Camping can be a great way to get away from it all, but you might not want to get away from your coffee. Getting a portable grinder might be a good idea if you can’t imagine your day without a freshly brewed cuppa. Let’s take a closer look at the available options and determine the best camping coffee grinder for you. You can certainly have a perfect cup of coffee while enjoying nature!
Value For Money
JavaPresse Conical Burr Mill
Comandante C40 MK3
Akirakoki Manual Wooden Mill
Hario Mini Slim Plus
GSI Outdoors Javamill
Hario Skerton Plus
Best camping coffee grinders in 2023
Camping coffee grinders come at various price points and with different technology. Some are meant for travel, while others could comfortably double for daily home use.
Shopping for camping coffee gadgets can certainly get your imagination going, so it may be hard to gauge your level of adventurousness realistically. Stay in touch with your true needs as you choose from the best travel coffee grinders on the market.
VSSL JAVA Manual Coffee Grinder
The VSSL JAVA is one of the higher-priced and best manual coffee grinders. However, it is cheaper than its high-end competitors. Its grind capacity is 0.7 oz (20 g) or one serving.
The aircraft-grade aluminum body and stainless steel burrs are tough enough to make VSSL JAVA an ideal travel coffee grinder. It has a “Clip and Flip” carabiner that doubles as the crank handle you use to grind your beans. In addition, its carabiner allows you to carry it attached to your backpack, which you might not be able to do with other grinders.
This burr grinder has 50 grind settings. Though some users claim it does not quite make it to the fine grind suitable for an espresso maker, its adjustable setting dial is super easy to use. It is also known for its fast and easy grind process.
- Ultra-durable, aircraft-grade aluminum body
- Best-in-class stainless steel burr
- Unique carabiner handle design
- 50 grind settings
- Go from beans to brewing in under a minute
- Struggles with very fine grinds
- Small capacity
- Heavier than other hand grinders
JavaPresse Conical Burr Mill
The JavaPresse Conical Burr Mill is a compact travel grinder with a steel body and ceramic burrs inside. It is so small that it can fit inside the plunger of an AeroPress for transportation.
It can also hold about 1.4 oz (40 g) of coffee beans, or enough for two servings. That is a bigger capacity than some of its competitors in the portable coffee grinder category, though it isn’t huge.
As expected for a burr grinder under 100 dollars, JavaPresse’s grinding process is quite slow. It does have 18 adjustable grind settings, but getting a finer grind can require a lot of elbow grease.
- Compact design
- 18 adjustable grind settings
- Professional-grade ceramic conical burr
- Durable body
- Fits inside the AeroPress plunger
- Hard to get a fine grind
- Small capacity
- Grinds slowly
1Zpresso K-PRO Manual Coffee Grinder
This coffee mill shines in the ease of adjusting its grind setting. While other manual grinders have a fairly simple screw mechanism to adjust the grind, this one has numbered dials on the outside, similar to what you would find on an electric grinder.
Its steel body and burrs are strong enough to hold up to your adventures indoors or out. It also grinds more quickly than other grinders. Its capacity is 1.2 oz (35 g) of coffee beans or about two servings.
- External adjustment ring
- Precise grind settings
- Stainless steel body and burrs
- Grinds quickly
- Surface may scratch
- The opening for adding beans is quite small
- Higher priced than other hand grinders
Comandante C40 MK3 Hand Grinder
Commandante has been setting a standard in the hand grinder league for quite a few years. It is a well-known brand among coffee enthusiasts and baristas worldwide.
Its minimalistic design hides a powerful beast. Stainless steel axle, dual ball bearings, and Nitro Blade conical burrs with improved engine frame grind coffee with surgical precision. So whether you are a Turkish coffee fan or need an espresso grind for your lever espresso machine, the Commandante MK3 will fulfill all your needs.
The ergonomic grinding handle with natural oak wood hand crank knob makes the grinding process smooth and effortless. It will produce 1.4-1.6 oz (40-45g) of freshly ground coffee in one go, enough for a 6-cup Moka Pot or French Press.
The Commandante C40 MK3 sturdy steel body comes in four differently colored wood veneers. In addition, the newly introduced polymer catch-cup will not shatter or crack in your backpack, making it an ideal companion for outdoor trips.
So if you are serious about your specialty coffee and want a precision burr grinder, the Commandante is the right tool.
- Grinds any size, from Turkish coffee to cold brew
- Consistent grind size
- Easy control settings
- Ergonomic handle
- Fast grinding speed
- Thick body may not be comfortable to hold for those with small hands
- Counting clicks to adjust grind size can be confusing
Porlex Mini Manual Coffee Grinder
The Porlex Mini is one of the smallest grinders on the market. It is ideal for a backpacker trying to save space in the bag. In addition, it fits inside an AeroPress plunger, which is a great packing trick.
