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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
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1 Experts Interviewed
314 Consumers Consulted
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best camping coffee makers

Last Updated June 2019

Camping is a fun way to get away from the grind of everyday life and spend some time out in nature. But when you’re sleeping in a tent all weekend, you may not be getting a terrific night’s sleep. The best way to stay alert the next day? A camping coffee maker, of course.

Designed to be compact and lightweight enough to carry in a backpack, a camping coffee maker allows you to brew fresh hot coffee anywhere you like. If you want the best-tasting coffee, though, it all comes down to choosing the right one for your needs. Some models must be heated on a propane stove or over a fire, while others just require adding boiling water.

Read on for tips and tricks to help you select the ideal one for your needs. If you’re still having trouble choosing, consider one of our top product recommendations to take all the confusion out of shopping.

It takes approximately five minutes to brew coffee in a percolator. For the best taste, set a timer to make sure that you don’t allow it to percolate too long.

Key considerations

Style

Percolators are the classic option, because they’ve been around for years, and they’re fast. A percolator is essentially a metal pot that you fill with ground coffee and water. The grounds usually sit in some type of separate basket or compartment with the water below it. When you place the percolator on your camping stove or over a fire, the water comes to a boil and pushes up through the ground coffee. The knob on top of a percolator is clear, so you can see when the water starts bubbling up.

French press coffee makers are one of the more user-friendly types of camping coffeemakers. To make the coffee, you place ground coffee on the bottom of the French press and add hot water. After you allow the coffee to steep for several minutes, you then press down on the plunger in the lid to keep the grounds separate when you pour the coffee into a cup. While a French press is easy to use, it’s more difficult to clean than other types of camping coffee makers.

Pour over coffee makers are usually the most compact and lightweight options for camping. They consist of a filter and a filter holder that typically fits over a coffee cup or carafe. You place ground coffee in the filter and then pour hot water over them. The water drips through the grounds and into the cup or carafe below.

Portable espresso makers are ideal for camping, though they are more difficult to use. Some models must be placed over heat on a camping stove so the water inside can boil and be pushed through the finely ground coffee, while others simply require hot water to be poured into a water tank, so it can be pushed through the grounds by hand.

Gas-grill coffee makers are typically the best option if you need to brew coffee for a group. They are similar to countertop coffee machines, but they must sit on top of a gas camping stove to be heated. While this style is fairly easy to use, it can be bulky.

Pod travel coffee makers allow you to use the same prepackaged pods that you use in a countertop pod coffee maker but without any electricity. You place a pod in the coffeemaker’s base, fill the water reservoir with hot water, and then pump the water through the pod and into your cup. This type of camping coffee maker doesn’t necessarily make the best-tasting coffee, but it’s quick, easy, and compact for packing.

Compact design brews high-quality coffee

If you’re worried about your coffeemaker weighing you down on your next camping trip, the nCamp Espresso-Style Cafe/Coffee maker is the ideal choice. It’s the same size as a water bottle, which makes it easy to fit in any backpack. It’s designed to work like a classic Italian Moka Pot, too, so it can produce outstanding coffee and espresso in a matter of minutes. We also love that it includes its own nesting cup to make packing even easier.

Portability

The smaller and more compact a camping coffee maker is, the easier it will be to fit in your backpack. However, if you need to make coffee for a big group, a larger model is more practical. You should also check a coffeemaker’s weight, because a lightweight model is obviously easier to cart around as you hike through the woods than a heavier one. Coffee makers can range in size from less than a pound to as much as 10 pounds.

EXPERT TIP

When you add the water to a pour over coffee maker, use a circular motion to pour it over the grounds so all of the coffee is soaked evenly.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Capacity

Camping coffee makers vary greatly in terms of how many cups of coffee they can brew at a time. Some models make a single cup, while others can make as many as 20 cups at once. If you usually go on solo camping trips or with just one or two other people, nearly any coffee maker should suit your purposes. For camping with a group, though, you’ll likely want a model that can make at least 8 cups at a time.

