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A couple in camping chairs drinking coffee by a riverbank.

How to Make Coffee While Camping – Top 8 Brewing Methods of 2022

At Peak State, we love getting outdoors as much as we do coffee, and there’s nothing better than combining the two – nothing quite beats a cup of joe with a view, after all. 

That said, making coffee while camping is quite different from in your kitchen, especially while camping with a large group, or while backpacking. So, which methods are the most convenient – and which makes the coffee taste the best? 

Steaming cups of coffee on a metal grid stand outdoors.

As always, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve ranked all the best ways of making coffee while camping, taking in factors like convenience, taste, and the size of your party – with a guide at the end to help you pick the best method for your specific trip. Ready? Let’s dig in!


A Quick Note on Beans

At Peak State, we prefer grinding our coffee fresh from the bean  – no pre-ground coffee can ever beat it for freshness or flavor. But while camping, most of us also value convenience and a light load.

There are some great manual burr grinders out there that are light and easy to bring along on camping trips – and if you’re a frequent visitor of the wild, we highly recommend you invest in one! That said, if you do go the pre-ground route, just adjust the instructions below to whatever you’re working with.


1. 10-Cup Chemex

Chemex coffee maker against a backdrop of a mountain lake.

The Chemex coffee maker easily tops our list – it’s both easy to handle and generally makes great coffee (depending on your beans, of course). Besides, this pour-over coffee maker can easily make lots of coffee, which makes it ideal for large groups. As the cherry on top, it’s a breeze to clean. But alert! The glass is fragile, so keep it in its box for safekeeping.

We recommend going with the 10-cup Chemex for a larger group.


What You’ll Need:

  • 10 cup Chemex
  • Chemex coffee filters
  • Stove and a Pot or Kettle 
  • Manual conical burr coffee grinder
  • Coffee beans (or medium grounds)
  • Scale or measuring spoon 



  1. Place water to boil. Once it’s ready, set it aside for a minute to avoid scolding the beans (205° Fahrenheit is ideal, just below boiling temperature). When you’re at altitude, it's almost impossible to mess this up.
  2. Weigh out your coffee beans at a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio.
  3. Grind your beans to a medium grind.
  4. Place the coffee filter in the Chemex, with the 3-layered side toward the spout. Pour some hot water in to wet the filter and help it stick. Discard the water from the Chemex, and ensure the filter is snug against the glass.
  5. Add your grounds and pour over some of the water, then wait a minute to let the coffee grounds bloom.
  6. Add more water in a spiral motion until it’s full. You may have to do this in multiple stages, depending on how many cups you’re making – fill up to just below the glass edge, and wait for the water level to sink before adding more. Repeat until all the water has been added.
  7. Once all the water has dripped through – enjoy the best cup possible for a group!


2. Steeped Coffee

Man dunking Steeped Coffee bag in a mug.

Never heard of Steeped Coffee before? Well, you’ll never have to drink instant coffee again. Essentially, it flips the brewing process on its head – rather than pouring hot water over coffee grounds, you submerge a custom filter bag of coffee grounds into a mug of hot water… And voilá! Fresh, delicious, steaming coffee. 

Since each bag makes one cup of coffee, it’s super easy to pack just what you need, without having to lug around lots of equipment. In other words, as convenient as instant coffee, but without the heavy chemicals and bitter taste. Even better, you can easily adjust the coffee’s strength. Needless to say, this is a perfect coffee for camping. 


What You’ll Need:

  • Hot water 
  • Steeped Coffee Bags



  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Pour hot water over your Steeped Coffee bag while it’s in the mug.
  3. Dunk it for 30 seconds. 
  4. Let it steep for 5+ minutes for desired strength.
  5. Enjoy!

Convenient, right? If steeped coffee sounds like something for you, you’ll be thrilled at an announcement coming soon here at Peak State – sign up here to be notified when it drops! 


3. AeroPress 

The AeroPress is a fantastic favorite to bring outdoors. It’s lightweight, quick, and durable – and makes a mean cup of drip coffee or espresso. It’s also easy to clean, which makes it great for a camping trip.

However, it doesn’t make much in one go, so this method isn’t ideal for a group.


Pouring hot water into an AeroPress coffee maker outdoors.

