Why Non-Electric Coffee Makers For Camping & Everyday Use?
Coffee is a big part of everyday life for many of us. It’s hard to imagine a peaceful morning without a hot cup of coffee. You have your nice big electric grind and brew coffee maker and home, but what about when you travel, camp or the power goes out?
If you have a way to get electricity when camping I’ve reviewed some of the best small RV coffee makers and you can check that out if it fits a little better to your needs. Or if you have a 12-volt outlet check out these 12-volt coffee makers.
The focus of this review is going to be on the best non-electric coffee makers that you can not only use at home but on the road. I’ve included all the best kinds of non-electric coffee makers like pour-over, cone coffee makers, percolators, french press, espresso, and Moka.
All of the non-electric coffee makers I’m reviewing are durable and shatterproof (not made of glass). So you can throw them in a suitcase or in a box of your camping gear and go without having to worry.
Easiest To Use
Best For Camping
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Best Non-Electric Coffee Makers Reviews & Info
The Melitta pour-over coffee cone is the simplest of the non-electric coffee makers and one of my favorites. I use this pour-over coffee maker as a backup in my trailer for the days when I’m low on power or just want an exceptional cup of coffee.
It’s made of plastic and has a solid feel and design. It’s not going to break or crack when thrown into a bag or jostled around in the back of a vehicle. Melitta recommends using #2 filter with it because it’s fairly small but I use normal #4 coffee filters with it too and they work just fine.
I’ve used many different brands that were this style of a pour-over coffee maker and the reason the Melitta beats them all is they have the cone raised and there are two big holes on either side of the base.
This does two things. It makes it so you can see when your cup or mug is getting full, and it stops a seal from being created. On a lot of other pour-over brewers that sit directly on a mug, you have to pick it up sometimes to stop the vacuum being created so the coffee will drip out the other side.
It’s simple and very functional and that’s what you need when you are limited on space when camping. The only downside to it is you need a way to boil and pour water. A lot of times you already have one to rehydrate meals but if you don’t just any camping kettle will do. The most important thing is that it has a spout.
If you are using this style of non-electric coffee maker in a van, RV, or travel trailer and you have a little more space the gooseneck kettles are awesome for pour-over coffee. If you can get one like the Coffee Gator then you will have some seriously good coffee while camping or traveling.
You can also read more about the best kettles for camping and everyday use in the accessories section below.
The Melitta Pour Over Coffee Cone is not only made with plastic so it’s durable, but it’s also very small and super easy to pack around or have in a cupboard to use in case the power goes out.
Side note: if you don’t have a gas stove and you don’t have a safe place to start a fire make sure you have a good stock of tea lights. You can use a bunch of them to heat water in a kettle or frying pan for coffee or noodles.
- Small & Portable
- Functional Design
- Made Of Durable Plastic
- Brews 1 Cup At A Time
- Must Use Kettle To Boil Water
The most popular style of pour-over non-electric coffee maker is those cool glass pitchers you seen in coffee shops or trendy stores. They have the filter holder and the carafe combined into one beautiful glass bottle that looks cool and brews amazing coffee.
The only downside to that style of pour-over coffee maker (click to view on Amazon) is that they are all made of fragile glass.
Since this list is made for durable non-electric coffee makers that are great for home use, travel and camping a large glass bottle isn’t going to be the best option.
Luckily, Melitta makes the next best thing.
The Melitta pour-over coffee brewer comes with a large plastic cone that is large enough for #4 cone filters (click to view). The brew cone fits over an included stainless steel coffee carafe that can hold up to 10 cups of coffee.
The #4 filters are made to brew 8-12 cups of coffee at a time which means you will be able to use just one filter to brew enough coffee to fill the entire stainless steel carafe.
The stainless steel carafe is not only unbreakable but also very well insulated and a fantastic way to keep coffee hot without electricity. It’s especially nice for cold mornings in the great outdoors. The carafe also has a handle and a lid you can put on it once you’ve removed the plastic brew cone.
