Your tent can turn any old plot of dirt into a house, but it's the fresh cup of joe on a chilly morning that makes it a home. It is, indeed, possible to brew coffee so top-quality that it may even rival your at-home ritual, all thanks to the camping technology of the 21st century. French presses, pour overs, and percolators adapted to the great outdoors ensure that no coffee-loving camper has to wake up to meager freeze-dried grounds ever again.
Let's say you're pretty old school when it comes to your coffee and you prefer not to let the machine do all the work for you, per se, but rather to plunge it yourself. Enter: The camping French press.
While you probably wouldn't pack a stainless steel jug along on a multi-day hike, Planetary Design makes one that would look great on the breakfast table at your next frontcountry campsite. It comes in 38 and 42 ounces—adequate for a group—and features a dual filtering system for the cleanest cup of aromatic joe.
Another that's not necessarily fit for hiking with, but perfect for RVing or pitching up in a national park is the popular Coleman QuikPot. This mini coffeemaker—much like the one that's probably sitting on your kitchen counter at home—is widely known in the outdoor community. It brews the drip coffee you're used to (up to 10 cups of it, too!) by 16.4-ounce propane cylinders rather than electricity. It comes with a glass pot, but a sturdier stainless steel carafe option is also available.
Camping equipment can degenerate pretty quickly, depending on the conditions, but titanium is a different story. Snow Peak's French press is light enough to pack on a hiking trip, weighing only 6.3 ounces, while also being all but bullet-proof, too. It can make up to 24 ounces of java per brew, which errs on the side of luxury in the backcountry (aside from the part where you have to clean up the grounds, that is).
Percolators and camping have gone hand-in-hand since the first tent was ever pitched, it seems. GSI Outdoors makes a version of the classic stovetop coffee maker that comes in an array of sizes ranging from eight to 36 cups. Solo hikers and entire families of campers alike can enjoy the ultra-rugged beauty of this corrosion-resistant, marine-grade stainless steel machine.
For hikers who make weight a priority, this could be the lightest option of all. A mesh coffee filter that weighs in under an ounce is all that stands between a cup of real, fresh coffee and instant. The MSR Mugmate Coffee Filter is wildly simple and it's conveniently small, too. It caters to an individual cup, so you can make as many as needed for the whole group. Just pour boiling water over the grounds, scoop them out, and repeat the process for each person.