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coffee at the campsite

What you need know to make a killer cup of coffee camping

When I go camping, the best part of the day is sipping my morning coffee while listening to the soothing sounds of the outdoors, breathing the fresh air and taking in the scenery.  Even better, if I am the first one up, and can enjoy it in silence while the family sleeps.  All the world problems melt in a simple sip!

Before you head out on your camping trip, there are a few things you need to know to ensure you get a satisfying cup of joe.

The type of camping you are undertaking will help to determine how you will brew you coffee. A backpacker will have much different considerations than a car camper. The first decision will be what equipment will be needed and suitable for the trip.

Here are a few items to consider:

  1. Equipment (size, weight and cost)
  2. Servings (how many people drink coffee)
  3. Heating method (camp stove, camp fire, electricity hook-ups)
  4. Garbage and clean-up (do you need to pack-out garbage)

Coffee brewing equipment

There are many different types of coffee brewing methods available to you while camping.  It can be a bit overwhelming when you start searching online.  I describe a few methods and equipment.  There are many more than described in this blog however.  Ask your camping friends what they prefer to use and what they would recommend. I list a few pros and cons for each type to help guide which may be the most suitable for your needs. Your type of camping, budget, camping frequency and coffee passion will help determine what type of equipment is best suited for your trip.


1. Espresso Makers and Moka Pots

Pros: easy to use and clean.  Doesn't require a filter.  Good for small or large groups.  Makes a mean cup of espresso. Works great on camp stove or over fire. You may be able to easily borrow one from a friend if you don't already own one.

Cons: heavy and takes up space

Best use: car campers, RVers or glamping



2. Percolators

Pros: Make strong dark coffee. Great to use over camp stove or campfire. Good for large groups.

Cons: Heavy and takes up space. May require a coffee filter.

Best use: car campers, RVers or glamping


3. French press mug

Pros: Easy to use.  Makes single cups, or can make more if larger jug is bought. Durable. No coffee filter required.

Cons: Heavy and bulky

Best use: car campers, RVers or glamping



5. Pour-over stands

Pros: inexpensive, lightweight and compact, great coffee

Cons: time consuming (makes one cup at a time), requires filter

Best use: backpacking and cycle-camping, serious coffee drinkers

Aeropress coffee maker

Pros: Compact and light, easy to clean, makes a very smooth and rich coffee,

Cons: Special filters need to be bought, only brews one cup at a time

Best use: small groups, car camping, RVing, backpacking, single cup brews


Instant Coffee

Instant coffee has gotten itself a bad name.  However, in the last three years, a few brands have been able to stand out and can provide a killer cup of coffee.

Starbucks Via can be bought at grocery stores, in the coffee section. There are also small roasters who provide some excellent options such as Dispatch Coffee  right here in Montreal.  If you live on the Island of Montreal, your Dispatch coffee is delivered by bike!

Pros: No equipment required, very light and compact, good coffee, no clean up, very little waste

Cons: expensive

Best use: backpacking, cycle-camping, hassle free cup of coffee, occasional campers with no equipment



Ok, now let's discuss milk options.  I am one who doesn't like my coffee black.  I add some oatmilk to my morning espresso.  There are a few option for you if your cooler space is limited or if you are backpacking.

  1. Milk powder: this is the obvious option.  You can purchase milk powder in the baking section of the grocery store, or I found a brand made in Canada online.
  2. Coconut milk powder: you can now purchase coconut milk powder online ( I buy it from Yupik) or in specialty grocery stores.
  3. Oatmilk powder: this one is a bit harder to find, but Prana does sell it online
  4. Milk tetra packs: you can buy single serving milks (soy, almond, coconut, cow) if weight is not an issue and if you will use it up all at ounce or can store it in a cooler

I think you are ready to go out into nature and can start your day with the wonderful taste of your favourite coffee!


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