Bo Thunell is our resident Camp Coffee Expert and wilderness pioneer. Besides being an ace coffee educator in our training department, he’s also a bike racing, Coors Light swilling, cliff-jumping road dog, who’s the first one up brewing coffee for his buds in the woods and taking cool photos of his exploits all the while. He shared with us his favorite methods for brewing camp coffee and some of his recent photos from the field.
What’s your current go-to camp coffee method?
Currently my fave is the Snowpeak Dripper. I’m all about its design and functionality. I use it with V60 filters when I can remember to pack them but I’ve used the bottom half of a T-shirt before as a filter.
What have you been up to this summer?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Gorge and around Mount Hood. I’ve been riding mountain bikes, drinking a lot of Coors Light and finding the best swimming holes that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I also have been spending a lot of time staring at the stars at night.
Any favorite trips in recent memory?
A recent favorite was a bikepacking trip with Yonder Journal in Northern California. We tried to connect land to sea via an old mule trail. I was invited along to make the coffee – I was responsible for making coffee for eight of us. I took a Snowpeak French Press and an AeroPress for my special “night coffees.” I would wake up and get the Jetboils going to get coffee to everyone. The mornings were cold and everyone was appreciative.
Are you always the one who makes coffee when you go camping with friends?
I like early starts and I’m usually the first one up fueling my friends with coffee. I’ve trained all of them to make coffee themselves in case I have a sleep-in, but it’s usually me.
Got any pro-tips for brewing coffee in the woods?
If you have a lot of people drinking coffee and time or weight of your pack is an issue, take pre-ground coffee. Otherwise, I love the mini Porlex grinder. An AeroPress is rad if you’re in the middle of nowhere on a road trip. You can pop in a gas station to get hot water and make your AeroPress in the parking lot.
What type of coffee do you take camping?
I typically take one of our Latin American single origins – The molasses and nutty coffees go super well with camp breakfast, like eggs and bacon or dehydrated milk and granola.
What are your camp coffee brewing parameters?
I have a custom spoon that holds 21 grams of coffee, which is ideal for Snowpeak. The AeroPress scoop is about right, holding 17-18 grams. I grind both slightly finer than a cone drip. I try to keep it as simple as possible. No timers, no scales.
For the Snowpeak, I preheat the filter with water. Add coffee. Saturate all the grounds. Give it a good stir with a stick. Fill it up all the way to the top and let it drain through.
For the AeroPress, I use the upright method. Pre-heat the filter with water. Add 17 grams (one AeroPress scoop) and fill it all the way up to the 4 and stir it. I place the plunger and pull up slightly to create a pressure seal. Then I look at the sky for about 1 minute 15, uncap, stir, and plunge.
All photos by Bo Thunell except portrait, by Steven Chaprnka. Try to keep up with Bo and his adventures on Instagram.