What You’ll Need: 

  • AeroPress 
  • AeroPress filters
  • Hot water 
  • Portable Coffee Grinder
  • Coffee Beans (or fine/medium-coarse grounds)



  1. Put your water to a boil (205° Fahrenheit is ideal, just below boiling temperature). 
  2. Measure out your beans using the Aeropress scoop, and grind to a medium-fine coarseness.
  3. Place the AeroPress filter in the cap, lock it into place, and place it over the coffee mug.
  4. Pour some water through to wet the filter, then discard the water.
  5. Add your grounds to the AeroPress, and begin pouring over your hot water, almost all the way to the top. Stir it with the wand, then place the plunger on the top to create a vacuum seal. From here, it should only take about 2.5 minutes total until your coffee is ready!
  6. After about 1-1.5 minutes, put gentle pressure on the plunger to feel it slowly start to press down.
  7. Once you’ve pressed all the way down and drained all the water, remove the AeroPress from your cup, and voilá! You’re good to go. 


4. Coleman Quikpot Propane Coffee Maker 

Woman pouring coffee into a cup from a Coleman QuikPot Propane Coffee Maker.

This automatic drip coffee maker is a really good option for groups while camping. It works just like the automatic drip brewers in your kitchen, only it’s run by a propane canister, rather than plugged into your socket. 

While it’s a bit bulky and heavy (it weighs about 11 pounds), it can make coffee for up to 10 people, and has a heating function to keep the coffee warm – perfect for colder climates. And just like your regular automatic drip, it’s easy to use and easy to clean. In other words, if you’re a frequent camper? It’s a cool option to check out.


What You’ll Need: 

  • Coleman Quickpot Coffee Maker
  • 1lb Propane canister 
  • Coffee filters
  • Water
  • Manual Burr Grinder
  • Coffee beans (or pre-ground beans)



  1. Pour water into the reservoir.
  2. Grind your beans.
  3. Add your coffee filter and the grounds to the basket. Put the pot in place.
  4. Hook up the propane canister to the Coleman coffee maker, and light the burner by clicking the Instastart ignition button.
  5. Sit back and wait while your coffee brews – this can take between 15-20 minutes, depending on how much you’re brewing!
  6. Once the time is up, pour your cup enjoy!


5. French Press

A French Press Coffee Brewer against a wooden backdrop.

At this point, we’re all familiar with the french press. And while it’s quite easy to use and doesn’t require a paper filter, it has some drawbacks – the biggest one being a somewhat messy cleanup, which isn’t ideal for camping. 

It also has a more gritty taste, and is best suited for rich, full-bodied coffees. In other words, the flavor of french press coffee isn’t for everyone. But if you’re a french press aficionado and don’t mind a bit of cleaning, then by all means – go for it!

What You’ll Need:

  • French Press
  • Hot Water
  • Portable Coffee Grinder
  • Coffee Beans (or pre-ground coffee)
  • Scale or measuring spoon



  1. Put your water to a boil (ideally 205° Fahrenheit, just below boiling temperature).
  2. Grind your beans to a coarse–medium coarseness. Measure out your grounds (15-20g makes about a cup), and add them to your french press.
  3. Pour your hot water over the grounds. Aim for a ratio of 1:15 coffee to water.
  4. Stir the mix of water and grounds, and place the lid over the french press.
  5. After 4 minutes have passed, slowly press the filter all the way down to separate the grounds from the coffee.
  6. Pour your brew and enjoy! 


6. Moka Pot

A Moka pot coffee maker on a Propane stovetop in the wilderness.

The Moka pot is another coffee maker that makes a great cup of coffee, and doesn’t require a filter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a lot of coffee, so if you’re making coffee while camping with a group, it’s not the best choice. Like the french press, the Moka pot is also a bit messy to clean, which can be a hassle to deal with when far from civilization. 


What You’ll Need:

  • Moka Pot 
  • Hot water
  • Portable Grinder
  • Coffee beans (or medium to finely ground coffee)



  1. Put your water to a boil (ideally 205° Fahrenheit, just below boiling temperature).
  2. Grind your beans medium to fine, and fill the filter basket with the grounds. Avoid pressing them down – just even out the top, without packing it.
  3. Pour hot water into the base of the Moka pot, up to the top mark.
  4. Place the filter basket in the base. Using a tea towel (the base will be hot), screw the top chamber in place.
  5. Place the Moka pot on medium heat. Keep the lid open, and listen for the water beginning to boil in the base – if it does, lower the heat slightly. You want the coffee to ooze out like melted honey, rather than shooting out, as you risk burning the coffee otherwise.
  6. When the top chamber is getting full, you’ll hear a hissing sound – this is your cue to take it off the heat and serve! 


7. Percolator

Pouring coffee into a cup from a percolator outdoors.

Percolators are the grandparents of camping coffee equipment. They’ve been around for ages, and are fairly easy to use, even with minimal resources. 

