Coffee in the Backcountry

Photo credit:  Meghan Young, @missmeghanyoung

I unzipped my tent door at the base of Vesper Peak last fall to a thick fog and crisp breeze.  Nothing sounded better than a hot cup of coffee!

Whether you’re an avid day hiker or multi-night backpacking enthusiast, I hope these coffee brewing ideas help you to enjoy the best cup of coffee in the backcountry!

1.  AeroPress.

I love my jetboil stove paired with the AeroPress to make coffee on day and overnight backpacking trips!   It’s the best.  First, I grind my beans to a coarse grind the morning I leave for my trip so it’s fresh!  Then, I store my coffee in a small talenti ice cream container, and bring an extra empty one for the used coffee.  The AeroPress is my favorite because it’s lightweight and makes a flavorful cup of strong coffee!


Boil 8oz water with your Jetboil stove.  If using a percolator to heat water, don’t forget your locking pot support attachment.    Put together your AeroPress and pour a drizzle of hot water onto the filter.  I like to use one scoop of coffee into the AeroPress and then pour hot water to the “4” line.  Stir for 15-20 seconds, fill the AeroPress up to the “4” again, then plunge the coffee through slowly.  Enjoy your cup of coffee with one of these energy bars!

AeroPress coffee at Mount Pilchuck, Washington

For easy clean up, plunge the coffee grounds into your talenti garbage cup.  Then, put the AeroPress back together and store in a gallon zip lock baggie until next time.  Always leave no trace!

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Percolated coffee at first light on Mount Pilchuck, Washington

2.  Vintage Percolator.

My other favorite method of making a strong cup of coffee in the backcountry is with a vintage percolator and my Jetboil Mighty-Mo stove or a Jetboil Flash with a locking pot support attachment.  These stoves have incredible simmer capabilities which is important to not burn the coffee!  You can find a percolators at thrift stores, antique shops, and garage sales.  I’ve found my favorite ones at estate sales!

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Percolated coffee at Blanca Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Fill up your percolator half way with water.  Put a filter through the center of the post and add 1-2 scoops of coarse ground coffee to the basket.  More scoops, stronger coffee.  Turn on your Jetboil stove and heat the water.  Once you begin to see the coffee bubble at the top, turn down the stove to keep it at a slow boil.  You want to see the coffee bubble every few seconds, but not more than that.  If your bubbles are rolling, the water is too hot.  Let the coffee percolate 4-6 minutes and enjoy!

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Percolated coffee above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park
Morning coffee at Colchuck Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

3.  Jetboil Coffee Press

Another way to make coffee on a hike is the Jetboil coffee press!  This attachment to your Jetboil stove makes a classic French Press style cup of coffee.  Perfect for those frozen winter hikes and chilly alpine mornings!

Jetboil Coffee Press & Seattle Skyline Views from Mount Si, Washington
Jetboil Coffee Press at Blue Lake, North Cascades National Park
Morning coffee with the golden larches, Blue Lake, North Cascades National Park

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