Brew Guide to Making the Best Camp Coffee - Panergy

by Regina Wu
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Brew Guide to Making the Best Camp Coffee - Panergy


Coffee-loving backpacking and camping veterans often have a preferred method and the necessary supplies for caffeinating in camp. If you are new to the outdoors or simply dissatisfied with subpar brews, it can be overwhelming to figure out your ideal balance between flavor, weight, bulkiness, ease of cleaning, and how much waste you'll have to pack out. Here are a few options for you to consider, starting with the most basic:


Though instant coffee isn’t known for winning any flavor awards, it’s definitely the easiest, lightest, and least messy option. If you like to pack up camp fast and don’t want to deal with any extra gadgets, instant coffee might be your best bet. Loyalists swear by Starbucks Via, but keep an eye out for other tasty, like Alpine Start.


If you can't bear the thought of instant, steeping your coffee is your next simplest choice. You can buy pre-made bags of grounds, fashion your own, or invest in a steeper of your own.


You can pay $5 for a cup of premium pour over in San Francisco, or you can brew it yourself in camp. All you need is a cone and paper filters, but any basic plastic version will work. Pour-over aficionados be forewarned—it can be more difficult to brew a consistent cup than at home. Check out the Eureka! Camp Café.

Car camping in the free country with Eureka tents making camp coffee on a Jetboil.


A steaming pot of percolator coffee is a campfire classic—just fill the pitcher with water and the coffee basket with grounds and set it over the fire to brew. Ultra-light backpackers usually won’t go for this bulky and potentially heavy option, though it’s a crowd favorite for the classic camping set or for groups.


If you have the pack space or are car camping, a French press usually guarantees a tasty cup. Though there are plenty of lightweight models, the French press is better suited for car camping or bike touring because it’s bulky and you'll also need a mug. Like the percolator, having a press will speed up the process if you are brewing for more than one.

The best option, is to go with a camp stove that doubles as a French press, such as the Jetboil Flash, MicroMo, Sumo, or MightyMo.

Choose Your Supplier

If you are experimenting with new brew methods (other than instant), don’t take any shortcuts on where you source your coffee beans. The Bay Area in particular is home to dozens of specialty roasters who've made a name for themselves in the city and beyond. Whether you are passing through town on your way to the mountains or if you live around the corner from your favorite roastery, there’s plenty of places to pick of fresh, locally roasted coffee. Check out local favorites, including Philz Coffee, Blue Bottle, and Sightglass, for strong blends that will be sure to get you out of your tent and onto the trail in the morning.

Get Outside

Put your camp coffee skills to the test by getting out of town for an overnight or weekend backpacking trip. There are scenic camping options within an hour of the Bay Area at spots like Kirby Cove, Steep Ravine, Mt. Tamalpais, and Point Reyes—and some of the country’s most dramatic wilderness areas are within reach if you are willing to drive a bit further. With a small amount of planning and the right supplies, you’ll wake up outside—and have great coffee to look forward to.

by Regina Wu


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