How to Use a Camping Coffee Pot: 8 Easy Steps

If you are a fan of the outdoors, you no longer have to worry about where you’ll get your cup of coffee the next time you go on a camping trip. For those who can’t do without a morning cup of joe, you’d be happy to know that it is possible to brew up strong and steamy coffee as soon as you get up from your sleeping bag. You only need a standard coffee percolator, a hotbed of coal, and a few ounces of your preferred coffee to roast and get you on your way. Before you know it, you’ll be reveling in a hot and refreshing mug of coffee to start your day on a high. The following steps give a detailed explanation of how to use a camping coffee pot.

To use a camping coffee pot properly, you should first prepare the percolator. To do that, fill the coffee pot with water, add some coffee, place the basket in the percolator and close the lid. Then, start brewing your coffee; put the coffee pot on the fire, let the water heat up and once it is ready – remove it from the fire.

Prepare The Percolator For Usage

1. Pour Some Water Into Your Coffee Pot

Start by opening the container and removing the brewing basket. If you’ve brought some water from home – pour it inside the pot, it is safe to drink.

On the other hand, water from natural sources, such as lakes and rivers, should be treated with extra cautious. I will elaborate on that matter later on.

Usually, you should see a filling line inside – you may use it if you like. What I typically do is filling my drinking cup and pouring its content into the pot. This way I know how many cups I will get once the coffee is ready.

If you do it like this, consider adding a little more than your regular cup – some of the water would naturally evaporate as the boiling goes.

2. Put in Your Favorite Coffee

If you’ve brought your favorite kind of coffee from home – that would be the time to use it. Do the same trick as you did with the water – pour the same ratio as you usually do back home.

Keep in mind that the grind level matters. Since the baskets usually feature little pores, your coffee may slip away if it is too thin.

I will discuss this topic more deeply later on, although in general, the grind should be medium-coarse. In a case you are used to instant coffee – don’t use a coffee pot.

This kind of coffee has to meet the boiled water right away – you shouldn’t expose it to a low temperature, as you do in the process described in this article.

3. Place The Basket in The Percolator

Once you’ve filled the basket with the desired amount of coffee, place it inside the percolator. When you do it, you will see that the water level elevates.

That is okay, although you should keep an eye and see if it passes the line drawn inside the pot. If it does, you may consider removing a little bit of water – otherwise, it might boil over.

4. Seal The Lid

Once everything is ready to go – place the lid on the top of the percolator. Some models feature a better secure once you twist it a little on top – you should hear the familiar click.

It is essential to secure the lid since boiled water tent to roar and might move it. In this case, water could quickly exit the percolator and spoil your flame.

Brew Your Coffee

5. Put The Coffee Pot on The Fire

You’ve already built a campfire, and now it is time to use it. You may place the percolator directly upon the fire – the steel should be able to resist the heat.

Another trick is to hang it above the fire. Not all models provide this option since it requires a bucket handle. If your one does – you could use a rope and hang it between two trees.

If you aren’t familiar with any knots – take a look on an article I’ve written regarding 15 essential camping knots that would make your life in the wild much easier.

If you’ve chosen to go with the first approach, make sure that the percolator stands still to avoid disasters. You may try to shake it a little at the beginning to test its steadiness.

6. Wait For a Little

The time you should wait now differs and relies on two things – the amount of water you’ve put in the percolator and the heat your campfire produces.

Usually, it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes – a little more than you typically wait until a kettle gets the job done. The difference here is that the heat is not direct and spreads to other directions.

You should know it’s about to be ready once you hear the roaring sound of boiling water. At this point, I suggest you remove the lid and take a close look at your coffee.

If you notice the dark color you are used to – it’s probably ready. If the water seems pale, it suggests the temperature isn’t high enough to mix the coffee, and you should wait a while longer.

If you were worried your water wasn’t entirely clean – you should know that most bacteria get killed once you boil the water for at least two minutes. Therefore, if you feel uncertain – let the water boil a little longer.

7. Remove The Pot From The Bonfire

When all the details suggest the coffee is ready – you may remove it from the heat source. Still, you should do it carefully since the handle is probably hot as well.

Pick yourself a cloth and use it as oven gloves – you may even use your shirt for that matter. Also, if your bonfire is broad, make sure you approach it from the right direction – don’t expose your hands to the heat.

8. Pour Yourself Some Coffee

Congratulations, your coffee is ready! Pick your cup and pour yourself some of the delicious beverage you’ve made by yourself in the wild.

Make sure that you use a cup which is durable and doesn’t melt when exposed to heat. Once you are done – take a little walk and find a sweet spot under the sky. Enjoy!

How Long do You Percolate Coffee on a Campfire?

Ideally, brewing should last around five minutes for a campfire percolator. This is enough time for the coffee to achieve its peak flavor without getting overheated. Be sure to remove the basket with the used grounds before pouring yourself a cup.

