There's very little that comes close to crawling out of your tent to the smell of rich, freshly brewed coffee. To make this a reality, you'll need an outdoor-friendly coffee maker, such as a percolator. At the same time, cooking resources tend to be limited in the great outdoors, so you must ensure you find the ideal percolator for camping that's as efficient as possible and tailored to your needs.
How Does a Percolator Work?
Percolating coffee is a traditional brewing method that's probably familiar to most coffee drinkers. The science behind it is fairly simple. First, boiling water is added to the bottom of the kettle and a tube is then secured inside it. As the water boils, it moves up the tube and trickles down on a basket mounted around halfway down the shaft. The basket holds the ground coffee, which emits its signature flavor and aroma as the boiling water runs through. Subsequently, the water pours down to the bottom, repeating the cycle until there's nothing left but a used filter and your delicious, delicious coffee.
The lightweight, compact design is well suited for camping. It's simple with no frills and offers optimal functionality. There are a few types of percolators, but your ideal choice depends on whether you're tent camping or RV camping.
A stovetop percolator is probably what comes to mind when you think about outdoor coffee brewing. These percolators don't have an internal heating mechanism and need to be placed on an electric stove or a camping stove to heat the water. The key thing to consider is stovetop percolators have to be watched over to make sure the coffee brews properly since over-boiling releases bitterness in the coffee.
An electric percolator relies on electrical power to brew the coffee, making it suited to RV camping as the vehicles typically have an electrical source. Additionally, electric coffee percolators stop the brewing process automatically when the coffee is perfect. That means you'll normally make a consistent brew without necessarily watching it over.
Now let's get our favorite picks for the best percolating for camping:
1. Coletti 'Bozeman' Camping Coffee Pot
- NO ALUMINUM OR PLASTIC. Our stainless steel camping coffee makers are toxin free. Essential camp kitchen equipment with hardwood handle,...
- BONUS - FILTERS INCLUDED. We include a pack of medical grade filters. Not required for operation, but these keep finely-ground beans out of...
- COMBAT TOUGH - VETERAN OWNED. This rugged camp coffee pot is engineered for the outdoors. Take it anywhere. Period. Made by men who...
- EASIEST WAY TO MAKE CAMP COFFEE. A camp coffee pot is simple, efficient, & classic. When you want something strong, and it’s too early for...
- LIFETIME REPLACEMENT GUARANTEE. Top materials & workmanship enable a superb promise. Shop with confidence. This is the last camping...
The Coletti "Bozeman" is an elegant stainless steel percolator that comes with a glass top. It's built to produce nine cups of great coffee in one round, making it a relatively large percolator. It also features a sturdy and ergonomic handle to complement the rugged design, allowing it to withstand hot flames and other harsh environments.
The interior is designed to retain the rich natural taste of coffee. Unfortunately, since it produces relatively more coffee, it's fairly heavy. That could be a dealbreaker for people strictly avoiding heavy objects, but it's well worth bringing along this percolator if you can accommodate it. In addition, this percolator is dishwasher-safe and can also be manually washed with ease.
It's worth noting that this portable coffee maker doesn't come with a filler basket, so you will have to bring filter bags.
2. Faberware Classic Yosemite 8-Cup Percolator
- Classic coffee maker: Make delicious coffee morning or evening with The Original 8-Cup Farberware Stovetop Percolator
- Durable and convenient: Heavy-duty stainless steel coffee maker is polished to a mirror finish. The sturdy, clear glass knob lets you know...
- No mess: Features a permanent filter basket, so there’s no need to deal with messy coffee filters
- Dishwasher safe: Fully immersible and dishwasher safe, the percolator combines technology with the styling and quality Farberware has...
The Faberware Classic Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator comes in a simple yet appealing design. It's made from durable stainless steel, so you'll definitely use it for years before the need to replace it. Furthermore, the stainless steel build allows you to use it in camping environments without shattering or breaking.
This portable coffee maker comes with a filter basket, so you don't have to worry about changing filter bags frequently. It produces around eight cups of coffee in a single around. More so, the interior is made from non-reactive material to preserve your coffee's original taste.
