We make badass backpacking meals. So why are we talking about coffee? Basically, because we love it. We even add coffee to our Dark Chocolate meal flavor. But, more importantly, the average 8 oz cup of coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine which can give you an awesome energy boost on the trail. A hot cup can also be a huge comfort and savory addition to your backpacking meal plan.
Like most backpacking food, your coffee will be limited mainly by means of preparation. ie - you can’t pack out your beloved Keurig for an easy cup of joe.
Let's go over the main coffee options on the trail. Keep in mind it has to be light and easy to prepare… and taste good.
The most popular option. Quality can vary with price. But, these just-add-hot-water packs are the easiest and lightest way to get your coffee fix on the trail. Jiva Cubes are a natural alternative to the crystals.
I find that the french press makes the most quality cup of coffee. French press is the messiest and heaviest option though. The actual press has to fit the cup perfectly too. This means you usually need to buy the cup and press together as a set. Combined they should weigh about 7 oz. We recommend titanium metal.
Drip Cones (with a disposable filter).
Makes a good tasting cup of coffee. Set this cone on top of your cup or mug. Add a regular disposable paper filter. Add coffee grounds. Pour on hot water and let it drip into the cup. Don’t forget to pack out the paper filter. The cone should weigh about 2.5 oz. We recommend plastic material.
Same as the drip cone except without the trash. You will, however, have to clean out the filter instead of just throwing it away.
Cowboy Coffee (aka ‘mud’).
What do you do when you are backpacking with coffee grounds and no filter? Cowboy it! Pour the grounds directly into your cup or mug and just add hot water. You can drink the grounds or filter them out with your teeth. Definitely a stronger brew.
By Chris Cage
Chris launched Greenbelly Meals in 2014 after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. Since then, Greenbelly has been written up by everyone from Backpacker Magazine and Bicycling Magazine to Fast Company and Science Alert. He recently wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe.