How To Use A Camping Percolator

How To use a Camping Percolator

Do you want to discover how to use a camping percolator? Well, I am sure you would if you are a coffee lover like me. You take several essentials with you on camping, including tents, cookware, or tools. But, camping percolator is another significant item to bring, if you want to brew coffee in the wild. 

Imagine you are out in the wild; you run a trail for hours and come back to your tent. Now, the tiring day is calling for something strong to swallow. But, despite taking a coffee percolator with you, you do not know how to use it. How would you feel? Bad, right? Thus, I have written all the crucial points on how to use a camping percolator: read and learn.

What Is A Camping Percolator?

Before you learn how to use a camping coffee percolator, you must know what it is. It consists of a pot, basket with a stem, and lid. You add water in the pot and coffee grounds in the basket. So, when the water boils, it rises and mixes with the coffee present in the basket. This process repeats until a perfect coffee blend gets ready. 

As simple as it sounds, it is not that easy. You have to practice it to learn the exact measurements. Also, you have to figure out when the pot is percolating or when the coffee is ready. After you have gone through this procedure, you will know how to use a camping coffee percolator.

How To Use A Camping Percolator

Here is the systematic guide to know how to use a camping percolator. Keep these points in memory, and you will master the art of brewing coffee in percolator within no time. 

1. Control Your Heat Source

When you are camping, naturally, you will create a campfire. This campfire can handle most of the cooking. But, when it comes to brewing coffee, you must know how to use a camping percolator. The campfire scorches and produces more heat; you would not need this much heat for coffee. Otherwise, the liquid will burn and evaporate too fast. 

It is better to put the percolator on an adjustable grill rack. Also, place the percolator to the highest settings of the grill rack. That way, you can save the liquid from evaporating or burning. Moreover, try to make a small campfire for coffee. 

There is another way to generate heat on camping with a coal bed. You have to create it near the campfire. Dig a hole; dimensions could be almost 6 inches for depth and 12 inches for the width. Then, transfer some burning coal to this coal bed. Now, you can place your pot on it and wait for the coffee to brew.

You can also create heat through advanced sources such as fuel-powered burners. These burners will help you control your heat source better than a rogue campfire. However, the only limitation is that they take more time due to minimal heat. 

2. Add Water Into Your Pot

The quantity of water is an essential aspect to consider while using a percolator. You must know how many cups you are aiming for and then add water accordingly. Adding the right amount of water will lead to a perfect cup of coffee. 

Mostly, camping percolators can have four to eight cups of water in them. So, decide the cups of coffee, and measure the water as per the number of cups. Even if you have made more than the requirement, you can always save it in a thermos. 

3. Add Coffee

To prepare a cup of coffee in a camp is a different experience than making it at home. You will use a camping coffee percolator on a varied source of heat. So, the taste can change. That is why it is best to choose a brand of coffee that is tasty and flavorful. Otherwise, your experience of making a coffee outdoors can ruin.

Some coffee brands have specific coffee flavors for camping. Try to get those coffee brands, so the brew on a campfire can still taste good. The cheap coffee flavors taste bad at home, and it will be horrible in a percolator. So, be cautious while choosing a coffee brand.

Material Of The Percolator

The material used to make the percolator decides its performance. It will determine how quickly or slowly, the coffee will brew in the pot. Mostly, camping percolators are metallic, as metal is a good conductor of heat. But, the type of metal can affect coffee making.

The percolators made with material iron and titanium are better because they can cope well in extreme heat. Moreover, the aluminum and chrome made percolators are mediocre performers. They can survive at extreme temperatures. However, percolators made with low-quality material are less durable and do not last long.

Further, percolators made with tin are also low-quality pots. They are not robust and cannot withstand heat. So, to use a camping percolator, the material should be durable.

Boiling Time

The boiling time for coffee will vary with a percolator. That is because each percolator comes with its specific instructions and cooking time. Also, the material of the percolator influences its cooking time. Moreover, the heat source you are using might also impact it.

So, for average boiling time, keep fifteen minutes in mind. Another way to know whether the coffee is ready or not is when the lid starts to dribble. However, to ensure it, keep checking the coffee brew. The changing color will indicate you about brewing time.      

Determine The Quantity of Coffee Grounds

When you are using a camping percolator, you should be careful with coffee grounds. Do not fill it up to the lid, unless you want a strong cup of coffee. Just add enough coffee grounds to bring the flavor of the coffee. You should aim for two tablespoons per cup. Hence, measure the water for cups accurately and add coffee grounds accordingly.

Use A Standard Cup of Coffee

As you can see, using a camping percolator primarily depends on measurements of water and coffee. So, try to use a standard cup of coffee for the estimation of water. A typical cup accommodates almost 6 to 8 ounces of water. Hence, it will help you determine the right quantity.

If you use any other cup, bigger or smaller, then it will throw off all your estimation. You will not be able to brew the coffee with the best taste or the flavor you like. So, instead of ruining the taste of your coffee, use a standard cup for the accurate approximation. 

The Size Of Your Camping Percolator

How much coffee you can make in a go depends on the size of your percolator. An average camping percolator can brew around 32 ounces of coffee. Moreover, if you are going with a bigger group than you can get larger percolators of almost 64 ounces. 

However, you should know that size of the pot would also affect its transportability. The larger the percolator, the heavier it will weight. Heavy or large equipment is not preferable for camping. Also, when you use a big percolator, you will have to handle it with care.

So, select a percolator that will be portable as well as easy to use. 

Get Rid Of Coffee Grounds

If you want to learn how to use a camping percolator, then learn how to get rid of grounds. It is inevitable to escape coffee grounds when you are brewing coffee in the wild. That is because the basket of the percolator is inside the water. So, some of the grounds come into the water.

But, there are several ways to avoid grounds. One way could be to prevent coffee grounds with an extra filter in the pot. Also, you can take out additional grounds or swirl the liquid. When you swish the water with a spoon, all the extra grounds will settle down at the bottom. Most of all, use a basket that is high-quality and functions better than average ones. 

Keep An Eye On The Percolation

To use a camping percolator properly, you must know its dripping time. Although the pots have specific instructions about brewing time, you should also keep an eye on it. Keep watching the percolator to look out for the liquid to boil. Once it starts bubbling, you will know that it is almost ready. You can also slow down the heat level to let the coffee simmer for some time.  

Add Condiments to your Coffee Brew

If you do not like black coffee, you can also add some extra flavors to it. To make a lighter or sweeten coffee, you can add milk, sugar, or cream in the liquid. However, the amount of these condiments depends on your taste. For that, you will have to carry additional items with you.

But, try to take a little amount of these items to carry them easily. Also, if you can avoid milk, then that would be great because it can spoil and spill. Other than that, it is also preferable to carry a cooler with you to prevent spoilage.  

Practice, Practice, And Practice

Now, all the steps to use a camping percolator might be overwhelming for you. But, do not worry, because by using it repeatedly, you can perfect it. The best way to learn to make a coffee in a percolator is by practising it. 

Try to make coffee at your home on a grill or in a fire pit in your back garden. That way, you can check the percolator and practice making a coffee in it.   


I have added all the significant points you needed to know about a camping percolator. Hopefully, you will find them helpful. More you can read the full review of the best camping percolators in this detailed article.

Now that you know how to use a camping percolator, go and get one for your next camping trip. Practice making a coffee in it, and you will be a master until your next trip. 

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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