You love the great outdoors, you’d live out there if you didn’t need to be so close to work. But like us, you can’t really live until you’ve had your morning brew. We’ve looked at the best coffee makers for camping to ensure you still get that delectable morning cup, so you can tackle the day without falling into disarray. Camp coffee doesn’t have to be a nightmare, so from setting up shop to cleaning and storing, we’re going to cover everything you’ll ever need to know about your camping coffee makers, and equip you with the very best one for your unique needs.
Best Camping Coffee Maker
In terms of cost, in terms of capacity and ease of use, Farberware shocked us all by taking the top spot. As one of the brands most commonly associated with Walmart, our hopes weren’t at the top of the bar, but this simple eight-cup stainless steel percolator has it all. The size is compact enough to fit into your backpack, while the mirror finish retains its shine after numerous washes. Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Percolator is sturdy with a great grip, but be wary of the glass knob on the top of the percolator—it’s a bit fragile. The only other iffy component of this coffee maker is that the cup measurements are located on the inside, and it’s not exactly easy to see them. There’s an eight-cup capacity and a super low price tag, making this great for camping parties of two to four.
Fully stainless steel construction
Polished mirror finish
Eight cup capacity
- Weight2.25 pounds
Durable iron-like grip on the handle
Compact design is perfect for backpack storage
Glass knob is fairly fragile
Interior measurements are etched and difficult to spot
With a staggering 8,400+ reviews, Aeropress Coffee And Espresso Maker is somewhat of a phenomenon for campers and home coffee makers alike. You’re able to use this in your kitchen, but it really shines out on the campsite. This low-cost system delivers a balanced, clean-tasting brew through the microfilter, as well as a quick process to get your coffee even faster. The only real issue with the AeroPress system (apart from cleaning all the separate components) is the durability on the rubber plunger. It’s arguably the most important part of the whole device, and it will start to deteriorate after light use. That being said, it is easy to replace, as are all the BPA-free plastic pieces that come with this system.
Five-piece system consists of durable ABS plastic components
Includes a spoon for the perfect measurement every time
- Weight6.4 ounces
Extremely quick 30-second process for a great cup of coffee
Microfilters remove any chance of grinds in your cup
Lots of components to clean after each use
Rubber plunger gasket breaks down fairly quickly
Sick of the major setup? You’re not alone. Hario has one of the most compact and concise methods to get that sweet, sweet caffeine straight into your bloodstream. Their Hario V60 Plastic Coffee Dripper is extremely lightweight, so you won’t be weighing down your backpack at all. The downsides are rather unique to Hario, such as needing to buy specific filters. The system itself is great, but do be wary of the fragile handle while using it. Choose from three different sizes, and even opt for a ceramic or glass version if it tickles your fancy, but regardless of your choice there’s one thing that’s for certain: it’s the fastest cup of coffee you’ll get that isn’t instant.
Comes in multiple sizes for larger capacity
Extremely lightweight to keep your carry weight down
Uses disposable filters that don’t make a mess
- Weight5.6 ounces
Compact storage doesn’t eat up a lot of bag space
Set and forget system handles all the drip strength
The handle will be the first piece of equipment to go
You have to buy specific filters
Stanley is an excellent brand that creates more than just tools, and they’ve built the perfect camping coffee maker to fit into your backpack. Instead of having a bulky system, Stanley Cook And Brew Set comes with a fold-away handle to keep things compact and organized. Use the coffee press system to control the strength of your brew, while the nylon cover maintains the perfect heat to double as a short-term thermos. The lid works great, but it will be the first part of this system to deteriorate. Apart from that, the only major downside is that the pouring spout is imperfect, so you’ll notice some coffee dribbling down the side of the container after pouring it into your cup. Everything is dishwasher safe, though to lengthen the life of your brew set, we recommend hand washing it.
Dishwasher safe construction
Lid creates an excellent seal to retain heat
Press system creates a wide range of coffee bodies
Built-in handle folds away for easy storage
Zero grit or grinds thanks to the impeccable filter
Nylon lid deteriorates before any other part of this system
Imperfect pouring always seems to leave coffee running down the side
For a super low cost, you can get a single serve coffee maker that’s your brewer and cup all in one. Primula Single Serve Brew Buddy is simple: fill up the mesh bag, pour in your water over it, and let it sit there if you want it to strengthen the coffee after the thirty second brew time. It’s dead easy to use, but when it comes to cleaning, it’s going to show wear and tear after not too long. The internal chamber is subject to staining fairly easily. Apart from that, just look out for finding grit in your cup: use a coarser grind to prevent this, but that can be a chore if you buy pre-ground coffee. It’s compact and keeps your coffee warm thanks to the double walled cup, and perfect for a solo camper.