Brewing time

When you’re camping, you don’t want to waste too much time fussing with your coffee maker when you can be taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Consider how long it takes for any model you’re considering to produce coffee — some coffee makers can brew coffee in less than ten minutes, including the time necessary to boil the water. However, some models may require up to 20 minutes, especially if they’re large-capacity coffeemakers.

Filter

Some camping coffee makers require a filter to separate the ground coffee from mixing in with the water. While you can sometimes use paper filters, it helps to choose a model that includes a reusable filter that you can wash and use for multiple pots or cups — it’s a more eco-friendly option and can save you money, too.

Ease of cleaning

Choosing a model that’s easy to clean will save you time and energy when you get home. Opt for a camping coffee maker with dishwasher-safe components, so you can simply toss them on the top shelf of your dishwasher when you’re finished camping.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some gas-grill coffee makers can use a fuel canister for power rather than a camping stove.

Camping coffee maker prices

Inexpensive: Pour over coffee makers are usually the most affordable option because you can only make one to two cups at a time. Models that you fit over your own cup range from $5 to $15. Those that include a carafe cost between $15 and $40. Percolators and French press camping coffee makers, which range from $10 to $47, are also budget-friendly options.

Mid-range: Portable espresso makers that work well for camping are slightly more expensive; they typically range from $14 to $60. Pod travel coffee makers are in a similar price range, usually costing between $15 and $64.

Expensive: Gas-grill coffee makers, which typically fit over a gas camping stove or grill, are the most expensive camping coffee makers. They usually range from $40 to $112 but generally offer a fairly large capacity to serve big groups.

With a French press, it’s important to pour out the coffee immediately after it’s finished brewing. Allowing it to sit can cause the coffee to get thick and murky.

Tips

  • No matter what type of camping coffee maker you choose, you’ll get the best-tasting coffee if you use the freshest grounds possible. If you want to bring whole beans with you, you can find battery-powered coffee grinders.
  • If you bring pre-ground coffee on a camping trip, store it in an airtight container to prevent it from losing its flavor.
  • If you’re using a paper filter with your camping coffee maker, make sure to rinse it before placing it in the coffeemaker. That helps the water flow through it and removes any residue that might be transferred to your coffee.
  • Rinsing the coffee grounds away from a French press screen while you’re camping and don’t have access to running water can be difficult. Place the entire plunger in a bowl of water and swirl it around to help loosen the grounds.

Versatile coffee maker that’s ideal for groups

The Stansport Aluminum Percolator Coffee Pot is the perfect coffee maker for many campers because you can use it over a fire or on a camp stove. Its generous size means you can brew up to 20 cups at a time, too, so no one in your group has to wait for hot coffee. We also love that it’s made of sturdy, rustproof aluminum, which means it’s durable enough to hold up to any dings and dents it might suffer on a camping trip.

Other products we considered

The GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip is an ideal option if you’re looking to pack as lightly as possible, because it weighs less than half an ounce. It also folds completely flat, so you’ll have no problem tucking it in your backpack. We also love the Eurolux Percolator coffee maker for camping, because its sturdy stainless steel construction is durable enough to hold up to the most rugged outdoor use. It also makes nine cups at a time, so it’s perfect if you’re camping with a group.

Buying your beans from a company that roasts them locally is the best way to make sure your coffee is fresh even if you have to grind the beans before your camping trip.

FAQ

Q. What type of camping coffee maker is best if flavor is my primary concern?
A.
Pour over drip-style and French press coffee makers usually produce the best-tasting coffee when you’re traveling. A gas-grill coffee maker that functions similarly to a countertop model can also make flavorful coffee, but you must have a gas camping stove or grill to use it.

Q. What’s the easiest type of camping coffee maker to use?
A.
A French press makes it extremely easy to make a delicious cup of coffee while you’re camping. However, a pod travel coffee maker is also user-friendly as long as you enjoy the flavor of coffee from pods.

Q. What type of camping coffee maker is best if I’m making coffee for a group?
A.
Percolators and gas-grill models usually offer the greatest capacity.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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