How to make coffee while camping
Waking up in the morning because the sun is rising. Birds are chirping, the fresh air you feel on your face when opening the tent. There is nothing better than waking up in the wilderness. Wait, there is nothing better than waking up in the wilderness and holding a cup of fresh coffee in your hand. Is it? So lets talk about how to make coffee while camping.
I know I know coffee is surely luxury but hey why should we avoid our all times favorites while being on the trail? Just makes the whole experience even better.
Now there are a few different ways of making coffee when out and camping. Just a few things you should think about before you will make your coffee decision to find your best coffee maker and leave for your next trip.
Prepare before you leave:
Where are you gonna make your coffee while camping? Are you hiking to the campsite or driving by car and having a base camp site? If you are hiking you should choose a light version, if you have a base with your car and on one camp site you can pack a little more.
Do you like your coffee black or do you need sugar and whitener? Put this on your packing list.
Do you like espresso or does filter coffee do the trick?
Do you need a stove or are you having afire place?
If you are car camping you can even bring a coffee grinder if you like buy coffee beans. If you are hiking you should at least grind the coffee before going, so you don’t need to carry even more extra weight.
Find your favorite travel mug. You can choose between a foldable silicone mug, to a thermo stainless steel mug, a normal stainless steel mug, bamboo mug, etc.
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How to make coffee while camping:
So if you are hiking for a few days and can’t bring too much because you want to travel light you have these choices:
- Instant coffee: The lightweight version. You only need to bring instant coffee, boil water and you’ll have a coffee. It is easy, but there can also a lot of trash involved if you use prepackaged sachets. If you are a group of 4 and everybody gets like 2 coffees in the morning and one for lunch you will already have 12 sachets to carry with you when hiking for a day. The Low Waste version would be to fill some instant coffee from a big glass into a reusable bag to avoid the small sachets and enjoy minimalistic coffee preparation.
- Filter coffee/drip coffee: Nice and easy to make too. If you use paper filter you need to carry these with you. If you use reusable filter made out of natural fabrics* you can easily wash them in water and you don’t have any extra weight with you even after a couple days of camping and coffee drinking. These will also be the lightest and easiest to pack. But there are other reusable filter* e.g. made out of stainless steel, you can use too. For hiking the cotton filter is definitely the best one. (If you don’t mind silicone try a collapsible drip filter*)
- “Cowboy-coffee”: boil the coffee grounds in the pot. Then let the grounds set for a couple of minutes. If you don’t like the feeling of coffee grounds in your mouth this will not be the right thing for you.
- Espresso: The Minipresso* is simple to use. Add the ground coffee to the coffee filter basket with the help of the built-in pod. Apply a slight pressure with the back of it to level the grind. Then add hot water to the water tank and unlock the piston from its transport position. After that you pump several times to pressurize and extract the coffee.
Coffee maker for a more advanced camping trip by car/with a camping base or some extra space in your backpack:
If you have the freedom of camping with a car/van or you are staying in a hut and doing trips from there you can bring more than if you are just hiking with a backpack. You could bring:
- a french press*: You only need the coffee ground and hot water, no filter necessary.
- an Aero press*: Espresso like coffee. Low waste if you get a reusable filter* for your Aero press too.
- a percolator*: the classic* stove top espresso maker.
After the coffee and the “coffee maker tool”, the third most important thing you need to make coffee while camping is hot water.
If you use water from a stream make sure to filter it or boil it at least 4 minutes to kill bacterias, parasites etc. that could be in the water.
If you have 5 gallon container of water* in your car you don’t need to worry about that.
You now can either boil water on a camping stove or a fire and then voila: enjoy your favorite camping coffee in the wild.
You don’t like coffee? No problems, just take your favorite tea with you. Tea bags or loose tea and a reusable filter/a “tea-egg”* and you are set for your tea time while enjoying the wilderness around you.
Leave nothing behind but footprints:
The idea if you go to enjoy the nature, the wilderness is always: don’t bring stuff with you that ends up as trash! Because in the wilderness there is one rule: leave nothing behind. Take everything back with you what you bring. That includes compost. Even if it is biodegradable don’t leave anything behind in the woods or on campsites where there are no trash bins.
I know that a lot of Zero Waste Influencer actually preach to bury compost if there is no compost bin. You can do so in your own garden or a city garden (but please bury it deep enough so that no animals show up and dig up your garden…) But in the wild burying your food scraps is a No Go!!
Leave no trace:
“Under no circumstances should food scraps be buried! Discarded or buried food scraps attract animal life. It is common to see chipmunks, ground squirrels, and various species of birds gathering around camp kitchens. These “camp robbers” have become attracted to campers as a food source. Human food is not natural to wild animals, and their natural feeding cycles and habits become disrupted when they are fed by humans.” In areas where there are bears it can actually become really dangerous if you leave food scraps behind.”
No only this but also a lot of food scraps might not be natural where you hike. A banana peel in the US National park? Not Local! Orange peels in a German Forest? Not local…
And it will also take a long time to decompose. Depending on the environment a banana peel can take up to 2 years to decompose!
Read more about “leave no trace”.
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