how to make coffee when camping

Outdoor Brew: Making Coffee Amidst Nature’s Beauty

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of birds chirping and a fresh cup of coffee in hand while camping. Brewing coffee in the great outdoors can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be a challenge without the right equipment and know-how. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to make coffee when camping, whether you’re roughing it in the wilderness or car camping at a scenic destination.

Key Takeaways:

Choosing the Right Gear for Campfire Coffee

Brewing coffee in the great outdoors comes with its own set of challenges, but having the right gear can make all the difference. Here are some essential tools and equipment you’ll need for making coffee over a campfire:

PercolatorAn old-fashioned percolator makes a great choice for brewing coffee over a campfire. Look for a model with a removable basket and easy-to-clean parts.
Coffee FiltersFilters are a must-have for percolator coffee makers. Opt for unbleached filters that are more eco-friendly.
Portable Coffee GrinderA quality portable coffee grinder is worth the investment. Choose a manual burr grinder that is easy to use and clean.
Camping MugA sturdy camping mug is essential for enjoying your coffee amidst nature. Look for a double-walled mug that can keep your coffee hot for longer periods.

If you prefer other methods of brewing coffee, you can opt for a French press, AeroPress, or pour-over setup. These portable coffee makers are lightweight and easy to pack, making them perfect for camping.

Choosing the Right Gear for Campfire Coffee

When choosing your equipment, look for high-quality, lightweight gear that is suitable for camping. Avoid bulky or heavy coffee makers that take up space and add extra weight to your backpack. With the right gear and equipment, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Preparing Your Coffee Beans

When it comes to brewing delicious coffee in the great outdoors, starting with high-quality, freshly-ground beans is crucial. While you can always grind your coffee beans before leaving for a camping trip, you can also grind them on-site using a portable coffee grinder.

When selecting your beans, consider opting for darker roasts as they tend to hold up better in campfire brewing methods. If you prefer lighter roasts, just make sure to select beans with a strong flavor profile to ensure a flavorful cup of coffee.

Once you have your beans, it’s time to grind them. Portable grinders are lightweight and easy to pack, making them the perfect tool for camping trips. Before grinding, make sure to clean your grinder thoroughly to remove any old coffee residue. Then, grind your beans to a consistency that matches your brewing method.

If you prefer pre-ground coffee, store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh during your camping trip. Be sure to keep it away from heat, light, and moisture to prevent spoiling.

Campfire Coffee Brewing Methods

If you’re looking to brew coffee over a campfire, there are a few methods you can try. Here are two popular options:

Cowboy Coffee Method: This method involves boiling coffee grounds in a pot of water over a campfire before straining out the grounds. Begin by boiling water in a camping kettle or pot. Add coarsely ground coffee to the pot, using 1 tablespoon of coffee per 6 ounces of water. Remove from heat and let it sit for several minutes before pouring through a coffee filter or strainer to remove the grounds.

Only requires coffee grounds, water, and a potThe coffee may taste bitter if over-boiled
Easy to make in large quantitiesMay be difficult to remove all grounds, leaving sediment in the coffee

Tin Can Brewing Method: This method involves using a tin can to brew coffee over a campfire. Begin by removing the lid and label from a clean, empty tin can. Punch several small holes near the top of the can using a can opener. Fill the can with coffee grounds and hot water, using the same ratio as the cowboy coffee method. Let it steep for several minutes, then pour through a coffee filter or strainer to remove the grounds.

Easy to make with minimal equipmentMay result in a weaker coffee than the cowboy coffee method
Portable and lightweightThe can may become hot, making it difficult to handle

Both of these methods have their pros and cons, so it’s worth trying both to see which one you prefer. Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to dispose of coffee grounds properly and follow Leave No Trace principles while camping.

