How to Make Coffee In Your Car While Traveling or Camping
Making coffee in your vehicle can save time and for people who work on the road like truckers, saving time means saving money. 12 Volt coffee makers aren’t something you see every day and honestly, they can be hard to find.
I remember my dad had a tiny 12V coffee maker that looks like a small traditional drip coffee maker. It took about an hour to make a warm cup of coffee and it just wasn’t worth making coffee in.
I’ve found what I think are some much better options. If you live in an RV, van, car, are a trucker, or just someone who travels a lot and spends hours in a car these are some of the best ways you can make your own coffee. You don’t have to sacrifice your morning joe just because you are on the go.
If you have a gas stove or burner check out this list of excellent coffee makers for camping, or if you have a generator or a solar set up check out this list of the best small portable coffee makers.
As far as making coffee using the 12V plug in your car there are a few ways you can do it. The first way is by using a small machine that boils water and makes coffee using a pod or K-cup, the second way is to use an electric kettle to boil water, then use a pour over coffee maker to brew in (I’ve found some awesome portable pour over coffee makers for travelers).
The third option is to use a battery-operated coffee maker. It works really well, much better than the old 12V drip coffee makers, and you can charge the battery in your car as you drive. I’ll get into all that later in the article though.
Now, here is my list of the best ways and 12V products for making coffee in your car, RV, van, or truck.
All 12V Appliances Compared
Best 12 Volt Coffee Maker
Best Battery Powered Coffee Maker
Best 12 Volt Kettle
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12 Volt Coffee Maker Reviews and Info
The Aicok 12 volt travel coffee maker is also a battery powered coffee maker. It’s one of the only 12-volt coffee makers on this list that makes coffee from start to finish while plugged into a 12-volt power source. That being said before you use it the first time it does need to be plugged into a wall outlet for 4-5 hours for the first charge.
What makes this a true portable 12-volt coffee maker is it can heat cold water, brew the coffee, and dispense it in one single unit. And it fits in a cup holder, so you can make coffee while driving your car.
It uses Nespresso capsules which are very convenient for travel, and you don’t have to worry about spilling coffee grounds or messing with filters. You can even buy capsule carry cases made specifically for travel.
You can either use the battery of the coffee maker to brew coffee or have it plugged into the wall or a 12 volt outlet. If you use cold water it will take 10 minutes to heat the water and brew your coffee. If you use hot water it can push out an espresso in only 2 minutes.
The way you use it is to first unscrew the bottom and put in the Nespresso capsule, then you replace the lid that is also the cup and flip it over. Remove the top lid and pour in water. When using cold water you press the button for 2 seconds, if you pour in hot water press the button for 5 seconds.
After about 10 minutes it will automatically start pouring coffee into the small cup screwed on in the bottom, so make sure you have replaced that and secured it tightly.
After that, you have a nice hot cup of coffee, its as simple as that. The only part you need to clean is the cup because the 12V coffee maker has a self-cleaning system.
The Aicok Nespresso Travel 12V Coffee Maker is an amazing little coffee maker but it’s only if you like Nespresso and have the budget to buy the pods every time you want coffee. I like the idea of using pods because they require very little clean up and can’t cause as much of a mess as a bag of ground coffee.
Being able to choose between running this with a 12V plug or on the battery alone makes this great for not only travelers and truckers but also camping and backpacking. It’s very light and easy to carry around. With all things considered this is one of the best 12 volt coffee makers, you can buy.
- Battery Powered
- 12 volt powered
- Can plug into a wall outlet
- Everything you need in one unit
- Fits in a cup holder
Makita, as you may or may not know, is a fantastic brand that mostly makes quality power tools. I myself have a Makita drill and so do a lot of people. That’s what makes this next battery powered coffee maker so perfect.
Yes, that’s right, This is a Makita drip coffee maker powered by the same battery that powers their hand tools. What’s even better is this model is it can run off of the 12V or the 18V batteries. This means if you already have Makita power tools you will be able to use this nifty little battery powered coffee maker from the get-go.
What makes this better than the old 12 volt coffee makers is it actually works and it doesn’t take forever either. It can brew a 5 oz cup of coffee in 5 minutes and if you use an 18 volt battery you can make up to 3 cups of coffee on a single charge.
It’s very easy to use and clean as well. There is a permanent drip filter pre-installed so you don’t need to use any paper filters. Just pour the coffee grounds into the front compartment, fill up the removable water reservoir on the top, and start it up.
It will automatically turn off after the water runs out so there are no worries about wasted battery power or damage to the coffee maker.
It’s extremely compact and has a robust carry handle so you can take it with you everywhere. The size of it is also the only downside to this battery powered coffee maker. The area for the much is only 3.5 inches tall. Luckily it comes with a mug made just the right size for the coffee maker, a lid for the mug, and a measuring scoop.
