Couple raising their camp mugs of coffee with mountains in the background.

The Best Ways to Make Amazing Camp Coffee

A Coffee Lover's Guide Camp Coffee

3 campers holding together their camp mug full of coffee.

As a Seattle based company, everyone at CloudLine has a favorite option for their camp coffee. Whether you insist on grinding fresh beans every time or you're looking for the lightest and quickest way to brew a cup of joe, here we've gathered the team's favorite backcountry java options for taste, convenience, and pack weight.

Instant and Pre-Packaged Coffee Options

These instant and pre-packaged coffees are great for camping and backpacking. They are lightweight, convenient, require little cleanup, and best of all you can find options at any grocery store on the way to camp.

Instant Coffee Sleeves

Alpine Start Instant Coffee Package

Instant coffee is the easiest option for camp coffee and is a favorite among backpackers for the convenience and lightweight. As a bonus, many instant coffees dissolve in cold water for those UL backpackers that go stoveless.

Staff Pick: Alpine Start Instant Coffee

Pocket Pourover Coffee

Kuju pour over packet

If you want real drip coffee with the convenience of instant than pour-over packets are the perfect option. Simply open the packet and attach the filter basket full of coffee to your camp mug and pour in hot water.

Staff Pick: Kuju Coffee Basecamp Blend

Coffee Pouches

Enamel camp mug off coffee made with a pouch.

Coffee pouches are used similarly to tea bags. Simply steep in hot water for 4-5 minutes, then remove being sure to squeeze the liquid out the pouch for a stronger brew. You can even make your own at home with a coffee filter filled with grounds and tied closed with string.

Staff Pick: Lyons Coffee Bags

Cold Brew Pouches

Nalgene bottle with cold brew pack on a rock.

For overnight trips, you can make cold brew coffee in a water bottle while you sleep. Simply add a single serve cold brew pouch (or several) and filtered water and in the morning you'll have a delicious cold brew.

Staff Pick: Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee Pods

Tools for BYOB - Bring Your Own Beans

If you are a true coffee connoisseur you may want to take your java game to the next level and bring your favorite whole bean or ground coffee. These tools and methods will let you make a perfect cup with your preferred blend.

Backpacking Coffee Grinder

Colage of different angles of the GSI Java Mill.

Every backcountry barista knows grinding fresh beans makes better coffee. Of course, unless you plan on grinding your beans between two rocks you'll need a lightweight and packable coffee grinder.

Staff Pick: GSI Outdoors Java Mill

Ground Coffee

Camper pouring a hiker brew pouch into a backpacking stove pot.

If you are backpacking and weight is a consideration you can leave the grinder at home and bring preground coffee.

Staff Pick: Hikers Brew Venture Pouches

Cowboy Coffee

Coffee percolator brewing over a camp stove viewed from above.

Cowboy coffee is simple to make and requires just a pot, water, and coffee. Simply boil water and add loose grounds. There are many tips and methods for avoiding too many loose grounds ranging from scooping grounds out with a spoon, adding an egg or even using a sock (hopefully clean) full of grounds with the end tied closed to keep the grounds contained. Or there are specially designed cowboy coffee percolator pots that keep the grounds contained.

Staff Pick: Stanley Adventure Percolator


GSI Java drip being used to make coffee with backpacking stove.

A pour-over attachment is a great lightweight option for camp coffee. For ease of use look for one with an integrated mesh filter and you won't need to worry about coffee filters.

Staff Pick: GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip

French Press

Women using a Jetboil coffee press to make coffee.

A french press makes great coffee and if you're car camping you can easily bring your home press. For backpacking, our favorite option is a french press attachment that integrates with our cooking system and weighs almost nothing.

Staff Pick: Jetboil Coffee Press

UL Espresso Makers

Hiker making an espresso shot with a Mini espresso maker.

If you prefer espresso there are a few portable options that can make an amazing espresso shot. There are options that let you use any espresso grounds or versions that can brew with a Nespresso pod.

Staff Pick: Wacaco MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

AeroPress Coffee Press brewing on a rock in camp.

For many coffee aficionados, the AeroPress is the gold standard for portable coffee and espresso. Its compact size and lightweight (6.4 ounces) make it perfect for basecamp or backpacking.

Staff Pick: Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker with a reusable mesh filter

Bring a Thermos

Hiker pouring coffee from a thermos on a snowy trail.

For short overnight camping trips, a good thermos will let you premake coffee at home and enjoy it hot in the morning. Or on multiday trips brew with your favorite camp method before retiring to your tent and use the thermos to keep it piping hot overnight. This is especially nice when the mornings are cold.

Staff Pick: Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle

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or get a WindBurner Coffee Press ya dingus!

Johnny Hammersticks

It’s interesting that there’s a picture of an espresso pot under the “cowboy coffee” option. While I wouldn’t carry that much weight on the trail — I’m a Melita fan, and that GSI Ultralight stays nice & clean with a paper filter — those pots make fantastic espresso and I wouldn’t call them “cowboy coffee.”


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