The Melitta Coffee Maker Pour-Over Brewer is the perfect way to make more than one cup of coffee using the pour-over method. You could even use just the brew cone with a mug for a single cup.
- Can Make Up To 10 Cups Of Coffee
- Comes With Insulated Carafe
- Easy To Pack
- Will Keep Coffee Warm Hours After Brewing
- Can Create Vacuum Seal When Brewing
- Need Kettle To Boil Water
Now it’s time to get into the good old-fashioned non-electric camping coffee maker, the percolator. My great-grandparents bought a percolator years ago that has been passed down through the family for 3 generations. Unfortunately, the company that made that beast of a percolator isn’t around anymore but there are still plenty of good options out there, like the Faberware Yosemite coffee percolator.
Coffee percolators are great because they boil the water and brew the coffee in one single unit, so you don’t need an extra kettle. You can also use the percolator as a kettle to boil water so it’s multifunctional.
The way a percolator works is fairly simple. Fill it with water, place the metal pipe with the grounds basket on it into the pot, put your grounds in the basket in either a paper filter or without one.
This percolator has a metal filter so you don’t have to use a paper one if you don’t want to. Then you just turn on the burner and let it brew.
The longer you boil the coffee the stronger it will be and that’s where the fault of percolators comes into play. It can be difficult to find the sweet spot between perfect robust coffee and bitter coffee. Usually, it takes 5-7 minutes. You know it’s done when the clear knob on top of the lid starts to get dark brown liquid bouncing around in it.
When you do get the brew just right the coffee flavors percolators produce are absolutely wonderful. For me, I get a sense of nostalgia when I use a percolator over a campfire in the mountains. Just like great-grandpa used to do.
If you are willing to try it out a few times and risk a few bitter pots of coffee then a percolator is the perfect camping non-electric coffee maker.
The Yosemite is made with stainless steel and the clear knob and handle are made out of plastic. It’s surprisingly heavy and built to last for decades. And to top it all off it’s dishwasher safe.
A feature of Faberware’s percolator that makes it one of the best is its tight fitting lid. Sometimes the lids will start to bounce around and spit hot water and coffee all over the place when the water starts to boil. Not with the Faberware Yosemite.
You can buy their 8-cup or 12-cup sizes, the 8-cup makes about 6 mugs worth of coffee. It’s a great camping coffee maker if you need to make coffee for more than just yourself.
The Farberware Yosemite Coffee Percolator is of high-quality and comes with their guarantee for life. Whether you camp in a tent, RV, travel trailer, van, or car, you can make mornings out in the wild more enjoyable with rich percolator coffee.
- Extremely Durable
- Can Be Used To Boil Water
- No Paper Filter Necessary
- Makes Rich Flavorful Coffee
- Can Make Up To 6 Cups Of Coffee
- No Kettle Required
- Not Great For Small Amounts Of Coffee
- Needs To Be Carefully Watched When Brewing
If you’ve walked through a campground in the morning hours you’ve probably seen quite a few of these coffee makers on a camp stove or sitting next to a fire. Moka coffee makers are extremely popular non-electric coffee makers for both camping and everyday use at home. They just look mysterious and awesome.
Originating and made in Italy, Moka coffee makers deliver a strong espresso-style coffee. The good news about them is you can use regular drip coffee grounds in them or you can do what Bialetti recommends and use Italian coffee (click to view on Amazon).
It takes a little trial and error to get the hang of this style of camping coffee maker but once you do making a cup of coffee to your taste is easy. It can be used over a stove or fire. For help with using a Moka pot check out these detailed instructions here.
What I like about the Moka coffee maker and percolators is you don’t need to have a separate kettle to boil water in. You have everything you need in one little unit.
Moka coffee is made a lot like percolator coffee with a few differences. First off the Moka uses no paper filter. The water is placed in the bottom part, and the coffee goes into the compartment that sits above the water. Now the big difference happens. The water is pushed through the coffee and comes out into the top compartment of the Moka.