So how will this work when traveling in a car or truck that only has a 12 volt outlet? Well, the good news is Makita makes a battery charger that plugs into a 12 volt plug so you can charge batteries in your vehicle as you drive.
If you don’t already have Makita batteries you can buy 18 volt ones easily.
What I love about the Makita Battery Powered Coffee Maker for travel or camping is you can make coffee fast without having to turn on your car. If you stopped at a campground for the night and want to have breakfast and coffee before you hit the road again you can. And if you keep the battery charged up after using it you could have coffee whenever you want.
It’s fast, makes great coffee, and extremely portable. All things that make it one of the best coffee makers for camping, truck drivers, van living, or travel.
- Battery Powered
- Batteries can be charged in 12V plugin
- Makes coffee fast
- Easy to clean
- No filters needed
- Automatic shut off
- Very Portable
Another way to make coffee with a 12 volt plugin while camping or traveling is to boil water and then use a pour over coffee maker to brew the coffee. A machine just for boiling water is a lot simpler than a one that has to boil water and brew coffee so I think this is a simple easier way to make a great tasting hot cup of coffee.
The Spardar 12 volt water heating cup is better than a standard 12 volt kettle because it can boil water while your driving. It only takes 16 minutes to boil water so when you are getting close to a place to stop just start it up and by the time you stop your car you are ready to brew some coffee.
The way it works is there is a power base that fits into your cup holder. The base has a cable with a 12 volt plug in coming out of it. As a side note if your cup holder is deep don’t let the cable touch the part of the cup that gets hot because it can damage the cable.
The nice thing about the power base being separate is you don’t have to have the cable hanging when you are pouring water, or you can take it out of your car and brew coffee outside.
Another cool feature is an LCD screen by the base where you can control the temperature of the water. You can press a button to keep the water warm, get it to a boil fast, or adjust the temperature. If you brew a lot of coffee you can put it in this and have it stay warm as long as you are in your car.
The body of the 12 volt water heater is stainless steel and food safe. You can even make noodles and boil eggs in this.
So how will this make coffee while camping or traveling? Making pour over coffee is easy and there are even some that are made for travel mugs like the Pour Over Coffee Gator Travel Mug. Just put your coffee grounds directly into the cone, and pour the boiling water from the water heater on it. Boom you have an amazing cup of coffee.
K-cups are nice when traveling because they are easy to store and create no mess when you brew with them. If you want to make K-cup coffee you can use the LEFT+HANS travel size manual K-cup coffee maker.
You place the base over your mug, put the k-cup in, then fill the cylinder above with the hot water. Then you take a plunger and push the water through the k-cup and into the mug. It works awesome and the only clean up is throwing the K-cup away.
So there are ways to make great coffee even when traveling in a car, van, RV, or semi-truck. And you don’t need to wait 30 minutes for it either. 12 Volt water kettles work great and there are lots of ways to brew coffee using boiling water.
- Can be used for more than just coffee
- Boils water quickly
- Can boil water while driving
- Adjustable Temperature
- Fits in a cup holder
The Zerodis 12 volt kettle can take up to a liter of water and boil it in 20 minutes. You won’t be able to use this while driving like the Spardar 12 Volt Water Heating Cup but if you need a lot of hot water to make coffee for a bunch of people than this is the way to go.
It’s made of plastic and automatically cuts the power when the water starts to boil.
Because of the size and style, this is the perfect 12 volt travel kettle for semi-truck drivers, van dwellers, and RVers. You can use the water for coffee, tea, noodles, and more.
There are some great durable portable pour over coffee makers for multiple cups of coffee like the HIC coffee filter cone. or even a stainless steel french press would work well to make lots of coffee while camping or traveling.
- 1 Liter water capacity
- Boils water in 20 minutes
What to Consider
Do you have time to stop?
Some of the brewing methods require you to stop your car so you can brew the coffee or set it up. The only 12 volt coffee maker on this list that you could use while driving (although I don’t recommend it) is the Aicok Nespresso Travel 12V Coffee Maker.
What kind of coffee do you want to use?
There are 3 kinds of coffee you can use with the brewing methods and 12 volt coffee makers on this list. Nespresso pods, K-cups, and drip coffee grounds. Deciding on the kind of coffee you like will almost decide for you when choosing a coffee maker for camping and travel.
You could go all the way and get an incredible battery powered coffee maker like the Makita or you could go the more budget-friendly route and buy a 12 volt kettle and a pour over coffee maker. It’s up to you and there are options for all budgets on this list.
If you are traveling or camping in a car then space will be very limited and you want the smallest, easiest 12 volt coffee maker you can buy. If you camp or live in a van or RV your options are a little broader and you can go for a larger battery powered coffee maker or a big 12 volt kettle.