Question Of The Week

The Best Small Coffee Makers for RVs

Best Coffee Makers for RVs

Truck Camper Magazine readers reveal the best small coffee makers and the different ways they make coffee while truck camping.

Evidently, the subject of making coffee is more important to our readers than just about anything we’ve asked about, ever.  Here are the responses to this week’s Question of the Week, “How do you make coffee in your truck camper?”

“We use a drip pot that we got from my Aunt Anna, so it’s a family heirloom I guess.  The only place I know of that carries them is Lehman’s Non-electric Hardware in Kidron, Ohio in the Ohio Amish region.  They are somewhat expensive, but it works for us.” – Skip and Marlene Jennett

“We are new to truck camping, but not new to camping.  We just downsized from a thirty-seven foot fifth wheel toy hauler to a Lance 815 truck camper which both are 2004s.  I make coffee first thing after going to the bathroom of course.  I use a revere ware stainless steel percolator on the stove.  It makes the best cup of joe.  Take care.” – Brenda


“We use an insulated Bodum French press.  It’s awesome.  We have a glass French press, but I am always afraid I will break it, and then I would be doomed…no coffee!  We found the Bodum on-line, it was a little pricey, but it is stainless steel and being insulated will keep the java hot for a good hour or until I drain it!” – Bill Tex

“No camper yet, but here’s my Bailey’s recipe:

In a blender put:
1 cup Anejo Bacardi Rum
3 large brown eggs
1 can condensed milk
1 can lucheria (Mexico)
or 1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon almond extact

Blend well and store in refrigerator.  Add as needed in the morning.” – Bill Enos

“I scrounge estate and garage sales.  Or you could just buy an old fashioned stove top percolator new.  The ceiling vent fan sucks out the hot air if it’s warm when you are camping, and it’s a nice warm up for cool mornings.  It’s ready in about four or five minutes.  I make two cups.  I drink one and put the other in an insulated coffee mug.  I like the old fashioned pyrex glass percolators.  It’s fun to watch it perk and you can decide just how dark you like it.  I have three!  I would be glad to sell you one if you are ever in Kansas.  I’m not sure the glass ones are sold in stores anymore but will find them in antique stores also.  I also have a small electric one I take along.  It takes up some room but it is sure worth it for coffee first thing.” – Martha

“There is no COJ dilemma in our camper, nosiree!  If we have power, then our Black & Decker serves up enough coffee for two and a half cups of joe within minutes.  If boondocking, then the Coleman Drip Coffee Maker, sits on the stovetop and brews up fresh coffee.  I am not an instant coffee type or person nor have I cared much for the grounds that seem to get into my coffee from a French press.  I’ll take it freshly brewed, please.  Have a great day.” – Sally Stomberg

“Since Cathy drinks only tea and I drink mostly coffee, we boil one kettle of water.  Then I use some of the boiled water in a glass coffee press.  This way we aren’t heating two pots for different types of beverage.” – John and Cathy Strasser

“Sherri and I both like a good cup of coffee, but don’t like a lot of clean-up chores.  Call us lazy if you want, but over the past five years of truck camping we have learned that the less there is to clean up the better, especially if we are back country camping with a limited water supply.  So, after trying a couple a different coffee brewing methods while traveling, we settled on using instant coffee.  It’s simple and efficient. And Sherri likes to mix half decaf and half regular.  It takes a couple days for us to get used to it, but after that it’s tastes good.” – Buzz and Sherri Merchlewitz

“I use a Keurig one cup brewer, with either Caribou or Green Mountain K Cups.  If not on shore power, I’ll fire up the generator for that three minutes it takes to get that first great cup of coffee.  Since we have solar and larger batteries, I’ve been thinking of adding an inverter just for the brewer.” – Joe Brown


I have a couple of ways.  First, we start the generator and I have a ten cup coffee maker.  That’s one way.  Also I have a pot and heat water with the gas stove and use those tea bag type coffee bags and make a cup at a time.  I also have a twelve volt water heater.  It works well if we have no propane.” – Jeff

“Now you have really hit a nerve.  My day is shot, thank you.  Everything in a camper must have two purposes.  It was my husband Paul who used to make the coffee and I was served that coffee in bed, which is as it should be.  Paul always referred to me as a PIT, which of course, stands for Princess in Training.  I deserved the title and wore it well.  Oh how I miss him.  For the last twenty years I have had to roll out of bed with a thump, a bump and a scowl to find where I’ve hidden everything and make my own morning coffee.  What a loss!  I use the same coffee maker at home or on the road and it makes two large mugs of my favorite roast or whatever happens to be on sale.  The coffee maker is so old the brand name has washed off but it still makes the best coffee.  Pardon me while I sip my first cup and contemplate my day.”  – Joei Carlton

I often camp with my Starbucks friends who insist on spending their entire life savings for the Starbucks VIA instant coffee.  I admit it’s pretty good, but I’ve got a kid to get through college!  So instead I opt for the Folgers Instant Packets.  They are cheap (about one dollar for a box of six or seven single serve packets) and they take up almost no space at all.  So they are ideal for small campers where space is at a premium.  But they are equally as ideal for hiking, tent camping trips, etc.  All you need is a way to boil water.”  – J. Bruce Baker, Jr.