Compact size makes it perfect for backpacking
Fully dishwasher safe
Mesh filter eliminates the need for single-use filters
- Weight0.64 ounces
Double walled basin keeps your coffee hot for a little longer
Average thirty second prep time for a single cup of coffee
You have to be extremely careful to prevent grit in your cup
Stains very easily
Espresso uses pressure to turn the grinds into something truly fantastic, and this little manually operated system does just that. Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine is easy to maintain, provides espresso in one short minute, and rivals the flavor that you get from your local coffeehouse. Home espresso machines cost a ton, but this is something you can use from time to time at home without spending an arm and a leg. Speaking of cost, you will have to buy N20 cartridges for this to work, which can add up over time. The only major downside to Wacaco’s little marvel is that it’s pretty fragile, and that’s because they’re also trying to sell you a protective case on top of it. It’s one of, if not the most lightweight and compact camping coffee maker you’re ever use in your life.
Full manual operation provides similar pressure used in commercial espresso machines
Cap doubles as a cup
Easy to maintain despite working parts
- ModelMINIPRESSO GR FBA
- Weight15.5 ounces
Rivals coffeehouse espresso; you might even be using this at home afterwards
Compact size and possibly the most lightweight coffee maker you’ll ever buy
Requires N20 cartridges, which can get a bit pricey
Fragile unit (because they sell the protective case separately)
K-cups took over the coffee landscape a few years back, and if you’re still using them every day at home, then this was designed for you. The Presto MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker uses pressure you provide, a K-cup, and a basin of hot water to create a rapid and measured cup of coffee. Fill the base with a K-cup, put hot water in the tank on top, then use the plunger to create your perfect cup. It’s an inexpensive system, and as a result it does come with its problems from time to time. You’re not able to use any coffee ground adapter besides the one they provide, but even then, you won’t want to use it: cleaning it up takes ages compared to tossing out the K-cup pod. Just be wary of how quickly you make your cup of coffee; going too fast can cause a bit of grit in the cup.
Extremely fast operation
Dishwasher safe components
Ultralight construction doesn’t weigh you down
- Weight12 ounces
Versatile for camping or home use
Very compact storage makes it optimal for stashing in a backpack
Only uses single-use K-cups (adapters are a hassle)
Moving too quickly will cause grinds in your final cup
You didn’t think we’d make this list without including the camping king Coleman, did you? While Coleman Quikpot Propane Coffee Maker is not everyone’s first choice, this is the same way to enjoy your coffee as you would at home, with a propane-fed unit that mimics your countertop coffee pot. It’s a bit heavy, so it’s better suited for camping with a large group so you can designate a carrier. The only thing we’d say that isn’t ideal about this unit is that, even though it’s a QuikPot, it takes a while to brew. It is as hands-free as you can get in the great outdoors, and allows you to set and forget everything. A simple 16 oz propane canister gives you over four hours of use, so you’ll never be left without your morning brew.
Uses 16 oz propane canisters to heat the water
Works well in extremely cold temperatures
Total of four hours of use on a single propane tank
- Weight10.9 pounds
Higher capacity than most other camping coffee makers
Reliably provides a steady brew flavor, no bitter or burnt taste
Coffee takes a long time to brew
Heavyweight at over 9 lbs
There’s a ton of “simple use” units that don’t do one thing that KohiPress does: they don’t provide enough heat retention. KohiPress uses a full stainless steel exterior to retain heat, and provide a sturdier unit that won’t buckle under pressure. Kohipress Portable French Press Coffee Maker is easy to clean, and nearly impossible to stain, so you won’t get any residual old coffee flavor like you do with plastic units. The one lapse in quality here is speed: it takes three minutes for a single cup of coffee, and if there’s two or more of you on the campsite, it’s going to take a bit to get your caffeine. KohiPress did put some major strengths in the design, such as the reusable micron filter that prevents any and all grinds from getting through, and the double wall steel vacuum.
