you can too. What you do with an Aeropress is heat water. While the water is heating, you put the coffee grounds in a container inside of a tube. The tube is placed over the coffee cup. The bottom of the tube has a small grate. You can also put in your own paper filter. Then pour the heated water down the tube. Then you take the plunger that comes with the kit and pushes it down. This forces the water over the grounds, and you get coffee in your cup.


When we survey 1000 camping fans about what type of coffee they preferred, the percolator was a favorite. It is the precursor to the home drip-based coffee maker. But you still find it in use at events where a lot of coffee is needed for the audience.

But the camping percolator doesn’t use electricity. The way one of these devices works is that at the top it has a small container where you place the coffee grounds.

The container has small holes in it to let water pass through. The container also has a tube that runs down to the bottom of the percolator. You pour water into the vessel. And then put the coffee ground container in.

And put the percolator over your heat source. This can be a campfire or a camp stove.

The percolator lid will have a clear bubble at the top. As the water is heated up, it will be pushed up the tube and over the top of the coffee ground container. And it will continue to do so until you take the percolator off the fire.

You can determine when the coffee is done brewing by the color of the water in the bubble at the top. If you take it off too soon, the coffee will be weak. But if you wait too long, it will burn.

It’s an art. But many people think this is the best way to brew a cup of coffee.

Why Is Coffee So Important To Camping

Coffee has been drunk by people for hundreds of years. And in America the way I heard it, coffee became popular after the Revolutionary War as a rebellion against tea.

Coffe is important to modern camping for three basic reasons. The first reason is a habit. For many of us, coffee is part of our morning ritual. And don’t want to give it up just because we’re roughing it.

Second, on a cold morning, you want something warm to drink. And coffee is a great way to get your blood going with a tent covered in frost.

Third, coffee tastes better than water. In particular, if you are drinking camp water. Or if you had to boil or otherwise filter your water on the trail. Making coffee will make it taste better.

How To Choose Your Coffee

What type of coffee you bring with you will be based on the type of camping you are doing.

If you are backpacking in, you will want to consider the weight and space. Even if it’s just a short half-mile, it means you will not want to bring a full home coffee setup. Meaning, leave the grinder and whole beans at home.

If it is a car-camping trip. You can still bring a percolator and ground beans.

But if you are going on a multi-day backpacking trip, then you should look into instant coffee.

This is where it helps not to be a coffee snob. Folgers make instant coffee that comes in individual seal packets that when you open them up, the coffee is in tea bags. This way, you don’t have to worry about undissolved coffee crystals in your cup.

Don’t forget to carry out all of your instant coffee packets and leave no trace.

But try different varieties out before you and pick the brand you like the most.

Of course, if you are camping in a motorhome, trailer, or cabin then you can use whatever type of coffee that you have at home. You could even have drip coffee using a traditional electric coffee maker.

But that defeats the fun of making coffee over a campfire!

The Easiest Way To Make Coffee While Camping

The easiest way to make coffee while camping is to buy it from Starbucks at the campsite’s trading post.


The actual answer would be instant coffee with a canteen or water bottle that you can heat the water over the campfire directly.

This way, you are not worrying about grinding coffee or messing with filters or watching the percolator.

How To Heat Water While Camping

There are 3 simple ways to heat water while camping.

Camping Stove

The simplest but least romantic way to heat water is to use a camping stove.

These are stoves that are powered by a gas such as propane or white gas.

They are simple to use and don’t require you to hunt down firewood. Nor do they require any special skills in making fire.

They come in a variety of sizing, including ultra-portable models that are designed for backpackers.

With a gas stove, you light the stove. Then put your kettle, pan, or percolator on the grill. And wait.


The most nostalgic and romantic way to heat water while camping is over a campfire.

This starts with building a basic campfire. After the fire is going, then you can start boiling your water.

This may require you to set up a grill on top of the coals where you can place your pans. Or you might set up a tripod to hold your pot to heat water with. Or with the proper water bottle, you can toss it on the coals and let it heat up.

Fire In A Bottle

But what if you knew about a third option? An option that doesn’t require gas stove nor requires you to build a campfire in the morning.

And could be used even if the only flammable material you have on hand is old reciepts such as after a major storm knocks the power out unexpectedly?

A third option is to use a Kelly Kettle. With a Kelly Kettle, it allows you to heat water with a fire you make in the device itself. The device has 2 parts. One part is where you put your water. This part attaches to a second part where you can put small twigs and leaves and paper to make a small fire.

The benefit of Kelly Kettle is that you can heat water in a few minutes without needing to build a large fire nor needing access to cooking gas, such as propane.

It’s great for both camping and emergency situations.

Check Availability Of Kelley Kettle on Amazon

Coffee is as vital to many campers as their tent. Heck, alot of campers spend more money on their coffee setup than their tent. And as you can see there are many ways to make coffee while out camping. Try each one and see which one you prefer.

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