How To Use A Camping Coffee Percolator

how to use a camping coffee percolator


Camping and coffee always go perfectly together regardless of the season.

While there are a lot of tea lovers out there, coffee junkies prove that there’s nothing better than starting the morning without a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee.

When you’re out in the woods, brewing coffee may not seem like a good idea.

However, in reality, you can still enjoy the aroma and taste of your favorite morning drink.

All you need to do is invest in a high-quality camping coffee percolator and learn the following steps.

But first, let’s see what a coffee percolator is and how it works.

What Is A Coffee Percolator?

how to use a camping coffee percolator

A coffee percolator is a special instrument that is used to brew coffee by cycling boiling water through coffee grounds until you get delicious, piping hot coffee.

It consists of a small pot with a chamber at the coffee percolator’s bottom. The chamber is the closest part to the source of the heat.

The coffee percolator includes a vertical tube that comes from the chamber to the percolator’s top section. The perforated chamber is below the upper end of the tube.

As soon as you’ve got the parts of the percolator down, the whole brewing process is very simple.

Camping coffee percolators come in a variety of sizes and are made of different materials, and the taste of your coffee will depend on the quality of your percolator and coffee.

The material particularly matters as it determines how thorough and quick your coffee will brew.

The majority of camping coffee percolators are designed using a metal substance. But still, some coffee percolators are more powerful than others.

When choosing your camping coffee percolator, look for the one made out of iron or titanium, as these metals tend to resist extreme heat.

They tend to be more expensive, but these high-quality percolators can serve you for years.

If you’re on a budget, choose a chrome or aluminum camping percolator. It can withstand extreme heat as well.

There are cheap camping coffee percolators, which can’t withstand high temperatures and tend to break easily.

Tin percolators are rare these days, and they are not great for camping.

How To Choose The Best Camping Coffee Percolator

coffee camping percolator

Besides the material, there are a few important things to keep in mind when buying a coffee percolator for camping.

For instance, if you love espresso, look for the percolator that is able to brew espresso.

If you like to brew coffee the traditional way, any simple yet high-quality camping coffee percolator will satisfy your java needs.

If you’re going to camp inside the RV, it might be tempting to buy an electric coffee percolator or just grab the one you have at home.

We don’t recommend you to do it, though.

The thing is, electric coffee percolators aren’t designed for camping and they’re too easy to break in the woods.

Camping percolators are more durable and they can withstand the elements, rigors of packing, and falling.

The size of a camping percolator matters as well. If you have a big family, invest in a big 9 to 12-cup percolator.

If you usually camp alone or with a significant other, a small 3-cup percolator will be enough for two of you.

The design of a camping coffee percolator can impact its size. The majority of camping percolators has a round body shape or are shaped like cylinders.

Percolators shaped like cylinders are easy to transport because you can simply pack them with your supplies and equipment.

Camping coffee percolators with a round body shape are bulkier and harder to transport.

So, if you’re going to go solo trekking and you’re trying to save storage space, it’s recommended to choose a cylinder-shaped percolator.

Additionally, we recommend that you pay attention to the features that a camping coffee percolator offers.

The permanent filter in the percolator’s spout will prevent the grounds from getting into your mug.

There are camping coffee percolators that have the ability to keep the drink warm for a certain length of time.

They might cost more than traditional camping coffee percolators, though. New percolators with new features appear regularly, so keep an eye out for them.

Finally, do your own research and read reviews on different websites before you place your chosen camping coffee percolator in the cart.

Sure, everyone has their own experience when using a certain percolator, but if most reviews are negative or middling, it’s better to avoid buying it.

5 Steps To Brewing Your Java In A Camping Coffee Percolator

Using a camping coffee percolator is quite simple once you get the hang of it, but if you’re going to use it for the first time, some important steps need to be followed.

You’ll need to learn how to measure the ingredients – grounds, water, and any condiments of your choice – by eye, depending on how many servings you and your crew are going to drink.

