How to Make Coffee While Backpacking: A Guide for Adventure-Seekers

Coffee is an essential part of many people’s daily routine, including backpackers. Whether you are embarking on a multi-day hiking adventure or simply exploring the great outdoors, there’s no reason to compromise on your caffeine fix. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some clever methods to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while backpacking without sacrificing taste or convenience.

Gear Essentials

Before we delve into the brewing techniques, let’s start by ensuring you have all the necessary equipment for making coffee on the go. Here are some gear essentials every backpacker should consider:

Coffee Beans and Grinder:

Invest in high-quality whole coffee beans and grind them before your trip or opt for pre-ground alternatives if weight is a concern.

Durable Coffee Filter:

Choose a reusable coffee filter made from stainless steel or fabric that can withstand outdoor conditions.

Liquid Container:

Carry a lightweight and leak-proof container to hold water during your journey; collapsible options provide convenience when space is limited.

Portable Stove with Fuel:

A compact camping stove equipped with sufficient fuel will ensure you can heat water quickly whenever needed.

Brewing Methods

The Traditional Method – Cowboy Coffee:

1. Heat water in your pot over the portable stove until it reaches boiling point.
2. Add coarsely ground coffee directly into the pot (roughly 2 tablespoons per cup).
3. Stir briefly and let it simmer for around 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat source.
5. Allow grounds to settle for a couple of minutes.
6. Slowly pour off the brewed coffee avoiding disturbing any sediment at the bottom.
7. Enjoy your rustic cup of coffee!

The French Press Hack:

1. Boil water using your portable stove.
2. Add coarsely ground coffee (approximately 1 tablespoon per cup) into the French press.
3. Pour hot water over the grounds until the press is half full, then stir gently.
4. Let it steep for about 3-5 minutes, depending on desired strength.
5. Slowly push down the plunger to separate coffee grounds from liquid.
6. Pour and savor your flavorful coffee.

Pour Over Perfection:

1. Bring water to a boil with your portable stove or use previously boiled water if available.
2. Place a paper filter inside your pour-over cone and set it atop your mug or thermos flask.
3. Add medium-ground coffee (around 1-2 tablespoons per cup) into the filter-lined cone.
4. Gently pour hot water in circular motions over the grounds, allowing it to drip through gradually while maintaining consistency in speed and volume of pouring; repeat this process until you reach desired quantity and strength of brew.
5. Remove the filter-filled cone once brewing completes, sip mindfully, and relish every drop.

Cleanup Tips

Proper cleanup not only helps maintain cleanliness but also ensures longevity of your gear:

Disposal Considerations:

Dispose of used grounds by scattering them away from trails or disposing them in designated waste bins as appropriate.

Rinsing Utensils:

Use minimal amounts of biodegradable soap to clean utensils like filters, pots, mugs, etc., ensuring environmental friendliness.


Now that you have learned various methods for making delicious coffee while backpacking, there’s no need to miss out on enjoying a comforting cup even in the midst of nature. Experiment with these techniques, discover your personal preference, and let the aroma of freshly brewed coffee enhance your backpacking experiences. Remember to respect nature by practicing Leave No Trace principles throughout your journey!