This percolator is dishwasher-safe and also easy to clean manually. On top of being a great apparatus for camping coffee, it's also quite affordable. On the flip side, the lid's plastic knob can melt, plus it produces coffee relatively slowly.
3. GSI Glacier Camping Coffee Percolator
- STAY CAFFEINATED: Coffee? Always! The Glacier stainless percolator coffee maker helps you attain your caffeine needs and is great for use on...
- A SIGHT TO SEE: Watch your coffee brew for precision cook-time through the percolator’s PercView glass dome. We believe that coffee...
- STURDY STRUCTURE: Built from Glacier Stainless steel, this 3 Ibs 7 oz percolator is resistant to corrosion and will withstand ground impacts
- BETTER-TASTING COFFEE: No cowboy coffee here! This percolator’s stainless-steel construction ensures your coffee can taste just like it...
- LIFETIME PROMISE: GSI Outdoors spent over 30 years building quality, performance products and stands behind them 100%. GSI Outdoors...
The GSI Outdoors Glacier is undoubtedly one of the best coffee makers you can get for great camping coffee. It's made of heavy-duty stainless steel, so you can use it in any type of environment comfortably. This coffee maker features a mirror-like polished appearance for a stylish and elegant finish.
The preview knob allows you to test the brew strength, so you can always make your coffee exactly the way you like it. This superb percolator for camping comes with an inner filter basket, meaning you don't need paper filters. Despite the durable build, it only weighs one pound, making it easy to carry around.
Like most top coffee makers, the GSI Glacier comes backed by a full manufacturer's guarantee for your money's worth. Unfortunately, the clear plastic knob isn't as solid as most campers would prefer.
4. Primula Today 9-Cup Coffee Percolator
- Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for...
- BETTER BREWING - Primula’s 9-cup Coffee Percolator is compact, easy to use, and delivers nine (9) cups of rich, smooth Coffee in one pot....
- EASY TO USE- Simply fill the lower chamber with water, Fill the filter with ground coffee, and place on stovetop. Within minutes, delicious,...
- SIMPLISTIC, CLASSIC DESIGN – Carefully crafted with aluminum. Provides thorough and even heat distribution for enhanced flavor and aroma....
- SAVES YOU MONEY- Enjoy the craft coffee experience from the convenience of your home at a fraction of the price. Make quality coffee...
The Primula Today 9-Cup is a relatively large coffee maker with its capacity, meaning it's relatively heavy. That being said, the aluminum build still ensures it's fairly lightweight and durable. It also features a clear round knob on top of the lid to allow you to keep track of the brewing process and an ergonomic handle to make it more user-friendly.
This coffee maker works with virtually all heat sources apart from induction. The design is also simple and rustic to add to the user-friendliness. It's certainly one of the more nifty options featured on this list.
On the downside, the interior stains right from the first use, gradually taking longer to boil water. It's also prone to leaks at the bottom, which can be frustrating if you find that out way too late into your trip.
5. Stanley Cool Grip Camp Percolator
- GREAT COFFEE: Our stainless-steel percolator coffee pot delivers six cups of hot, fresh coffee at your home or campsite The interior...
- EASY TO CLEAN: Don't waste time on your adventure worrying about cleaning your supplies Stanley percolators are 100% dishwater safe and the...
- LIGHTWEIGHT: This stovetop coffee maker is lightweight and easy to carry when traveling, hiking, or camping This camp cookware enhances your...
- COOL GRIP: Whether preparing over an open flame or stovetop, our silicone handle maintains a safe temperature to prevent burns when grabbing...
The Stanley Cool Grip is perfect for brewing coffee during group camps, where quantity reigns over aesthetics. It sports a rather plain appearance, but it's made of strong stainless steel for durability. However, the material also adds to its weight, making it fairly heavy, but you get a large capacity.
The ergonomic handle has a rubber middle part for a solid grip. Nevertheless, the handle appears to protrude too far out, thus reducing its compactness. In addition, the handle is not adequately tight, so gripping it can feel a bit uncomfortable.
