How to Make Coffee While Camping

How to Make Coffee While Camping


George Cummings
November 23, 2021

Camping is all about getting away from your creature comforts and living in the wilderness, but if you’re someone who doesn’t want to be apart from your caffeine hit each day, it can be a terrifying prospect.

Thankfully, there are some camping-specific methods you can use to create your morning brew without sacrificing the taste.

How do you make coffee while camping? There are a few options for making coffee while camping, including instant coffee, drip coffee, and percolator coffee.

None of these require access to electricity and will still get you an enjoyable cup of Joe, so it’s all about finding the method that you prefer.

Learning how to make coffee while camping is just as crucial of a skill to learn as tying knots and assembling a tent, so it pays to practice.

We’ve compiled a few of the most popular ways to make coffee, even when you’re in the wild, so check them out for some inspiration.

Instant Coffee

Instant Coffee

If you’re already a fan of instant coffee you’ll know how easy it is to make a quick pot on the go. Better still, you only need some boiling water to brew it up which is simple enough to do around a campfire and with minimal mess.

Instant coffee has come a long way from 20 years ago and you might be surprised to find that it’s a lot tastier than it used to do.

What makes it perfect for camping is that it’s lightweight, only needs water added to it, and requires no fancy equipment to get your morning hit of caffeine.

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee

Although it might sound cool, cowboy coffee has a bad reputation for being not that tasty.

However, if you have the right beans and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can make a delicious and hot cup of coffee while you sit around your campfire each morning.

To brew up some cowboy coffee, use freshly ground coffee beans and water that’s come off the boil about 30 seconds ago.

Use two tablespoons of coffee for every eight ounces of water, stir the grounds in, let it sit for two minutes, give it a stir, and sit for two more.

To keep the grounds from rising to the top, pour a small amount of cold water on top of the coffee and enjoy.

Percolator Coffee

Percolator Coffee

Using a percolator is a fancy and electricity-free way to get delicious tasting coffee when you’re camping.

All you need are some freshly ground coffee beans, a stovetop percolator, and a paper filter, and you’ll be able to create barista-quality cups of Joe each morning.

To make a camp-friendly percolator coffee, fill it with water, pop the paper filter in place, and then add the coffee grounds.

Sit the percolator over a flame at the right distance and let it boil, percolating up the tube and into the basket to create deliciously strong coffee.

Using a glass percolator makes it easier when the water is boiling but you’ll need to be careful traveling with it on a camping trip.

Drip Coffee

Drip Coffee

If you’re serious about coffee and don’t want to sacrifice a thing just because you’re camping, investing in a portable drip coffee system is the way to go.

These devices are perfect for camping because they’re lightweight and easy to travel with but will result in a much nicer cup of coffee than other methods.

To use a dripper, you place the mechanism over the cup you plan on drinking the coffee from and add in the filter and ground coffee beans.

Boiling water is poured over the beans and it slowly but consistently drips the extracted coffee from it and directly into your drinking vessel. There’s no mess and no fuss, but the results are surprisingly tasty.

MacGyver Coffee

MacGyver Coffee

Just like MacGyver himself, you can create a tasty cup of coffee at your campsite with a few carefully sourced items that have been cleverly put together.

This is the best approach for when you’ve forgotten to bring along a percolator or instant coffee as it’s pretty fiddly and can be dangerous as you’re handling boiling water.

The MacGyver Coffee method uses a drinking vessel, rubber band, stretchy cloth, and some ground coffee to create.

You pour the coffee in, cover it with the cloth and rubber band, add the boiling water and give it some time to steep. When it’s done, you filter out the grounds with the cloth and enjoy the hot coffee that’s left inside.

Tips for Camping Coffee

Tips for Camping Coffee

If the thought of taking a camping trip without a cup of coffee each morning stresses you out, you’re not alone.

Thankfully, we’ve got some cool tips you can use to ensure you make the most delicious and camping-friendly brew, no matter how far away you are from home.

  • Get the best beans: Now is not the time to skimp on quality coffee, so make sure you pack some gourmet, freshly roasted beans. This will ensure the great flavor shines through even if your camping brewing methods aren’t up to par, and will make even the worst made coffee more tolerable.
  • Grinding on the go: Investing in a manual coffee grinder is a great idea for camping, with many models out there that are compact and lightweight enough to take along on a trip. This will ensure your beans and freshly ground which makes them taste a whole lot nicer in the final cup of coffee.
  • Practice makes perfect: Spend some time practicing your chosen method of coffee brewing before you hit the campsite and know exactly what tools and ingredients you need to bring along. Day one of a camping trip is not the ideal time to use a percolator for the first time, and the flavor of your coffee is the one that’ll pay for it.
  • Skip the boiling water: Whatever method you’re using to brew coffee, you should never use boiling water to do it. always give the water around 30 seconds to sit so that it reaches the optimal temperature. Otherwise, you’ll burn the beans and end up with a coffee that tastes like it was brewed right in the campfire.
  • Café quality froth: If you want frothy milk added to your coffee, you can still achieve this without your frother while you’re camping. Pour the desired amount of milk into a bottle with a lid and spend 30 seconds shaking it vigorously. Once frothy, pour into a small saucepan over the campfire and let it heat up to the desired temperature. You’ll be surprised at how closely it resembled a barista-frothed cup of milk.
  • Bring enough to share: Be prepared to share your coffee with others and pack accordingly. If others see how delicious your morning brew is, they’ll probably request that you make them one, and the last thing you want is to run out of coffee beans halfway through a camping trip.

Caffeinated While Camping

Just because you’re living in the wilderness for a few days, doesn’t mean you have to give up your morning cup of coffee or its usual delicious taste.

With a bit of experimentation and trial and error, you’ll be able to find the perfect coffee-making approach to complement your camping style.

Related Questions

Camping is all about finding ways to do things that suit your unique surroundings, and thankfully, you won’t have to give up coffee just because you’re away from home.

If you have more questions about food and drink on camping expeditions, read on for some FAQs that can give you a push in the right direction.

Can You Bring Frozen Food Camping?

Certain foods like milk and meat can be taken along camping frozen and then defrosted over time in a cooler before they’re ready to eat.

Make sure that the food is frozen completely when packing it so that it doesn’t defrost too soon and spoil, otherwise it will be unsafe to eat.

How Do You Heat Food While Camping?

How Do You Heat Food While Camping?

When camping without access to electricity, the best way to heat food is by using the warmth from the fire.

This could be on a portable grill, a Dutch oven, wrapped in foil, with a buddy burner, or skillet over the flames, depending on what you have available and how you like the food cooked.

Can You Drink Alcohol When Camping?

The safe consumption of alcohol is allowed while camping but there may be some restrictions surrounding which areas you can consume alcohol in.

In certain states, it’s prohibited to consume liquid in areas outside of public campsites, so make sure you’re following the local laws.


George Cummings

George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.