Like some of the other coffee makers, a percolator doesn’t need a filter, and can make coffee for larger groups. Unfortunately, though, the coffee rarely comes out tasting great. 

Besides, percolators can be somewhat chunky and heavy to carry around, and aren’t the easiest coffee makers to clean. 


What You’ll Need:

  • Percolator
  • Water
  • Portable Grinder
  • Coffee beans (or coarsely ground coffee)



      1. Pour water into the percolator pot until just above the halfway mark.
      2. Grind your beans to a coarse grind.
      3. Fill the aluminum coffee filter with your grounds, to just above halfway, and then put the lid in place above the filter.
      4. After putting the filter on the aluminum stand, place the whole thing in the water-filled pot.
      5. Put the top lid in place and place the percolator on heat.
      6. Let it come to a boil. Once it begins popping and gurgling, the coffee will take about 4-6 minutes to finish brewing.
      7. Once the coffee is ready, remove it from heat and serve.


      8. Instant Coffee

      Hand pouring granules of brown sugar into a small espresso cup outdoors.

      At the bottom of our list is the well-known coffee of convenience – instant coffee. 

      And in terms of convenience, instant coffee does beat many of the coffee making methods on the list – which is why so many people swear by instant coffee for camping trips. 

      But besides the taste (which is mostly less than great) instant coffee contains a lot of acrylamide – a chemical that’s classified as both a neurotoxin and a carcinogen

      And since steeped coffee is just as quick and convenient, but much healthier than instant coffee, it is simply a better choice. 

      What You’ll Need: 

      • Hot water
      • Instant coffee



      1. Heat up your water, and pour it into your mug.
      2. Measure the instant coffee granules to your preference and add to the cup.
      3. Give it a mix as the granules dissolve.
      4. Enjoy!

      How to Choose the Right Coffee Method for Your Camping Trip:

      So, now that we’ve gone through all the top techniques for making coffee while camping, let’s narrow it down. After all, each trip and camper is different – how do you choose the right coffee-making method for you?

      Below, we’ve highlighted our top choices for different types of trips:


      Best for Big Groups: Chemex 

      A large group watching the sun setting over a lake from a mountain ledge.

      If you’re a big group setting out to camp together, the best coffee maker to pick is either a Chemex or Coleman Quikpot Automatic Drip

      Both of these are great for making coffee while camping with a large group – and the coffee actually comes out tasting pretty great. Since the Chemex is a lot lighter to carry and quicker, too, it’s the ideal option in our opinion. But whichever one you choose, you’re bound to have some great coffee while camping.

      Best for Backpackers: Steeped Coffee 

      If you’re packing light and are looking for convenience above all else, the best coffee for camping is Steeped coffee or Instant coffee

      In our book, steeped coffee takes the cake every time. Not only is it super easy to pack exactly the amount you’ll need, but it’s also the healthier option. The acrylamide in instant coffee can lead to can build up in your body and potentially cause damage to your nervous system down the line – in our opinion, not worth it.

      But if you can’t get ahold of steeped coffee in time, instant coffee is probably your best bet.

      Best Single–Serve Coffee: AeroPress or Pourover

      A tent is set up on top of a mountain, and a person in the distance watches the sunrise.

      If you’re going out for a solo camping trip, or setting out just a few of you for some quiet days in nature, then the AeroPress or a Pourover coffee maker is your best option. 

      They make some phenomenal coffee, and are very convenient and easy to clean. So, if you don’t have to worry about making enough for a large group, these coffee makers won’t let you down.

      Peak State’s Brain Sustain – The Ultimate Coffee for Camping

      About to set out on a hike, and looking for coffee that will sustain your energy throughout the day? Look no further than Peak State’s Brain Sustain

      Peak State's Brain Sustain three-pack promo photo.

      Brain Sustain is an organic, Fair Trade certified, shade-grown coffee that is made with your health as the top priority.

      It’s infused with Lion’s Mane mushroom to sharpen your focus, and performance-boosting Cordyceps for natural energy support. With only clean and sustainable ingredients, Brain Sustain is the perfect coffee for camping.

      Choose between our Ethiopian Light Roast, boasting notes of sweet citrus and lemon, or our Dark Roast of Colombian origin, with a full, chocolatey flavor. Both blends are whole-bean for extra freshness and come in a compostable bag. 

      Curious to try? Get your 2oz free sample delivered right to your doorstep today, and feel the difference for yourself!

      Psst… Want to learn our best tricks for taking care of used coffee grounds? Check out this post all about it!

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