Camp Coffee - Tips for Brewing Outdoors

Camp Coffee - Tips for Brewing Outdoors

What’s better than sitting around the campfire with friends and family, staring up at the bright starry night sky? Or sleeping in the peaceful outdoors surrounded by chirping crickets? A cup of hot coffee when you wake up of course!

We think the best part of camping is drinking coffee with friends. So what’s the best way to drink it? How should you brew to make the most of your beans? It’s pretty tough to bring your electric coffee pot from home, and also where is the fun in that!? Let’s rise to challenge and brew the best cup of coffee we can off the grid. Here are some tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years. We also have free brew guides available for your convenience.

French Press:

First and foremost, our favorite way to brew coffee while camping is the French Press. It brews a decent amount at one time. It’s super easy, doesn’t require a lot of tools, and pairs nicely with hanging out. Time and immersion basically do all the work for you! Pour in ground coffee and hot water. Let it sit together for a few minutes, plunge and enjoy! Whether you pre-grind your coffee before your camp weekend or grind it fresh with a hand grinder like a true champion, we‘d recommend coarsely ground coffee for a delicious result. A great ratio is 16:1, water:coffee. This will give you a rich cup without overdosing the grounds. Without a scale this bit can be a little tricky and will just require some trial and error. Normally we dial in our ratios with a scale before we camp so this part doesn’t require any calculation. For French Press we recommend anywhere between 4-7 minutes of immersion before you plunge and pour. The longer you wait, the more extraction you will get, and sometimes that can result in extra bitter compounds entering the fray. The faster brew times may promote more acidity and possibly sweetness depending on your roast. Cleaning and re-brewing with a French Press is also pretty simplistic making it a great choice in the woods. Dump. Rinse. Repeat.

If plunging feels really difficult, the chances are that you’ve either added too much coffee, or your grind is much too fine. Likewise, if the plunger cuts through with too much ease, you may want to dose up on coffee, but always let flavor be your guide.

Hot Water:

For hot water, you can use any kettle or pot on a cookstove or a butane/propane fueled product like a Jetboil. Remember when you’re at higher elevations, the boiling point is lower. So if you’re in the mountains of Colorado, brew right off boil for optimal extraction and flavor. The best choice for water is always filtered water that contains minerals. We always bring extra “drinking water” so that we can make the tastiest brews and still keep ourselves hydrated throughout the day. If you buy reverse osmosis water, make sure that minerals are reintroduced. It’s better for your health and when you brew with it, the coffee tastes better too. 


Over the years we’ve continued to perfect our camp coffee set-up which always includes a trusty hand burr grinder. Freshly ground and uniform grinds are optimal when brewing. Burr grinders provide a much more consistent grind than blade grinders which chop the beans into inconsistent pieces. In order to pass through burrs which are set at an adjustable distance from each other, the beans have to get fractured into uniform and consistent sized pieces creating more consistent extraction and therefore better tasting coffee. Anyways, blade grinders rely on electricity which we rarely have on a camp trip, so better reason to invest in a nice hand burr grinder. We find the ritual to be quite therapeutic in the morning as well. Get your water heating, load the grinder up and get grinding in that crisp mountain air. Take a moment to appreciate the effort and work that go into creating a tasty brew to enjoy with your friends. We find that it is certainly worth the effort. 


Aeropress is another fun way to brew amazing coffee at your campsite. It does make much smaller portions so generally better in a small group or a solo camp. If you go this route, we’d recommend using the Fellow Prismo attachment with a metal filter to minimize waste. Clean-up with Aeropress is a breeze, just pop out the spent coffee puck and give it a quick rinse and brew again! If you are trying to make the biggest portion possible with an Aeropress, consider a concentrated espresso-like recipe and then dilute with water to create an ideal concentration for sipping in your camp chair. Generally the best grind for Aeropress is finer than a pour-over and certainly much finer than your French Press recipe. There are similarities between Aeropress and French Press, namely that they both rely on immersion, but the Aeropress has that added element of pressure which can increase extraction and also requires a bit of muscle. Similarly to the French Press, if your Aeropress is really difficult to plunge, you may have too much coffee or too fine a grind. Adjust with either a lower dose or a slightly coarser grind until the resistance when plunging is comfortable.

Moka Pot:

One of the most classic ways to brew coffee on a camp trip is via percolation a moka pot. When the water boils in the lower chamber, it begins to percolate upwards through the coffee resting in the upper chamber waiting to be poured into your cup. You can put a moka pot directly on a campfire or camp stove and watch the rich slurry gurgle and steam out of the top. While the moka pot is a bit challenging to refine, you’re sure to get a rich cup once you get there. The lack of paper filtration will give you a sediment-rich full bodied experience which pairs nicely with the brisk mountain air.  

However you are brewing your coffee while camping, enjoy the process and the time shared. Check out our brew guides to aid in your outdoor activities!

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