CAMPING & HIKING

Camping Coffee Pots: The Best Fresh Brews Over an Open Fire

Camping Coffee Pots
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

There’s nothing better than waking up in nature – birds chirping, clean air, and a complete lack of the busy sounds and hustle of the cities and towns we spend so much time in. The only thing that makes a morning better while camping is a hot, steaming cup of fresh joe. Unfortunately, you probably can’t haul your entire Mr. Coffee into the woods – but camping coffee pots allow you to make a perfect cup of coffee with nothing but an open fire.

Coffee pots or percolaters allow campers to enjoy a nice, hot cup without having to lug around heavy coffee makers. The best camping coffee pot is not just portable but also durable enough for outdoor trips. If this is your first time buying a camping coffee pot, you have come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll go over eight of the best camping coffee pots – their materials, sizes, weights and more, as well as what you need to think about before you decide to buy. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your daily brew out in the woods, desert, tundra, or wherever you decide to go!

Product Name Weight Cup Capacity Material Price
Coleman 12 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator 1 lb12Stainless SteelCheck price on Amazon
Chinook Timberline 6 Cup Percolator 1.1 lb6Stainless SteelCheck price on Amazon
Faberware Yosemite 8 Cup Percolator2.25 lb8Stainless SteelCheck price on Amazon
GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator 2 lb12Stainless SteelCheck price on Amazon
Stansport 9 Cup Percolator1 lb9AluminumCheck price on Amazon
Coletti Bozeman 9 Cup Percolator1.4 lb9Stainless SteelCheck price on Amazon
Wenzel Camp Coffee Pot0.5 lb9AluminumCheck price on Amazon
GSI Outdoors Enameled Steel Percolator 2 lb12Enameled SteelCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

As with any product, it’s important to carefully consider your own specific needs as well as modern quality standards before you buy. In this section, we’ll give you five of the specs that are especially important when shopping for a percolator so that you can get the most out of your money.

Cup Capacity

Our first consideration is probably the most important – and luckily, the ball is totally in your court with this one! All percolators range in their size, and, in the U.S., they rate their capacity by the number of cups of coffee they can brew. This number ranges – a lot. You can find individual-sized coffee pots that make 1 or 2 cups, or monster pots that brew up to 24 or even 36 cups (for medical reasons, we don’t encourage these for individual use).

The products we talk about here are happy medium between these two, somewhere in the 8-12 cup range. When buying a pot, consider how many people you will be brewing for – and make sure to account for those of us who need more than one cup to get going. Second, consider that while 12 cups of coffee is almost always better than 8 in theory, a higher capacity means bigger bulk and more weight. No amount of coffee will compensate for an uncomfortable pack!

Material

Our second consideration is the material of your percolator. There are several bits and pieces to consider here. The pot base is the biggest part of the percolator. It holds all of the water and brewed coffee. Next you have the stem and percolator basket – these are the “inner workings” that hold the grounds and allow for the coffee to actually brew.

Stainless Steel Percolator

The most common materials for these pieces are stainless steel and aluminum. While both are totally food-safe, there are a few key differences. Aluminum is more lightweight, but it is a little weaker and more prone to scratching and denting. Steel is ultra-tough, but it can be heavy. Pay attention to the metal components and how they affect weight and durability – then prioritize based on your activity (for instances, car campers probably want durability first, while backpackers might prioritize lower weights).

The next pieces are the knob and the handles. Knobs on percolators are almost always clear to allow you to see what’s going on in the pot. While both glass and plastic are perfectly fine options, glass is more prone to breaking – and no one wants glass shards in their backpack. Plastic is more prone to scratching, melting, and long-term wear.

Handles also come in several different materials. Wire handles often reduce weight and bulk, but they can conduct heat, especially after a long time in the fire – and no one wants burnt fingers. Plastics and wood laminates like Permawood do not conduct head, but can be bulky and prone to breaking.

Weight

We’ve already mentioned weight a bit, but it’s so important we thought we’d give it its own category. Paying attention to weight isn’t just a good habit for backpackers and hikers – it’s a valuable practice for all types of outdoor adventurers! Even in car camping, weight can play an important role in how you pack, what you pack, and where you go – and, more importantly, it can give you important hints on the quality of the product you’re about to buy.

