If you’re seeking a low-budget, no-fuss solution to brewing decent coffee at camp, look no further than this portable pour-over coffee maker
Easy to use and clean
Makes smooth, non-bitter coffee
No paper filters required
Plastic legs are a little flimsy
May be too light for a windy day
Scooping grounds in can be a little messy
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GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket: first impressions
Coffee lovers fall into two camps: those willing to dedicate hours to crafting the perfect brew, and those who want to get straight to sipping the black stuff. The GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket is a camping coffee maker designed for those who want a fast, no-fuss route to a decent cup of hot coffee the moment they crawl out of their tent. Just add grounds, fit the legs on to your camping mug, pour some hot water in a spiral motion and in about a minute you’ll have a smooth cup of coffee to start your day.
• List price: $9.95 / £15
• Weight: 2.7 oz / 77g
• Materials: Nylon, clear polypropylene
• Brew capacity: 8oz
• Dimensions: 3.3 in x 3.3 in x 3.8 in
• Best use: Backpacking, car camping
This plastic coffee maker is ultralight, and pretty packable too, making it a realistic option for backpackers. Collapsible legs unfold to slot onto your favorite camping mug. When you’re finished, it’s easy to knock out the wet grounds and give it a quick rinse so it’s ready for the next cup. Best of all, there are no filter papers required, so there’s no extra expense or added waste when you use this coffee maker. It’s light enough that you’ll want to stay close on a windy day, but it’s so light on your wallet and in your pack that that seems like a small price to pay.
GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket: in the field
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to try out a lot of camping coffee makers, and I must say that upon first glance, this one seemed a lot more complicated than it really was, so I’ve been putting it off. I took it on a recent backpacking trip on the West Highland Way and discovered that it was probably the easiest coffee maker I’ve tested.
Here’s how it performed:
Weight and packability
This coffee maker couldn’t be any lighter, so even though I was camping alone and carrying all my own gear, I really didn’t have to question bringing it with me. The legs fold up, and the filter body nests into the water hopper for easy storage, so it’s pretty packable. It does take up a little room inside a full backpack, but I put it inside my camping mug, which helped, and it is designed to fit inside GSI’s camping mug.
Ease of use
It couldn’t be easier to use really. Adding the coffee grounds to the basket is a little messy, so a small scoop would help (mine was too big) but after that I just screwed the filter back on, unfolded the plastic legs, sat it on my camping mug and poured hot water in using a spiral pattern. The water takes a minute to drain through, and clean up is super easy. I just knocked the grains out and gave it a quick rinse and it was clean. On day two, it was a bit winder so I actually held onto it since it’s so lightweight I was worried it would blow over, but that’s the price you pay with ultralight gear.
The plastic legs definitely strike me as a little flimsy. As long as they’re folded away properly, there shouldn’t be any issue, but I can imagine this breaking easily if I accidentally crammed my tent on top of it.
I wasn’t expecting much from this coffee maker, perhaps because it was so easy to use, so I was really surprised and happy to taste it and discover it was quite good! It wasn’t coffee shop level delicious espresso, but it was impressively smooth and not bitter at all (I was using Lidl Deluxe Single Origin Coffee (opens in new tab) grounds if it matters). In fact, the first time I was testing it out, I planned to just have a few sips to see how well it worked and ended up downing the whole cup.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.
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