In a percolator, the water that is boiling is mixed with the coffee. It’s harder to find the sweet spot for coffee with a percolator because the coffee is being boiled too. In the Moka, the water is boiled then transferred into another compartment so the coffee never boils.
The Bialetti Moka Coffee Maker is one of the original Moka coffee makers so it’s naturally the best you can buy. It’s super light and very portable for camping. The 6-cup size is deceiving because it only makes 1 maybe 2 cups of coffee. But it’s the perfect size to be placed on a tiny backpacking stove.
If you are a coffee enthusiast and love rich dark coffee this will be the perfect non-electric coffee maker for you. It brews coffee in less than 5 minutes and you can customize the coffee and amounts used to your taste. And as a bonus, you don’t need to worry about paper filters.
- No Kettle Required
- Uses Regular Coffee Grounds
- Ultra-Light & Portable
- Makes Rich Flavorful Coffee
- Easier To Use Than An Old Fashioned Percolator
- Aluminum Isn’t As Durable As Stainless Steel
- Coffee Grounds Sometimes End Up In Coffee
The french press has been around for years, but normally they are made with glass. Mueller, a company from Austria, has perfected the french press for not only travel and camping but also everyday home use with their robust stainless steel french press.
The walls are double insulated for better insulation properties. This non-electric coffee maker is guaranteed to keep your coffee hot an hour longer than thinner steel french presses. It also helps keep the outside of the press cool to the touch even though there is hot coffee inside.
The filters are all made with stainless steel as well. The 4 layered filter system is perfectly designed to stop any coffee grounds from getting into your coffee. It’s effective at keeping unwanted coffee parts out but it will still allow all the delicious oils and flavor into the final cup.
Besides making amazing coffee this non-electric coffee maker can also make fantastic tea. The filters are much like those used in teapots, simply put the leaves in the french press, pour in boiling water, wait the recommended time for the specific tea you are brewing. Finally, use the 4 layered filter system to slowly push the tea leaves to the bottom of the press. You can now pour and drink some amazing tea.
It also works fantastic for more delicious drinks like hot cocoa, cold brew coffee, frothed milk, and more.
You can technically boil water in the Mueller french press as well but it’s mostly made for boiling water to be poured into it from a separate kettle. That’s what makes it different from a Moka or a percolator. You don’t boil the water in the french press, you pour it in instead. It’s much easier to use and your coffee will come out perfect every time.
The french press will hold up to 34 ounces of liquid, that’s around 3 large cups of coffee. Included with the purchase is a small stainless steel canister you can use to hold coffee beans or grounds when traveling or camping.
The Mueller French Press Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Maker is perfect for camping because it’s made of durable stainless steel that won’t break and is great for resisting the elements. There is also no paper filter involved which is one less thing you will need to pack.
It’s also a good non-electric coffee maker for the home because french press coffee is amazing and it could end up being your favorite way to brew coffee.
- Made Of Stainless Steel
- Double Layered Vacuum Insulated Walls
- Can Make More Than Just Coffee
- Stainless Steel 4 Layered Filter System
- No Paper Filters Required
- Makes Amazing Coffee
- Easy To Use
- Need Separate Way To Boil Water
I received the AeroPress non-electric coffee and espresso maker years ago as a gift when it came out. I was skeptical at first since it was like no coffee maker I had ever used but I was presently surprised to find that it does make some excellent strong coffee.
This hand press manual coffee maker makes espresso shots or french press style coffee. If you like more traditional drip-style coffee this might not be the product for you.
The AreoPress works a lot like a hand press espresso maker but bigger. You put the filter on the bottom of the tube then place the whole thing over a mug or thermos. Then put your coffee grounds into the tube. Add boiling water. There is a water level marker on the side of the tube that will correspond with the stlye of coffee you are brewing. (more water for french press, less for espresso)
You then insert the second tube that has a plunger on the end. You slowly press it down into the water coffee mixture until you feel slight pressure. Slowly press the water through the filter until it has all been transferred to your mug.
