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Our Top 3 Camp Coffee Makers For Great Coffee In the Great Outdoors

Camp coffee for the great outdoors

We think the outdoors deserves to be enjoyed to the fullest. And as with everything else in life, full enjoyment requires good coffee.

Call us spoiled, but there’s something about a gritty mouthful of burned percolator sludge that really takes the thrill out of a misty morning view. Hardy backcountry experts, laugh at us all you want—if offered the option, we think you’d rather have the view and the good coffee to go with it.

As it happens, the best options for making high-quality coffee are now also the best options for camping. The fancy Third Wave coffee gadgets you find in retail coffee shops (like ours) are lightweight, compact, and ingeniously designed for optimal insulation…all ideal qualities in a camp coffee setup.

We’ve rounded up our top 3 favorite camp coffee makers to help you find the right option for your next camping, backpacking or hiking trip. Whether you’re looking for a quick caffeine boost midway up the mountain, or want to enjoy a couple shots of espresso (yes, you read that right) while watching the sun rise over the lake, our picks will deliver a beautifully crafted cup no matter where your wanderlust takes you. 

AeroPress Coffee Maker

AeroPress - image via HaymanCoffee.com

Confession: this nifty little coffeemaker is our new favorite toy. (And with glowing reviews from REI to the New York Times, it's clearly not just us.) Yes, at first it looks like one of those mysterious “spare parts” that linger homeless in the back of closets and junk drawers. But the coffee delivered by this curious contraption has the smooth body and rich flavor of a Third Wave pour-over. It’s quick, too—just 2 minutes of brew time between you and your first sip. And while there are a few more moving parts than other types of camp coffee makers, all of the parts are light, durable, and fit easily into the carrying case. (Which, incidentally, doubles as a travel mug.) It’s as easy to carry as it is to assemble, cleans up with a simple rinse, and is even fun to use, with a satisfying syringe-like action. Plus, did we mention the AeroPress has a setting for…wait for it…espresso? Post-hike cortado, anyone?

Available in our Marketplace!

  • Coffee quality: 5
  • Versatility: 5 (hot coffee, cold coffee, espresso)
  • Portabillity: 5
  • Ease of use: 4
  • Clean-up: 5

Kalita Stainless Wave Dripper

Kalita Wave Dripper - Image via RoastyCoffee.com

If you’re a pour-over fanatic, good news: there’s a camp version just for you. The ever-popular Kalita Wave, most often seen in ceramic, now comes in a sleek stainless steel model. The thin, lightweight material makes it pretty much unnoticeable in terms of packing weight, though it does run a risk of getting dinged if it’s bouncing around in your backpack or camp box. But cosmetics aren’t really the point when it comes to camp coffee—what matters is taste. And the Kalita Wave delivers the same vibrant pour-over flavor no matter what it’s made of. Swap out the paper filters for a reusable cloth filter, and you’ve earned your “no-waste” camping badge. 

Available in our Marketplace!

  • Coffee quality: 4
  • Versatility: 2 (hot coffee)
  • Portabillity: 5
  • Ease of use: 5
  • Clean-up: 5

Stanley Classic Travel Mug French Press

Image via CampCoffee.net

If you’re accustomed to drinking coffee on the go, you’ve probably already tried out the whole French-press-in-a-cup thing. Camping is where this contraption comes into its own, especially when you swap out the vessel for a double-walled insulated mug or bottle like this one from Stanley. While not as lightweight as other options in our list, the Stanley travel French press has features that more than make up for its weight: ultra-fine filters that put the kibosh on grit, a leakproof vacuum seal to guard against sloshing and spilling even on a bumpy trail, and the thermal capacity to keep your coffee hot for hours after it’s been brewed.

  • Coffee quality: 4
  • Versatility: 2 (hot coffee)
  • Portabillity: 3
  • Ease of use: 5
  • Clean-up: 3 (the filters require some elbow grease to get clean)
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