The Best Way to Brew Coffee While Camping
Making coffee portable has reached a new level in recent years, which is good news for someone like me. Hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities are a regular part of my life. But you don’t just need coffee to be portable for hiking and camping. When you’re particular about how you like your coffee, portability is essential.
I remember the first time I saw someone make a cup of coffee at the top of a mountain. I traveled to Washington state to meet my husband’s family. I had no idea that I would be entering into a world that combined coffee and hiking. We spent the day making our way toward the top of Mt. Baker. We were all carrying out packs. It was just a day hike, so I had water and my lunch in my pack. We reached as high as we could go, which was amazing. I had grown up in California, so it was the first time in my life I had ever seen a glacier. It was also the first time I had hiked the entirety of the day.
It was a great experience. What made this experience even more unique is when we started to take our food out when we had reached the glacier. My mother-in-law Mary took out of her pack a backpacking stove, a kettle, a grinder, whole bean coffee, a pour-over filter, and three cups for us to drink our coffee. The cups she took out weren’t disposable either. They were coffee cups that she hauled all the way up the mountain. That was a serious commitment to coffee. She brewed each one of us a cup, and we sat there enjoying the scenery, the company, and the rest from a long hike. I remember sitting there thinking, I am sitting a few feet away from a glacier, in the middle of a forest, and I’m drinking a freshly ground and brewed cup of coffee. If I thought coffee was good in the mornings when I’m about to start my day, it’s even better at the top of a mountain. It was by far the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. It’s a cup of coffee I will never forget.
Being outdoors is something I have grown to enjoy. When you miss the comforts of home, making sure you have a good cup of coffee becomes pretty important. So the next time you’re planning to camp, backpack, hike, or vacation to an unknown place, make sure you take everything you need to be able to brew your favorite cup of coffee. To make sure you’re ready, we’ll show you the different options you have for a delicious and portable cup of coffee.
Our Favorite Brewers for Travel
The AeroPress is the one we recommend for camping, hiking, or any outdoor activity. It’s durable, portable, and easy to clean. Watch our AeroPress Brewing Guide video to learn how to use it.
The pour-over is a highly portable brewing method. You don’t need much to make yourself a great cup of coffee with a pour-over filter.
While the French Press is portable, it is usually made of glass, making it less than ideal for camping or other outdoor activities. Some are made of metal which makes them easier if you’re using them outdoors. We would recommend the use of French Press when you’re on vacation. When space is at a premium, the AeroPress or pour-over is more ideal.
How Do I Heat Up Water?
The type of water you use to brew is critical when it comes to a delicious cup. For this reason, I recommend packing a few water bottles, especially if fresh spring water is unavailable. To heat the water, you will want to fill a sturdy saucepan and place it over a fire until the water begins to boil. If you have the convenience of a camping stove or hotplate, then, by all means, ditch the pot and bring your favorite kettle.
Grinding Coffee for Travel
Should I Pre-Grind for Traveling?
The short answer is, no. Although pre-grinding your beans can be convenient and may be necessary if you do not have a good grinder at home, it is not the best approach for making coffee. When you grind the coffee ahead of time, the oils and flavor components of the beans will escape. Oxygen (one of coffee’s greatest enemies) will interact with the cells of the grounds, causing them to become stale, ultimately losing around 60% of the aroma and flavor we have grown to love. If possible, it is ALWAYS best to grind your coffee freshly just before brewing. In the meantime, make sure to store your whole beans in a sealed container with a one-way degassing valve. The bags our coffee is shipped in is actually perfect for storing beans.
So How Do I Grind My Beans On-the-Go?
Three words: Manual Burr Grinder. Manual burr grinders are gaining popularity in the coffee community. This is the perfect grinder for those who enjoy having a more hands-on approach to the grinding experience. As long as the burrs are adjusted to the correct settings, you should be able to achieve the same consistency as an electric grinder. Hand grinders are the travel companion because they are small, portable, and do not need electricity. A hand grinder and AeroPress make-up the ideal travel brewing kit and will ensure that you will always have a great cup of coffee, whether it’s at your office or far off location.