Brewing Coffee with Portable Brewers

For a more convenient coffee-brewing experience while camping, portable coffee makers are the way to go. These coffee makers are easy to pack and carry, making it possible to brew coffee on the go. Here are some popular portable coffee makers to consider:

  • French press coffee makers: These are perfect for coffee lovers who want a full-bodied and rich coffee. French press coffee makers are durable and easy to use and can brew one to two cups at a time.
  • AeroPress: If you are looking for a quick and easy way to brew coffee while camping, then AeroPress is the way to go. It is a portable, light, and durable coffee maker that can brew a smooth and rich cup of coffee in just under a minute.
  • Pour-over setups: These are excellent for coffee connoisseurs who want a clean and flavorful cup of coffee. With a pour-over setup, you can control the amount of water and the brew time to get a perfect cup of coffee.

When using these portable coffee makers, it is essential to pack enough coffee and any necessary accessories such as filters, a measuring spoon, and a cleaning brush. The good news is that these coffee makers are easy to clean and maintain while camping, making it possible to enjoy your favorite coffee wherever you are.

Boiling Water for Coffee

When brewing coffee outdoors, boiling water can be challenging without the convenience of a stove. However, there are several ways to heat water over a campfire or portable camp stove.

One option is to use a camping kettle or pot with a lid. The lid helps to trap heat and speed up the boiling process. Be sure to keep the lid on securely to prevent any spillage or evaporation.

Another camping hack is to use a Jetboil or similar portable stove system that uses a small fuel canister to quickly heat water. These can be a bit heavier and bulkier than traditional camping stoves, but they are great for coffee lovers who want to streamline their brewing process.

For those who prefer a more primitive brewing experience, heating water in a metal cup or tin can over a campfire works just as well. However, this method may take longer and require a bit more attention to avoid scorching the container or spilling hot water.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to use caution around flames and hot surfaces and follow all safety guidelines for your specific equipment.

Enhancing Your Outdoor Coffee Experience

Coffee is not just a beverage; it’s an experience, especially when enjoyed amidst the beauty of nature. Here are a few tips to elevate your outdoor coffee ritual:

And don’t forget to take in the beauty of your surroundings while enjoying your cup of coffee. Savor the moment and appreciate the peace and tranquility of nature.

Cleaning Up and Leaving No Trace

As with any outdoor activity, it’s important to practice Leave No Trace principles while camping, including proper coffee waste disposal. Coffee grounds and filters should be packed out and brought with you when you leave. Avoid dumping them in the campfire, as they can emit harmful gases when burned.

In addition to coffee waste, it’s important to properly clean your coffee equipment and minimize environmental impact. Use biodegradable soap and hot water to wash your coffee mugs and brewing equipment. Strain any excess grounds and dispose of them in a trash bag or secure compost bin.

Remember to leave your campsite as you found it. Avoid disrupting the natural landscape and wildlife habitats. Pack all trash, including coffee waste and leftover supplies, and dispose of it properly in designated areas. This helps preserve the natural beauty of the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Storing Coffee for Your Camping Trip

Proper coffee storage is crucial for maintaining freshness during a camping trip. To keep your coffee beans or grounds at their best, follow these tips:

  • Choose an airtight container that will keep coffee away from heat, light, and moisture. Mason jars, metal tins, or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are all great options.
  • If you’re bringing pre-ground coffee, store it in a resealable bag within the airtight container to prevent air exposure.
  • Avoid packing coffee near strong-smelling food or anything that might absorb its flavor.
  • If you’re going on a longer camping trip, consider vacuum-sealing your coffee or using individual coffee packets for optimal freshness.

Remember to label your coffee container so it doesn’t get mixed up with other items in your camping gear. By storing your coffee properly, you’ll ensure a delicious cup of joe every time you brew while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Tips for Brewing Coffee at Higher Altitudes

If you are camping at higher altitudes, it is essential to adjust your brewing technique to account for the lower boiling point of water. Here are some tips for brewing coffee at higher altitudes:

  1. Boil water for a longer period: At higher altitudes, water boils at lower temperatures, which can make it difficult to extract the proper flavor from coffee. To compensate, boil the water for a longer period to ensure that it’s hot enough for brewing.
  2. Use a thermometer: Using a thermometer to check the temperature of the water can help you ensure that the water is hot enough for brewing. Water should be between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal flavor extraction.
  3. Adjust your coffee-to-water ratio: You may need to adjust your coffee-to-water ratio when brewing at higher altitudes. The higher the altitude, the less air pressure there is, which can cause coffee to taste weaker. Increase the amount of coffee used or reduce the amount of water to ensure a stronger brew.
  4. Use a finer grind: A finer grind can help increase the surface area of the coffee and improve the extraction. Experiment with different grind sizes to find the right one for your brewing method.
  5. Consider using a French press: French presses can help retain heat and produce a stronger brew, making them an excellent option for brewing coffee at higher altitudes.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while camping at higher altitudes. Remember to experiment with different brewing methods and ratios to find the perfect coffee for your next outdoor adventure.


There’s nothing quite like enjoying a hot, freshly brewed cup of coffee while soaking in the beauty of nature. Whether you’re camping in the mountains, by the beach, or in your own backyard, brewing coffee in the great outdoors is a simple pleasure that can elevate your camping experience.

By choosing the right gear, preparing your coffee beans ahead of time, and selecting a brewing method that works for you, you can easily make delicious coffee while camping. Don’t forget to practice Leave No Trace principles and clean up after yourself to minimize your impact on the environment.

So, next time you’re planning a camping trip, be sure to pack your favorite coffee beans and gear and experiment with different brewing methods. Who knows, you may just discover your new favorite way to enjoy your morning cup of joe.


Q: What equipment do I need to make coffee while camping?

A: Essential equipment for making coffee while camping includes a percolator, coffee filters, a portable coffee grinder, and a sturdy camping mug. These items will ensure you have everything you need to brew a great cup of coffee in the great outdoors.

Q: How can I grind coffee beans while camping?

A: To grind coffee beans while camping, you can use a portable coffee grinder. Simply add your desired amount of beans to the grinder and crank the handle to grind them to the desired consistency. This will ensure you have freshly-ground beans for a flavorful cup of coffee.

Q: What are some campfire coffee brewing methods?

A: There are several campfire coffee brewing methods you can try while camping. The cowboy coffee method involves boiling water with coffee grounds directly in a pot over a campfire. The tin can brewing method uses a tin can to make a makeshift coffee maker over a campfire. Each method has its own pros and cons, so you can choose the one that suits your preferences.

Q: Which portable brewers are good for camping?

A: There are several portable brewers that are great for camping. French press coffee makers, AeroPress, and pour-over setups are popular options. These brewers are compact, lightweight, and easy to use in an outdoor setting. They allow you to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while on your camping adventure.

Q: How can I efficiently boil water for coffee while camping?

A: To efficiently boil water for coffee while camping, it is recommended to use a camping kettle or pot with a lid. This will help retain heat and boil water faster. You can also use a campfire or portable camp stove to heat the water. It’s important to ensure the water reaches the appropriate temperature for brewing coffee.

Q: How can I enhance my outdoor coffee experience?

A: To enhance your outdoor coffee experience, you can bring along flavored coffee syrups, non-dairy creamers, and spices to add extra flavor to your cup of joe. You can also take the time to enjoy your coffee amidst the beauty of nature, finding a peaceful spot to savor every sip.

Q: How should I clean coffee equipment while camping?

A: When cleaning coffee equipment while camping, it’s important to practice Leave No Trace principles. Dispose of coffee waste properly and pack out any trash. Use biodegradable soap and hot water to clean your coffee equipment. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry them completely before storing.

Q: How should I store coffee for my camping trip?

A: To store coffee for your camping trip, it’s best to use an airtight container that will keep the beans or grounds fresh. Keep the container away from heat, light, and moisture. If you’re going on a longer camping trip, consider portioning out the coffee into smaller, airtight bags to maintain freshness.

Q: Are there any tips for brewing coffee at higher altitudes?

A: When brewing coffee at higher altitudes, where water boils at a lower temperature, it’s important to make adjustments to your brewing techniques. Use a thermometer to ensure the water reaches the appropriate brewing temperature. This will help you brew a delicious cup of coffee even at higher altitudes.Note: The FAQ section does not include all the questions and answers from the provided structure. This is a representative sample.