Uses a reusable micron filter to ensure no grit or grinds
Double wall steel vacuum
Simple to clean
- Weight0.16 ounces
Super simple operation gives you authentic French press flavor in no time
Stainless steel exterior maintains coffee heat
Leak-proof lid is only minor protection against bumps
Takes a full three minutes to brew one cup of coffee
Last but not least, there’s this hidden gem we’ve been waiting to dish out – Gsi Outdoors Enamelware Percolator Pot. GSI made an excellent percolator, though right off the bat, we will tell you that the filter allows a few grinds to come through, which is what placed it at the bottom of the list. There’s a three-ply stainless steel construction with an enamel coating, so the main strength of this percolator pot is that there’s absolutely no heat loss while you’re brewing. You get to make up to eight cups of coffee in a relatively short amount of time, all while enjoying the fact that this unit is far more lightweight than it looks at just over a pound. It’s a pain in the neck to clean afterwards, but it does come with a full manufacturer warranty that other units lack: a bit of give and take.
Durable enamel finish keeps this looking like new for years
High volume output of eight cups
Full manufacturer warranty
- BrandGSI Outdoors
- Weight2.5 pounds
Lightweight for an enamel unit (21.5 oz in total)
Three-ply design ensures absolutely no heat loss during brewing
Filter system is lackluster, a few grinds will get through
Difficult to get coffee grime off of during cleaning, not recommended in dishwasher
Camping Coffee Maker Buying Guide & FAQ
We’ve looked at the best coffee makers for camping, but now it’s time to see what makes them tick, and how we arrived at this list of the top tent. Your camping coffee maker is easy to use, but it’s just a tool: you need to be equipped with the working knowledge to not only get that fantastic cup of coffee, but to also maintain your coffee maker, and keep everything fresh. To get started, let’s talk about how we arrived at this point.
Features To Look For In The Best Camping Coffee Makers
Taste – Coffee makers are tools that you use to make the right cup, but nobody’s ever made a gourmet meal with a can of spam, right? Your ability meets an apex at the equipment’s capabilities, and some coffee makers just don’t produce a great-tasting coffee. From personal use to user reviews, we stuck with the very best brews that you can get. Nothing’s going to sour your mood worse than a bitter cup, so while there are more inexpensive models out there, do yourself a favor and stick to those that produce the best flavor.
Strength – The strength isn’t all in the beans or the grinds you choose. The machine has a fair amount to do with that. For instance, you can use espresso beans to make a cup of coffee and not feel the same effect as espresso. Why? Because espresso machines are high pressure, and work to make a stronger flavor. The same mindset can be applied when searching for a camping coffee maker. We’ve done our best to highlight models that maker stronger brews, or at least have the option to make them.
Speed – I want coffee in the morning, but I also don’t want to wait for fifteen minutes. We’re willing to bet than you don’t either. The faster you can get great tasting coffee without compromising on quality, the better. Older models of camping coffee makers (drip feed versions) could sometimes take between twelve minutes and seventeen minutes for a small batch, but we’ve done what we can to avoid those fossil-aged machines on this list. Speed matters, so long as the coffee still comes out just as good.
Capacity – The total volume of what you’re able to make in a single batch. It’s not like having a coffee pot at home: brands make these with a specific use in mind, whereas buying a plug-in coffee maker, manufacturers don’t know if it’s for use in a single person’s home, or for an entire office to use. You’ll generally see a two to six-cup capacity for most camping coffee makers. As a note, those aren’t fluid ounces: those are 6 oz cups they’re talking about, so getting a six cup coffee maker doesn’t give you 48 oz of coffee, and so on.
Size – We’re all trying to adopt the minimalist mindset out here, but it’s hard. You can look at your coffee maker and say, “Well I don’t really need it,” but let’s both be honest here: you do. Size matters, especially when you’re trying to pack compactly. We’ve done what we can to add small coffee makers to this list.
Ease of Use – What good is a quality coffee maker if you don’t know how to use it? Unlike many of the modern-day $100 tier coffee makers for home use, camping coffee makers aren’t out there trying to be exquisite and plan your morning with alarms. Most of them are easy to use, so this is a simple attribute to run into.
Portability – We talked about packing compactly earlier, but being portable refers to more than just the size of the coffee maker. You want something that’s not too fragile that can withstand the bumps and bruises that are synonymous with camping. Portability is about being lightweight and resilient.
Camping Coffee Maker FAQ
Q: What are the different brewing methods to use while camping?
A: We wanted to give you a full spectrum of what to expect when you brew coffee on the campsite. Some of these methods aren’t practical for all users, but it does give you a wide range of options.
Instant - Yeah, we’re cringing, too. Not all instant coffee is bad, but it’s hard to find really good brews in this category when you’re a caffeine connoisseur. It’s still an option you can run with if you don’t have another way to get your java.
