The BEST Instant Coffee for Camping

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Embarking on an upcoming adventure? When it comes to packing the ‘best’ instant coffee, you might be unsure how to pick the cream of the crop.

Whether you’re a novice backpacker or an expert camper, a steaming cup of joe to complement the scenery is non-negotiable. It doesn’t matter if you’re prioritizing value, sustainability, or taste – there’s an instant coffee packet with your name on it below! 

The following guide is tailored specifically to campers with convenience in mind. We’ll be ranking the top instant coffee choices for camping in categories of:

  • Best Overall
  • Best Value
  • Best for Coffee-lovers
  • Most Sustainable

We’ll also be covering a short guide of things to consider when buying coffee for the outdoors, such as packaging factors and creamer-inclusive options. 

For those looking to purchase the best instant coffee before their next camping trip, read on! 

Best Overall
Best Value
Best for Coffee Lovers
Most Sustainable
$39.00 ($0.78 / Count)
$12.39 ($1.48 / Ounce)
$14.99 ($5.00 / Ounce)
$17.00 ($16.04 / Ounce)
Best Overall
Best for Coffee Lovers
Most Sustainable
05/21/2024 02:34 am GMT

Best Instant Coffee for Camping

Best Overall: Starbucks Via Instant Coffee

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombia Coffee
$39.00 ($0.78 / Count)

Our go to instant coffee for all sorts of camping adventures, Starbucks VIA instant coffee is widely available and always dependable.

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05/21/2024 02:34 am GMT

Starbucks Via ticks many campers’ boxes by blending affordability, ease, and great taste. 

Last-minute expedition? No problem! This instant coffee is widely available, making it convenient to pick up from just about anywhere beforehand. 

This is a camper favorite, praised particularly for its rich roast, ease of tear-away packaging, and for being the go-to coffee when in a rush. 

The consensus of Starbucks Via reviewing seems to be this: it is close to competing with store-bought coffee! 

It may not hit quite like a fresh brew in your favorite French press, but it’s not like most instant coffee either – which is about as good as you can expect for coffee that you take on a camping trip. 

So, if you’re a fan of the real deal at your local Starbucks, you’ll likely be a fan of their instant versions too. Reviewers also agree that while Via is not the cheapest, it is relatively affordable for its great taste and popularity. 

  • Best for: the majority of campers who want tasty coffee on the go, without fussing over the price.
A hiker makes a cup of coffee.
Ian making a cup of instant coffee while hiking in Spain.

Best Value: Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee

Trader Joe's Instant Coffee Packets with Creamer & Sugar
$12.39 ($1.48 / Ounce)

For full flavor instant coffee on a budget check out Trader Joe's instant coffee packets. These come with the creamer and sugar already included, making for an easy all-in-one solution for your next camping trip.

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05/21/2024 02:39 am GMT

Cost-conscious campers with a sweet tooth: this one is for you!

Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee is a cult classic among backpackers, standing out for those who want cheaper coffee without having to compromise on taste. 

Its convenience lies in the inclusion of premixed creamer and sugar – all dressed up with only the campsite to go. 

Most campers agree with Trader Joe’s designated ratio of sugar and creamer, though some have judged it to be slightly on the sweeter side. Others recommend doubling up on sachets if you prefer your coffee strong. 

Some reviewers also note that the consistency of Trader Joe’s coffee works best with boiling water – so if you only have access to cold water, you may want to try the Alpine Start instant coffee which we describe later in this guide. 

  • Best for: value-minded campers who want an all-in-one instant coffee and creamer. If you’re out of space, this three-in-one may be the best path toward a lighter backpack (and wallet).

Best for Coffee Lovers: Kuju Coffee Summit Steeper Coffee Pouches

Kuju Pour Over Individual Coffee Packets
$14.99 ($5.00 / Ounce)

These easy to use single-serve coffee packs come with an innovative anchor design that attaches to any mug or tumbler. Simply pour your hot water through the filter and you'll have a perfect cup of coffee.

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05/21/2024 03:03 am GMT

For the discerning coffee lover, meet Kuju Summit Steeper Coffee Pouches! 

Though it isn’t technically instant coffee, its convenience lies in being a high-quality single-serve coffee with no cleanup required.  Kuju’s pouches mimic teabags and are fully compostable, so you can “dunk and go”. Depending on the steeping time, you’ll have more control over your desired flavor profile. 

For slightly impatient campers, beware that each pouch can take up to ten minutes depending on your desired strength. If colder weather calls for a piping hot cup of joe, your water may have cooled down before then!

Other campers warn that Kuju Summit is best for those with extra bag space, as the pouches are bulkier than most instant coffee sachets. 

Reviewers acknowledge the steeper price tag of Kuju but recommend it for those who prioritize taste above all else. 

  • Best for: coffee connoisseurs seeking a convenient way to make top-tier coffee while far from civilization. 

We recommend this especially if you don’t want to pack an entire brewing kit but also aren’t ready to settle with cheaper, lower-quality instant coffee. 

Kuju Summit Steeper Coffee Pouches might be a great way to add a little gourmet to your next camping trip.

