A proper outdoor trip involves temporary abstinence from a lot of everyday habits — watching television, counting Instagram likes on your phone, checking email and so on. But abstaining from drinking coffee? Not happening. That feeling — a warmth that creeps over you as you stoke the campfire on a golden morning, sipping and listening — is simply too great to give up. And with one of these collapsible, packable, lightweight camping coffee makers, you won’t have to.
The Aeropress is among the most portable full-on coffee systems ever, yet its flavor quality, according to career baristas all over the world, rivals that of cafe-grade coffee machines. There are certain patented reasons for that: a major one being that it imparts less carbon dioxide, leading to sweeter, less bitter coffee. The best part? The newer Go version packs down to the size of a mug, and you can use the case it comes in as a mug. That makes it the perfect coffee maker for camping, though be warned: everybody will want you to make them a cup.
Best French Press
Quick, light and tough as a Nalgene bottle, GSI’s Java Press is a French press made for any outdoor adventure, from car camping to thousand-foot-high portaledge hanging. Wrapped around the five-cup carafe is a ballistic nylon sleeve, which keeps the coffee hot and the press impact-resistant. And when the pot’s empty, cleaning is a cinch — just a dump and a rinse, basically.
Best for Brewing over a Fire
Brew coffee at camp just like the cowboys of old did, without getting nasty grounds in your mouth. Simply toss in a few scoops, add water, hang it over an open flame (for the full cowboy get-up, use a stick), and then, when the pot starts whistling, pop on the silicone grip and serve. It holds six cups, which makes it ideal for serving an group.
Camping solo? A simple coffee drip is all you need — just make sure you know how to brew a pour-over. Snow Peak’s coffee drip is incredibly lightweight (4.9 ounces, lighter than the GPS watch on your wrist), and folds flat (like a bookmark for the adventure novel you brought with you).
Best Ultralight Coffee Maker
It doesn't get more simple than Miir's Pourigami. The collapsible pour-over is little bigger than a credit card — it's made up of three flat pieces of powder-coated, medical-grade stainless steel that puzzle together thanks to strategically placed slots. The pieces extend enough to perch over your favorite camp mug for direct-to-cup brewing. The whole thing weighs roughly four ounces, and it's easy to cram into any bag (even overpacked ones).
Best for Espresso
Nature purists might shun anything that could rightfully be classified as a “gizmo.” Still, if the coffee that comes out of this pressurized espresso maker is good enough for Adrian Ballinger to bring it with him to climb K2 without oxygen, it’s worth its space at any campsite. The Handpresso uses a pump to build the pressure required for making espresso and works with ground coffee or unique pods. The entire brewing process takes less than a minute, so if you get saddled with the job of base camp barista, you won’t be working overtime.
Best Integrated Coffee Maker
The Jetboil system condenses the steps of the standard French press process — boiling water, dropping in grounds, pressing them down before the pour — into one. That means delicious coffee in five minutes or less (the Flash cooking system can get two cups of water boiling in 100 seconds), which is good for getting everybody caffeinated before breaking camp. The Flash Java Kit includes a coffee press and a sample roast from Green Mountain Coffee, but the stove will work for any drink or meal that calls for hot water, so this kit can also help you whip up dehydrated meals, soups, teas and cocoa.
Best Coffee Maker Alternative
Of course, you can also skip the extra weight of a coffee maker entirely, and you can do it without going the cowboy coffee route too. Kuju Coffee's single-serve packs consist of a filter packed with premium, pre-ground beans. Rip off the top and extend the little paper arms over the edge of your cup and begin the pour-over routine. The used grounds are nicely contained for packing out too.