For coffee drinkers, camping can be brutal. Should you drive somewhere to find coffee in the morning? Do you make instant coffee to avoid bringing extra gear? Do you bring a french press from home? Even if you are car camping and weight is not an issue, it can be a pain to get coffee ready for everyone who wants it. That is why it is so important to bring the best camping coffee filter you can find.
So if you are like me, and you like a nice, hot, fresh cup of coffee when you wake up in the morning, then I recommend the GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip.
The GSI Collapsible Java Drip is the best camping coffee filter because of its size and versatility.
As the name suggests, this coffee filter collapses. When packed away, it is only 1 inch tall and 5.6 inches wide, and it weighs in at 4.8 ounces. When you are ready to use it, just remove the lid, then pop up the silicon drip cone and add a coffee filter.
Important Note: You will need to buy size #4 paper filters to go inside
Next, put in coffee, place on top of your mug, and add hot water (I recommend the MSR Windburner for heating water). When the water finishes draining out as coffee, you can remove the coffee filter and rinse the Java Drip, and repack it into your gear. That’s it! You have hot fresh coffee with very little work.
There is admittedly some waste associated with this coffee system. In addition to your biodegradable coffee grounds, there is paper waste with the paper filter. The paper filter is burnable, and hopefully biodegradable, so hopefully that reduces the impact of waste.
A few features that are very nice, aside from the already mentioned size:
Inexpensive (only $13, and most other camping coffee filters cost over $20)
Bottom is wide with a ring to fit mugs or wide mouth bottles (like a Nalgene) and prevent spills
Plastic and silicone don’t hold heat, which prevents possible burns
Easy to clean
Use any coffee you like, not limited to instant coffee options
Quickly reuseable for an entire group
No glass (some parks do not allow glass, which many french presses are made out of)
Paper filters produce better coffee than metal filters (personal opinion)
Flat design easily tucks into outside pockets of backpacks, making it easy to find
I previously used a GSI Outdoors “Commuter Javapress Coffee Mug,” and it was not bad, but it also was not as good as the “Collapsible Java Drip.” The Javapress took up more room (problematic when backpacking), and was somewhat difficult to clean. Perhaps more importantly, the Javapress didn’t make as good of coffee. The metal filter allowed some small particles through, making the coffee a little grittier. Also, I haven’t mastered the proper amount of time to let the coffee seep, then the speed to press it, which means that my coffee varied in strength.
Some friends have bought french presses specifically for camping, but they have some of the same issues. While they are plastic instead of glass, then still take up a lot of space and can be difficult to clean. You can’t really pack anything inside, because you will get coffee grounds or residue all over.
The Collapsible Java Drip avoided those issues because gravity pulls the water through the paper filter, then you can remove paper filter with all of the coffee grounds quickly and easily. When you are finished, simply give it a quick rinse, shake it dry, then collapse and put the lid on. There is no residue after the paper filter is removed, and even if there is, the lid keeps it contained.
The simplicity, size, and ability to brew great tasting coffee is why I recommend the GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip as the best camping coffee filter I have found.