Whether you’re camping in Yosemite, the Ozarks, or the Adirondacks, coffee is a must! While you may go camping in order to “get off the grid” our bodies still crave the caffeine levels they’re used to. It doesn’t matter whether your activity is hiking, white water rafting, or just hanging out. Starting your day with a french press coffee ensures you’ll have the energy levels needed to attack the day.
Unsure the best way to get your coffee fix while in the wild? While instant coffee can work, it also tends to taste terrible. Remember trying the instant coffee in your last hotel room? Also, lugging your daily-driver espresso machine to the woods is probably not going to happen. That drip coffee machine you have to plug in to the wall? Forget it. For most coffee and outdoor enthusiasts, the french press is going to be the best balance between portability and maintaining a good coffee taste.
You may be wondering “aren’t most french press coffee makers made out of glass?” The answer is yes, but there are alternatives. In this article, we’ll highlight the best french press for camping. These are usually made from lighter and more durable materials, and won’t weigh you down on the trail.
French Press for Camping – Top Picks
Snow Peak Cafe Press Filter
The best french press for camping that we’ve found is the Snow Peak Cafe Press Filter. This is a single-walled titanium french press that will stand up to the rigors of hiking and camping without fear of a shatter. The reason it’s our #1 pick is because of its weight. At only 6.3 ounces, the Snow Peak Cafe Press Filter will not weigh down your pack when traversing peaks or just walking to your campsite. Many other french press for camping picks come in much heavier than this one!
Other than its weight advantage, it has features that will be familiar to any regular french press user. Snow Peak claims it is a 3-cup maker, but in real world testing we found it to be closer to 2 cups. You can boil water directly in the french press, which is an added convenience. It does come in a bit higher than other french presses at $50-60, but we think it’s worth it for the hardcore outdoors-person. If that’s not you, read on!
French Press for Outdoor Activities -The New Kids on the Block
One of the newest and most unique products to enter the camping french press market is the KOHIPRESS. It looks similar to both french press mugs and portable espresso machines, but is neither!
The KOHIPRESS is a flashlight-shaped french press with a great design. It is completely insulated and keeps coffee warm for hours. The genius of the KOHIPRESS is that it completely contains the coffee grounds within itself and does not leak. You use the item as a normal french press, but reviewers note its ability to stay “on-the-go” before you’ve dumped out the coffee grounds.
One important note for campers is that KOHIPRESS is on the heavier side at 12 ounces. While this is lighter than most, it still does not touch the Snow Peak press. That said, its slim design makes it easier to pack in backpacks or suitcases than nearly any other french press out there. Also, it is definitely designed for a single person to use, as it holds only 12 ounces of coffee at a time. This may not be the best fit for a large group!
Espro 5116C-18BK Ultralight Coffee Press
While the name doesn’t roll off the tongue, the Espro 5116C-18BK Ultralight Coffee Press is a well-designed french press. It’s been made for camping or your next travel adventure!
The first thing you’ll notice about this Espro french press is its striking and minimalist design. It looks very nice and sports multiple color schemes. We especially like the matte green – it will certainly stand out among other french presses.
Unlike an Aeropress, this machine does not require paper filters, which can be a drag to carry along. It has two mesh filters built into the press, so it’s well-suited for finely ground coffee if that’s your preference. We like the Espro’s design overall. It is double insulated and will keep coffee warm for hours, just like the other machines will.
Most importantly, the weight! The Espro comes in at 9.8 ounces, which is much lighter than almost every other french press on this list. It does not yet match the Snow Peak, but there’s a reason they’re #1 for camping. That said, the Espro is a great choice and has the best appearance of any french press on this list.
GSI Outdoors – 30 Fl Oz JavaPress
Another solid french press for camping is the GSI Outdoors JavaPress. This item is made from a material that GSI calls “copolyester.” From what we can tell, it’s similar to plastic. Another feature we love is that the JavaPress comes with a cloth sleeve. This helps keep the coffee warm (or cold, in the case of cold brew) and ensures you won’t burn your hand. Also, the weight is fairly low at around 10 ounces. This doesn’t beat the Snow Peak, but it’s still much lighter than most other french presses that are aimed at the camping market.
The JavaPress is also a useful partner for business or personal travel, not just camping. If you’re like us, you hate hotel coffee! This is a good solution as it packs well in a suitcase. If you have it with you, all you need are beans and a water heater.
One downside of the JavaPress is that unlike the Snow Peak Cafe Press, you can’t heat the water inside it. You must heat water in a separate container before mixing the coffee grounds and water.
French Press for Camping – The Contenders
Now that we’ve covered the top two, let’s get to the next round of french press coffee makers. We’ll be covering french presses that are not as light, but are still a suitable option for a camping trip.
In the Hunt – The OXO BREW Venture Travel French Press
This is one of the cheapest options, coming in around $20 with free Prime shipping. We love the fact that it holds 4 cups of coffee, and the Tritan carafe ensures no shattered glass in your pack. Tritan is one of the strongest BPA-free plastics available, and is also microwave safe!
We like the overall feel of the OXO BREW. While it is not a luxury product, it feels sturdy considering the price point. The added detail of a window to see how much coffee is left was a good design touch as well. Also, the plunger features a silicon gasket which makes it much easier to clean than other camping french presses.
The most important thing hikers and campers will want to know is the weight of this device. It comes in at a fairly light 15.2 ounces with the attachable handle. One of the absolute best features campers should consider is that the handle comes apart, saving you space and weight. Without the handle, it weighs a little over 8 ounces, which is a big weight saving!
A Solid Option – BonJour Coffee Unbreakable Plastic French Press
Another Tritan plastic option is the BonJour Coffee Unbreakable Plastic French Press. It is similar to the OXO BREW in that it’s made of plastic and has a peek-in window to see how much coffee is left. It’s also microwave safe!
Unfortunately, the plastic handle is not removable, which can be advantageous for long thru-hikes. The french press is well constructed, and we feel confident it will hold up during camping or travel. On a recent trip to Peru, this french press held up during beach camping and being hauled in a backpack.
Most importantly for ultralight hikers, this french press comes in at 8 ounces in weight. While we don’t love the fact that the handle doesn’t come off, the low weight is still appreciated. Another thing to note is that reviewers recommended NOT microwaving this french press. The plastic is known to turn cloudy and we don’t feel comfortable recommending that practice.
Buy it For Life – Stanley Stay Hot French Press
Stanley is a beloved brand among outdoorsmen and women and their french press is similar. Weighing in at a whopping 1.15 lbs, the Stanley Classic Stay Hot French Press will either be a great or terrible fit, depending on your needs. The weight will immediately disqualify it from some shoppers’ list, and we understand! If you’re not as picky about the weight you bring camping, it may be a great option.
Built from naturally BPA-free stainless steel, this is one of the only french presses that truly qualifies as “buy-it-for-life.” Since it is so durable, it will last for many years. Many Reddit users proudly display their Stanley products from the 1950s and 1960s, and even recent products should last as long as previous ones.
In addition to its massive durability, the Stanley also holds more coffee than nearly every other french press we’ve reviewed. At 48 ounces of capacity, you can brew enough coffee for your entire campsite in one go. This can be convenient, especially if you’re relying on a slow burner to heat the water.
One downside we found was that it does not keep the coffee warm as long as other french presses. If you’re a quick coffee drinker like us, this won’t be an issue! We recommend this product for anyone who wants an outdoor-ready french press that will last decades.