The Best Methods for Brewing Camp Coffee

The Best Methods for Brewing Camp Coffee

You’re ready for a week full of camping, hiking, and a lot of sunshine. You have your tent, food, and gear packed. Then someone asks, “what are we doing about coffee?” and the room grows quiet.  There’s no better way to start the day in nature than with an awesome cup of coffee. You’ve tried many methods before but still haven’t found a winner yet. Most outdoor coffee solutions are single-cup solutions that take way too much time to brew cup-by-cup to satisfy your camp family and friends.  And most off-grid brewing methods produce gritty or bitter coffee.

Since the 1800s people have brewed their camp coffee in a percolator, so it’s got to be great, right? Despite its durability and large brewing size, the percolator can cause your coffee to taste bitter. Since percolator brewing requires the water/coffee in the lower chamber to boil, it almost always brews at a temperature that’s way too high. Cleaning up the clunky interior metal grinds chamber is even harder to clean than a French Press. They say when it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but there are better options for brewing your coffee while camping. In this article, we’ll cover four popular camp coffee brewing methods and what our favorite is. 


One popular camp coffee brewing method is with the AeroPress. The AeroPress brews rich, espresso style coffee with reduced acidity and bitterness. While the AeroPress is durable, and portable but is composed of multiple parts to keep track of. It has a limited capacity of approximately 8 ounces per press, so makes one cup at a time. It’s relatively quick and can brew a cup in under a minute. If espresso is your thing, then the AeroPress is your tool.

French Press

The French Press method addresses some of the issues found in the Aeropress—it can brew up to 4 cups of coffee and requires limited preparation. However, the French Press is very difficult to clean, most are made of glass and requires significant storage space. The French Press is for patient coffee drinkers who don’t mind a big clean-up. If you’re a French Press person, you may want to give the Classic Stay Hot French Press by Stanley a go. It’s made of stainless steel and keeps coffee hot for up to 4 hours.

Instant Coffee

This next method is the most controversial—instant coffee. Okay, you save a lot of time by just having to add hot water. But instant coffee loses much of the rich flavor and smoothness that you get from other brewing methods. Oftentimes, instant coffee crystals are too sweet. But all you need is hot water and a packet of instant coffee. So if you’re in a rush, or you’re just lazy, this is your method. From Nescafe to Cafe Bustelo and Maxwell House, you’ll find instant coffee online and in your local supermarket.  

Pour Over Coffee

Okay, you’re not so fond of the over-extracted taste of a campfire percolator, and you can’t handle the bitter, grittiness of cowboy coffee. You don’t want the complicated process or hassle of cleaning the outdoor espresso shot makers and you definitely won’t be settling for instant coffee. The best way to make camp coffee is with the pour over method. Pour over coffee makers deliver barista-quality coffee, are easy to clean and use and give you more control over the brewing process. The smooth taste of pour over coffee is unmatched, and if you’re willing to spend a little more time, you’ll get a lot more flavor. 

The downside is that many pour over coffee makers only make one cup at a time, like the AeroPress. Fortunately, Big Joe created an extra large pour over coffee maker that brews up to 75 ounces of coffee at a time, directly into your favorite thermal carafe. This direct brewing ensures the coffee stays piping hot, most carafes keep coffee hot for up to 12 hours. Made with food-safe, BPA-free, recyclable plastic, the Big Joe Coffee Maker is not only environmentally conscious, but bigger, more durable, and faster than other pour overs on the market. 

How to Brew a Full Pot of Delicious Coffee While Camping

Making the perfect pot of camp coffee has never been easier. In just 7 steps, you can make a half-gallon of perfect coffeehouse pour over coffee right at your campsite. 

What You Need

  1. The normal the table stakes – good, clean water, a heat source and a kettle for boiling it
  2. The Big Joe® Extra Large Pour Over Coffee Maker with bleach-free, compostable and bio-degradable paper filters
  3. A thermal carafe, like the versatile DrinkTanks® Growler that keeps coffee piping hot for 12 hours.
  4. Your favorite coffee grounds (or beans and a grinder). We like the convenience of pre-measured and pre-ground nitro-flushed coffee such as La Colombe’s Corsica filter-grind coffee packets.  

Full Pot Instructions

  1. Boil a kettle of 64 oz. of fresh water on a traditional campfire or your campin/RV stove. 
    1. Water should be around 205F degrees Fahrenheit to extract the best flavor from the coffee. Once it boils (212F degrees), let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool off to the 205F range.
  2. Place the Big Joe® Coffee Maker on top of your 64 oz. DrinkTanks® Growler and insert an Extra Large Coffee Filter.
  3. Add your own favorite coffee grounds or the 3 oz. package of La Colombe’s Corsica dark roast coffee into the filter.
  4. Pour the hot water in a circle to evenly wet the grounds then pause, allowing the coffee “to bloom” for 20 to 30 seconds. This releases gasses from the coffee.
  5. Pour the remaining water in even circles. Depending on the amount of coffee being brewed, you may need to refill the Big Joe® with water 2 or 3 times as it drains.
    1. With 64 ounces of water, you should only be pouring for around 3 minutes.
  6. Wait for all the water to drain from Big Joe® Coffee Maker (another minute or two) before removing it from your DrinkTanks® Growler. Put the cap on tightly and give it a small shake (top to bottom). This ensures the brewed coffee is not stronger at the bottom of the thermos and lighter at the top.
  7. Dump out the filter of spent grounds and give Big Joe® a quick rinse out. You’re finished! 

Now, all that’s left to do is share your delicious camp coffee with friends and enjoy your morning in the great outdoors.

Why Big Joe®?

The Big Joe® Coffee Maker is the first portable large batch pour over maker. It’s lightweight, durable, and provides the fastest way to make multiple cups of smooth, delicious pour over coffee. No longer worry about breaking your glass coffee maker or brewing your coffee one cup at a time. Made entirely of food-safe, BPA-free, recyclable plastic and is dishwasher safe. Bleach-free, compostable and biodegradable paper filters ensure the maximum flavor is extracted from your coffee. 

Why DrinkTanks®?

The DrinkTanks® Growler keeps your drinks at the proper temperature and first-pour fresh no matter where the day takes you. Built with passivated steel, you can use the DrinkTanks Growler to keep the coffee hot in the morning and your favorite beverages cold at night without any transfer of residual flavors. 

Why La Colombe?

La Colombe’s full-bodied and flavorful Corsica blend comes ready to go in convenient 3oz packets and delivers a half-gallon of the world’s best coffee. You can skip the grinder and scale and go straight to brewing. It’s a coffee blend you know and love, with deep, dark chocolate tones and a bold coffee flavor. Corsica’s cocoa notes pair beautifully with milk or stand alone, making it the perfect filter coffee for a fulfilling morning cup. 

Please note that Big Joe receives a small commission from sales of certain items linked in this article.

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