Most Sustainable: Verve Instant Coffee

Verve Coffee Roasters Craft Instant Coffee
$17.00 ($16.04 / Ounce)

Small batch brewed and hand roasted, Verve Coffee not only tastes great but the company has a serious commitment to sustainability. With a focus on sustainable growing practices and sourcing directly from farmers, this is our top instant coffee pick for those with a sustainability bent.

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05/21/2024 02:44 am GMT

For the eco-friendly camper, Verve Instant Coffee stands out for its commitment to sustainability as well as its great taste. Tasting notes include rich chocolate, red apple, and maple, but this instant coffee goes beyond its flavor profile. 

Verve boasts sustainable harvesting practices of direct trade (sourcing directly from farmers who are paid fair prices), as well as eco-friendly packaging.

Campers praise Verve for its environmental efforts but warn those in humid conditions that the packaging is not waterproof at all!

Many reviewers find that Verve’s prices match the level of quality and sustainability provided and that they do indeed bring the verve in rivaling store-bought coffee. 

  • Best for: dry campers aiming to align their eco-friendly values with their outdoor experiences.

Worth Considering: Alpine Start Instant Coffee

Alpine Start Premium Instant Coffee
$9.99 ($1.42 / Ounce)

We love Alpine Start for its ease of use in both hot and cold water, making that cup of instant cold brew no problem at all! In addition, the taste is great and it is an affordable option from a well-regarded brand.

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05/21/2024 02:54 am GMT

Alpine Start Instant Coffee may not claim any special first place, but it’s worth considering as another campers’ favorite. 

This medium-roast coffee was created by a climber with a focus on backpacking convenience. It dissolves instantly in both hot and cold water, making it a more versatile option among different campers.

Some reviewers find that Alpine’s “hint of acidity” tends to linger as an aftertaste that not all coffee lovers may appreciate. 

Others find that it doesn’t stand out in terms of strength or price, but highlight its smooth tastiness, lightweight packaging, and high solubility.

  • Best for: campers seeking a reliable and well-rounded option without all of the frills. 

Camping Instant Coffee Buying Guide

When selecting the ideal instant coffee for your camping adventure, you’ll need to contemplate a couple of other factors. You likely know your preferred flavor, strength, and roast type already, but instant coffee is not so simple for everyone. 

For instance:

  • Instant Coffee vs Pouches: do you prioritize the speed and ease of powder packaging, or do you prefer the taste and flavor that comes from coffee pouches? 
  • Creamer-inclusive options: Do you add creamer or sweetener to your coffee, and do you want this included in the instant mix? 

This depends on your personal mix of camping and coffee preferences, as each choice comes with its own trade-off.

Instant Coffee or Coffee Pouches?

Instant coffee is the epitome of simple: just add water! 

Of course, summoning a steaming hot cup of coffee within seconds does come at a price. Being so convenient in size and speed tends to compromise the overall taste and quality of your joe. 

While instant coffee means quick and easy preparation, others may prefer to stop and smell the… well, coffee. 

Coffee pouches are essentially tea bags with coffee grounds which require steeping. Steeping is the process of soaking or ‘dunking’ the bag for a certain period of time in order to control strength. 

Coffee pouches tend to offer a deeper and richer flavor than instant coffee powder but require a little more time and effort to make. 

Coffee pouches are often recyclable or compostable too, resulting in less waste! Compared to single-use instant coffee sachets, they are a greener option for eco-friendly campers. 

Drinking a cup of coffee in a tent.

Creamer Included?

Plain instant coffee allows your mug to be your canvas. 

You aren’t bound by predetermined sweetness levels or ratios. If you know exactly what you do and don’t like in the perfect cup of coffee, plain options allow you to cater to your exact preferences! 

If you’re keen to save space in your backpack, however, creamed-included options eliminate the need to carry separate milk and sugar packets. 

This can be a huge advantage for weight-conscious campers who don’t want to sacrifice their sugar kick. If you’re not a fan of taking it black for whatever reason, creamer-included options are the easy all-in-one solution. 

Conclusion and Wrap-Up

Instant coffee is a backpacker’s best friend. If you prefer to venture through a hassle-free morning, it’s in the name! Instant coffee is the go-to for those who value efficiency above all. 

If you’re the camper attempting to bring the freshly brewed feel to the outdoors, coffee pouches may be a more nuanced and robust option.

If you’re willing to put in the extra effort, a rich and familiar coffee can be just the thing to bring a little bit of home with you.

There are many camping-friendly coffee options to consider. Our top picks incorporate convenience in different ways, including:

Whether you prioritize affordability, flavor, or eco-consciousness, there is a convenient instant coffee tailored to your personal camping preferences. 

Be sure to figure out what trade-offs you’re willing to make when it comes to efficiency versus quality. 

This will guide you in deciding between brands, coffee packaging types, and creamer-inclusive options. 

Wherever you go, may your chosen coffee be the perfect kickstart for your next journey. Happy brewing, backpackers!

Looking for other camping coffee accessories? Check out our additional buying guides below:

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