For many people, part of the appeal of camping is leaving behind the unnecessary trappings of modern life and going back to basics. However, even the most minimalist camper might decide giving up coffee is a step too far – so what type of gear do you need when you’re out in the woods?
Bripe – Top Pick!
This is an ingenious new gadget designed for brewing up a hit of great-tasting coffee even when you’re miles from civilization.
Bripe is an ideal choice for camping since it is the only brewing device that doesn’t require a kettle or external heat source - you simply heat the water with the special jet torch included in the pack. The whole wallet-sized kit weighs only 337 grams and is ideal for carrying in your backpack.
The Bripe is also the only device with a built-in thermometer for precise temperature control, and it allows you to brew up a powerful shot of espresso-style coffee in only three minutes. The multiple reflux allows you to achieve super-strong extraction similar to Turkish coffee.
The brewing method uses full immersion, giving a perfectly uniform extraction and producing a superior quality shot of coffee with no bitterness. As an extra bonus, you can also wash the grind with rum or gin to give yourself a nice little nightcap.
This device might look a little strange at first, but it’s certainly a wonderful solution to the problem of making coffee when out camping – for all the reasons listed above, we make the Bripe our number one pick.
By far the simplest solution is to take instant coffee. If you opt for instant, all you need to do is heat up some water, pour the instant coffee mix into your camping mug, stir and enjoy.
The biggest problem is that instant coffee has something of a bad reputation – deservedly so, you might say – for not actually tasting very good.
Another issue that some people might not be aware of is the fact that instant has less caffeine than coffee brewed from grounds, so if you want something that will wake you up in the morning, instant might not be ideal.
However, it is by far the simplest and most practical choice, and now there are some fairly tasty options available, including three-in-one mixes with sugar and milk powder combined with the coffee. All in all, worthy of consideration if you’re not too bothered about drinking top-grade coffee.
The French press is a simple but elegant way of producing high-quality, great-tasting coffee. The problem is that traditionally, French presses are made of glass, making them less suitable for campsite use.
However, it is now possible to find French presses made from other materials specially designed for camping. Like the percolator, they are not necessarily the smallest or lightest option, but if drinking bad coffee is too much of a sacrifice when out on the trails, a French press is worth considering.
They also have an advantage over percolators in that you don’t need to stand them on a stove. As long as you have a way of heating water, you can make coffee with a French press.
Single-use pour-overs or “coffee bags”
If you want real freshly brewed coffee, you could opt for single-use pour-over coffee makers. As the name suggests, these are single doses of pour-over coffee that you place over your mug and then dispose of after use.
Another option is coffee in bags – the concept is the same as a teabag, just with coffee.
These are both practical solutions for camping but are usually more expensive than buying instant or loose grounds and can be bulky to carry if you need a lot.
While it’s not practical to take a regular countertop pour-over setup with you, some very handy portable camping pour-over stands now exist. You simply place the stand over your cup, add the coffee and water and wait for your brew to drip down.
This is a convenient way to make coffee while camping, and many pour-over stands are lightweight and easily packable.
The classic way to make coffee when in the great outdoors. All you need is a big pot and your coffee grounds. You boil the water in the pot and throw the grounds in and boil them too.
This is not a method designed to produce a refined and delicate brew. Boiling coffee in a pot like this will scald it and over-extract it – the beverage you pour into your cup will almost certainly end up being very bitter.
One traditional way to combat this is to add crushed eggshells to the mix. The alkaline properties of the shells are supposed to counteract the bitter acidity of the over-extracted coffee, producing a mellower and more palatable drink.
The eggshells are also said to help the coffee grounds settle at the bottom of the pot, preventing them from finding their way into your cup.
The big advantage of this method is its simplicity. All you need is a pot and a campfire. You can suspend the pot on a tripod over the flames or even place it directly in the fire if no tripod is available.
Percolator or moka pot
Another old-fashioned method of brewing is to use a percolator. The advantage of this is that it’s a simple, solid unit that will stand up well to the rigors of a camping trip – and as such, it has been a go-to method of brewing in the wild for many years.
On the downside, a percolator needs a solid base to stand on. You can’t easily suspend it over a fire, so you will need some kind of camping stove to use it. They are also bulky and heavy, so not ideal for lightweight backpacking trips into the wilderness.
Another similar option is to take a moka pot – sometimes known as stovetop espresso maker. Ultimately, this method has exactly the same advantages and disadvantages as the percolator, although they tend to be slightly smaller so might be more suitable for camping.
Many options, depending on your style of camping
In the end, your choice of coffee depends on two things – what type of gear you can carry and how much you value drinking good coffee.
If you don’t care too much about the taste, instant is probably the cheapest and lightest. Cowboy coffee is simple, but this method produces a rustic kind of brew. Percolators and moka pots are fine if you don’t mind carrying extra weight and have something to stand them on.
One of the most innovative and practical ways to make good coffee when spending time in the great outdoors is the Bripe. For serious campers who are serious about their coffee too, this could well be the best way to go, which is why we made it our number one choice.
About the Author
Kathy Gallo is a self-confessed coffee addict who certainly wouldn’t consider heading off on a camping trip if there was no way of making a decent brew. She also loves writing about her favorite drink in the hope of sharing her passion for coffee with as many people as she can.