The two best things in life are camping and coffee. That’s a scientific fact. It’s also a fact that you haven’t really lived until you’ve experienced both things at the same time. Of course, not every coffee connoisseur loves the great outdoors, and not every camper covets the black gold. But for the rest of us normal folk, enjoying a wilderness cup of joe borders on a religious experience.
So to help facilitate your own caffeine satori, we’ve compiled a list of 2021’s best coffee makers for camping. Our top pick is the Wacaco Minipresso GR for its compact and lightweight design, all-around versatility, and exquisite espresso shots.
Read on to discover all of our delicious favourites!
Best Coffee Makers for Camping Reviewed
Best Overall Coffee Maker
Both elegant and ingenious, the Wacaco Minipresso GR is our favourite wilderness espresso maker. The Minipresso features a built-in espresso cup, scoop, filter, and water tank. All you have to do is add 70 ml of boiling water and eight grams of any finely ground coffee.
Weighing in at just 12.7 oz (360 grams), this really is the perfect coffee maker for the ultralight coffee-snob. Of course, between its sleek design, rapid brewing time, and flawless coffee, you’ll probably find yourself using it at work, at home, and, well… maybe even at your local coffee shop (sorry, baristas!).
To see it in action, check out this brief how-to video.
- No grinder
If you prefer classic drip coffee over espresso, our runner-up fave is for you. The GSI Outdoors Gourmet PourOver Java Set is a lightweight, collapsible coffee maker—perfect for on-trail mornings and relaxed campfire pick-me-ups.
The set includes GSI’s infamous Java Drip. Thanks to its silicone construction, the Java Drip weighs a mere 13 oz and collapses down to a sleek one inch disk. A reusable nylon filter is included; of course, if you prefer the taste of paper filter drips, any #4’s will do.
Also included is the Java Mill, a 9.1 oz adjustable coffee grinder that lets you set your preferred grind size. Inside, ceramic burrs are lighter than metal and won’t affect taste. To keep things tidy, a plastic cup catches the fresh grounds. For optimal storage, the grinder handle is removable.
The set also comes with a long-handled stirring spoon and stuff sack.
- Less sturdy than metal
Best Budget Coffee Maker
For less than $25.00 and weighing under 1 oz, the MSR MugMate Coffee or Tea Filter is the ultimate in budget ultralight coffee makers.
Keep in mind that the MugMate is not an all-in-one set—it’s simply an eco-friendly, reusable, submersible filter. Simply boil water on your camping stove and add some loose leaf tea or coffee grounds. The filter sits comfortably on the mouth of your mug.
Best for Solo Hikers
A beautiful and sleek French press coffee maker, the GSI Outdoors Commuter Javapress is perfect for solo camping trips. On the surface, the Commuter Javapress appears to be nothing more than an insulated travel mug. But, inside, coffee-making magic is unfolding.
A discreet plunger is nested in the mug. The shatter-proof and BPA-free construction seals in heat, while the insulated Neoprene sleeve keeps burnt hands at bay. A spill-resistant, flip-top lid makes for convenient sipping from the car to the trail. Weighing less than 10 oz, the 15 fluid oz mug makes for a large single serving.
- Nested Design
- Seals in heat
- Not for groups
Best Camp Percolator
From the stove to the fireplace, the Snow Peak Stainless Coffee Percolator is a minimalist and sturdy coffee maker.
With a weight of 28.9 oz, the Stainless Coffee Percolator is not what you’d consider ultralight. But, with a 30.4 oz volume and six cup serving capacity, it’s a great choice for both car camping and glamping. For convenient packing, collapsible handles streamline its otherwise bulky shape.
- High-quality materials
- Elegant design
- Ample volume
- Bulky for backpacking
Best for Groups
There’s nothing like being able to serve up delicious French press coffee to a group in the woods. The MSR WindBurner Coffee Press Kit 1.8L makes this endeavour both simple and fun. The stainless steel strainer and flexible gasket create a perfect seal. Meanwhile, the press can be quickly disassembled for flat packing.
