Top 10 Backcountry Coffee Makers

Purists may insist their coffee be brewed on a campfire (photo by JABoyce)

Purists may insist their coffee be brewed on a campfire (photo by JABoyce)

It doesn’t matter if you’re camping in the dead of winter or the middle of summer, there’s no better motivation for crawling out of the tent in the morning than a fresh pot of coffee. Fortunately, there are as many ways to brew a decent pot (or cup) of coffee in the backcountry as there are stars in the sky.

Purists might still boil water in a standard pot, stir in some grounds and call it good. Others may want to invest in the latest high-tech, standalone, drip coffee makers that free you from waiting on the campfire. Whichever way your predilection for coffee goes, here are ten types of backcountry coffee makers that will get you going in the morning.

Brunton Flip-N-Drip Coffee Maker for campersFlip-N-Drip

The Flip-N-Drip™ from Brunton® is a self contained coffee maker that works well with small backpacking stoves. It works by first heating the water using the base section of the Flip-N-Drip, then attaching the middle brewing chamber section, which contains a coffee filter and your coffee grounds. To brew, attach the coffee mug to the top of the assembly and flip it over so that the hot water flows through the coffee filter and into the mug.

snow-peak-collapsible-coffeFolding Coffee Drip

Stepping up a bit in both cost and complexity (although not much) is the folding coffee drip, from Snow Peak. It folds flat for easy transport, but it unfolds to hold a standard drip coffee filter and has legs that allow it to sit on top of a coffee mug.



Mountain Safety Research makes the MugMate, which is another simple solution for brewing a single cup of joe. The smart twist that MSR puts on the MugMate is the lid, which helps keep the water hot while the coffee or tea is steeping.

gsi-outdoors-coffeeCoffee Boiler

No, it’s not a percolator. Coffee boilers are about as traditional as you can get without resorting to using a standard pan. The enameled steel pots from GSI Outdoors are rugged and durable.

REI Campware Percolator


REI has a nice 12-cup percolator in their Campware line. Since it’s stainless steel, it is easy to clean the campfire soot off of it, but it’s really made more for camp stoves, due to the plastic insulation on handle.


Snow Peak Titanium French Press

The Titanium French Press is lightweight (6.3oz) and super durable. Pop the filter assembly out and you’ve got yourself a great, 3-cup mug.

Mountain Gear Coffee Press


Another take on the backcountry french press theme. This one is from Mountain Gear and it is a stainless steel coffee mug that doubles as a french press. The difference between titanium and steel? The Mountain Gear Coffee Press weighs almost 1lb, empty.


Coleman® Camping Coffeemaker

Works just like your drip coffeemaker at home, but the Camping Coffeemaker uses your gas grill for heat, instead of an electrical cord.

Brunton® Brewfire Coffee Maker


The new Brewfire is the first self-contained drip coffee maker that does not require an external heat source to brew coffee.  It operates on butane or propane canisters.


GSI Outdoors 1 Cup Stainless Expresso

That’s right, just because you’re in the backcountry doesn’t mean you can’t have that perfect morning espresso. The little Expresso makes one double shot of espresso in about 1 1/2 minutes, according to GSI Outdoors.

See also…

45 thoughts on “Top 10 Backcountry Coffee Makers

  1. Great article on different methods of back country coffee brewing. My personal favorite is the Press-Bot Coffee Press. The Press-Bot is the only press that brews in a Nalgene Bottle. It is quick and easy, and super light-weight. Great for hiking, bike touring, ski condo-ing, backpacking, excellent coffee wherever you go.

    Check out the Press-Bot at

    Happy Hiking

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  12. Pingback: How to Make the Best Cup of Coffee while Camping and Travelling | Desk to Dirtbag

  13. Ah, I am late to this conversation, but have been trying to problem solve making camp coffee, so will leave my 2 cents here and maybe it will help someone. I have a friend who likes to throw the grounds in the pot and boil it up. It’s really disgusting coffee. I have a cone filter thing that fits on top of a thermos and works well but is bulky to pack. I have the little mesh thing shown above that works ok, but you get sludge in the bottom of your cup. One trip this summer I got out with out my coffee making stuff and improvised by putting coffee in a tea ball which worked pretty good. I have heard good things about Via, but haven’t tried it yet. In the end, I think I agree with the teabag people. Its the easiest and cleanest.

  14. Pingback: Best Coffee Makers for Camping and Backpacking | French Press Coffee

  15. I say Dunkin Donuts is pretty much the best coffee out there for camping. Its just the right strength where you don’t have to tolerate it being black, you enjoy it black. Anything else you really need some sort of creamer, which is hard to pack.

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  17. This is a really great top ten list, I have been looking for a good coffee maker for backpacking. I am also looking for something that can keep the beans dry, and recommendations would be appreciated. You can post this list to my site and then link back to your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

  18. Heard nothing but good things about Via – just haven’t had a chance to try any, yet. I’m currently working on a bag of Dunkin Donuts, which is outstanding!

    Walter – I like tea, also – particularly in the summer.

  19. I’d like to offer one more alternative. One that I got hooked on from the free samples down at SxSW. Had I known they were worth $5 a pop and were as good as they are, I’d have grabbed handfuls.

    The Starbucks Via coffee packs taste better than what my coffee maker produces from the fresh ground beans:

    (Note that it also tastes way better than the coffee actually served in a StarBucks.)

    I recommend the Columbian but they are all good. 12 servings for $9.95 is steepish but still less than you’d pay into a vending machine for a bad brew poured into a cup that lands sideways half the time. For camping, the convenience of a small thin box compared to real equipment would make it worth it.

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  20. For car camping, we finally settled on a filter cone that fits into the top of a thermos. Simple and makes great coffee.

    It is fairly hard to find, but Sweet Maria’s carries it. Go to this page and scan down to “thermos filtercone”:

    It is $10.25 plus shipping.

    For backcountry (backpacking), I drink tea. Vastly simpler, lighter, and a used teabag is just dead leaves and paper, which can safely be burned in a campfire.

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