There are several types of camping coffee makers on the market, like the backpacking coffee press and pour over drip brewers. They all offer something different to camping coffee lovers, so it’s important to understand their differences. These five provide excellent brews for a variety of camping needs
|Coffee Maker||Price||Our Rating|
|Coleman Camping Coffee Maker||Amazon||A|
|GSI Outdoors 1 Cup Stainless Mini Expresso||Amazon||B+|
|GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator||REI / Amazon||B|
|GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker||REI / Amazon||A|
|Stansport Aluminum 20 Cup Percolator Coffee Pot||Amazon||A|
What Are the Differences Between the Best Camping Coffee Maker and a Regular Coffee Maker?
When camping, you usually don’t have much access to electricity. But, most coffee lovers don’t want to go a whole camping trick without their beloved drink! Fortunately, some are designed specifically with campers in mind so they can stick to their favorite morning routine.
Many camping coffee makers are smaller than the one you might be used to at home, though, for added convenience when travelling. You’ll likely need either a small camping stove or teapot to boil water since they don’t use electricity to heat the water themselves.
You might find this article on 7 methods to get started making coffee when camping helpful.
Common Types of Camping Coffee Makers
If you’re searching for the perfect one to bring on your next camping trip, you may be surprisingly overwhelmed by your options. I was when I first searched for mine, and I really had to dig to figure out the best type for me.
Ultimately, I turned to convenience over taste with a small gas grill that works much in the same way as my pot at home; only it heats the water using the grill. This works out to be a good time saver, giving me a quick cup in the morning after I wake up.
But, other people may want something more portable for camping, or a truer, bolder flavor. Depending on your preferences for coffee, one of the following common types of camping coffee makers may be your best option.
Backpacking Coffee Press
For true outdoor enthusiasts, a backpacking coffee press may be a perfect choice. This type of coffee maker is made especially for hikers or travelers who need a conveniently-sized press to stash in their backpacks. They often come in sizes perfect for single servings, but some are a bit larger to serve multiple people.
Camping Coffee Percolator Stainless Steel
A camping coffee percolator stainless steel option is one of the most popular types of coffee makers, reminiscent of old-fashioned models that sat over a fire to warm up. They’re extremely simple to use: boil the water over a fire or on a camping stove and add the grounds to the basket inside. The water will boil up into the grounds to brew your coffee, and the stainless-steel insulation helps to conduct heat for a faster brew, and keeps it hotter, longer.
A French press may be the most favored by campers who want the boldest flavors from their coffee beans. They may take a little more work, but they’re not usually difficult to use. You place your coffee grounds in the bottom of the press, add in boiled water, and let the mixture steep like you would tea. Then, use the press to press down the grounds and pour your coffee.
Gas grill coffee makers, like the type I chose mainly for convenience and ease of use, sit over your gas camping grill to brew your coffee much like you’re used to. Most even allow similar functions as your home coffee brewer, like adjustable strength and a pause-to-pour feature.
This type of coffee maker requires nothing other than a drip cone, disposable filter, coffee grounds, and your favorite mug or thermos. Although you don’t have a machine making coffee for you, all you need to do is pour boiling water over your grounds to brew coffee. For those looking for the simplest, mess-free way to brew coffee while camping, this is probably it!
What Are Some Features to Consider When the Best Camping Coffee Maker?
Your preferences for coffee may differ from others in your camping group, but these are usually good things to consider:
- Travel and storage
- Ease of use
- Cleaning process
- Time to Brew
GSI Outdoors 1 Cup Stainless Mini Expresso
If you’re more of an espresso fan than coffee lover, this Mini Expresso by GSI Outdoors may be the perfect solution for you. Its small size is incredibly convenient for campers, and all you need is a heat source to warm your water. The stainless-steel construction can help you get a cup of espresso fast, which may be helpful for early risers who want to get started on their outdoor adventures.