The AeroPress brews a much less acidic tasting coffee since there are paper filters being used that filter out the oils. It makes a much more American tasting espresso or french press coffee. It’s also a very fast non-electric coffee maker. It only takes a few minutes in total.
All of the parts are made of plastic which means it’s very durable and perfect for travel or camping. The paper filters are unique to the AeroPress and you will need to get their special brand for refills (click to view on Amazon). Luckily you get 350 filters with purchase which should keep you well stocked for a while.
If you like the flavor of coffee oil and aren’t a fan of paper filters a company called Altura has recently come out with a metal mesh filter (click to view on Amazon).
Included with purchase of the AeroPress non-electric coffee and espresso maker is a funnel, scoop, stirrer, 350 microfilters, and a filter holder. All made of durable plastic that is BPA free.
The AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is perfect for espresso lovers who travel, camp, or backpack. The parts are lightweight and won’t break. The only other item you will need to make flavorful espresso is a kettle to boil the water in.
- Made With Durable Plastic
- Lightweight & Small
- Makes Espresso & French Press Coffee
- Less Acidic Than Non-Paper Filter Options
- Easy To Use
- Required Kettle To Boil Water
- Brews 1 Cup Of Coffee At A Time
Conclusion & My Best Non-Electric Coffee Maker Recommendations
As you can see there are tons of great ways to make coffee without electricity. Whether you are camping with just a campfire, experiencing a blackout, or just want to save on power there are some fantastic choices that are both small and easy to pack or store.
What it mostly comes down to is the style of coffee you prefer. The difference between pour-over coffee and espresso is huge. Even percolator coffee has its own flavor even though you are using the same coffee you would use for pour-over coffee.
If you like all coffee and just want the best non-electric coffee maker for a specific activity or place then here are my recommendations.
Easiest Non-Electric Coffee Maker To Use – Melitta Pour Over Coffee Cone
It doesn’t get easier than putting a plastic cone over a coffee mug, placing a paper or metal filter, adding coffee grounds, then pouring boiling water over it.
Pour-over coffee makers brew amazing coffee. This version is small, portable, and makes coffee in just a few minutes.
It’s perfect for making coffee for just you but if you want to be able to make pour-over coffee more multiple people or just make extra for later the Melitta Coffee Maker Pour-Over Brewer is almost the same thing it just comes with a larger brew cone and a carafe.
Best Non-Electric Coffee Maker For Camping – Farberware Yosemite Coffee Percolator
All of the non-electric coffee makers on this list are great for camping but I think the percolator is the best simply because it doesn’t require a kettle. That means you have one less thing to pack and worry about when getting ready for your next adventure.
It’s also good at making coffee for multiple people or just one cup for you.
Percolators are also very durable. We’ve had one in the family for years and it shows no sign of wearing out anytime soon.
Best Non-Electric Coffee Maker For Strong Coffee – AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
The AeroPress is the only non-electric coffee maker on this list that can make espresso. It’s not a super fancy Italian hand press espresso maker but it does a good job and I like the paper filter idea to take away some of the acidic taste.
It also makes great French Press style coffee all you need to do is add more water. If you prefer drip style coffee you can make an espresso shot and add boiling water for a good Americano.
Another great thing about the AeroPress is it’s super lightweight and fairly easy to use. All you need is a kettle to boil water and a mug to press the coffee into.
Best Kettles & Grinder For Non-Electric Coffee Makers
Below are some fantastic options for boiling water to make coffee. The gooseneck kettles are perfect for pour-over coffee while the regular style can be used in the french press and AeroPress. There is even a lightweight aluminum kettle for backpacking and camping.
The gooseneck kettles are slightly harder to take with you when traveling or camping because the long slim neck can be broken off. Luckily the other styles of kettles and teapots will still work great for making pour-over coffee, it just takes a tiny bit more patience.
