To brew great coffee in the great outdoors, you don’t need to use a bunch of fancy machines, to weigh out your beans, or to meticulously time your pour. No matter how far you venture off the grid, excellent coffee is easy to make. Often, one missing piece of the camping equipment puzzle can fix a cold, bitter, or flavorless morning cup of joe. Here are the coffee-brewing goods to help you make a better batch of camp coffee, no matter how you like it—and fit for whatever type of camping crew you’re serving the essential start to any cold day outdoors.
Best For: Fueling a Crew
Make up to 12 cups of coffee in one batch with the Eureka! Camp Café ($109). The kit includes a kettle, carafe, and pour-over stand. A heat exchanger on the bottom of the kettle speeds up boil times. The pour-over technique is more hands-on than a percolator, but it’s worth it. You’re less likely to burn the beans, cleanup is as easy as chucking the filter, and—crucially, when camping—it’s way faster. This is an ideal setup for car camping missions, not least because all the parts nest inside the pot for travel.
Best For: Backcountry Pour-Over
A Starbucks’ Via pack might be lighter, but the portable pour-overs from Kuju (from $20) are worth the weight and space, even when going super light. The tea-style package is its own pour-over stand: Open, pull out the legs, prop on a mug and pour in boiling water. The coffee steeps faster than a typical pour-over, but the coffee is just as smooth and delicious and way better than any Via we’ve tried. Kuju offers a range of flavors from bold to mellow. We recommend sampling the entire variety with the starter pack.
Best For: Field Espresso
Only the combination of pressure and boiling water creates the crema that makes espresso so delicious. Without electricity to power a machine, the Handpresso Pump ($99) is the next best option. Pack grounds and hot water into the bike pump-like device. Manual pumping of a ball on the back builds up 232 pounds per square inch of pressure, enough to squeeze out a shot of dark elixir with a skim of brown cream. The setup only weighs a pound—light and compact enough to take backpacking.
Best For: Quick Brews
Few stove and pot sets boil water faster than Jetboil’s Flash. Add the Silicone Coffee Press, part of the Flash Java Kit ($119), and it will make coffee faster too. The integrated system integrates the burner with a heat exchanger at the bottom of the pot, which is also wrapped with an insulated sleeve. All together they bring boil time for a liter of water to about two minutes. The coffee press fits perfectly in the 1-liter pot, and the plunger’s silicone ring makes sure all the grounds stay where they belong. The whole setup only weighs 13 ounces.
Best For: Fresh Grinds
Two key factors to good coffee: fresh grounds, and at a consistent size. The GSI Javamill ($37) delivers on both. First, at half a pound, 6 inches tall, and with a collapsible handle, it’s packable enough to take anywhere and, hand-powered, it doesn’t need electricity. Second, the hand crank runs a ceramic, Burr-style grinder, the best kind for uniform results. (It’s adjustable for everything from espresso fine to pour-over course.) Drop 6 ounces of coffee in the top, crank away for a minute, and grounds collect in a container at the bottom. It’s tidy, simple and stealth—plus a lot quieter than your grinder at home.
Best For: Keeping Beans Fresh
Whether you’re bringing whole beans or grounds, keep them fresh by sealing them in the MiiR Coffee Canister ($29). It uses a two-stage system for locking out flavor-robbing oxygen: an interior valve that compresses to purge air from around the beans and an air-tight, exterior lid. The tough, stainless steel canister holds 12 ounces of coffee and is tough enough to handle jostling in a backpack or rough roads in the back of an overlander.
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