- Can brew a single serving of espresso in about 90 seconds
- Stainless steel design conducts heat fast, while also holding it in to keep espresso hot, longer
- Very small to fit conveniently inside travel bags or backpacks
- Material allows for an easy rinse and cleanup
- Brews at high strength for bold flavors
- Its small size may not be the best for camping groups
- The small base may also not fit well on all camping stoves
- It can be tricky, at first, to find the proper grounds that work well with the espresso maker, and some campers find it easy to over-pack grounds, creating a slow-running trickle
- Part of the handle is plastic so you don’t burn yourself, but you also should be careful not to get this part too close to heat
Stansport Aluminum 20 Cup Percolator Coffee Pot
If you’re going camping with a large group, you may want to try the Stansport Aluminum 20 Cup Percolator Coffee Pot. The large size is a good option for making a lot of coffee for your mornings, rather than wasting time making single cups. Even though its size is much larger than others, this camping coffee percolator’s aluminum design heats quickly and keeps your coffee warmer for longer, allowing everyone time to drink.
- Large, 20 cup capacity at a low-range price point
- Aluminum design allows the percolator to heat quickly over a campfire or on your camping stove
- Made in one complete design with no welded parts that can potentially leak
- Large size allows for easy internal rinsing and cleaning after use
- Can be used to heat up water at a campsite, in addition to coffee
- Large size is not convenient for all campers, who may need to store it in a backpack for travel
- You may not be able to pour one-handed if that’s what you’re looking for; the handle and pot are designed in a way that will likely need two hands to pour
- Over time, aluminum may rust more easily than stainless steel, so this could be a problem with this percolator after long-term use
Coleman Camping Coffee Maker
The Coleman Camping Coffee Maker may be a good choice for you if you drink a lot of coffee, or are camping with groups of people who do. This model will brew up to 10 cups of coffee, and it does it fast and much like how you brew it at home. You can even grab a cup as it’s brewing, if you don’t want to wait, with the automatic pause-to-pour feature.
- Convenient brewing with little guesswork
- Can be used on 2 or 3 burner camp stoves
- Steel base keeps the brewer sturdy, while also being able to stand up to high heat
- Begins to brew once water starts boiling, and the whole process only takes about 10 minutes for a full cup
- Larger than most other camping brewers, so it may not be convenient for frequent travelers
- Takes more time to clean than other types of brewers
- Doesn’t keep coffee warm for long after brewing, so it’s best to drink right away
GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker
The Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker by GSW Outdoors is perhaps the most convenient for those who need a backpack-sized product. The drip cone sits on legs above your mug to keep everything in place while you pour your boiling water.
- Super lightweight design can benefit those needing to keep it in a backpack
- Comes with sturdy legs that clip to almost any mug, so you can keep the drip cone in place above the brewed coffee in your mug
- Easy clean up
- Will make only a single cup at a time, so it may not be the best choice for large camping groups
- Drips fast without a filter, so you may want to use a disposable filter if you want a stronger brew
GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator
This Enamelware Percolator by GSI Outdoors is popular with campers who love its old-fashioned look but want a quickly-brewed and great-tasting cup of coffee. Its 8-cup size could be a good choice for an average family or group of campers, even if you need to brew two of them in the morning.
- Heavy-gauge steel is durable enough to stand up to common dings and scratches that happen at campgrounds
- Three layers of steel help distribute heat through the percolator for efficient heating and ability to keep your coffee warm
- Cleans up easily after use with soap and water
- Strong, flavorful brew, so it may be a good option for those who like bolder flavors
- Brewing process could take some getting used to if you’ve never used a percolator before
- Ventilation holes near the handle can sometimes cause a mess over the stove
- Some customers have mentioned easy chipping of the colored enamel, which affects the overall look
- Components are not as sturdy as some other percolators, such as the handle and basket for grounds
Conclusion: Our Favourite Camping Coffee Maker
Although the best option highly depends on your camping needs, my particular favorite is the Stansport Aluminum 20 Cup Percolator Coffee Pot. The reason I chose this one is because I believe it could fit the needs of the average camping group or family.
If I bought a new coffee maker for camping, I’d go with this one. Not only does it have a capacity large enough to brew a lot of coffee at once, but it’s also very lightweight, yet durable. It may not fit in a backpack, but it’s easy to carry where you need it to go. Plus, it will withstand being dropped or tipped over, which we know can happen easily while camping!
With fast heating abilities and easy clean up, I don’t think you can beat this huge percolator at this price point.