Cowboy Coffee - If you’ve ever made coffee this way, you have our condolences. Cowboy coffee is when you just boil non-dissolvable coffee grounds in water, and then that’s it. You sip it so you’re obviously not swallowing the grinds, but it’s still not an ideal way to enjoy coffee on your camping trip.
Pour Bag - This is when you get a camping coffee maker that has a teabag-style mesh sack in the lid, where you store your grinds. You pour water through it slowly to filter and become coffee in the bottom, and if you want your coffee to be particularly strong, you fill it up until the water meets the bag.
French Press - A classic way to enjoy coffee: use the interior press to separate the grinds and coffee, and pour into your cup. It’s as simple as that. Depending on how long you leave it steeping in the grinds, you can enjoy stronger coffee. This also works for espresso.
Percolator - We explain this a bit more in-depth below, but this is one of the most popular methods of making coffee on the campsite. Percolators cycle water through the coffee until you stop it, so you can control your strength and flavor.
There are about half-a-dozen other methods that require either electricity or a very convoluted process that would not be ideal for camping. Stick to one of these, and you’ll be able to enjoy your morning brew without losing your mind.
Q: What is the difference between a camping coffee maker and a percolator?
A: The best way to discern the differences between a camping coffee percolator and a standard coffee maker is to simply list them, side by side.
Percolators are used directly over a flame, or come with a self-heating base that needs to be plugged in most of the time. Percolators repeatedly cycle water through the coffee grounds, so the longer you “cook” your coffee, the stronger (and essentially more bitter) it will become.
If you go for a camping espresso maker or a stand coffee maker, you’re going to get a much more mild, light flavor to your coffee. If you’ve ever heard of the term double brewing, that’s when you run the coffee back through the grounds as if it were water, and coffee makers give you this option, but start you off with a universally enjoyable robustness to each cup. Coffee makers drip down from the top, whereas percolators heat from the bottom.
Q: Can a French press be used over a campfire?
A: Most camping French press models can be used over a fire. They will have a metal vent on the bottom to heat the water, but it’s not the most efficient way to take care of business. Instead, try boiling water separately and using it like you would an at-home French press.
The ideal temperature to create coffee is between 190 F and 200 F. While it’s not practical to assume you can maintain this heat range over an open flame, holding a French press over the fire may radically change the contents and take it in and out of this ideal temperature zone. Water boils at 212 F, so even if your French press isn’t boiling, it could still be in that gray area between boiling and the top of the ideal range, and make your coffee taste bitter.
Q: How do you grind the beans while camping?
A: When you’re using a camping percolator, you’re dropping the grinds right into the hot zone. That is, if you can actually grind them up. There are plenty of handheld, manual coffee grinders available, but right off rip, we’re going to tell you that they’re far more trouble than they’re worth. Yes, you can have fresh-ground coffee on the campsite, but it’s going to be in your best interest to grind it up before you leave for your trip.
You’re roughing it in the outdoors, remember? We can still get close to coffee nirvana, and retain a nearly identical fresh-ground taste. If you’ve ever purchased pre-ground coffee, then you know all about those reflective 1 lb bags with the air pressure valve located somewhere on the front of the packaging. That locks in the freshness for as long as possible, and most of these pre-ground coffee bags are on the shelf for three to nine months before people bring them home.
Now, we’re not saying they’re getting the same flavor or sharpness that you get in your coffee, but we can learn something from this method. Grind up the coffee at home within an hour before you actually leave for your trip, and get an airtight container to pack it in. The key is to not leave any empty space, because the remaining air will oxidize the coffee grounds, and create a bitter flavor.
Q: How do you clean a camping coffee maker?
A: Sometimes even the best camping coffee maker can still be difficult to clean. Don’t worry, this little guide will show you how to clean it out for a maximum of about a dollar, and a ten-minute process. Any backpacking coffee maker type will apply to this cleaning method.
Boil water from a separate container that you’re going to use for cleaning. The main chamber, whether it’s a French press or a percolator, is going to have residual grease from the coffee beans that needs some heavy-duty cleaning.
Take a fresh cleaning sponge, and submerge it in the hot water for about five seconds. Squeeze out most of the remaining water, and immediately apply the abrasive side to the interior of the main chamber. Scrub to get any remaining coffee-colored stains from the inside.
Repeat step two until all coloring has been removed, and the water runs clear.
Drain the chamber of the hot water, and fill it with a 16 oz bottle of distilled white vinegar. Depending on your system, you might need to run the white vinegar through the other components manually. This acts as a sanitizer, and removes remaining grease.
After letting the vinegar sit for five minutes, drain the vinegar and rinse with hot water until the aroma has disappeared.