Stainless Steel Percolator

When looking at the weight in percolators, pay attention to the size, capacity, and material of your potential purchase. Coffee pots with the same material and more capacity are almost always going to be heavier – and if you spot a 12-cup pot that weighs half as much as the 8-cupper, chances are you’ve got a thin, less durable product on your hands. Paying attention to weight can keep you from buying a lower-quality product than expected, and it can save your back, knees, and feet from unnecessary wear out on the trail.

Durability

In line with our talk about weight and material, durability should be a central factor when you’re considering which percolator to purchase. The material of the pot, stem, and basket play the biggest role in the durability of your percolator (with steel being more durable than aluminum), but there are a few other factors to consider as well.

Signs of durability are usually in plain sight. Check out the weight of the pot – does it seem heavier than similarly-sized models? If so, it’s probably thicker and more durable than its counterparts. Look at the construction of the product – seamless designs, kiln-fired steel, and specific metal ratings (like 18/8 or 18/10 stainless) all indicate that you’re probably buying a pretty high-quality and long-lasting product. While some products are able to combine durability and affordability, you’ll get more bang for your buck with an item that lasts than with one that only holds up for a few uses.

Ease of Washing

Our final consideration is mostly a convenience factor, although in some situations, it has a bigger impact. As we’ve explored, all coffee pots are not made equal, and this applies to the way you must wash them, too. Some offer super-easy cleaning options, while some require a little bit more work.

women poring coffee

Percolators that are dishwasher-safe are an obvious pick for those who want a convenient purchase. These pots usually have removable stems and baskets that allow you to dump coffee grounds easily and get a sparkly clean without a whole lot of work – perfect for longer trips where you want to do as much cleaning in the field as possible. Non-dishwasher safe pots may still have these features, but if they don’t, think hard before you buy. If you don’t have access to running water, getting grounds out of a non-removable basket can be a hassle – and in some places, like bear country, it can be a serious issue.

Now that we’ve gone over all you need to think about before you buy (we know, there’s more than you thought), let’s get into the products!

Best Products on Today’s Market

Here are our top eight picks for great camping coffee percolators:

Coleman 12 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator Coleman 12 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 1 lb

Capacity: 12 cups

Specific features: Stainless steel; glass knob top; replaceable knob; corrosion-resistant; flavor-resistant interior

Best use: Backpacking

Description: Coleman is one of the most recognizable and trusted camping gear brands out there – and for good reason. With a reputation for providing affordable, quality gear, the Coleman 12 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator is a perfect addition to the Coleman line.

This large-capacity percolator features a lightweight stainless steel pot, lid, and side handle that heats quickly and percolates the perfect cup every time. Users can view their coffee’s progress through the glass knob top.

This pot offers a lightweight option for backpackers without sacrificing material quality – the steel is both corrosion-resistant and flavor-resistant, meaning no year-old coffee tastes in your next brew. While this model is great for group backpacking, it’s lightweight base is prone to denting – so car campers may opt for a more heavy-duty model.

This is definitely about as classic as you can get as far as camping coffee pots go.

PROS:

  • High capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Heats quickly

CONS:

  • Less durable
  • Metal handle prone to heating

Related: A great cup of coffee is only so great if you have something to drink it out of. Enter the Coleman Enamel Mug, a stainless steel mug with a classic look perfect for a campfire gathering.

Check the price on Amazon

Chinook Timberline 6 Cup Percolator Chinook Timberline 6 Cup Percolator

Price: Approx. $27

Weight: 1.1 lb

Capacity: 6 cups

Specific features: 18/8 stainless steel; plastic knob top; Permawood handle; dishwasher safe; heat insulating design

Best use: Backpacking

Description: The Chinook Timberline 6 Cup Percolator is a go-to choice for individuals or small groups who want home-brewed coffee without, well, being home. This pot features an 18/8 stainless steel pot, stem, and basket that allows for quick heating and corrosion-resistance over many uses.

The handle is insulated with Permawood to allow for easy lifting without extra weight. Finally, the pot is completely dishwasher safe – so cleaning is hassle-free and simple which is definitely a plus for many backpackers or campers.

The biggest perks of this percolator are its weight and affordability. Both backpackers’ backs and wallets are safe with this choice – but it is a little bulkier than some of its more vertically-aligned counterparts. Additionally, the reduced weight is allowed for by a thinner body, which is prone to denting if dropped.

