Camping isn’t the time to give up good coffee. If you’re hammering tent pegs and hiking up hills, you need – really need – a cosy cup to kick-start your day.
We’re willing to forgo lots of comforts when we go camping. Coffee is just not one of them. Waving us out the nylon flaps without a good cup will result in nothing but tent-sion, trust us. So be sure to start your day off on the right foot with some freshly brewed camping coffee. And what do you need to brew good coffee? No, instant is not the answer (it never is). A portable coffee maker – that’s what you need. Whether you’re walking the highlands or pitching ten feet from your backdoor (it still counts), we’ve got a camping coffee maker to ensure happy campers all round!
Camping coffee hacks
You could try making cowboy coffee, but we’re guessing you’ll end up with sludgy grounds between your teeth. Just saying. Cowboy coffee is a great way of stripping your brew back to its bare basics, but we prefer the smoothness and reliability of a proper camping coffee maker. A little extra to pack, but oh-so-worth it!
For a scrummy cup in the sunshine (we can promise the first but not the second – sorry…), it’s best to keep all your usual values in mind. Top-scoring speciality beans are a must. See the speciality seal and you know you’ll get an intricate cup jam-packed with flavour. Freshly roasted coffee is another necessity – it’s the only way to enjoy coffee at its best. We know storing coffee is a little trickier when you’re at the mercy of the weatherman, but always keep your coffee in an airtight container and in cool conditions if you can.
Pack an AeroPress in with your anorak
The AeroPress is one of the best coffee makers to take camping (or glamping). Compact, portable and lightweight, this is a coffee maker designed with travel in mind. You can brew three cups in your AeroPress, and each one will be smooth and full-bodied with a low acidity. Just perfect for chilled out coffee around the campfire.
And the calmness keeps on coming, even when you get to washing up. The AeroPress cleans itself, more or less, because the plunger pushes all the grounds out of the chamber as you extract your coffee.
Just don’t forget your AeroPress filters!
Stovetops and s’mores
If you want to be the coolest kid at the campsite, a stovetop (also known as a moka pot) is the best camping coffee maker for you. This Bialetti stovetop makes a strong, syrupy coffee you can sip on its own or combine with hot water to make an Americano. Coffee shop culture on the campsite – tiiiiick!
Stovetop coffee also requires a high coffee-to-water ratio, so offers the caffeine kick you need before a day spent in walking boots and hopefully not-wet socks.
Unfortunately, this device isn’t the easiest to pack. The octagonal shape was originally designed for kitchen use, so isn’t exactly rucksack-friendly. You can also come into a bit of a pickle with the plastic handle if you’re brewing over a campfire…
V60s in the wilderness
The Hario V60 dripper is the best way to brew pour over coffee on the campsite. You could try a Chemex, but we’re not sure all that borosilicate glass will fare well in a rucksack…
This hardy plastic V60, on the other hand, can take a bit of rough and tumble. Its barely-there weight will also be kind to your shoulders, while its coffee will be VERY kind to your tastebuds. V60s produce an intricate, full-flavoured cup that’s got its ying and yang spot on: just the right amount of acidity balanced by a lovely sweetness.
The shape isn’t the easiest to nestle in your rucksack (lots of sticky-out edges). You also, ideally, need to use a swan neck kettle when brewing filter coffee. Swan neck kettles help to achieve a consistent pour and even extraction, but they’re not the best for backpacks. There’s a very sticky-out swan neck, you see…
Three of the best portable coffee makers for a stay outdoors. Happy caffeinating, campers!
Let's shop coffee