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7 Best Camping Coffee Makers of 2020 – Perfect for Backpacking & Hiking

camping coffee maker
Image: Lucky Belly

Camping is a wonderful opportunity to get back to nature – but that doesn’t mean missing out on coffee! If you’re searching for a coffee maker that can cope with being used in the Great Outdoors, read on.

We’re going to take a look at the seven best camping coffee makers on the market. We’ll review their pros and cons, and help you match their features to your individual needs.

Ready? Let’s get started!

 

The Best Camping Coffee Maker on the Market 2020

1. Presto 02835 MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker for Backpacking

Presto 02835 MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker, Black

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If you want to be able to prepare a single cup of coffee, check out the Presto 02835 MyJo.

This clever gadget lets you make a single serving with a K-Cup. There’s no mess or measuring out of coffee required.

Just fill the reservoir with hot water and insert the K-Cup in the compartment at the top. Then place the MyJo on top of your mug and press down on the plunger to pump out the coffee. When you’ve finished, the used K-Cup pops straight out into your bin.

If you prefer, you can use your own pre-ground coffee too. The coffee maker comes with a reusable pod which you can fill with your chosen blend. That’s a good choice to cut down on plastic waste.

If you’re in an RV or have access to electricity, you can speed things up with a microwave. Just unscrew the bottom of the MyJo, fill it with water, and heat it up. There’s a silicone grip around the bottom, so your fingers won’t get burnt as you handle it.

When you’ve finished, simply rinse out the base and it’s ready to be used again. Cleaning really couldn’t be easier.

Note, though, that it may take a bit of practice to get the perfect flavor. The strength of your brew depends on how quickly the water passes through the coffee and the size of the grounds. The slower the water passes through and the finer the grounds, the stronger your coffee will be.

Be prepared to spend a bit of time experimenting before you go camping. Once you know how hard to press down on the pump with your preferred coffee, you’ll get good results.

The MyJo has a circumference of 4.1 inches and is just 9 inches long. That means it won’t take up much valuable space in your backpack.

But note that the dimensions affect which coffee cups you can easily use with this. If your mug is wider than 4 inches, you won’t be able to sit this on top of it securely.

Pros:

  • Perfect for a single serving of coffee
  • Can be used with K-Cups or ground coffee of your choice
  • Compact and portable

Cons:

  • Takes some practice to get the perfect coffee strength
  • Won’t fit securely on coffee cups with a diameter of more than 4 inches.

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2. Stansport Aluminum Percolator Camping Coffee Pot

Stansport Aluminum Percolator Coffee Pot, 9 Cups

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The Stansport is as stovetop percolator, perfect for brewing traditional coffee outdoors.

This authentic looking pot is made of aluminum. It has a transparent plastic knob on the lid, so you can see when your coffee is percolating.

There’s both a top and a side handle for easier maneuvering. It’s available in a choice of either 9 or 20-cup capacities, perfect for when you’re catering to a crowd.

If you want an authentic cowboy coffee experience, you won’t want a filter. If you prefer to reduce the risk of grounds in your coffee, however, you’ll need to buy paper filters separately. The perforated Melitta Disc filters work well with this one.

You’ll want a coarser grind of coffee when you’re using a percolator. Too fine and the grounds will escape the brew basket and get into your drink. You’ll also risk the flavors being extracted too early in the brewing process, which means your coffee may be bitter.

Once you’ve brought the coffee to a rolling boil, leave it to brew for around 7 to 8 minutes. A bit of practice will determine the perfect brewing time for your tastes. It’s not the fastest way of making your cup of Joe, but it does deliver a strong, rich flavor.

The aluminum construction means this is lightweight. It weighs in at about half a pound, so it’s easily portable. It does, though, get very hot when in use, and the handles don’t stay cool. Make sure you use a pot holder or oven mitt before removing it from the stove.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easily portable
  • Top and side handles
  • Choice of 9 or 20-cup capacities

Cons:

  • The handles get hot when this is in use – use an oven mitt or pot holder to remove it from the stove
  • It will take a bit of practice to find the right brewing time for your tastes.