Whistles When Ready
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Another great thing to have is a non-electric coffee grinder. Nothing makes better coffee than fresh ground coffee beans. And if you have a grinder you can grind the beans to your specific taste and the brewing style you are going to use.
The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder has adjustable settings for coarse, medium, and fine grounds. It’s small, portable, and built to last with some of the strongest sharpest blades in the industry.
With this hand grinder, you can grind coffee for a french press, AeroPress, espresso press, pour-over, and drip coffee. This size can grind enough coffee for 1-2 cups at a time.
What To Look For In A Non-Electric Coffee Maker
If you like using paper filters then all of these styles of brewing can take paper filters except the Moka and French Press ones. And on the other side, all brew styles don’t have to have a paper filter either. If you want a pour over cone that doesn’t require a paper filter the YITELLE Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Cone is a really good one.
The filter styles will also affect the strength of the coffee. Deciding if you want normal drip style coffee or stronger espresso style will help you decide which kind of non-electric coffee maker to get.
Storage Space and Weight
When camping, backpacking, or traveling weight and the amount of space you have to transport things around becomes an issue.
If you are already going to have a kettle with you to cook backpacking food then a pour-over coffee cone, a french press or a manual coffee press is going to be one of the best options for you.
If you aren’t going to bring a kettle and you need something very light that can also double as a kettle then a percolator is one of the only and best choices.
Thinking about weight, how much space you have for coffee making stuff is something you should think about before you buy a non-electric camp coffee maker.
All of the non-electric coffee makers in this review are made with durable materials that can handle travel, camping, and children. Not having to worry about your coffee maker breaking makes travel much easier and you will have a way to get coffee no matter where you’re going.
Most kettles and teapots you will use to boil the water for most of these non-electric coffee makers are durable but the gooseneck style that is mostly used for pour-over coffee can be a little more fragile because of the long slim neck.
Other more durable styles of kettles work great for pour-over coffee but if you prefer the gooseneck kettles make sure to store it somewhere safe.
How much coffee do you need to make?
The single cup pour over coffee cone and AeroPress are great for one person, but if you need to make more than one cup of coffee you have to change the filter and add more grounds. The Moka is great for maybe 2 mugs of coffee at most unless you buy the extra large size.
If you need to make coffee for a lot of people the larger pour over non-electric coffee maker with the carafe, the french press, or the percolator are the best options.
Frequently Asked Questions About Non-Electric Coffee Makers
What is a pour over coffee maker?
Pour-over coffee makers are non-electric slow drip style coffee makers where the water is poured over manually. To bring out the rich dark flavors in coffee the water it is brewed in needs to be almost boiling.
Using a gooseneck kettle or teapot you can bring water to a boil and then slowly pour the hot water directly onto the coffee grounds in the pour-over cone. A lot of pour over coffee makers have a glass carafe that holds the cone and then the coffee.
Pour over coffee makers have become incredibly popular because they are a cheaper way to make amazing tasting coffee.
What is the best pour over coffee brand?
One of the things that makes pour-over non-electric coffee makers so easy to use is they take just your regular every day coffee like what you use in an electric drip coffee maker.
One of my favorite brands for drip and pour-over coffee is Kicking Horse Coffee (click to view on Amazon). Their coffee comes in all different strengths and blends. All of their coffee products are roasted in Canada, fairtrade, organic, and taste amazing.
Can a Moka pot explode?
It’s very important to not overfill a Moka pot with water because they can build up pressure if the release valve isn’t functioning correctly. They don’t explode but they can suddenly spit out coffee grounds and hot water when the pressure gets too high.
To avoid this, make sure you never fill the water above the pressure valve in the bottom compartment. It’s recommended to fill the water to the bottom of the valve only.
Also, make sure your coffee is ground fine but not too fine, and never pack them down. There needs to be space for the water to seep up through the grounds and into the top compartment.
Are Moka pots good?