Of course, this product requires the MSR WindBurner 1.8L System; the Coffee Press is an after-market extension that lets you transform your camp stove into a wilderness coffee making machine.
- Must be paired with stove system
Beautiful, nested, all-you-need, the Eureka Camp Café is an excellent coffee making system for car camping and glamping. Includes a 2.5L kettle, coffee carafe, pour over filter, scoop, and lid. While the system weighs a whopping 5.5 lbs, it also makes 12 cups of delicious coffee.
If you’re the proud owner of the BioLite CampStove Kettlepot, it’s time to up your game with the BioLite KettlePot French Press. This lightweight (2.8 oz), BPA-free, French press can be used with the KettlePot to deliver six cups of caffeinated goodness to you and your merry camping crew.
What to Look for in a Camping Coffee Set
All-in-one coffee makers are devices (as opposed to kits) that allow you to brew your coffee with a single piece of technology. A perfect example is the Wacaco Minipresso GR.
Pour Over Kits
These coffee making kits use the drip method. It’s a simple method that requires a filter drip and some filter paper (or a reusable filter, like the one included in the GSI Outdoors Gourmet PourOver Java Set).
When you think of cowboys by the campfire, a pistol and a percolator should come to mind. This is the longest but simplest coffee-making method in the woods. All you need is fire, water, coffee grounds, and a percolator. Highly recommended for nostalgic campers and those who don’t give a flint about pack weight.
The hallmark of this method is the plunger, which translates surprisingly well to on-trail use. Many brands, including JetBoil have created lightweight, durable plungers that can be quickly disassembled for transport.
Weight & Packability
For car campers and glampers, weight and packability don’t rank high on their list of concerns. Conversely, long-distance hikers, thru-hikers, and backcountry campers must be careful. While the former category can happily indulge in any brewing technology, we recommend the latter stick with drip and French press kits for ultralight results.
Ease of Use
Ease of use encompasses a few essential facets: durability, operation, cleaning. You want something that’s sturdy, straightforward, and easy to clean. All our top picks have demonstrated an above-average ease of use rating.
Though entirely subjective, taste is important! Certain coffee snobs among us will note a big discrepancy on their palate when sampling coffee brewed with different methods. For us less gifted coffee drinkers, however, taste is almost entirely tied to the bean itself.
FAQs for camping coffee makers
What is the best way to make coffee while camping?
The best way to make coffee while camping depends on many factors - least important is the actual coffee-making method!
First, ask yourself whether weight and packability are important when choosing a coffee making method. Second, consider how much time you can devote to the coffee-making process. Finally, how many people/cups do you want to get out of a single brew? Once you’ve narrowed down your use-case, you can decide which method is best!
How long do you percolate coffee on a camp stove?
When it comes to brewing wilderness java, percolating coffee has been the long-standing historical method. With the advent of minimalist machines, however, it’s become something of a lost art. This is in part due to its longer brew time and bulkiness when compared to French press and espresso devices.
That said, if you’ve got time to while away in the woods, percolating your grounds is a simple and reliable technique for creating a perfect cup of joe. In general, you’ll want to let it simmer for around 20 minutes. Percolating gives you complete control over the strength of your coffee: The longer you percolate, the stronger your brew. It also sounds really nice as it bubbles on an open flame!
What to do with coffee grounds when backpacking?
Following the Leave No Trace dictum: Pack it in, pack it out! If it didn’t originate in the woods, it shouldn’t be left in the woods. Bring a ziplock bag for your used coffee grounds; once you return to civilization, you can either compost the grounds or throw it in the trash.
Choosing the right coffee maker for camping can be a struggle. Between the various technologies, brewing methods, and packing considerations, there’s a lot to account for. Hopefully we’ve shed some light on the best way to pick your camping coffee maker! Our top pick is the Wacaco Minipresso GR for its sleek and lightweight design, all-around efficiency, and tasty coffee.
Next up, pair your perfect coffee maker with the perfect camping stove!