How To Make Coffee While Camping

How To Make Coffee While Camping

I’m obsessed with coffee – Ben Miller 

Drinking freshly brewed coffee while gazing up at the raw majesty of the universe and a star-filled sky or first thing in the morning while birdsong welcomes the rising sun when you’re miles from anywhere reminds you how good life can be.

The pure joy that those moments can inspire is something that everyone should feel at least once, and making them happen is easier than you might think. All you need is a tent, a sleeping bag, and some coffee. 

Okay so maybe it’s not quite that easy, as you’ll need to make the coffee before you can drink it, and if you’re going to make your java on a campfire, there are two simple and straightforward ways to do it.

And which of them you choose, is entirely dependent on the kind of coffee you prefer to drink, filter or instant. 

Hitting the wilderness trail doesn’t mean that you have to leave civilization behind, and you can still enjoy a freshly brewed cup of hand-ground coffee in the morning.

In order to make the most of your morning cup of joe, you’ll need a small pour-over cone and set of filters, a compact coffee grinder that can easily be carried in your backpack, some coffee beans, a cup and a pot to heat and boil the water for your brew. 

Use the grinder to prepare your beans, then put the filter paper inside the cone, place the cone over your cup or mug, and put as much or as little ground coffee as you want to inside the cone.

Then fill the pot with water and place it carefully over your campfire, and keep an eye on it. As soon as the water starts to bubble and boil, carefully take the pot off your fire and slowly begin to pour the water over the coffee in the filter. 

You’ll need to be incredibly patient and make sure that don’t add the water too fast or it’ll spill and ruin your coffee.

Pour it over the ground coffee gradually and only add more if you need to and only when the water you’ve already added has fully infused with the coffee grounds and passed through the filter and cone and into your cup.

When it has, you’ll have a delicious cup of campsite ground and fire brewed coffee that’s just waiting to be enjoyed.

And making instant coffee is even easier.

Just add your coffee to your cup, put some water in the pot, place it on the fire, and when the water begins to boil, carefully remove the pot from the campfire and pour the water onto the coffee in your cup, give it a stir and your campfire instant coffee will be fully brewed and ready to drink.

We told you it was simple, didn’t we? 

How Do You Make Coffee Without A Camp Fire? 

While we’ve extolled the virtues of campfire coffee and probably romanticized it a little more than we actually should have (or not enough, depending on your point of view), it’s entirely possible and incredibly easy to make coffee while you’re camping without a campfire.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you’re not in an RV and don’t have a stove that you can use to heat the water that you’ll need to brew your coffee. 

No stove means that you’ll need to find an alternative way to heat the water that you need, and that’s where the Sunsbell Car Kettle suddenly becomes your best friend. 

Fill the kettle, plug it into the twelve-volt power outlet (or the cigarette lighter as it’s more commonly known) of your car, turn your car’s ignition on (you don’t want the kettle to drain your car’s battery and leave you stranded at the campsite, so make the motor is running), switch the kettle on, add some instant coffee to a cup and wait for the kettle to boil.

The only real drawback to using a car kettle is that they do take a long time to heat up, so be prepared to wait for your coffee.

Then, when it boils, simply pour the hot water from the kettle on your instant coffee and you’ll have made a cup of coffee without a campfire while vacationing in the great outdoors. 

Realistically, you don’t even need a car kettle, and as long as you have some way to heat water while you’re camping you can make coffee.

Remember, coffee is only as complicated as you want it to be, and all you really need to make a delicious cup of coffee while camping, is instant coffee, a cup, some water, and a way to heat it.  

How Long Do You Percolate Coffee On A Camp Stove?

The length of time that you should percolate coffee on a camp stove or fire depends entirely on how strong you like your coffee.

When the percolator that you’re using to make your coffee begins to boil, the steam that’ll start rising from the spout and the bubbling noises that it’ll start making will make you acutely aware of when the water inside it has reached boiling point, either turn the heat on your stove down or move the percolator to the edge of the fire where it’s slightly cooler.

Ideally, you should then leave the percolator alone for ten minutes to finish brewing your coffee and when that time is up, remove it, carefully, from the stove or fire and pour your coffee.

That ten-minute window is enough to ensure that you’ll get a cup of perfectly percolated coffee.

However, if you prefer your coffee a little stronger and more akin to rocket fuel than the average cup of joe, give it another five or even ten minutes on the stove or the edge of the fire.

And remember, the longer you leave it, the stronger your coffee will be. 

What Do You Do With Coffee Grounds While Camping? 

There was a time, not too long ago when people would simply dispose of their coffee grounds by throwing them away or burying them before they left the campsite.

And as unconscionable as it now seems to be to do something so irresponsible, there was some method to the madness of the latter method as the buried coffee grounds would eventually decompose in the same way as most organic matter does and act as poor fertilizer.

Granted, it’d take a long time for that to happen, and it isn’t ecologically or environmentally friendly, but if you have no other way to dispose of your coffee grounds, burying them is the best solution under those circumstances. 

That said if you’re intent on making coffee while camping and have left home with all of the equipment that you’ll need to do so, you should also pack a couple of recycling bags for your grounds.

Then, when you’ve finished making your coffee, tip the grounds into a recycling bag and either dispose of the bag on the campsite in the right recycling bin or keep it with you (sealed of course), until you can find a place to dispose of it properly and safely. 

How Do You Make Coffee Over An Open Fire?

We’re camping traditionalists, and we like to do things the old-fashioned way, so we’re going to tell you exactly how to great-tasting campfire (coffee brewed over an open fire) coffee with a camping coffee pot 

Add six or seven (depending on how strong you like your coffee) teaspoons of coffee grounds to the coffee pot and then pour enough water to make however many cups of coffee you want to brew over the grounds.

Put the pot on the fire and wait for it to boil, before carefully moving it to the side of the fire to carry on brewing for between five and ten minutes, or longer if you like your coffee slightly stronger.  

Once it’s ready, remove the pot from the fire and begin to pour, and then enjoy your delicious coffee. 

It is worth remembering that there will still be grounds in the coffee, so you might want to use a filter and cone (which should be placed over your cup before you pour the coffee) if you don’t end up with any grounds stuck between your teeth.  

How Do You Make Campfire Cowboy Coffee? 

The trick to making great-tasting and ground-free Cowboy Campfire Coffee is a little cold water.

Brew your coffee in the same way that you would if you were making coffee over a campfire, but before you pour it, add a little cold water which should help to settle the grounds at the bottom of the pot and prevent them from leaving it and making their way into your cup of joe.

Don’t ask us how it works, it just does and it’s the point where the miracle of coffee and the infinitely complex worlds of physics and science collide. 

And that’s why we don’t understand why it works, as we can’t even do basic math.  

Some veteran campers swear that the addition of a little salt makes campfire cowboy taste far more authentic, but if you want to try a little salt in your coffee, that’s entirely up to you.

It isn’t something that we’ve ever considered or even found remotely appealing.  

How Long Does It Take To Make Campfire Coffee? 

How long is a piece of string?  There’s no definitive or set time limit for how long it takes to make campfire coffee, as it depends entirely on how hot your fire is, how much coffee you’re making and how strong you want your coffee to be.

Ideally though, from beginning to end, and from the moment you start brewing to the moment that you start drinking it, it shouldn’t really take any longer than fifteen minutes to brew a great pot of campfire coffee.