Camping during fire restrictions does not mean that you forfeit your cup of Joe. A bit of planning and packing a few essentials can save you a great deal of trouble. Here are 6 ways to make coffee while camping without fire.
1. Use a Battery-operated Coffee Maker
Battery-operated drip coffee makers are handy when camping without fire or on job sites. When choosing a coffee maker that uses a battery, you want to check for compatibility with your battery as you may need to use an adapter and the number of cups it can brew at full capacity.
You may also want to check its portability and the size of the cup that can fit under the coffee outlet. Travel mugs are unlikely to fit in most portable lithium-ion coffee makers, so be sure to pack a regular or short cup.
My best pick is the Makita Lithium-ion cordless coffee maker that brews up to three 5oz cups of coffee using a 5.0 Ah LXT battery charge before the battery runs out. It brews a cup of coffee in four minutes which is quite impressive. It is compact and weighs about 1.4 Kg which is awesome for camping.
It comes with a reusable filter but is also compatible with paper filters. Other components include a coffee scoop, a cup with a lid, and a remover water tank.
Makita Lithium-ion cordless coffee maker can use either a CXT battery or an 18 volts LXT battery.
What I Like about Makita Battery-operated Coffee Maker
You can use the 18V LXT battery of your Makita drill with Makita ADP05 LXT Lithium-ion cordless USB charger to charge your mobile phone and other USB devices. This charger has two USB ports and it’s only compatible with Makita batteries.
And when the battery runs out, you can charge it using your car battery.
This is a Milwaukee and Dewalt compatible coffee maker. If you already have a Milwaukee 18V or Dewalt 20V battery, you can use an adapter that will make your battery work with this Makita coffee maker and other Makita tools that you have.
Simply insert the adapter in the Makita coffee maker and then place the Milwaukee or Dewalt battery on the adapter and voila, make your coffee.
What I Don’t Like
Neither the battery nor a charger is included with this brewer. However, your drill’s battery or adapt your Dewalt or Milwaukee Lithium-ion batteries as we have discussed above.
See the Makita coffee maker in action here plus how to use the USB charger.
2. Use a Flameless Cooker
Flameless cookers are usually permissible during fire bans as they do not produce sparks. They use heat packs to heat up your food or drink without fire, electricity, or gas.
The Magic Cook traveling cup is a superb choice to warm some water for making coffee. It can heat the water up to 203°F which is perfect for coffee or tea.
It comes with an outer plastic cup where you put water and a heat pack and a smaller stainless steel cup where you put the water or drink that you want to heat up.
Be sure to insert the metallic cup into the plastic cup upon adding water and the heat pack to avoid the loss of energy. Also, replace the cover on the metallic cup.
It takes about 5-8 minutes to reach the maximum temperature and if the drink is left inside the cup, it can stay warm for up to 30 minutes.
After heating the water, make your coffee using the method of your choice. You can use pour-over coffee makers or simply brew your coffee using a hassle-free tea infuser.
See my post about brewing coffee with tea infusers.
You can also use a flameless cooker in your car, especially for truck drivers, or even in a school dormitory. The heat packs are single-use but you can buy refill packs.
3. Make Cold Brew Coffee
Make a cold brew at the camp as all you need is filtered water, a container with a lid, and coarsely ground coffee. A coffee ratio of 1:6 for ground coffee to water will yield a strong cold brew.
The only drawback to a cold brew is that it needs a minimum of 12 hours to brew so you may want to brew it a day or so in advance.
Most people prefer using a French press for a cold brew as it has an in-built metallic filter but you can use any container including a mason jar with a lid.
Alternatively, pack a bottle of cold brew concentrate and dilute it with cold water at the camp. Adding hot water to the cold concentrate will make hot coffee.
4. AeroPress Coffee Without a Fire
The AeroPress does not need hot water to brew coffee. It can make a cold brew in under 3 minutes using room temperature water or cold water.
This tiny brewer makes espresso-style coffee and the kicker is that it uses a paper filter to keep the bad oils out of your cup. You can also use a metallic disc filter. You can make up to four cups of coffee in one AeroPress brew cycle which can take as little as a minute.
If you can access some hot water, for example using a battery-operated kettle, you can brew hot coffee with the AeroPress without a fire.
If you would like to add some frothed milk to coffee when camping without a frother, this article explains simple ways to foam milk when you don’t have a milk frother.
5. Use a Portable Espresso Maker that Uses Hand Pump Pressure
Did you know that you can make superb espressos while camping without a fire? Portable espresso coffee makers use a manual pump to force hot water through ground coffee to make flavorful espressos.
You need hot water above 193°F so you may want to pair a flameless cooker or a battery kettle boiler with a portable espresso maker.
My best choice of a portable espresso maker is the Staresso Portable Espresso Machine which is compatible with both ground coffee and Nespresso coffee pods. It is portable, lightweight, and has a maximum capacity of 80ml of water and about a half-ounce of ground coffee.
The Staresso Portable Espresso Machine is also great for frothing milk or creamer for your latte and is easy to clean.
See the Staresso in action here
Although fire bans are probably the main reason for camping without fire, a rapid change of weather can also ruin your chances of making a fire. When planning for camping, you may want to consider such eventualities.
Fire restrictions do not mean a total ban on fire. Some liquid gas stoves and fires such as butane and propane gas stoves may be permissible as they are easy to put out and they do not burn out of control.
When planning to go camping, be sure to check with the forest service or the fire department in your county about the types of fires that are permitted.
Here are a few items that you can consider packing as part of your backup plan just in case you can not use fire while camping.
- Pack roasted coffee beans as you may not get roasting options without a fire. You can also consider grinding the coffee if you do not have a portable hand grinder. If you find yourself at the campsite without a grinder but you have a blender on-site, you can follow our guide about grinding coffee in a food processor or blender.
- A car battery-operated kettle boiler. Carry a quality battery kettle boiler that is not a fire hazard, especially during the sweltering months.
- A coffee maker that is capable of both cold and hot brewing. Your best choice would be either the AeroPress, French press, or tea ball infusers for coffee. Personally, I consider the AeroPress to be head and shoulders above the rest because of its size and you only need about a minute to brew espresso-style coffee whether cold or hot.
- Flameless heating packs. These innovative packs are a must-have as a backup when camping as they can heat up your refrigerated food as well as heat your water for coffee.
- Instant coffee. Not my cup of coffee, literally! But instinct coffee can save your day when you are not able to make regular coffee while camping. Simply dissolve instant coffee in hot water and it’s ready to drink.
If you are flying to a different state or country for camping, find out how to bring your coffee equipment on the plane.
6. Brew Coffee in Your Mouth
Grinds coffee pouches are superb for caffeinating when you do not have a fire to make regular coffee. They are especially popular with the military as bivouacking is part of their game. The pouches are also popular among baseball players, the police, and some students.
Don’t let fire restrictions or an unforeseen change of weather come between you and your favorite cup of coffee. You can still make coffee while camping without a fire by
- Using a battery-operated coffee maker
- Using a flameless heating pack
- Brewing a cold brew
- Brewing with the AeroPress
- Using a portable pump espresso maker
Be sure to plan ahead and pack a few essentials for making coffee without a fire.
Here is a very interesting read about enamel mugs that you want to read before packing your mug for camping.