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There’s so much more to the best camping coffee maker than a mere product that serves a purpose.
Coffee lovers can’t imagine their lives without this magic potion. It is one of the most widespread beverages. We drink coffee at home, at work, at coffee shops, basically anytime and anywhere.
Drinking coffee in the great outdoors has a long history. Even cowboys used to drink coffee, hence the name of the brewing method – cowboy coffee. However, campfire coffee can be quite difficult to make and it can taste awful. That’s where a camping coffee maker comes in. Modern portable coffee makers can produce rich and tasteful coffee to savor while you enjoy your outdoor adventures. While coffee isn’t essential for survival, I have it in my emergency stockpile.
Camping and hiking trips are great partly because they allow us to take a break from our everyday lives and stress that comes with it. It feels so liberating to get away from the TV, Instagram, internet, and emails, even for a short period of time. However, abstaining from coffee would be one too many for me. And I think there’s a large crowd to back me up on this. I’ll tell you the secret: coffee tastes better out there, in the wild. The rich taste, pleasant warmth, arousing smell, and the joy of the ritual, all these things are a little bit enhanced in the natural environment.
So, if you’re a coffee lover and you don’t have a camping coffee maker yet, get one – you won’t regret it. On the contrary, you’ll enrich both experiences that you’re fond of. You just need to make the right choice when buying a portable coffee maker. But, that’s why we are here. We can’t choose for you, but we can guide you to make a selection and pick the best match for you.
Basic Types of Coffee Makers
Making a perfect cup of coffee is a little bit of an art. It includes bean selection, roasting, grinding, and brewing methods. There are so many variables to play with. And then, there’s a personal preference. So, here’s a short overview of the most common types of portable coffee makers.
1. Percolator Coffee Pot
The good old percolator used to rule the market for decades until drip brewers took over in the 1970s. Generations of campers used them to enjoy coffee on their outdoor adventures. These coffee makers are consistent and reliable. However, you need to monitor the process closely. Basically, due to constant boiling, percolators may recirculate already brewed coffee through the beans. As a result, you get a strong, bold, and robust flavor. If the heat is too strong or you leave it for too long, you’ll end up with bitter, over-extracted coffee.
It’s best to use coarse ground coffee to get the best out of your percolator. While other types of coffee makers are more popular lately, there are still many lovers of this old-fashioned, strong flavor. Also, percolators commonly produce larger amounts of coffee than other types of portable coffee makers.
2. Drip and Pour Over Coffee Makers
Drip coffee machines are very popular and widespread. From homes and offices to restaurants, these machines make delicious coffee. The secret of success lies in simplicity. You can’t get it wrong with drip coffee makers. You just need to fill in the water container, place grounds in the designated compartment, and turn the machine on. The hot water passes through the coffee grounds and drips into the coffee pot. Voila! There’s your hot cup of Joe. Cleaning is also easy. On the downside, paper filters take away some of the flavors and aromas.
Pour over coffee makers are basically a simplified version of drip machines. There’s no heavy machinery and you pour the hot water over the coffee grounds. It goes through some kind of filter directly into the cup.
3. French Press
French press is very easy to use, but it takes practice to make a perfect cup of coffee. The basic principle is very simple: you let the coffee grounds sit in the hot water for a couple of minutes and then you push a plunger filter slowly. It will separate the grounds from your brew. And that’s it. However, bean selection, water temperature, grind fineness, steeping time, and plunge rate affect the outcome.
So, the quality of your final product depends mostly on you and your skill. French press requires coarse grounds to make a delicious cup of coffee.
4. Portable Espresso Makers
Espresso machines use pressure to force water through coffee grounds. As a result, you get a concentrated coffee with rich flavor and a small amount of crema on top. It is a very fast method and you need fine grinds to extract all flavors and oils in a short period of time. Portable espresso makers are very popular among espresso lovers as they allow them to enjoy perfect espresso shots in the great outdoors.
Coffee Maker for Camping Buying Guide
With so many different types of coffee makers, it is quite challenging to make a choice. However, once you set your priorities, it gets much easier.
Taste and style. First, you need to follow your coffee preferences. The same coffee will taste very different depending on the type of the machine. So, determine your favorite style of coffee and look for the same type of coffee maker.
Ease of use. Simple and straightforward models are better suited for camping and backpacking trips. You don’t have time to experiment to find the best method while camping. However, you can use these coffee makers at home to hone your skills in advance.
Brew time. Depending on your camping habits, brewing time is also important. If you can’t live without coffee but you don’t want to waste a lot of time for preparation, look for faster types and models.
More is better. Well, not necessarily. If you prefer family and friends camping trips you should look for models that can brew larger amounts of coffee. But, if you’re an avid solo hiker, a single-shot coffee maker will do.
Portability. Portable coffee makers are – portable. So, packability shouldn’t be an issue for campers. However, hikers and backpackers need compact and lightweight coffee makers.
Durability. Generally speaking, all camping equipment should be sturdy and durable. No matter how careful you are, sooner or later your gear will be dropped or tumbled or flipped over. So, avoid delicate and fragile coffee makers.