Building a bonfire with a sustained and robust flame is essential for boiling water. For that, I suggest that you read my article on how to make a campfire burn all night.

This way you will get yourself warm for a couple of hours and may enjoy a hot cup of coffee more than once with the same flame.

Believe it or not, you could also build a campfire in the rain and even light wet firewood – make sure that you read these two articles before going on a damp adventure.

Does Camp Coffee Contain Caffeine?

Camp coffee is naturally caffeine-free, and drinking it can be a lovely way of reducing your caffeine intake. 

Regular coffee is made using beans that are ground and brewed. Generally, a cup of coffee comprises 95 mg of caffeine, although this may vary depending on many factors.

How do You Take Coffee With You When Camping?

So you have your favorite type of coffee at home, and you wish to bring it to your campsite. It may sound easy at first, although the outdoor conditions are different than what you are used to.

Here are several tips that would help you to take some coffee when camping without ruining it.

A Plastic Container

You could use a simple launch box to bring along your favorite coffee. Carrying the original packet may be too heavy, and you might have to measure the exact amount you are planning to use.

Still, you have got to make sure that the container features the right conditions. Make sure there aren’t any holes in it and that it is entirely sealed – you would like to avoid moisture as much as possible.

For the same reason, you have to ensure that the plastic box is completely dry after you’ve washed it. Leave it in the open air even when it seems dry – just for a couple of minutes.

Sandwiches Plastic Bags

The advantage here is that the bag won’t occupy as much as space as the plastic container would. Still, plastic bags are much more vulnerable and could easily tear.

For that, you must place it at the bottom of your backpack – if possible, put it in its side pockets. Also, I suggest that you use two bags, one inside the other, so you get extra protection.

Keep The Coffee From Your Hotel Room

Even though it may sound cheap, that trick did serve me ones on my trip to Europe. Many times grocery stores are hard to find, and there is a good chance you will be running out of coffee at some point.

The little coffee bags hotels usually offer are convenient and impressively sealed. Personally, I’ve packed it for a couple of days in my backpack, and they haven’t popped up.

You could also buy the coffee bags upfront – frankly, it doesn’t really matter.

How to Keep Coffee Grounds Out of The Percolator?

Normally, coffee grounds shouldn’t be found in your percolator, since you are using a special filter to keep them together. Still, many times you taste these annoying little things when the coffee is finally ready.

The most common reason for that to happen is when you grind the coffee beans too thin. If they are too tiny, the coffee grounds could easily slip out of the filter’s pores and ruin your sip. 

When you buy them, make sure that you ask a medium-coarse so that the filter could get the job done. Another reason why that might happen is when you do not wash the percolator, nor the filter properly. 

It could be that the grounds are at the right size, although the coffee grounds you feel now are from previous cooks. Make sure that you wash your pot thoroughly, from each possible angle.

How do You Make Coffee in Enamel Coffee Pots?

If your enamel coffee pot features a filter and a basket – the instructions are the same as I’ve shown at the beginning of this article.

Nevertheless, some enamel coffee pots do not feature these, and they are what’s called ‘French drip coffee pots. The management is a little different since both the water and the filter are at separate locations.

First, fill the pot with a sufficient amount of water and leave it to boil above the heat source. Then, take a coffee filter and pour the grounds inside it. 

Again, you should use a medium-coarse grind so that you will get a pure coffee while keeping the beans out.

Hold the filter above your cup with one hand, and pour the boiled water through it. At the beginning pour a little amount just so the grounds get stuck together. 

Once they are wet, you can stream the rest of the water, preferably slowly. Put some sugar and enjoy a lovely cup of coffee.

Is it Safe to Use Water Found Outdoors?

In general yes, although it depends on where you found this water. If your trail features some taps along the way – it is usually purified, and you shouldn’t have any troubles drinking it.

However, it is an entirely different story with standing water, like lakes or puddles. Once it is static, bacteria and other living organisms could easily grow and contaminate your drinking water. 

If you have no choice but to use water outdoors, stick to rivers or relatively large lakes that feature some waves.

If you are not sure whether or not the water is clean, you should take a glance on my article on how long does water need to boil to kill bacteria. Apparently, there are ways to purify water, and they could be easily implemented during a camping adventure.


When you go on your adventure and experience the charms of nature, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on leisure habits such as drinking a steamy cup of coffee in the morning.

When you have no electricity, you should certainly use a coffee pot and a campfire as a heat source. Usually, all you have to do is to build yourself a campfire and pour your favorite amount of water and coffee into the brewing basket.

The process shouldn’t take long, and your coffee would probably be ready in the following five minutes. If you wish to keep the coffee grounds out, you should pay attention to their grind level – preferably medium-coarse.

There are different ways you can take along coffee outdoors and use the water nature has to offer safely – all of them described genuinely above.

I hope my article gave you a better perspective on how to use a camping coffee pot. If you have any question and new ideas – let me know all about them by leaving a comment below!

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