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3. GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator Backpacking Coffee Pot

GSI Outdoors 8 Cup Enamelware Percolator Coffee Pot for Campsite, Cabin, RV, Kitchen, Groups, Backpacking

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If you’ve ever imagined what a camping coffee pot should look like, this one from GSI Outdoors is probably it. The robust enamel exterior and traditional shape just invite you to get that campfire roaring!

You can choose from 8 or 12-cup capacities, each cup here being 6 ounces. There’s a range of colors too. Choose from cream, black, blue, red or green.

The enamel covers a steel core, so this is a tough little pot. It’s hardened in the kiln at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, not once but twice. That means it will stand up to rough treatment without scratching or chipping.

The walls have three layers, helping to distribute heat evenly around the pot. On the lid, a transparent resin cap lets you see your coffee as it’s percolating. And unlike glass, this is virtually unbreakable. But it does have a tendency to come loose. Take care to avoid losing it!

The brew basket is lighter weight, being made of aluminum. The stem that holds it in place is rather thin, and if it gets a hard knock it may bend.

As with other percolator coffee pots, you’ll need to be prepared to practice to get the perfect flavor. The right brewing time will depend on the grind of your coffee as well as your personal preferences. And it isn’t the quickest method out there.

But if you’re prepared to spend some time perfecting your technique, you can get authentic cowboy coffee. You won’t have to spend a lot of money on equipment. And it works every bit as well on a campfire as on a kitchen stove.

This is an inexpensive coffee pot – it costs about the same as four coffees from an artisan shop. The modest price tag does show in the lightweight internal components and the loose lid knob.

But you’ll still be getting a serviceable pot with an attractive “old time” look. We think that makes this a good buy.

Pros:

  • Steel core distributes heat evenly around the pot
  • Hardwearing enamel finish in a range of attractive colors
  • Easy to use on the campfire for an authentic cowboy experience

Cons:

  • The interior parts are rather flimsy
  • The knob on the lid has a tendency to come loose.

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4. Farberware 47053 Coffee Percolator for Backpacking

Farberware 47053 Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 12-Cup Coffee Percolator, 12 Cup Coffee Maker, Silver

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If you prefer stainless steel to aluminum, the Farberware 47053 may be the coffee pot for you. This has a good gauge and a mirror finish, so it looks and feels high quality. That’s backed by the reassurance of a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

It comes in a choice of 8 or 12-cup capacities. Both options are very reasonably priced.

The lid fits tightly to keep your coffee hot. There’s a clear glass knob on the top, so you can see your coffee percolate. It’s attractive and you won’t need to worry about plastic leaching into your coffee. It is, however, rather fragile.

We’ve heard of a number of cases where it’s broken after a few uses. That’s partly because that tight-fitting lid can require a bit of effort to remove. The good news is that the lifetime warranty means Farberware will replace it if necessary.

And if you want to, you can buy replacement knobs separately too. Farberware don’t sell their own model, but there are plenty out there from third party suppliers that fit perfectly.

One other thing to watch out for also concerns the lid. The edge is very sharp, so take care. Grab it awkwardly, and you could end up with a cut finger.

The handle is a generous size, comfortable to grip. It is plastic, though, so make sure it stays away from the flame of your stove. It’s nicely balanced for pouring without drips.

Inside, the permanent filter basket is made of stainless steel too. The result is a percolator where all the components can be put into the dishwasher after your camping trip.

This is another coffee pot that can be used without paper filters if you prefer. Note, though, that paper filters will absorb coffee oils which will otherwise increase your cholesterol levels. If you do want to add paper filters, the Melitta Disc filters will fit this one too.

Pros:

  • All stainless steel construction, so no parts will react with your coffee
  • All the components can go into the dishwasher when you get back from your camping trip
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • The glass knob on the lid is rather fragile
  • The inside of the lid has a very sharp edge – take care to avoid cuts.

