Winter is gone. Spring is here. It’s time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Being outside is a way of life in our part of the state. We have thousands of miles of hiking trails, fast-flowing waterways perfect for boating, trout waters galore, and some of the best mountain biking in North Carolina. Last month, we wrote one of what will be many trail guides featuring the Headwaters Hub at Warrior Creek.
The best way to really immerse yourself in nature is by camping. If you are local to Winston-Salem or Wilkes, you have almost countless camping options within just a short drive. The mountains should be calling you. Even if you’re not quite as close as our Anchor locations, there’s a quiet place near you beckoning you to come to get away from the noise, rest, and recharge.
There are a lot of ways to muddle through making coffee while camping, but there are a few ways to do it right. That’s what we’re talking about in this article.
The Materials You Need to Do Coffee Right While Camping
To do coffee right while camping, you need the right materials. Here is a breakdown of what you’ll need for the coffee while camping:
French Press: Per Blue Bottle:
“French press coffee is dense and heavy, yet it has its own sort of elegance. As with any method, the devil is in the details: To achieve a full expression of the coffee, decant it immediately after brewing, so it doesn’t become bitter or chalky. Then, sink into this rich and heady cup. It only takes four minutes to brew.”
Brewing your coffee via french press will ensure that you have one of the best coffee experiences. Many french press systems can be heavy, so this may not be the method of choice for backpacking. However, if you’re camping relatively close to your car, bringing your french press along is a great idea.
In addition to the French Press, you’ll need to bring:
- All parts of the french press
- Something in which to heat water
- A grinder or ground coffee
- A scale
AeroPress: From AeroPress’ website:
“A rapid brewing process extracts the most flavor from your beans, giving you more rich, pure-tasting coffee with no grit, no bitterness, and less acidity.”
The AeroPress method of brewing is similar to that of a French Press. However, the setup is much more convenient for packing in a backpack, and they are lighter than most french presses. If this is your method of choice, make sure you remember to bring:
- The plunger
- The chamber
- The filter cup
- AeroPress-specific paper filters
- The scoop
- The stirrer
- The funnel
- A cup
- A grinder or ground coffee
- A heat source
- A scale
Pour Over: Per a previous article on our site:
“When going up against a coffee maker, pour over brings out flavors that may be missing in a coffee maker. Coffee makers run hot water through a chamber and straight into the pot. This does not allow the coffee to brew thoroughly and can result in under extraction.”
You can bring your V60 or Kalita Wave along fairly easily in a backpack; however, you will want to make sure you have something like a kettle with a spout to pour slowly and evenly. Additionally, remember to bring:
- Your V60 or Kalita filters
- A decanter or mug to catch the pour over
- A kettle with a spout
- A heat source
- A grinder (or ground coffee)
- A scale
If you’re going to do coffee the right way while camping, you need freshly ground coffee.
Forgetting your burr grinder would be a camping coffee disaster. Porlex makes high-quality burr grinders that are about as portable as it gets. You can throw your Porlex in your backpack and have great coffee anywhere.
These grinders might be a little heavier than Porlex, but you’re not going to beat the finished product. Also, you can count on one of these lasting many camping trips.
Alternatively, you can have your local coffee shop grind your camping coffee. Make sure they grind it for the specific method you’re using. Honestly, though, where’s the fun in not grinding your coffee in your camping spot?
The Heat Source
For a fast and convenient way to heat up water for coffee, you can’t beat the JetBoil.
“Blistering boil times come standard on the Flash personal cooking system, the ultimate camping stove for preparing coffee, soup, or dehydrated meals on the trail.”
For an ultra-compact, lightweight, backpack-friendly stove, Snow Peak’s Giga Power stove works great and comes in at a lower price point than the JetBoil.
If you really want the full experience (or you forgot your fuel), just use the heat from your campfire. As long as the water is hot enough, the coffee will be awesome.
