This operation is coffee fueled. You might as well ditch all the CF cards if you’re going to forget the morning brew. A camera is a second tier item on the packing list. Fresh ground beans and the means to deliver their goodness is the top line item. Since most of our assignments have us camping out, we’ve searched out simple, lightweight, packable means for a good strong cup to get things rolling at o’dark thirty. We found Java Juice five years ago and the durable little 15 ml packets have been with us ever since. The pure coffee extract is from premium Arabic beans with one packet as potent as a double shot espresso. Add to 8 oz hot or cold water ala Americano.
Instant coffee that needs to dissolve in hot water wasn’t a palatable option until Starbucks VIA. We got some free samples a few years ago at a grocery store and now they’re our ‘go to’ backcountry coffee solution. Two packets in a 500 ml Nalgene bottle will get you out of your sleeping bag on a cold, dark morning. The mini-nalgi is also our preferred trail mug; wide mouth, leak-proof cap, and a great hand warmer. The pocket of our down jacket keeps the beverage hot while we break down camp.
For real coffee, nothing beats a French press. But that’s too bulky for our liking and it’s also a pain to clean if you don’t have a plentiful water source. The ‘one cupper’ is the next best thing, but have you ever tried to pack one of those? Japanese gear guru MontBell has a collapsible model that you have to use to believe. The O.D. Compact Dripper is a smashable one cupper that we really like. It’s a bit more of a process than the other two options, but some times you just want real beans. It’s made to be used with a pair of chop sticks. Go figure.
Matt & Agnes Hage