Coffee at Camp?


Oh, the joy of piping hot coffee after a cold night under the stars!  So few things in life are so simple yet so perfect.  The mercury is low and there is little to convince you to crawl out of your toasty sleeping bag.  But eventually, nature compels you to leave your horizontal compartment of warmth.  After dawning your clothes and emptying the prior night’s liquids, it’s only a natural tendency to long for the warmth of a small campfire and a cup of robust liquified energy.

I’ve been in this situation more times than Carl Sagan can count.  And my camp coffee is a requirement for longer outings where my vertebrae can tolerate the extra few ounces of weight that my percolator adds.  However, my dilapidated percolator is destined for the garbage this week.  Its hinges are inoperable, its plastic cover knob has melted from use and abuse, and its handle is missing any form of scaling.  But most importantly, I believe there is a better way to brew coffee out there somewhere.

So, what is that method?  I’m not sure.

Nessmuk provides a short dissertation on brewing coffee and I’m prone to attempt his methods prior to my next outing.  But I’m looking for a more convenient method of providing myself and fellow campers with a hot cup of coffee.  I often make French Presses at home and am considering a method similar to this for the campfire.  However, I’ve yet to research lightweight presses or whether I can find one that can also serve other purposes.

This leaves me, and perhaps you, wondering how others make coffee at camp.  I’m open to suggestions and I’d love to year your methods, opinions, or philosophies.

13 thoughts on “Coffee at Camp?

  1. I use a percolator myself, but a light-weight, shatterproof press would work pretty well, I think. I’ve also seen the idea of making “coffee bags” out of cone filters and a little bit of ground coffee. You pour hot water over it and let it steep in the cup. Pinterest is a wondrous place.

    • I’ve enjoyed the percolator and it’s seen its share of camping experiences. But it takes up so much room in my backpack that I need another option.

      The cone filter concept is similar to Nessmuk’s methods. I’ll probably try something like that and see how it works. Of course, I’ll publish a post whenever I get around to trying any new methods.

    • Hahaha. The Keurig may be a bit much to pack in but it sure would be convenient. The press in the link shows “sold out” right now so it doesn’t show me a lot about it. But there are a few links that I saw that are worth exploring. Ideally, I’d like something that I can put on the fire to make coffee or to boil water. I’ll look around on REI and see what I can find.

      Thanks for the comment and link! Whatever I find, I’ll use it around the house some to see if it will work on camping trips. Regardless, I’m sure I’ll publish a post or two about it in the future. In fact, I’m pretty sure this month’s off-topic post is going to be about coffee.

      Thanks again!

  2. Well I am not a coffee drinker yet, but I aim to be some day. For the ambiance of a coffee pot brewing in camp, whilst the snow flakes flutter down, is too lovely to ignore for an entire life time. I see my elder brother make it in camp all the time, and it seems pretty simple. What he does is fill one of them old time enameled coffee pots mostly full of what ever lake or river is most convenient. Once it is boiling, he drops in a handful of what ever coffee he has on hand, which is usually the simple kind yuppies wouldn’t go near. Then, the only trick I can tell is he slides the pot so its half off the burner, so the coffee starts circulating in the pot from hot side to cooler side. He lets this go for however long one brews coffee, and every one loves it.

    Like I say, some day I aim to take up the habit. I think I would like coffee just for the sheer ambiance factor alone.

    • Very nice! Coffee at camp is definitely one of the finer things in life. How does your brother filter the grains from the coffee?

      I’m actually going to do my November “off-topic” post on coffee. I’m a bit of an amateur barista and make a fine cup of coffee. I’m not much of a yuppie but I do go all out for the perfect brew. If you are looking to get into the hobby/habit, I recommend you read the post. I’ll be discussing a few ways to make great coffee as well as everything you need to get started.

      • I think he just lets it settle a spell, and avoids supping from the bottom of the pot! Simple- like camp coffee ought to be I suppose.

        Looking forwards to your brewology write up. I shall read it with an open mind, mostly because it is!

  3. Feathered Friends makes a lightweight French press built into an insulated coffee mug. Haven’t used it, but I saw one in their store while looking at down jackets and it’s very cool.

    I usually rough it with instant coffee and my Jetboil.

  4. Since we live off grid, I no longer have any use for my auto-drip coffee maker. I took the filter holder out of it and took out the spring loaded trap door thing in the bottom of the holder. I just put a filter in it, put some coffee in the filter, and then put the whole thing over my insulated coffee cup. I heat water in a tea kettle, then pour the hot water over the coffee. Quick and cheap. I’ve been doing this now for over a year. Tried the french press and percolators, but this is the easiest, most efficient way to make a drinkable cup of coffee. French press cools the coffee to quickly, and percolators use much more fuel than a tea kettle.

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