The stainless steel Anchor travel tumbler looks awesome and travels well. It’s going to keep your coffee warm or cold brew cold for hours, even in the toughest camping conditions. The tumbler is easy to pack and tough. Even if you drop it out on the trail, it’s not going to break, and you might not even lose your coffee.
The Process for Doing Coffee Right While Camping
We’re not going to go into a full breakdown of each method of brewing in this article. We have written brew guides previously:
The AeroPress is the most involved camping coffee system, so you will definitely want to familiarize yourself with the process. You can use our guide above, print instructions here, and/or watch the process on AeroPress’ website.
Imbed Stumptown Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmjPjZZRhNQ
Make sure you set your grind setting to medium-fine. You’ll grind 17 grams of coffee and use 220 grams of water per cup. You’ll need to make sure you have a water source or bring enough water to wash out the grounds. AeroPress coffee makers require specific filters, so don’t forget to buy or order them for your trip.
While this method might require the most equipment, a pour over in the woods by the river is hard to beat. Your grind setting will vary slightly from coffee to coffee, but generally, medium-fine will do. You’ll use a 1:16 ration of 25 grams of coffee to 400 grams of water. We have linked to a pour over guide above. Watch the video below for insight into your pour over camping vibes:
If this is your method of choice, all you need to remember to bring is the french press itself, the coffee, and something to drink it with. However, it is vital to remember to grind your coffee coarsely. You’ll use a 1:13 ration of about 30 grams of coffee to 400 grams of water.
A full guide is posted above.
There are some specialty instant coffee options that are great for camping.
Of course, part of doing coffee right while camping is the experience of brewing it. Here are some great coffee options for your next adventure:
The Right Coffee to Drink While Camping
“The Koke is an incredible coffee that we have carried in our store and online since 2015. With flavor notes of peach, blueberry, coconut, and black tea, this coffee is a rich experience that we would love to share with you! Our master roaster carefully and meticulously roasts each batch with consistency in mind, ensuring the best cup of coffee possible from this origin.” You can find Koke online or in our cafes.
“This coffee is full of tart flavors, reminiscent of a blueberry pie topped with cinnamon sugar. It has an incredibly creamy body and is very sweet, both indicative of the black honey process used by Mario on this coffee.” You can find Monte in our locations or buy it online.
“Developed as a house blend, this blend of Brazilian, Central American, and African coffees tastes great black, as espresso, or with milk and sugar.” You can find this coffee in either location or online.
The Right Places to Make Coffee While Camping
You can enjoy a great cup of coffee anywhere, but here are some of our favorite camping locations.
Doughton Park Campground | Laurel Springs, NC
- Doughton Park is surrounded by 30 miles of hiking trails.
- Doughton Park is accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Stone Mountain is accessible from Doughton Park via hiking/backpacking trails.
- Doughton Park has cabins and tent sites available.
- The views at Doughton Park are wild.
Linville Gorge Wilderness | Marion, NC
- True wilderness camping and backpacking are available.
- There are few places as wild as the gorge.
- This area is known as North Carolina’s “Grand Canyon.”
Julian Price Campground | Blowing Rock, NC
- Julian Price Campground is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- There are countless miles of hiking trails near Junial Price Campground.
- You can bring to rent paddleboards, canoes, or paddle boats to use in Price Lake.
- There are some awesome waterfalls near the campground.
Hanging Rock State Park | Danbury, NC
- The campground is just a few miles from the amazing Moores Springs mountain biking trails.
- Hanging Rock is a great place for climbing.
- Hanging Rock is likely to be a little warmer than campgrounds higher in the mountains.
- Hanging Rock is relatively close to Winston-Salem and the Triad.
Other fun camping areas include, but are hardly limited to:
- Pilot Mountian State Park
- Stone Mountain State Park
- Linville Falls Campground
- Grandfather Mountain
- Kerr Scott Lake
- Lake James
- South Mountain State Park
- The Nantahala Gorge Area
- Grayson Highlands State Park
- Elk Knob
- So much more
Before you hit the trail, make sure you stock up on your coffee. You can stop by our locations in Winston-Salem or North Wilkesboro or shop online.