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5. Wacaco Minipresso NS Portable Espresso Machine for Camping

Wacaco Minipresso NS, Portable Espresso Machine, Compatible Nespresso Original Capsules and Compatibles, Hand Coffee Maker, Travel Gadgets, Manually Operated, Perfect for Camping

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The Minipresso NS is a great option for those who love their single serve coffee capsules. This one is compatible with Nespresso pods too, so if they’re your go-to option, it will be hard to resist. (Note, however, that the larger Nespressso Vertuo pods won’t fit.)

The whole thing is made of matte black plastic, and it’s very compact. It’s just 6.9 inches long and weighs 0.8 pounds, so it’s great to take camping. The design incorporates its own cup too, which screws onto the end of the coffee maker.

Despite the small size, it packs plenty of punch. You’ll get 8 bars of pressure through this little gadget. While it’s not quite enough for authentic espresso, generally considered to require 9 pounds of pressure, it’s pretty close.

The pressure comes from a piston on the side of the machine. You press this a few times, pushing small amounts of water through the coffee grounds. After a few presses, the optimal pressure is achieved. The clever design means that it can be operated one-handed.

The water capacity here is 2.35 ounces, enough for a single shot of espresso. If you want to prepare larger servings, a larger tank is available separately. This will hold just over 4 ounces, enough for a double espresso.

It’s very easy to use. Just unscrew the cup, then pop your Nespresso pod or other capsule into the head of the machine. Screw the portafilter tightly back into place. This will pierce the capsule.

Next, add boiling water to the tank, which screws into the bottom of the machine. There’s a line to tell you how far to fill it.

Then turn the end of the piston counter-clockwise to unlock it, and place your cup beneath the Minipresso. Squeeze the piston a few times and the espresso will come out of the bottom, straight into your cup.

There are a couple of things to be aware of with this one.

The first is that the pressure is generated by the movement of your hand. If you have arthritic hands or fingers, this won’t be the best option.

The second is that the coffee isn’t particularly hot unless you warm the machine through first. That means you’ll need to boil extra water and go through the pumping process twice. Even so, you’ll still get a very decent espresso without much time or hassle.

Pros:

  • Generates 8 bars of pressure for a close-to-espresso experience
  • Very easy to use and clean
  • Lightweight and portable – it even includes its own cup

Cons:

  • Won’t suit anyone with arthritic hands or fingers
  • The coffee isn’t very hot – warm the machine through first for better results.

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6. AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker for Backpacking

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Tote Bag - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without Bitterness - 1 to 3 Cups Per Press

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If you want a portable and versatile coffee maker, the AeroPress could be the answer. This will make espresso, Americano or even cold brew. And it comes with its own tote bag, perfect for taking with you on your camping trip.

It’s made of plastic that’s free of BPA and phthalates, so you won’t have to worry about those chemicals ending up in your coffee. It comes with a funnel, stirrer, coffee scoop, 350 microfilters and a filter holder.

Brewing is simple and fast. Pop a filter in the cap and screw the cap into the chamber. Then stand the AeroPress on top of a sturdy mug.

Add your finely ground coffee to the chamber, shake it to level it off, and pour hot water on top. You want the water to be 175 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a handy 1 to 4 cup gauge, so you can see how much coffee you’ll get.

Give the water and coffee a stir for about 10 seconds. Insert the plunger in the top of the chamber and push down gently, pausing when you feel resistance. As you push, the coffee will be extracted into your mug. The process of pushing down on the plunger will take about 20 seconds.

The result is a smooth espresso-style coffee. Just top it up with hot water if you want an Americano. The whole process will take less than a minute.

If you want a larger serving, that’s possible – but it does require a bit more work.

Add 3 or 4 scoops of coffee to the Aeropress and fill it with water. When you’ve extracted the first batch of coffee, remove the grounds, rinse the plunger and repeat the process. That will give you enough to fill most vacuum carafes.

Cleaning is pretty simple too. Just unscrew the filter holder, remove the used grounds and rinse the plunger for a few seconds. You’re then ready to brew again.

It does take a bit of practice to master the technique, but it’s time well spent. This will give you one of the finest coffees you’ve ever enjoyed whilst camping!

