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The 9 Best Camping Coffee Makers

Headed for the wilderness? Don’t forget the tools to make your precious life-giving elixir.

outdoor coffee makers gear patrol lead
Snow Peak

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.

What supplies do you need for preparing camp coffee?

Camp coffee is pretty straightforward: You'll need your favorite roast on hand, water, any additions like creamer, milk (alternative or dairy) and of course, one of the coffee makers on this list. If you desire the freshest coffee possible, you'll also want to pack a grinder and whole beans, as opposed to pre-ground. Your coffee kit will depend largely on your adventure of choice — if you're planning an ultralight backpacking trip, you may want to skip the extra weight and bring disposable single-use coffee packets. If you're a car camping, you could bring a variety of tools for the job.

If you've got the space and can spare the extra weight, we recommend keeping your coffee kit in a separate bin, properly labeled. This will make it easy to find in the mornings, and you won't have to dig through your entire kitchen setup just to get a cup of joe going.

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AeroPress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press

  • Easy to pack
  • High flavor quality

  • Will need to make multiple batches for big groups

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
GSI Outdoors Java Press

  • Easy to clean
  • Durable

  • Too much for a single person

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.

Stanley Adventure Cool Grip Camp Percolator

  • Low maintenance

  • Lacks the subtleties of other brew systems

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 a group.

Snow Peak Coffee Drip

  • Collapsible

  • Can be tricky to use in windy weather

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).

Miir Pourigami

  • Tiny size, good coffee

  • Not ideal for groups

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).

Vssl JAVA Coffee Grinder

  • Functional design

  • Pricey

While not technically a coffee maker, anyone who cares an iota about good-tasting coffee knows grinding beans fresh is more than a necessity (and anyone who has ever accidentally brought the bag of whole beans without a grinder knows the soul-crushing pain of being without one). We like this little guy for a couple reasons — it's manual and straightforward, which really ups the "disconnecting from technology" vibes of camping. Loading beans is simple, the lever also flips and serves as a carrying handles and best of all, you can grind fresh beans in 60 seconds flat.

Best for Espresso
Handpresso Pump

  • Makes quality espresso wherever you go

  • An extravagance

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
Jetboil Flash Java Kit

  • Best for groups
  • Fast working

  • Lots of parts

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
Kuju Coffee Premium Single-Serve Pour Over Coffee

  • Easiest to pack

  • Creates more waste than other camp coffee options

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.

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