Coffee is a backcountry controversy best approached with care. You may lean toward ultralight, stoveless travel while your tent-mate needs her daily cup of java just to function. Perhaps you feel smug about your ability to choke down a tin cup of boiled grounds to save yourself the trouble of bringing a filter, but your partner may never speak to you again if he was expecting a grit-free option. In other words, anyone who travels through the mountains with a caffeine-jonesing companion knows these exact feelings.
Plain and simple, never try to convince coffee lovers they can do without. Luckily, there exists a bevy of useful travel gadgets geared toward producing a quality cup of joe on the trailhead. Be it a set of instant coffee, which requires just a pot of hot water to produce that sweet morning nectar, or a fancy French press, the options for weekend warriors are far from limited. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean each variant boasts a quality suitable for the road. To ensure you pack something that will appease every kind of caffeine lover, we’ve compiled a list of the five best options currently available.
Cowboy coffee requires no gadgets other than a pot. Simply place grounds in water and heat it up — don’t boil, which is certainly hard to avoid on a camp stove — until you have the consistency you want. This method has its adherents but downsides often include bad-tasting coffee and the chores of straining back the grounds and finding a way to dispose of them. If you want the coffee to taste OK, you have to heat it very slowly, so it’s the slowest of the methods we recommend.