Brewing In The Wild – 5 Adventure Coffee Tips

Making Coffee When Camping
Lightweight bicycle touring and bikepacking is a unique way to discover new countries and new challenges. A personal challenge I frequently encounter is the art of finding quality 'fuel' — in the form of good food and drink.

At home, I strive to make the perfect cup of coffee to kick-start my day's adventures. Camping in back-and-beyond locations makes that more of a challenge. It is still possible though, and with my experience of trying to create a good coffee in many wild locations, these are my five top tips…

1. Water Storage

Water quality is a key component of good coffee. When you are touring or bikepacking I suggest making at least one of your water bottles a stainless steel carrier.

Plastic bicycle bottles are easier to drink from on-the-go, but they will often leave water tainted, especially if you are collecting it the night before a camp.

I recommend the range from 24Bottles  >> Read my review here <<

Jetboil Coffee

2. Boiling Methods

I use a JetBoil MiniMo Cooking System when I am travelling. The titanium pan is lightweight, and it doesn't taint the water like some silicone kettles.

It can be tempting to use your water as soon as it reaches boiling point, in a bid to save your stove's fuel. However you will find that if you leave the pan bubbling for 1-2 minutes then it will be thoroughly heated to the highest possible temperature, and this helps to achieve a better brew.


3. AeroPress

My favourite method for making quality coffee in the wild is the simple AeroPress Coffee Maker. The unit retails for just £30, and is effectively a simple syringe-like espresso maker.

You fit a paper filter (make sure you keep these dry), then add the coffee to the chamber, pour in hot water, stir, and then plunge. The result is consistently good coffee, and minimal weight to carry.

Admittedly you do need to take a mug with you, rather than being able to drink from pan when making Cowboy Coffee, but with a lightweight insulated titanium mug (I have one from Nordisk), it is really more of just a pannier space penalty, rather than any substantial weight.

A top trick with the AeroPress coffee whilst camping, is to boil the water, pour a little onto the coffee grounds in the chamber; return the pan to the heat for 10-15 seconds to keep it hot, whilst letting the grounds seep for the time. Then, fill up the chamber to the desired number of cups, stir, and plunge.

AeroPress Coffee - Workshop Coffee

4. Cowboy Coffee

The simplest fresh coffee solution when you are in the wild is 'Cowboy Coffee'. This is when you place the ground coffee directly in the pan of boiling water, and leave it on a rolling boil for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The obvious downside of Cowboy Coffee is that it inevitably ends up being a bit granular, because there is no filter involved. The way to better this is to not pour the coffee out of the pan into your mug too soon, but instead leave the pan off the heat to cool for 4-5 minutes after boiling (you can't drink boiling water anyway). Leaving the pan to stand allows the coffee grounds to settle, so fewer make it into your cup, or mouth if you drink directly from the pan.

5. Pour-Over Filter Funnel Coffee

A pour-over filter makes a cleaner coffee than Cowboy Coffee, and is ideal if you are making larger cups for several people.

Boil the water well in a kettle, and pour a little onto the grounds in the filter paper; just wetting them so that it creates a solid base at the bottom of the filter; leave to stand for 20 seconds. Then, with freshly heated water, gradually pour water into the funnel so that it filters through the coffee grounds.

When camping, or outdoors, it can pay to fill the funnel with water to a higher level than you might at home; this pushes the water through the coffee grounds faster due to the added water pressure; it therefore speeds up the process, so you are less likely to get cold coffee. 

Coffee When Sailing

Freshly Brewed

Hopefully these tips and advice on coffee brewing methods will allow you to get satisfactorily caffeinated at the start of your next adventure day.

As for my recommendation on coffee beans for wild brewing, I am a huge fan of my Workshop Coffee subscription; it brings a surprise burst of flavour to your titanium mug every time you open a new origin bag of beans. 

Wild Coffee


  1. Nice essay . I gotta have my cup of Joe in morning too .
    I usually use the pour over method because it is quick
    but you are right . It's has to be done correctly or your
    brew will be cold and tasteless . Cowboy coffee ain't bad
    if you use a mesh tea strainer while pouring into cups .
    Thanks . I gotta take a look at JET-BOIL prices . Thanks

    1. The new JetBoil Flash is a great piece of kit


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