I love the outdoors and coffee, but sometimes getting your favorite pour over coffee fix while traveling or camping can be such a pain. I’ve looked long and wide for solutions to this issue, luckily there a few ways you still get pretty close to pour over coffee while you’re out. No need to lug around the fancy digital kettle and hand-blown Chemex pour over coffee maker, here’s a list of ways to make pour over coffee while on the go! In full disclosure, I have taken my Chemex coffee maker while camping, it wasn’t the best idea and it took up way too much space. The amount of space the Chemex coffee maker (in the original box) took up could have fit two more pieces of underwear.
[RELATED POST: Pour Over Coffee Maker Roundup]
How to make good camping coffee: Here are 3 ways to do it!
I’ll cover two ways to make good pour over coffee camping, one involves more preparation on your part before going camping and the other is just cheating way of making a good cup of coffee in the woods. Making coffee while camping isn’t that much different from making it at home, technique-wise, the only difference is that you’re outside, getting bit up by bugs and smelling like burned wood. However, like any good scout, if you prepare your gear before going out, you’ll have no problems making a great cup of pour over coffee outdoors.
How do you make coffee over a campfire: The POC & Co Way
Firstly, you’ll need a kettle than handle open fire if you don’t have an AC Converter for your car or you’re too far out to plug into your vehicles AC port. I recommend GSI Halulite Kettle (check price), this little kettle has been in our camping box for a few years now and it takes a beating! Not that we make a habit of beating it, but it has withstood many camping trips and it still works perfectly fine today. But let’s do a quick checklist of what you’ll need to get a pour over coffee in while camping:
- A Ziploc bag of your favorite coffee beans (grounded to medium)
- Open fire kettle
- Hario V60 Metal Coffee Dripper (check price)
- Metal Filter for Pour Over Hario V60 (check price)
Here are some tips for you to be successful in making pour over camping. I’ve done this, it’s not that hard, you just need to be prepared ahead of time! Waking up in a cold crisp morning, starting a fire and getting that cup of coffee is special, all your friends camping with you will thank you!
- Tip 1: Ground your favorite beans to medium, calculate how many grams of coffee you’ll need for the number of days you’ll be camping. I recommend 60 grams of coffee per day, that makes roughly 2 cups of coffee per day. So if you’re staying in the woods for 3 days, you have to grind 180 grams of whole bean coffee and seal it in a double Ziploc bag. Alternatively, you can bring your whole beans and just use a hand-grinder to make your coffee. I don’t usually recommend grinding on-site because it’s extra gear you have to carry and weight. If you have a backpack to your location, the extra grinder isn’t worth it, trust me.
- Tip 2: But metal everything! Metal pour over & metal filters. Don’t take your fancy Chemex with you, it will break and your heart will too. Hario pour over makers are comparable to Chemex and they come in metal form, along with a metal mesh filter that fits! This way nothing can break.
- Tip 3: If you’re wondering how hot the water needs to get before pouring, just let the kettle get to boil, take it off the open fire and let it sit for about 45 seconds. If it’s extra cold out, wait maybe 15 seconds before pouring. This way, the water will get down to temp, if the air is extra cold, you won’t need to wait nearly as long. Once you’ve let the water settle, make your pour over coffee as you normally would, enjoy!
- Tip 4: Don’t bring your digital scale. Just don’t do it.
If you don’t want to use an open fire kettle, there’s a product called Jetboil Sumo Camping stove (check price), that’s all-in-one food/coffee making system. The whole premise is basically making a french press coffee, it comes with an insulated container, an extra attachment plunger (just like a french press) that you can use to make a cup of coffee. it’s not a bad option, although the Jetboil system is expensive to get started. It’s really well built and it should last a long time if you take care of it. I personally don’t own a Jetboil Sumo, but we have close friends that regularly camp with us, and they have the Sumo version. It works very well for heating up your water & food, especially when it’s wet out and starting a fire is difficult. Here’s a video linked below to see it in action.
The Cheating Way: Kuju Coffee (check prices)
This one is easy-days, it comes in an Eco-friendly package and cost around $2.20 per cup, so not bad, but not great. I like to aim around $1.20 – $1.50 for a cup of coffee, but the convenience of the Kuju coffee packs pays for itself. I’ve linked a video of their promo and basically teaches you how it all works. Skip to 0:30 if you just want to see the coffee pack in action, otherwise, there’s about 30 seconds of feel-good nonsense and people trampling through the woods, climbing rocks. My GF and I tried Kuju coffee on our last camping trip this winter and I was very impressed with their coffee. I normally bring ground beans, but this time, I just threw a 10-pack of Kuju coffee in our pack and we’re set to go. All you need to bring are the cups and an open fire kettle. My one and only recommendation with Kuju coffee is to treat it like any other pour over coffee you’ve had. Make sure you bloom the coffee and use the proper water to coffee ratio and your coffee should be fine.
All said and done, I would give Kuju coffee a slid 4 out of 5 stars. Easy, tastes really good for pre-packaged coffee and you can still have your pour over while looking at the stars above you. It’s a win-win.
What is cowboy coffee & How do you make it?
This the alternative to making coffee while camping. The easiest least expensive, probably the worst tasting coffee you can make for yourself & others. Imagine yourself drinking French Press coffee + extra sludge, that’s usually how cowboy coffee will turn out. But if you’re still interested, here are the steps I’ve taken to make cowboy coffee while camping:
- Step 1: Add water to your open fire kettle. I usually measure the water by the number of cups or people that will be drinking. So if three people are having coffee, then pour 3 cups and a little bit of extra.
- Step 2: Let your kettle come to boil & remove from heat, wait about 30-45 seconds (unless it’s really cold out) to let the water to get to brewing temp.
- Step 3: Add ground coffee directly into your open fire kettle and stir.
- Step 4: Let the coffee sit & brew for about 3 minutes, then stir one last time.
- Step 5: Burn your hands from the hot kettle
- Step 6: Pour coffee slowly into the cups while trying to stir up too much sludge from the grounds. The first cup is usually the best, the rest will have to drink sludge, at least they get coffee amirite?
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Camping and coffee should be like peanut butter & jelly! As long as you’re prepared, a great cup of coffee is only a few steps away and not to mention Campfire Hero stories will be told about you for decades, about your coffee skills. They might even make a Netflix Docuseries just on you, who knows? If they do, help us out and link back to our site, that would be great. But in all seriousness, making coffee away from the comfort of your kitchen and digital scale might seem like a daunting task for those that haven’t done it. But follow the steps above, you should be good to go! Let us know any funny camping stories and coffee that you want to share in the comments below!
Heads up: Products that link to Amazon are affiliate links. Clicking on them may earn us some cash, at no cost to you. This is how we pay for the website. Some links are good products and earn us 0.00 dollars. We take coffee seriously and thoroughly research and/or test products before recommending them to our community of fellow coffee-lovers.