Best Camping Coffee Maker – Options & Reviews
1. Farberware 50124 Classic Yosemite Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator
If you’re a die-hard percolator fan, this is a model that offers great value for money. It makes a lot of coffee (8 cups), so you can delight your whole camping crew. There is a bit of a learning curve but if you don’t overheat it, you can’t really mess it up. Extremely polished stainless steel looks great and it is very durable. It is a reliable and sturdy coffee maker with a tight-fitting lid to trap the heat. A glass knob will allow you to monitor the percolating process.
So, don’t rush the process and you’ll enjoy delicious coffee on your camping trips.
- Stay-cool handle
- Permanent filter basket
- 8 cups capacity
- Dishwasher safe
- Sturdy and durable
- It is not the fastest model. It takes up to 20 minutes to get 8 cups of coffee.
2. Stanley Adventure Percolator Coffee Pot
It’s been more than 100 years since William Stanley Jr. invented the all-steel vacuum bottle. Today, Stanley’s products are well-known for excellence and durability. This rugged and sturdy percolator will allow you to make an old-fashioned coffee for up to 6 people. It comes with a removable silicone handle cover which makes it convenient for cooking over an open flame.
- Makes up to 6 cups of coffee
- Removable handle cover
- Lifetime warranty
- There’s a learning curve, but that’s the case with all percolators.
3. Coleman Portable Coffee Maker
If you prefer drip coffee, Coleman coffee maker won’t disappoint you. Actually, you will feel like you’re at home with this coffee maker. It makes great coffee and it can brew up to 10 cups. You can’t use it over an open fire, though. So, you’ll need a propane burner to get a delicious coffee for your camping adventures. Also, it’s easy to use and clean. It really stands out for its ability to produce large amounts of excellent coffee.
On the downside, it is a little bit bulky for hiking and other similar activities.
- It makes 10 cups of coffee
- Wonderful coffee
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Pause N’ Serve feature allows you to pour a cup at any point of the brewing process
- It takes around 15 minutes to brew 10 cups
- It is not very rugged for camping purposes. Handle with care.
4. Primula Brew Buddy Portable Pour Over
If you need a quick cup of coffee on the go, Primula Brew Buddy can be your best buddy. It is as simple and easy as it gets. You just need to toss the grinds into the fine-mesh filter and pour hot water. The slower you pour over, the more flavor you’ll extract. Just remember, over-extraction is not a good thing! This thing looks ridiculous, but it consistently produces delicious coffee.
- Extremely lightweight and small
- An innovative mesh filter allows you to get a great cup of coffee each and every time
- Super fast and easy to use
- Very affordable
- It only makes one cup at a time
5. Planetary Design Table Top French Press
Most French presses can make two to four cups, but this beauty produces six cups of coffee in less than 5 minutes! So, if you prefer French press style, this is a great choice. Typically, it takes some practice to reach perfection, but this model comes with a couple of improvements for better control of the process. It is vacuum-sealed to retain the heat while Bru-Stop technology will stop the extraction. As a result, you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee hours after brewing and it won’t become bitter.
- Very fast
- Beautiful and durable design
- It makes six cups of coffee
- Bru-Stop technology to avoid bitterness
- It stays warm for hours
- It’s heavy
- Not the most affordable model
6. Jetboil Flash Java Kit Cooking System
How about all-in-one cooking systems? Jetboil Java Kit is an upgraded camping and backpacking cooking system that comes with a French press plunger. It boils water in a mind-blowing 100 seconds. This beast is powerful, versatile, and compact.
- Lightweight and compact
- Boils water in 100 seconds
- 1-liter capacity
- Insulated cozy
- Color-change heat indicator
- Push-button igniter
- It is expensive
7. AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
If the flavor is your top priority then look no further. AeroPress with its innovative brewing method has overtaken the hearts of coffee lovers by storm. Whether you like American style coffee or espresso, AeroPress will deliver amazingly rich and smooth coffee. There are several ways to customize your coffee so it takes some experimenting to reach your favorite taste.
Besides providing great taste, it’s easy to use and even easier to clean. It is not the lightest coffee maker, but the compact design makes it pretty portable even for backpacking.
- The best flavor
- Compact design
- Easy to use
- Very easy to clean
- It requires a special filter. However, it comes with 350 filters and replacement packs are very cheap.
- You can make one cup of coffee at a time.
8. Wacaco Minipresso GR, Portable Espresso Machine
If you’re an espresso lover, you’ll love this little miracle gadget. You just need hot water to enjoy an authentic espresso in the middle of the woods or on the mountain top. Minipresso is operated manually. It is very simple and intuitive. Furthermore, it is extremely lightweight and compact.
- Easy to use
- Very fast
- Makes a great shot of espresso
- It only makes one shot of espresso at a time
Making a perfect cup of coffee is a form of art. However, modern coffee makers allow us to achieve excellence easier. So, whichever style of coffee you prefer, there’s a camping coffee maker to meet your needs. Hopefully, you will enjoy your camping and hiking trips even more with a hot cup of your favorite coffee.