7 Ways to Make Great Coffee While Camping

Coffee Pot Over Campfire in front of tent

How To Make Great Coffee While Camping

The ability to make great coffee while camping is a make or break decision point for many. Many of us hear the daily call for a cup of coffee. Whether it be a morning ritual or just a means to get through the day, that daily cup of coffee is borderline essential. It’s no different when you and the family are out camping on the open range, on a camping site, or merely out in the woods.

Your personal mode of camping matters little where coffee is concerned. Depending on your camping gear, you can make great coffee while camping whether pitched in a family tent, backpacking, or even on an ultralight hiking trip. If all else fails, you simply find a way to boil water with coffee grounds mixed in a single container, steep it for a few minutes, then pour and enjoy!

Below we delve into a variety of different tips and tricks, to prepare you and your family by getting you situated for your next camping trip. Being equipped with these tips will make you the hero of the camping trip. So without further ado here are 7 ways to do just that.

1. How to Make Coffee While Camping French Press

The process of using a French Press is quite simple. Start with heating up a container of water in a kettle over a fire, stove, or grill. Scoop fresh coffee grounds into the French Press, then pour the heated water into the French Press. Leave room near the top, to allow for the plunger that’s included with the French Press. Stir the heated water and coffee grounds before placing the plunger on the Press.

French Press - One neat way to make great coffee while camping
French Press Coffee Maker – Works Even Better When Camping

Allow for the soaking coffee grounds to steep inside for 4-6 minutes. Approximately 5 minutes later, slowly start to press down the plunger to the base of the French Press. Once fully depressed, slightly turn the lid to open the spout and pour the fresh French Press brewed coffee.

2. How to Make Coffee While Camping Without Fancy Stuff

This method for brewing coffee without any special tools is similar to Campfire or Cowboy Coffee, which we’ll talk about below. For this version, any pot will do for making. Choose the pot or container that makes the most sense for your situation. Add water, followed by the fresh coffee grounds. Warm atop your heat source for 4-6 minutes. Then pour it through a coffee filter to have yourself a nice cup of joe.

Red coffee pot on a grill rack over an open campfire.  This is the traditional way to make great coffee while camping
No Fancy Coffee Making Stuff. Just a Pot and a Campfire

3. How to Make Good Instant Coffee While Camping

In the past 5 years or so there’s been a boom with “Instant Coffee.” A variety of brands are available from commercial brands as well as local coffee shops. Even Starbucks has their personal brand of instant coffee. Among the most popular flavors, their instant Columbian roast is absolutely delicious.

Making Instant Coffee is simple. Simply fill a container with water, hot or cold. Open a packet of your favorite Instant Coffee Brand, then pour it into the container of water. Stir the fine grounds of the Instant Coffee until thoroughly dissolved. You’re all done! Enjoy that delicious cup of coffee in a matter of seconds!

4. How to Make Campfire Coffee

Campfire Coffee or commonly called “Cowboy Coffee” is the tried and true, time tested method of brewing coffee for hundreds of years. The reason is easy to see. It’s effective, simple and easy to make in bulk. It can be a little messy if you’re not careful, but if you take your time to do it right Cowboy Coffee will be a solid go-to for you and the family.

Making coffee in mug over small campfire
Make coffee in a mug over the campfire

To begin your campfire coffee, simply get your campfire started. Get your coffee kettle of choice and fill with water. Add the coffee grounds to the kettle and close the lid. Set the kettle near the fire, on the coals if using a coal fire, or hanging from a rail if available. Brew until the grounds have sunk to the bottom of the kettle. Pour and enjoy!

The Traditional Cowboy Coffee

5. How Do You Make Pour-Over Coffee While Camping

Similar to French Press, you’ll heat a container of water over your chosen source of heat. We do prefer to use a camping stove – it gives you much more control over the heat. Line a pour-over apparatus with a biodegradable coffee filter, and soak the filter with hot water. Add your coffee grounds. Place the pour-over cup atop your mug. Then pour enough hot water for a single cup over the grounds. Let it filter through until your mug is full, then drink up!

6. How Do I Make Coffee on a Gas Grill

You and the family may have a gas grill available to you. A gas grill on a camping stove is the easiest way to boil water for your coffee.

To get your coffee brewing, the startup is simple. Fill a kettle, pot, or container of choice with water and coffee grounds. Place the container on the grill rack and heat for 4-6 minutes. Once finished, remove the container. Serve and enjoy

7. How to Make Coffee While Camping Without Fire

Making coffee without fire can take a little ingenuity and imagination to get it started, but we’ve got you covered. While there are a variety of options available to get your coffee going, one we recommend is using a lantern as a heat source. Many gas lanterns get hot enough to act as a heat source for warming water.

Fill your container with fresh water. Add the fresh coffee grounds to the water and sit atop the lantern or next to if not large enough to do so. Allowing the heat transfer to heat the water. This will take a little longer, but this will brew your coffee. Check your container every 10 minutes for doneness. When brewed to your liking. Serve and enjoy your freshly brewed coffee!


Now that we’ve gone over the variety of ways to brew the family some coffee. We’ll share with you a few simple tips that might help you out on the open range.

Camping Coffee Hacks

As has been stated. Certain methods of brewing coffee can be a little messy, like any method not using a filter. A quick hack is using a (clean) sock as a makeshift coffee filter. Place the sock on and pour.

Another hack is to deal with open brewing leaving coffee grounds floating around the water, slowing down the brewing and leaving bits of grounds possibly getting through the makeshift filter. An easy solution is to add a little cold water to the brew. This makes the grounds sink to the bottom rather quickly as the hot water rises to the top and the cold water sinks with the grounds.

Coffee Bags for Camping

You may have considered the idea that you need some ideas for filters for your coffee when a standard coffee pot isn’t available. Simple options you can use as makeshift filters are socks, cheese cloths, a bandana and if you really wanted. You can just bring a coffee filter by itself and let that sit in the kettle of water to brew the coffee. This allows for easy cleanup as well.

Coffee Pods for Camping

Coffee pods, while a godsend to the era of modern manufacturing, just aren’t a great option for camping. But if you just can’t go without your favorite coffee pod flavors. Here’s what you can do. Simply use them as canisters to bring your favorite coffee flavors on the road, then break them open to brew in any of the variety of options presented in this article today.


I confess the RV guys have us beat with options to make great coffee while camping. I have seen some RVs with big, barista style coffee makers. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some great alternative open to all of us who love family camping – in tents.

Making Coffee RV style.

That’s everything folks! Everything you need to know for your next trip is all right here and, hopefully, this article acts as an effective beginner guide on how to make coffee while camping. You’ll be the hero on your next camping trip and your friends and family will love you even more for it!


Keith Longmire

Keith Longmire

I’m the guy that loves camping, insists on family camping trips, and the editor and owner of Campingsage.com

I love camping and the outdoors. Through this site I hope to help you enjoy it too.

About CampingSage

CampingSage is all about comfortable family camping in tents.  It is written by campers, for campers.

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