It has a stainless steel body and ceramic burrs inside. If a ceramic burr gets debris stuck while grinding, it can break, so it may be something to watch out for during outdoor camping. Also, other internal parts of this grinder are made of plastic, and some users have reported that those can break.
The capacity of this grinder is small. It can only grind about 0.7 (20 g) of coffee beans at a time, enough for a single cup.
- Consistent grind size
- Stainless steel, static-free body
- Fits inside an AeroPress
- Small grinding capacity
- Ceramic burrs can break
- More expensive than similar grinders
Akirakoki Manual Wooden Mill
The Akirakoki Manual Wooden Mill comes in two attractive tones. It is carved from one solid piece of wood to minimize the risk of cracking.
This manual coffee grinder has cast-iron conical burrs with some advantages over ceramic ones, such as not picking up smells or producing heat. Also, the cast iron burr is more durable than the ceramic burr.
Akirakoki grinder has a screw to adjust the grind. However, the settings are not marked, which might be frustrating for some users. Aside from finding the setting you want, uniformity can be harder to achieve coarser grind for a French press and cold brew coffee.
This grinder has a bigger capacity than some of the other manual grinders. It can grind about 1.2 oz (35 g) or two servings worth of coffee at once and store 1.9 oz (55 g) of ground coffee in the bottom chamber.
- Solid wood body
- Durable cast iron burrs
- Ergonomically designed crank handle
- Easy & quiet grind
- Inconsistent on coarse grinds
- Hard to specify grind setting
- Grinds slowly
Hario Mini Slim Plus Ceramic Coffee Mill
The Hario Mini Slim Plus Ceramic Coffee Mill has an elegant design and focuses on achieving an even grind. It has ceramic burrs and a see-through plastic chamber at the bottom, so you know exactly how much coffee you ground.
Hario Mini can grind enough coffee to make two cups, which in most cases would be enough during a camping trip.
Even though it is not specifically designed to be a camping grinder, it is lightweight and versatile enough for home and travel use.
Hario Mini Slim Plus is compatible with Electro Solo Electric Grinder Attachment, making grinding a breeze.
- Consistent grind
- Improved ergonomic handle
- Good for home & travel
- Less compact than others
- The bin and hopper can be tricky to align
- The latching mechanism may wear off
GSI Outdoors Javamill Coffee Grinder
The GSI Outdoors Javamill Coffee Grinder is intentionally designed for outdoor use. It is made from lightweight co-polyester plastic and has a compact, narrow shape to make it easy to pack. In addition, the hand crank can be removed, which is advantageous in terms of portability.
As might be expected in exchange for being so portable, the capacity of this grinder is pretty small. It has adjustable ceramic burrs and grinds enough coffee beans to make one cup.
Like other budget coffee mills, the GSI Outdoors Javamill can take quite a bit of time to grind your whole coffee beans. Some users also find that operating the grinder requires a lot of hand strength.
Unfortunately, the GSI Outdoors Javamill cannot nest inside an AeroPress like some competitors in the portable grinder category can.
- Space-saving foldable handle
- Silicon grip
- Variety of grind selections
- Small capacity
- The handle may unscrew while grinding
- Plastic may crack
Hario Skerton Plus Ceramic Grinder
The Hario Skerton Plus is an excellent manual grinder for serving a larger group of people. It has ceramic conical burrs and is built with particular attention to achieving a uniform grind.
The glass jar for the coffee grinds has a non-slip rubber base to keep it stable on a tabletop while you grind beans. However, if you don’t want to risk breaking that jar on your camping trip, the top part can be put on another glass jar, like a mason jar. The lid has a handy silicone grip to help you hold it as you grind.
While this manual coffee grinder is built to last, it is more of a home coffee mill. Therefore, it might be a better fit for a camping trip where you stay at the campground or in your vehicle than for one where you venture deep into the woods.
However, of the best travel coffee grinders, the Hario Skerton Plus is the winner for those who need to brew coffee for more than one or two people at a time. It can hold up to 2.6 oz (75 g) of ground coffee beans in the hopper and 3.5 oz (100 g) of coffee, which sets it apart from competitors.
- Large capacity
- Improved grind shaft
- Ceramic conical burrs ensure a uniform grind
- Detachable handle for compact storage
- Great for travel & home
- Fragile glass
- No gauge markings for setting grind size
- Too bulky for backpacking
Things to consider when choosing a camping coffee grinder
As you try to find the best coffee grinder for camping, you may need to consider what your camping trips usually look like. An electric coffee grinder could be a good choice if you spend most of your time in an RV with a power source. However, if you do overnight backpacking, you will look only at manual options without electricity.
