How to Make Coffee While Boondocking

Good news my java-loving friends!  You do NOT have to give up your coffee for van camping, boondocking or gypsy living. (Living-simply doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything you love, but you may have to be a little creative about it.)

For making our coffee while van camping, we wanted something we could use on the propane campstove (instead of another gadget to carry around).


Our two-burner propane campstove

First, we debated getting a stainless steel percolator style coffee pot.  Something like this (picture below):

coffee pot

Percolator Style Coffee Pot for Van Camping

Benefits to this coffee pot: you can also use it to heat water for other uses and you don’t need coffee filters.

Making coffee with it is pretty simple:

  1. Add water to the coffee pot
  2. Add coffee to the filter container (the basket on the stem)
  3. Place the stem/container inside the coffee pot
  4. Place the lid securely on the pot
  5. Place the pot on the camp stove (or camp fire, or burner, or whatever you’re using).
  6. Once it starts to boil/percolate, turn the heat to the lowest setting that will still keep the coffee percolating.  Let it percolate 7-10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee
  7. Remove coffee pot from heat and enjoy

On negative (which is ultimately why we decided against this method of making coffee), is that you do have to pay attention to the coffee a bit as it brews.  It is possible to burn or overcook the coffee.  Since we aren’t fully awake until after coffee, having to pay attention to it while it brews wasn’t an enjoyable option for us.

So instead, we decided to use a French press to make our van camping coffee.  It’s a bit simpler even than the coffee percolator, and you don’t risk burning the coffee.


To make coffee with a french press:

  1. heat water (I use a tea kettle)
  2. place the desired amount of coffee in the bottom of the French press
  3. add the boiling water
  4. cover by adding the lid (but do not press the handle down yet)
  5. let sit for the desired amount of time, depending on how strong you like your coffee(4 minutes is the generally recommended time)
  6. press the handle slowly down (this strains the coffee through the mesh filter and pushes the grounds to the bottom of the coffee pot)
  7. enjoy

To clean it – just empty out the used grounds.

Note:  If you’re someone who prefers to have a fancy coffee mixed drink each morning, this probably won’t work for you.  Your best bet will be to find places to van camp or boondock near a coffee shop!

As for us – hubby drinks his coffee black.  I like mine mixed with cocoa, almond milk and raw honey (my version of a mocha).

I do have to say that there’s nothing quite as amazingly peaceful as waking up naturally (without an alarm clock) in your cozy van, then enjoying a cup of coffee in the quiet of nature.  I hope you get to experience that decadence yourself soon!

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