I’ve gone through phases of my hiking life where I would just skip my morning coffee while backpacking, it was just one less thing to do in the morning.
Those days are over however and I’ve decided I enjoy coffee too much to leave it behind! If you’re like me and just can’t go a day without coffee, first, you’re in good company, and second, here are some of the best ways I’ve found to make coffee while backpacking or camping.
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Even if you’re a bit of a coffee snob, chances are you can find a way to make coffee in the backcountry very similarly to how you would prepare coffee at home. You might have to make a few adjustments or invest in a new piece of gear or two, but great coffee on the trail is possible.
Pour-over or Drip Backpacking Coffee
I typically make pour-over coffee at home so I was pretty excited to find out about this GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip coffee maker. Weighing in at less than half an ounce, this is one of your best ultralight options to make some ‘real’ coffee while backpacking. Plus, it folds in on itself for easy storage in your pot or cook set while hiking.
The only downside, if you can call it that, is that you’ll need to carry a cup or mug instead of just brewing and drinking out of your pot. Luckily though, GSI also makes a lightweight camp cup at 1.8 ounces that you can attach the Java Drip coffee maker on to.
French Press Backpacking Coffee
If you typically use a French Press at home, why not also use while backpacking and camping? These options are a little heavier than the GSI Jave Drip, but are still not bad options for backpackers and can be especially handy for car camping.
With the Aeropress
While the Aeropress isn’t the most compact option out there, it is pretty lightweight, easy to use, and best of all easy to clean up and pack out your grinds afterward.
The Aeropress boasts the ability to cut bitterness and reduce the acidity that can come with typical French Presses. Learn more about how it works, or buy one for yourself, here on Amazon.
With the Jetboil
If you already use a Jetboil, it may be worth it to get the Jetboil French Press Coffee Maker made specifically to be used with the Jetboil cook system.
DIY Brewing Sachets, for hot or cold brew
Another easy and lightweight brewing method is to make your own sachets filled your favorite coffee. Then soak them in hot water like you would use a teabag, or even steep them overnight in a small water bottle for a cold brew.
Best Instant Coffee for Backpacking & Camping
If you’re just looking for a super easy, ultralight way to drink coffee while backpacking, there’s always instant coffee. Not all instant coffee is created equal and has greatly improved from the notorious instant coffee our parents and grandparents grew up with!
Here are some of the most loved types of instant coffee that backpackers deem worthy to hike with, in no particular order:
Ways to spruce up your coffee while backpacking
Whether you can’t stand the thought of black coffee or maybe you just wanted to add some extra calories or protein to your morning for a little oomph, try adding in these fixin’s to your coffee on your next backpacking trip:
- Protein powder
- Collagen powder
- Sweetener of choice
- Powdered cream or individual creamers
- Butter or MCT packets or keto creamer for a bulletproof coffee
- Hot cocoa mix for something sweet
Pro tip: I like to pack a small plastic bottle specifically for coffee because a) I find it’s easier to properly dissolve any protein powders or powdered cream when you can really shake it up in there vs just stirring with a spoon and b) I don’t like putting coffee or anything other than water in my usual water bottles because I find they get funky.
So, I usually find a pretty small, single bottle of juice at the grocery store (think 12 ounces or less) then dump out the juice, clean it out and pack it to use for my coffee on the trail. Although I am always careful then to not pour boiling water/coffee into it because I’m sure they’re not made to withstand that kind of heat – let your water cool just a bit if you’re going to use this method.
Let us know your favorite way to make coffee on the trail in the comments below!
For more backpacking food and recipe ideas, check out:
- 10 Easy Hiking Snacks
- Cheesy, Bacon Grits Backpacking Breakfast
- Quinoa and Summer Sausage Backpacking Dinner
- 7 Easy Backpacking Meals To Try