Pros:

  • Very fast brew time
  • Smooth flavor
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • A bit of a faff if you want to make larger quantities of coffee
  • Lots of component parts – take care not to lose any on the campsite.

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7. Mueller French Press for Camping (Our Top Pick)

Mueller French Press Double Insulated 310 Stainless Steel Coffee Maker 4 Level Filtration System, No Coffee Grounds, Rust-Free, Dishwasher Safe

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If you love French press coffee, check out this model from Mueller. The whole thing is made of stainless steel, with a smart polished exterior. And you’ll even get a bonus stainless steel coffee canister, perfect to take on your camping trip.

This has a generous capacity of 34 ounces, great for multiple cups. The body of the French press is formed of two layers for extra insulation, so you don’t have to drink it all at once. Mueller say it will stay hot for an hour longer than versions with glass carafes.

We wouldn’t, though, recommend leaving your coffee for too long. Because the grounds will still be in contact with the water, it will get bitter.

The double stainless steel walls mean that this is very robust. It will survive being dropped, and you won’t have to worry about it rusting if it gets caught in the rain.

The filter has three layers. If you’ve been put off French press coffee because of gritty sediment, you won’t have that problem here. It does, however, mean you’ll need to exert a little more pressure to push the plunger down.

You’ll also need to estimate how much water to add to the carafe. There are no lines on either the inside or the outside to help determine how many servings you’ll be making.

Other than those small niggles, this is very easy to use. You’ll get a delicious, non-gritty cup of French press coffee in about 4 minutes.

Pros:

  • The stainless steel carafe is robust and won’t corrode
  • Double walled construction provides excellent insulation
  • Comes with a matching stainless steel coffee container, perfect to take camping

Cons:

  • The fine mesh filter is great at keeping out sediment, but makes it hard to push down the plunger
  • No measuring gauge on either the inside or outside.

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Buying guide

backpacking coffee maker
Image: Lucky Belly

If you’ve read through the reviews but still aren’t sure which is the right camping coffee machine for you – read on! Here are some questions to help you make your decision.

What style coffee do you want?

A good place to start is by considering what kind of coffee you want to brew.

If you love espresso style drinks, the Minipresso and AeroPress are great options. And if you have a favorite one-cup coffee capusule, there’s almost certainly a machine to suit. The MyJo works brilliantly with K-Cups, while the Minipresso is compatible with Nespresso pods.

But if you prefer a more traditional campfire brew, a percolator will suit you better. These can go onto your camping stove or even on your campfire. You may not get such a smooth flavor, but you will get the romance of cowboy coffee beneath the skies!

There are also some great French presses that are sturdy enough to cope with being taken camping. The Mueller features a brilliant triple layer filter to deliver smooth flavor without gritty residue.

How many servings do you need?

Next, think about how many servings you’d like to brew at once. Don’t be tempted to buy a machine with larger capacity than you’ll use quickly. However good its insulation, you’ll be left with bitter or stale coffee if you leave it too long.

The machines on our list will make anything from a single espresso through to twenty cups of cowboy coffee. So whether you’re camping alone or with a gang of friends, there’s an option to suit.

How easy will it be to use while camping?

Finally, think about how you’ll use your coffee maker while camping.

Check its size and weight, and make sure you’ll be able to carry it comfortably to your campsite. And see how many components it includes. More complex gadgets, like the AeroPress, have several parts you’ll need to make sure stay together.

Some coffee makers have their own carrying cases to help with this, and to protect the machine. The AeroPress comes with a tote bag, while with the Minipress you can purchase a hard case separately.

Whether or not there’s a case, at some point your coffee maker will come out of it – so check what it’s made of. Look for robust materials like toughened plastic or stainless steel to avoid breakages when you’re out on the trail.

Let’s go shopping!

That brings us to the end of our list of the seven best camping coffee machines around! We hope it’s helped you decide which one is right for you.

Our favorite is Mueller’s French press. We love its high quality stainless steel construction and clever triple filter. And we think it strikes a great balance between tasty coffee and ease of use on the campsite.

Whichever option you choose, we wish you happy camping – and tasty coffee!

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