5 Ways to Have Coffee While Camping or Backpacking

April 6, 2016 How to

Coffee can be a crucial part of a person’s morning. There is no reason why an avid coffee drinker should forgo their precious coffee while out in the backcountry. Comfort items, such as coffee, can boost moral, making a rough morning into a happy one.  Dod you know that caffeine has been proven to be beneficial for endurance sports?

Now, there are a variety of ways to make coffee while out on the trail, some more delicious than others. Before heading out on the trail, it is highly recommended that you bring ground coffee instead of whole beans. This reduces the need to carry extra gear like a coffee grinder. Below is a list of the most common ways to concoct your caffeine bean while camping, backpacking, or traveling.

1. French Press

camping coffee in french press

Coffee brewing in a French press / Photo Credit: madame.furie via Flickr

A cup of coffee made from a French press is basically heaven. However, your average French press will be bulky and slightly heavy if you intend to backpack with it. Lucky for us backpackers and travelers, there are a variety of backpacking coffee presses that will provide you with a great cup of joe in the morning. All you need to do is add your ground to your French press, add boiling water, stir, and let brew for 3-4 minutes. Press down the filter and then serve. Refrain from leaving coffee sitting with the ground for too long because this can make coffee taste too bitter.

Shop All Backcountry Coffee Press


2. Instant Coffee

starbucks via instant coffee packet

Starbucks Via instant coffee packet / Photo Credit: jamieanna via Flickr

Okay, we all know that instant coffee is not the tastiest. However, this is one of the lightest and quickest options for trail coffee. Starbucks Via seems to have a slightly better taste than the cheaper instant coffee packets, according to backpacker reviews. However, don’t expect the best cup of coffee in the world. Taste is sacrificed you intend to go for this lightweight option.

Shop Starbucks Via


3. Small Filter System

coffee brewing by strainer filter

Coffee brewing through filter / Photo Credit: Carsten ten Brink via Flickr

If you purchase a small filter, you can make coffee directly in your water bottle (after boiling water of course). This is great lightweight option for those that cannot tolerate the taste instant coffee and need the real thing! Using a strainer to make coffee is similar to how one would make tea with a strainer. Now, if you don’t feel like investing in a metal strainer, a paper strainer or even a bandana could work well here too.

Shop Coffee Filters


4. Cowboy Coffee

brewing cowboy coffee in pots

Cowboy coffee brewing / Photo Credit: Jeremy Riel via Flickr

Cowboy coffee is the classic way to enjoy coffee in the backcountry. However, this method does not only take some practice but also more time compared to the methods above. If you have the time to enjoy a gorgeous morning, cowboy coffee will reward you with a great and tasty cup of joe! Now, cowboy coffee is also considered a lightweight alternative because all you need is your stove and pot to boil water, coffee, and a cup. There is a technique to have great cowboy coffee. Basically, you boil water, take it off the stove for 30 seconds to cool, add your grounds and stir, let it brew for 2 minutes, stir, brew for 2 more minutes, then serve by slowly pouring into cups! However, do be aware that cowboy coffee is not strained. So, it is important to remember to wait for the coffee grains to settle to the bottom of the pot before pouring into cups or bottles. As mentioned above for French press coffee, refrain from leaving your coffee sit with the grounds for too long because this can make bitter coffee.


5. Coffee Alternatives

Now, these option are not coffee but will give you a caffeine fix similar to coffee. These options are fairly lightweight and require no preparation. Check out Honey Stinger Organic ChewsHoney Stinger Organic Chews – cherry cola, or the Clif Shots with caffeine, which have a fair amount of caffeine in it, as great coffee alternatives for those rainy mornings when you don’t feel like cooking but you need to get a quick boost for the trail ahead.


How to you like to make coffee while out on the trail?


Madison Dragna

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