“My husband does not drink coffee so I make Starbucks instant if we are traveling on that morning.  If we are staying put for a while I have an old fashion percolator that makes four cups.  It keeps me happy, with my coffee fixes.” – Nina Giles

“Coffee is vital in our morning routine.  We use an REI marine-grade french press coffee pot.  Sometimes we use the french press method, but other times we use a cone filter and GSI collapsible cone.  Either way, the pot keeps the coffee hot enough for us until we get our required caffeine dosage.  This no electricity methodology works great and makes excellent coffee.” – David Neumann

I use a stainless steel drip pot and a Melitta drip coffee filter.  For coffee I use a quality French Roast, with a ratio of one scoop per cup.  I make sure to let the water come off a boil lest I burn the coffee.  That seems to get the old heart going.” – Al Stebbins

“What we do is use a Coleman coffee maker that sits right on top of the three burner kitchen stove.  Just add the filter, coffee and water and turn the stove front LP burner on high.  In minutes the coffee is ready.  It has never failed us no matter where we were.  Plus an added benefit for those up north or in high country, the stoves top burner also heats the camper a little while it is on.” – Tom Bender, Wisconsin

Coffee-Maker-billyardI have attached a picture of our COJ maker.  It is a Hamilton Beach Brew Station six cup coffee maker, model number 48274, which we bought two years ago.  It gives us two of the large thermal cups of coffee.  We use disposable paper coffee filters which makes it very easy to clean up.  It fits very nicely in one half of our sink for travel.” – Bill and Sue Billyard

“Keith and I decided to use a French Press for our favorite morning beverage.  We pre-ground out our favorite french roast beans and put about a cup in each of many vacuum sealed packs or zip-loc bags.  All we had to do was boil water on the stove, pour it over the coffee, and wait a few minutes to brew.  We fashioned a “cozy” out of a chamois cloth to keep it warm.  Then we pour and enjoy.  Ahhh…the morning on the road and in the wilderness.” – Nancy Rivers

“When we first got our truck camper this was one of my first concerns!  I have a one serving drip coffee maker from Brookstone that works great as long as we have some electricity.  When we’re off the grid I switch to tea as I can boil water on the stove.  I look forward every trip to sitting by the window with a steaming hot cup enjoying the outdoors!” – Bonnie Belza, 2005 S&S Ponderosa 9.5

“We use a Melitta one cup with a replaceable filter and grind our own coffee, you can make your own personal cup anyway you want.  We have been doing this for years, for the eco-sensitive you can buy a washable screen filter for it also.” – R.D. (Bob) Ritchie

Coffee-Maker-hubbs“I usually pack along my Keurig single cup coffee maker.  It’s small, takes up little room and makes a great COJ.” – Bob Hubbs, 2010 Palomino Maverick M8801, 2002 Dodge 2500 4×4

“I always make my coffee the night before.  I have a 12 cup stainless steel coffee pot from Cabela’s.  I always make my coffee outside on my Coleman stove (I have never used my stove or oven in my camper/2008 Arctic Fox).  When I get up in the morning all I have to do is warm it up.  Of course I pour a portion of the coffee in a good Thermos before going to bed.  That way I have a hot cup ready to go while I warm up the pot.  I have also been known to add a touch of Bailey’s every now and then!” – Sue S.  Michigan

I use a Coleman Camping Coffeemaker.  It served double duty the first morning at Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba.  After setting up for the evening I realized my battery was dying fast, which meant no blower on furnace.  Extra blankets saw us through the night but making coffee on the stove warmed the camper in the morning.” – John Goins

“We go camping with a group.  I’m the designated one up to make coffee for the group.  I make it strong.  I usually make a second pot too.” – David O’Brien, California

“How do you make coffee?  Boil enough water on the stove for both a French Press coffee maker and for washing dishes.  Killing two birds with one stone as they say.” – Rob

“We just use a simple electric drip coffee maker if we have power hook-ups.  If there is not power available, we use a Coleman drip coffee maker that sits over the stove burner.  My wife and I have one deal on camping.  I do the dishes and I make the coffee in the morning and serve her the coffee in bed.” – Rich Bain, the TC life

“We have been truck campers since the early 1980s.  We have always taken along a coffee maker, usually the small four cup type.  For Christmas we were given a mini Keurig coffee maker.  It has spoiled us!  Being able to brew what kind you want, when you want to.  Pure heaven.  And when we’re not camping, it’s in our bedroom for relaxing weekends.  Smooth roads.” – Nancy and Larry Caldwell, 2004 Lance 915 / 2006 Ford F350 King Ranch


“Here’s my preferred method and gack for that all important waking ritual.  I’ve been doing it this way for several decades.  The grinder runs off a small inverter and I have a manual backup so as not ever to be deprived of fresh ground bean.” – Larry Bluhm

“I spend a month in Idaho every year and at  times am getting up at 0400.  Ever try to see anything at that hour much less measure coffee grounds and water?  Before I go to bed I prepare my percolator coffee pot with grounds and water, while I can still keep my eyes open.  The next morning as I crawl out of bed I reach over and ignite the stove burner under the coffee pot.  In a few minutes the coffee is percolating and my camper morning chill is being reduced by the burner heat and the camper takes on the aroma of fresh brewing coffee.

The key to good percolator coffee is letting it perc for at least five minutes, let the grounds settle for a couple of minutes before pouring the first cup.  With my first cup I also fill my thermos to keep the coffee warm rather than using a stove burner to re-heat the coffee.  Nothing like a cup of fresh brewed coffee in the morning.” – Steve Cilenti, California

“Coffee does not get much more simpler than a six cup percolator, either inside or on a Coleman stove.  I bring the water to a roaring boil first, turn it down and then place the the strainer with filter and grounds inside the pot and rapidly simmer it, just enough to perc the water, for about five minutes.  Serve hot with plenty of Bailey’s!” – Frank


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