Start with making a safe wood fire and let the wood burn down to red-hot coals.

Things get easier if you use a camping stove.

Then, follow the steps below to enjoy your morning cup of joe while camping. Of course, you can alter any of these steps, if needed.

1. Fill The Pot Correctly

Not only will overfilling the pot create a mess and ruin your morning, but you can also ruin your coffee percolator.

Before you fill the pot, decide on whether you want the have a whole lot of coffee or just a couple cups.

Look for a “fill line” or any other divider on the inside, if your percolator has any. Most do.

2. Fill The Basket With Coffee

Decide on which coffee you’re going to use – either fresh coarsely ground coffee or regular ground coffee.

If you choose regular ground coffee, you might need to purchase coffee filters.

Make sure those filters fit in your percolator’s basket.

If you opt for fresh coarsely ground coffee, you won’t need any filters. It’s important to solve this problem before your trip.

Depending on how strong you’d like your java to be, fill the basket with your desired amount of coffee.

Generally, 1 to 2 tablespoons per two cups are enough to brew tasty coffee.

The quality of coffee plays its role, as well. Once you add your desired amount of coffee to the basket, place on the basket lid and put the entire basket and tube assembly into your pot.

3. Monitor The Process

using coffee percolator on a fire

Attention is the key to making great coffee while out in the woods.

As soon as you place the percolator on the coals, grate over a fire, or a camping stove, ensure you monitor the whole process.

First of all, watch your coffee boil. Remember it’s not a drip coffee maker. If you make coffee over the fire, it will take a little while before it boils.

Monitor the “bubble spot.” When the water starts to percolate to the top, it means your coffee is about to begin boiling.

When it begins boiling, move the pot off the center of the fire or reduce the flame down if you’re using a camping stove.

Allow your coffee to percolate for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until the color of the water darkens – this means that your coffee is being boiled properly.

Again, pay attention to the “bubble spot.”

4. Remove And Taste

Once you see in the “bubble spot” that your coffee is ready, pour yourself a little bit of it and taste it.

It may take a few brews before you learn how to make an excellent cup.

The instructions of most camping coffee percolators mention the level of strength their percolators have, but you can always alter it.

For instance, if you add a bit more coffee grounds, you will get a stronger drink.

You can also enhance your coffee strength if you boil more water out of it.

The problem is, this type of brewing can spoil the whole taste of your coffee, so be careful and do not overdo it.

5. Enjoy Your Coffee

Once your coffee is ready, grab your favorite mug and enjoy the drink and fresh morning air in the woods.

How To Make Your Camping Coffee Percolator Last Longer

Most camping coffee percolators will serve you for years if you maintain it correctly.

First of all, right after you drink all coffee from the pot, disassemble it and take a few minutes to clean your percolator thoroughly – especially if you don’t use filters.

After cleaning it with water, give it enough time to dry before your next brew.

Place your percolator in a safe place to prevent it from falling.

Even though it’s not an electric coffee maker, it still can crack.

Do You Recommend Any Special Coffee Camping Gear?

planetary design french press

Lately, I have been using my Double Shot French Press Travel Mug, which is a high-quality mug with a built-in french press.

This allows me to quickly and easily make coffee using just my mug (and hot water), so I can enjoy high-quality coffee all day.

It is incredibly durable and helps keep my coffee warm all day, even when I am winter camping, so I can truly enjoy it while camping or hiking in the great outdoors.

This is a great option, and I highly recommend picking one of these up.


Many campers pack instant coffee in their camping bags.

While instant coffee can be a great alternative when you’re out in the woods, nothing can replace the taste and aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

With a camping coffee percolator, it’s easy to make your own coffee no matter where you go.

Of course, it might take some time and effort before you learn how to use a camping coffee percolator, but it will save a lot of mornings down the road.

Thank you for reading this guide on how to use a camping coffee percolator. Have a wonderful time in the great outdoors!