Does spending a few nights in the wilderness mean that you have to sacrifice your love for a decent cup of coffee? Hell no. As long as you throw in a few coffee brewing essentials into your backpack there’s no reason why you can’t brew coffee just as good as you would at home. Make sure you bring some whole coffee beans, an Aeropress or stovetop Moka pot, and a good camping coffee grinder you’ll be brewing up coffee your backpacking buddies are going to be craving.
I have already written a detailed article on how to make a good travel coffee kit with two options when traveling, so make sure you take a look at that. But in this article, I wanted to go into more detail on suitable coffee grinders for camping. Not all grinders are equal and some are better suited for backpacking than others.
Obviously, electric coffee grinders aren’t going to be an option, unless you’re one of those “snowflake” campers who don’t actually camp but goes “glamping” which is more like staying in a 5-star hotel than braving the elements camping around a campfire!
For the real camping enthusiast what you need is a manual coffee grinder, you know, the ones that require a bit of elbow grease. But with so many different types, brands, and price points which are the going to be the best camping grinders? Don’t fret, because I have done the legwork for you and handpicked some of the best I could get my hands on and put them through their paces.
What To Look For A Good Camping Coffee Grinder?
As I mentioned previously not all grinders are going to be suitable, so the criteria for a camping coffee grinder as far as I’m concerned is as follows.
Weight: Any backpacker will tell you to always pack light so it’s common sense to pack a camping grinder that is lightweight. So bearing that in mind all of the grinders I have chosen won’t weigh you down.
Durability: The grinder has to be durable, the last thing you want is a broken grinder when you’re miles away from civilization. Grinding whole coffee beans with two rocks just isn’t going to cut it! Thankfully all of the grinders on my list are made to last, these won’t break easily!
Size: Does size matter? It does when you’re packing light and have limited space. I have made sure that each grinder on the list is small enough to slip into your backpack taking up hardly any room. The be honest, most of these camping grinders will fit snugly inside of your AeroPress.
Camping Coffee Grinders Best Rated 2018
All of the below coffee grinders are the best I could find for camping, they’re durable, lightweight and compact. You’ll be the envy of your camping buddies when you pull one of these out of your backpack!
Shanik Portable Burr Coffee Grinder
If you’re looking for a camping coffee grinder that ticks all of the boxes look no further than the Shanik grinder. This small, lightweight coffee grinder is built to last with its durable high quality brushed stainless steel body and durable ceramic conical burr.
The measuring base on the Shanik takes the guesswork out of how much coffee you need to grind with a handy window and measurement cup guide, so you can leave the digital coffee scale and coffee scoops at home.
The Shanik comes with multiple grind settings to suit almost any brewing method, simply turn the dial clockwise or counterclockwise to lock in your desired coarseness. A neat feature of the Shanik camping coffee grinder is the silicone lid that fits snugly on top of your grinder turning into an airtight container to keep any leftover coffee fresh.
Included with the Shanik is a replacement ceramic burr, which is a great idea because from my experience these are often the first parts of a manual coffee grinder to break, so having a free replacement handy is a big thumbs up. You’ll also find a velvet carry bag which makes it easy to take your grinder on your travels and is also a handy place to keep your coffee beans too.
GSI Outdoors Camping Coffee Grinder
The GSI Outdoors Java Mill has an adjustable, conical ceramic burr and weighs about 9.2 oz. making it perfect for camping and trekking in the wilderness. The GSI is probably one of the most well-built coffee grinders I’ve got my hands on, it’s extremely durable and the handle is just badass the way it locks in place!
The construction of the GSI has been made from a durable co-polyester (strong, durable plastic) rather than stainless steel. I actually prefer this material over a steel grinder, I think it looks modern and allows you to see all of the moving parts.
Included in the kit is a coffee grounds cup (the base) a grinding arm which will make you feel like Macgyver when you lock it in place, and a silicone grip which doubles as a holder for the arm when not in use.
There are a number of coffee grind settings on the GSI all of which can be adjusted easily by twisting the lever (found in the container) clockwise for a finer grind and counterclockwise for a coarser grind.
Handground Precision Coffee Grinder
Another great option is this offering from the team over at Handground. This grinder has had design input from thousands of coffee enthusiasts and was actually a Kickstarter project. Since its full launch, it has gained popularity as being a top contender in the world of manual coffee grinders.
It features 15 grind settings and between each setting, there is a half step which allows you to fine-tune your grind even more. Simply twist the numbered ring to 1 to grind an espresso grind or twist to 8 for the more coarse grind which is perfect for the French Press coffee maker. The built-in ceramic conical burr combined with the triple mounted axle that stops wobble guarantees a uniform grind every time. The hopper holds exactly 10 grams of whole coffee beans which is perfect for the AeroPress and other brew methods when you’re brewing for one.
Cleaning this grinder is super easy and it takes just seconds to disassemble Handground grinder for cleaning. Simply turn the burr with the palm of your hand and the burr mill slides out allowing you to wash the grinder without damaging the grinding burr.
I’ll be honest, the Handground grinder isn’t cheap, but if you want the best you need to spend some money and I think it’s money well spent with this camping coffee grinder.
Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill
The Hario Skerton is widely expected to be the grinder that other grinders try to be, it’s a classic that although simple, churns out some of the best ground coffee at home. You can read my full hands-on Hario Skerton review for all of the ins-and-outs regarding this manual grinder.
The Hario Skerton is a backpackers best friend and it ticks all of the boxes for grinding coffee around a campfire. The base is made of glass, now don’t let this put you off I know what you’re thinking isn’t glass a bad idea for camping. Yes and no, the glass is extremely durable and to be honest the only way it’s going to break is if it’s dropped from a height onto a hard floor.
What I like about the glass jar is that is can be doubled up as a glass for drinking for you can also use the provided screw lid to turn it into a sealed container for holding ground coffee or anything for that matter.
Just like the other camping grinders on the list, the Hario Skerton features a durable ceramic grinding burr and an adjustable dial that can be turned to lock in your preferred grind setting. The Hario Skerton is one of the best hand grinders for the traveling coffee enthusiast or even the home enthusiast on a limited budget.
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