It’s the beginning of June, meaning for many of us, camping season is here. Camping lovers are itching to unroll sleeping bags, haul canoes into lakes, and eat comfort food that has been cooked over an open flame. We dream of longer days, warmer nights, and getting outside to slow down, connect with nature, and relax.
One of my favorite ways of slowing down is crawling out of a cozy tent into the cool morning air, and brewing a delicious cup of camp coffee. Our morning routines typically involve coffee so that certainly shouldn’t stop while we’re camping. I’m not talking about your dad’s old-fashioned cowboy coffee from an enamel percolator, either – although there’s nothing wrong with that if you enjoy your coffee with some texture!
The percolator, invented by a physicist in the early 1800’s, has led to a multitude of brewing improvements. Over the past few decades, things have changed in the brewing world – and that’s not only limited to coffee at home, but coffee brewed outdoors as well. Common devices around the campfire today are the (thermal) French press, aeropress, pour-over brewers, and yes, even portable espresso makers. And while I do love a good espresso from time to time, I can’t help but think that’s a little more like “glamping” than camping, so I’ll stick with my favorite: the Melitta pour-over.
Plastic and durable, inexpensive and light, this pour-over is great for almost any level of camping. You can store it in a food bin, or dangle it from your pack on a carabineer. These pour-overs require #2 filters, which make for great forest composting when you’re finished with them.
When using the pour over method, you still need to use something to boil your water. You can use a pot if you’re on the one dish system. I personally like to use the old percolator with the basket removed, just to add some cowboy coffee nostalgia to my morning!
There are several variations of the pour over out there, depending on what you’re looking for, like this nifty brewer and mug combination called the Java Drip.
Combining a silicone drip cone with a mesh reusable filter, a double walled insulated lid, and a shatter resistant mug with a cozy, this device is a one stop shop for any outdoor/camping coffee lover. There is also a compact pour over by Snow Peak. This also requires an added paper filter (size #3) but is collapsible to lay flat while packed.
All the brew methods listed above require ground coffee. If you’re really keen, you can pick up a manual grinder to bring with you. It’s the best way to ensure you’re drinking the freshest coffee, even if you’re in the middle of the nowhere. Two hand grinders I recommend are the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill, and the Porelex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder.
No matter what you use to brew or grind your coffee with while you’re camping, the main point is to relax and spend some time outside. So raise your nostalgic, enamel mug! Here’s to lighting a fire, sleeping under the stars, slowing down, and sipping on some amazing coffee. And if you’re looking to find some amazing coffee without caffeine on your trip, check out our locator. It’s the best way to ensure you get the best sleep possible, although the great outdoors should help with that too!