This is a highly-rated percolator that’s definitely worth checking out.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher safe
  • More affordable

CONS:

  • Less durable
  • More bulky

Related: If you love Chinook but don’t love having only 6 cups of coffee, check out the Chinook Canyon 20 Cup Percolator. This percolator holds a whopper 20 cups of coffee and is made of lightweight aluminum – so you don’t have to sacrifice the extra 14-cups worth of weight.

Check the price on Amazon

Faberware Yosemite 8 Cup Percolator Faberware Yosemite 8 Cup Percolator

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 2.25 lb

Capacity: 8 cups

Specific features: Stainless steel; permanent filter basket; dishwasher safe; plastic knob and handle; non-reactive interior material

Best use: Car camping, day trips

Description: Sometimes you want the reliability of your home appliances without being home. The Faberware Yosemite 8 Cup Percolator delivers the durability of home equipment in an outdoors setting with this 8-cup coffee pot.

The stainless steel pot, stem, and basket are resistant to flavor absorption, and all parts can be fully immersed and washed in the dishwasher – although the attached basket makes it a little more difficult to clean than the removable models.

This is a heavy-duty model – and that means it’s a little on the heavy side for backpackers. However, its weight means a ton of extra durability. This is a great option for car campers, day hikers, climbers, and anyone who can handle a few extra pounds in their gear.

Not recommended for lightweight packers but it’s definitely a great option for coffee lovers that need a heavy-duty unit.

PROS:

  • More durable
  • Insulated handle
  • More affordable

CONS:

  • Heavier
  • Harder to wash

Related: If you need a mug to go along with your pot, check out the Faberware Victory Travel Mug. This insulated mug keeps your coffee hot for 8 hours and is made from the same high-quality stainless steel as the Yosemite percolator.

Check the price on Amazon

GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator

Price: Approx. $100

Weight: 2 lb

Capacity: 12 cups

Specific features: 18/8 stainless steel; high capacity; heat-resistant silicone handle; PercView dome; seamless design

Best use: Backpacking, car camping

Description: The GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator is the best of all worlds when it comes to coffee brewing systems. This 18/8 stainless steel pot brews 12 cups of coffee with a fully removable stem and basket.

The corrosion-resistant, thick body is resistant to all types of bumps and drops, and will continue to hold its sleek shape through years of use. Every piece of this product is high-quality – including the PercView dome (made from durable Lexan resin) and the heat-resistant silicone handle.

While this product may be a little more expensive than some of the other options, it’s truly a high-quality buy. The weight, although a little on the heavy side, is proportionate to its capacity, and the material is thick, heat conducting in the right places, and resistant to damage.

This is a highly-recommended product for the outdoor coffee connoisseur, granted that said  connoisseur is willing to shell out the extra cash.

PROS:

  • Very durable
  • High capacity
  • Heat-resistant handle and knob

CONS:

  • More expensive
  • Heavier

Related: For the true coffee freak, pre-ground beans just won’t do. That’s why GSI Outdoors offers the Javamill Coffee Grinder, a lightweight, compact hand grinder for the perfect grind every time.

Check the price on Amazon

Stansport 9 Cup Percolator Stansport 9 Cup Percolator

Price: Approx. $18

Weight: 1 lb

Capacity: 9 cups

Specific features: Polished aluminum; easy pour spout; aluminum top and side handles; classic look; glass knob top

Best use: Backpacking

Description: The Stansport 9 Cup Percolator is a lightweight, simple coffee pot for those who don’t want a lot of bells and whistles. Made from a high-quality polished aluminum, this percolator is able to offer a full 9 cups of coffee without exceeding a pound of weight in the pack. The wire handles fold down for a more compact design, making this the perfect addition to any backpackers’ cookware selection.

While the design of this percolator is made for ease, it’s not made for rough-and-tumble use. The thin aluminum pot and handles are perfect for those looking to cut precious ounces, but they are prone to denting and overheating.

This is a solid option for those who don’t want to spend a ton of money, but still want a lightweight, functional percolator in the back or front country. This is one of the most affordable percolators in this review but it doesn’t mean that it offers less in terms of coffee goodness.

PROS:

  • More affordable
  • Classic appearance
  • Quick heating

CONS:

  • Less durable
  • Handles prone to heating

Related: For areas where open fires aren’t allowed (or you just want an easier time getting your water boiling), take a look at the Stansport Single Burner Propane Stove. This compact burner is the perfect size for your new percolator.