Consider what brewing method you will use during your trips and how much coffee you’d want to brew. Portable coffee grinders for backpacking are durable but usually have a small capacity. So if you plan to hang out at the campground with a bigger group of people, you may want to sacrifice portability for a bigger capacity grinder.
Backpackers are notorious for trying to minimize the weight of every item in their backpacks, so the best backpacking coffee grinder in that respect is a lightweight one. The material can significantly affect the grinder’s weight. Plastic and metal grinders are usually lightweight, while wood and glass can be heavier.
However, if you spend your camping mornings at a campground or in an RV, you may not have to worry so much about the weight of your manual coffee grinder. You could then pay more attention to other factors in searching for the ultimate camping grinder, like capacity and ease of use. An RV might even give you the option of bringing an electric burr grinder on your trip.
You must love your specialty coffee to carry a grinder on a hike. When packing your essentials, the size of your backpack is your biggest limitation as you also need to fit your camping gear into it.
A manual grinder may need to fit in your small daypack if you are going on a day hike. In that case, finding the smallest coffee mill possible will be your priority.
Remember that you will also carry other coffee equipment, like your coffee maker and some beans, so saving space is essential. The advantage of cylindrical coffee grinders is that they don’t take up much space, and some can fit inside your coffee brewer, such as AeroPress.
If you plan to stay at the campground with your family or friends, you may not have to worry about the size of your grinder or your brewing equipment, as you don’t have to carry it on your back all day. In that case, a bigger grinder that can hold coffee beans for a few cups is a good choice.
Grinding beans at home before the trip is also an option to save your backpack space. Bringing ground coffee can be best if you use a brewing method that requires a lot of coffee, such as the French press or Chemex. While fresh coffee is important, you must be realistic about how much time you will spend preparing it during your camping trip.
Durability is one of the most important criteria separating camping coffee grinders from those intended for home use.
Will you be venturing into the wilderness or doing something where your backpack might get bumped or dropped? You may want a metal camping coffee grinder, as steel grinders are more sturdy than those made of plastic or glass.
However, a grinder with glass parts is fine if you plan to stay close to a campground. You might not have to worry about getting a travel grinder, as many grinders for home use would be capable enough.
Burr grinders are prized over blade grinders to achieve a more even grind. Fortunately, the best manual coffee grinders on this list are all burr grinders.
Within the category of burr grinders, the next big question is whether to choose ceramic or steel burrs. Ceramic burrs are often favored because they don’t get hot as they grind and don’t hold on to smells.
However, a ceramic burr grinder can break if a piece of debris gets stuck while grinding. In the context of home use, this threat would more likely come from a little rock mixed in with whole coffee beans. In outdoor use, debris might be easier to come by.
While breaking your grinder burr when you finally settle down to make a nice cup of coffee in the wild is not fun, it should be possible to buy a replacement.
A metal grinding burr is not likely to break as a ceramic burr can. Of the two main options for metal burrs, stainless steel burrs can heat the beans as they grind, much like a blade grinder. While cast-iron burrs do not have that problem, they may be susceptible to rust.
Adjustable grind size
Most manual coffee mills have adjustable grind settings but check that the grinder you buy can produce the right grind for your preferred brewing method. For example, French press or pour-over coffee requires a coarse grind, while a Moka Pot works great with a medium-fine grind.
If you prefer an extremely fine or coarse grind, ensure the camping grinder covers that end of the spectrum. You might also want to consider whether adjusting the grind settings is easy enough to do so that you can get the right grind.
Manual coffee grinders will generally require more elbow grease to achieve a finer grind, especially those from the budget range. However, if you get a mill with a good range of grind settings, you might find it versatile enough to use at home.
You often face a trade-off between price and quality whenever you shop for anything. Travel coffee grinders are no exception. Good quality grinders work consistently and last forever, so it’s worth investing in a better one, especially if you plan to use it often. The high-end burr grinders are known for grinding coffee faster than their cheaper competitors.
If you travel rarely and have an electric grinder at home, you may get by with a lower-priced manual coffee grinder.
Good coffee matters if you are determined to get a travel grinder instead of just bringing pre-ground coffee on your next camping trip. You may need to spend quite a bit on a manual coffee grinder to get excellent quality. However, if you are ready for compromises, you can make a decent cup of coffee for a more affordable price.
When choosing a camping coffee grinder, consider what is more important: a compact size or grinding capacity. The best coffee grinder is the one that will allow you to brew a perfect cup of coffee wherever you are.