More on the drawbacks, the lid doesn't close fully, so your coffee might spill occasionally. Furthermore, the plastic knob on the lids slips off too easily, which seems to be a problem with most coffee makers. But all in all, this percolator is still a good choice if you want to drink coffee and enjoy a camping morning with your mates.
What is Coffee Blooming?
What to Look for in the Best Camping Coffee Pot
1. Size & Capacity
The bigger the coffee pot, the more cumbersome it will be to take on long trips where space is limited. If you're a large camping group, it's probably necessary to look into nine-cup or more pots - 12- or 16 cup options. If it's a smaller group, say four or less, you can easily get away with a smaller coffee maker. If it's just you, there are several single brew options that can save you a ton of space. The goal is to get a percolator that produces enough coffee for everyone in a single round.
Camping isn't as neat and user-friendly as the kitchen. It's important to ensure your percolator can withstand different weather conditions, being placed directly on a flame and hard surfaces. That's only achievable if your coffee maker is made of durable hard material.
There are three main materials that make up most percolators:
- Stainless steel - An 18/8 stainless steel is the most common material for percolators since it's incredibly durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. More so, it doesn't scratch or dent easily.
- Enameled steel - Enamel is kiln-hardened severally to provide insulation to keep the exterior cooler while the interior heats up. However, enameled steel isn't too popular for a camping coffee maker since it's not as sturdy as stainless steel.
- Aluminum - It's not as common for camping coffee makers since it's not as durable as stainless steel. As much as aluminum can be fortified, it still tends to show wear faster.
You might be lured into buying a glass percolator, but it won't thrive in a camping environment since it can easily break.
Obviously, items that pass the camping test have to be highly portable. Whether you're backpacking, tent camping, RV camping or car packing plays into how much space you have to accommodate your coffee pot. Also, keep in mind that most percolators for camping are designed to have you heat water elsewhere, so you'll also need a small separate pot or kettle that you can use to boil water.
It's impractical to expect a percolator to match the speed of making instant coffee without affecting the flavor. That being said, it also doesn't mean that you have to wait for ages to enjoy your coffee. Look out for the brewing speed on the package to ensure you'll always be drinking coffee in just a few minutes.
5. Price and Warranty
A percolator for camping varies vastly in cost, so it's worth considering how frequently you'll use the pot and how particular you are about your coffee. As such, it's also worth keeping in mind that you might have to spend on the higher end to get a durable, high-quality percolator coffee maker.
It's also important to look out for a coffee pot that comes with a warranty. One, it's a guarantee of the quality of the product. Second, it also ensures that you can get a replacement if your percolator is damaged within the window.
Coffee Blooming in a Nutshell
In simple terms, coffee blooming is when you pour a tiny amount of water over coffee grounds and then let it sit for a short time before you continue the brewing process. It's a really quick and easy step that makes a significant difference to your coffee. This is mostly applicable to people who'll opt for French presses or pour-overs to brew coffee.
The process is simple. Lightly and evenly dampen the coffee grounds, then let them bubble and rise (bloom i.e) for about 30 seconds as they release carbon dioxide. Next, pour in the rest of the water.
The underlying reason is that carbon dioxide yields a sour taste in coffee and also acts as a barrier between the water and coffee ground. Therefore, clearing the pent-up carbon dioxide allows you to extract your grounds more thoroughly and prevents sourness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Portable Coffee Makers
1. What is the ideal grind size?
Every kind of coffee maker has its ideal grind size to get better tasting results. Percolators brew best with coarse-ground coffee beans.
2. Should I pre-rinse the paper filters?
If it's of no inconvenience to you, it's definitely worth pre-rinsing paper coffee filters, notably the cheaper ones. It results in purer flavorful coffee because it eliminates any potential "papery" taste. In some cases, the change is barely noticeable and it's a significant upgrade in others.
To pre-rinse paper coffee filters, pour hot water through the filter and allows the water to drain before scooping in your coffee grounds.
3. What else can I use a portable coffee maker for?
A percolator coffee maker isn't just meant to brew coffee. You can also use it for:
- Boiling water for tea
- Hot cider
- Heating soup
- Heating water for boiled hot dogs
Image Source: flickr.com