Check the price on Amazon

Coletti Bozeman 9 Cup Percolator Coletti Bozeman 9 Cup Percolator

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 1.4 lb

Capacity: 9 cups

Specific features: 18/8 stainless steel body; glass knob top; includes 20 filters; Permawood handle; dishwasher safe

Best use: Casual backpacking, car camping

Description: The Coletti Bozeman 9 Cup Percolator is named after the rough and tumble town of Bozeman, MT – and it stands up to its name. This 18/8 stainless steel pot is made to be tough, with a Permawood insulated handle, thick base, and removable stem and basket. This model is easy to clean, easy to pack, and easy to use – it even comes with 20 included paper filters for those who want to avoid occasional grounds in their coffee.

The Coletti percolator is great option for car campers as well as casual backpackers who don’t mind a little extra weight. It’s durability means that it will last through a ton of use – and the occasional accident. The price is quite on the higher side but the overall construction and durability more than make up for it.

Definitely a quality buy for campers who are serious about their morning cup o’ joe.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Includes filters
  • Easy to clean

CONS:

  • More expensive
  • Heavier

Related: If you truly want to travel in style, compliment your coffee pot with the Coletti Stainless Steel Coffee Scoop Set. These scoops let you measure out the perfect amount of grind for each cup.

Check the price on Amazon

Wenzel Camp Coffee Pot Wenzel Camp Coffee Pot

Price: Approx. $18

Weight: 0.5 lb

Capacity: 9 cups

Specific features: Aluminum; easy-pour spout; wire top and side handles; glass knob top

Best use: Lightweight backpacking

Description: The Wenzel Camp Coffee Pot is a seriously lightweight, yet surprisingly high-capacity percolator for backpackers who prioritize cutting ounces. This percolator features an aluminum pot, stem, and basket with a thin construction that, while not ultra-sturdy, is super light and quick to heat. The wire handles reduce weight even further and allow for compact packing – perfect for serious trekkers and backpackers.

The lightness, affordability, and compactness of this product make it perfect for those who want a functional way to make a cuppa in the field. However, it’s built for occasional use – not for constant trips that will result to wear and tear. Car campers and casual outdoor enthusiasts may opt for a sturdier model.

This is one of the most budget-friendly coffee pots that you can buy these days and is a great option for backpackers who’s always on-the-go due to its lightweight profile.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Hangable
  • Affordable

CONS:

  • Handles prone to heating
  • Less durable

Related: For more lightweight cookware, check out the Wenzel Deluxe Mess Kit. This kit has all the pots and pans you need to make a full meal over the campfire.

Check the price on Amazon

GSI Outdoors Enameled Steel Percolator GSI Outdoors Enameled Steel Percolator

Price: Approx. $26

Weight: 1.6 lb

Capacity: 12 cups

Specific features: Kiln-hardened steel; three-ply construction; classic appearance; hand-wash only

Best use: Car camping, casual backpacking

Description: The GSI Outdoors Enameled Steel Percolator is another high-quality product from GSI Outdoors that combines style, functionality, and durability. Unlike the other percolators we’ve talked about, this pot features enameled steel which has been kiln-hardened not once, but twice.

This ultra-durable material is sure to keep for a long time without giving way to corrosion, rust, or denting, and the high capacity means that you can keep the whole camp happy for many trips to come.

This coffee pot features a removable stem and basket, but it’s hand-wash only – an inconvenience for some, but well worth the chip-resistant outer shell on this three-ply design. Although it’s a little on the heavy side, car campers won’t be disappointed by its long-lasting quality and affordable price.

This is a heavy-duty, high capacity percolator that is great for car camping or group activities. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s quite on the affordable side.

PROS:

  • Very durable
  • High capacity
  • More affordable

CONS:

  • Heavier

Related: If 12 cups just aren’t enough (or if it’s just too many), try the GSI Outdoors Commuter JavaPress. This single-cup coffee press lets you make a fresh cup without having to percolate the entire pot.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

And there you have it – eight coffee pots perfect for your next camping trip. We’ve given you the tools you need to find the right product for you, as well as our personal favorite suggestions. Whether you’re a caffeine addict or a casual sipper, these percolators offer a way to make the perfect cup anywhere – just add campfire!

coffee set with brown sugar

Do you have a special method for brewing on the trail? Do you use a percolator you love? Tell us about it in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry Mueller

Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

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