Moka pots are really good if you buy a good quality one made in Italy and like dark, rich, espresso like coffee. They are great for homemade lattes and americanos as well.
They are also really good because they are so portable and you can make coffee almost anywhere with them. All you need is a burner or fire. They also require no paper filter so that’s one less thing you have to buy for them.
Are Moka pots safe?
If you follow the instructions they are perfectly safe. Don’t cover the release valve with water, and don’t pack the coffee grounds into the tray and you will have no problems.
Are Moka pots dishwasher safe?
Traditional Moka pots are made with aluminum and are not dishwasher safe.
What Moka pot is best?
Moka pots come from Italy and if you want the best make sure the Moka pot you buy is made in Italy like the Bialetti Moka Coffee Maker.
What size Moka pot is for 1 person?
The measuring system for a Moka pot can be confusing, but a 6-cup Moka pot like the Bialetti Moka Coffee Maker makes a little more than 1 mug of coffee, perfect for one person.
Who invented the Moka Pot?
in 1933 Alfonso Bialetti invented the Moka Express Coffeemaker. He was also the founder of Bialetti Industries and you can buy an original Moka pot from his very company today.
What is the best coffee brand for Moka Pots?
The makers of Italian Moka Pots naturally recommend Italian coffee. Illy Classico Medium Roast Coffee (click to view on Amazon) is a fantastic choice. The roast is just dark enough for robust strong coffee that won’t be bitter when brewed in a Moka Pot.
Why percolator coffee?
Percolator non-electric coffee makers make a very rich dark coffee much like a Moka pot. The only difference is the coffee blends with the boiling water and slowly becomes stronger. Percolator coffee is amazing because you can create the exact strength of coffee you want.
The only problem is that it’s easy to cook percolator coffee too long and it can become bitter. Once you find the perfect balance you can make some of the best tasting coffee in a percolator.
When is percolator coffee done?
Percolator coffee is usually done after it’s been boiling for 5-7 minutes. But it depends on what kind of coffee you are using and what strength of coffee you prefer. Always use a timer when you percolate coffee and experiment until you get the perfect strength for you.
When was the percolator invented?
The modern percolator coffee maker we know today was invented in 1880 by Hanson Goodrich. A farmer from Illinois. There were methods of percolating coffee around before then but his percolator was the one that became the standard for percolator coffee makers.
What is the best brand of percolator coffee?
For percolators, you want a coarse ground coffee that isn’t too strong because the brewing will add plenty of strength and flavor to the final brew. French Press coffees like the Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee is a fantastic choice.
You can also use drip coffee grounds but you will need to do a little more experimenting to find the perfect brew time to not make it bitter.
What is a non-electric cone coffee maker?
Another name for a pour-over coffee maker is a cone coffee maker. It’s named for the cone that you place over your mug or carafe to hold the coffee and filter. Naturally, many cone coffee makers will also use cone paper coffee filters.
How To Make Coffee In Electric Coffee Maker Without Power
In a pinch, I’ve had to make coffee using my small electric RV coffee maker (click to view an article on the best ones). It’s actually really easy and makes coffee almost exactly like a pour-over coffee maker.
All you have to do is set up your coffee maker like you normally would. Put the paper filter in place and add the normal amount of ground coffee. The only thing you will do differently is put the water in a kettle instead of inside the coffee maker water reservoir.
You can even measure the perfect amount of water using the carafe.
Once the water is boiling just pour it into the paper filter. Hot delicious coffee will soon start dripping into the carafe below and you now have brewed coffee in your electric coffee maker without any electricity.
Of course, if you are out of power and you have an electric stove the difficult part is going to be getting a flame to boil the water in the kettle. One little trick you can do is place about 5 lit tea candles under the kettle. Make sure the kettle is sitting about 2 inches above the candles on something fireproof. Like a metal grate.
It will take a little longer but tea candles will eventually produce enough heat to boil the water.
Have any more questions about non-electric coffee makers? Leave a comment below.