Coffee Pot Van Life Kitchen Essentials The Best Coffee Maker for Van Life in 2024
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The Best Coffee Maker for Van Life in 2024

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Just because you spend your time in the great outdoors doesn’t mean you have to live like an animal, mixing cold water with instant coffee sachets to get your fix.

It’s 2024, and everyone deserves cafe-quality coffee. Today, we are looking at the best coffee makers for van life.

There was a time when you had to choose between van life (or camping) and a decent morning cup of coffee. Luckily, that time is firmly in the rearview as vanlifers, campers, hikers, and travelers everywhere have driven the demand for portable coffee makers, and the market has responded.

For people like us who are addicted to travel as much as we are to coffee, there have never been more options to choose from.

Whether you have a camper van with 240-volt power, a camp stove, a USB socket, or nothing at all, there is a product for you. It doesn’t matter if you drink your coffee black, white, cold, hot, brewed, or espresso-style; we have every coffee drinking camper covered.

Best Coffee Maker for Van Life

What makes a coffee maker the best coffee maker for van life? A host of things influence what we think are the best coffee makers for van life. From the type of coffee you prefer to the durability of the materials to ease of use, and of course, the best value. We have considered all of these when determining what we think are the best van life coffee makers on the market today.

So, let’s dive right in to see which one should be used for your life on the road.

Best Manual Coffee Makers for Van Life

What is a manual van life coffee maker? We have included coffee makers as manual if you need to boil water separately with a pot or kettle. The boiled water is then used in the manual coffee maker to brew coffee.

Nanopresso for Espresso Coffee

Once an espresso lover, always an espresso lover.

If you have come to find espresso is your cup of coffee, chances are other styles of coffee don’t really cut it. Luckily, Nanopresso has found a way to make real espresso really tiny.

The Wacaco Nanopresso delivers cafe-quality coffee using a fraction of the space of a regular espresso machine. The Nanopresso is so small it will fit into the car, campervan, or hiking pack.

Simply add boiling water, give it a few pumps, and presto!

The Wacaco Nanopresso makes for great gifts for road trippers, hikers, weekend warriors, or really anyone that simply loves coffee.

PROS

+ Seriously good coffee

+ Compact (only 6.14 inches / 15.6 cm)

+ Lightweight (0.74 lbs / 336 grams)

+ Easy to use

CONS

– Makes coffee only for one person at a time

– Lots of parts

– Requires boiling water

– Expensive

Aeropress for Hot and Cold Brews

An Aeropress delivers delicious coffee brewed in under a minute. If you love a good filter coffee, this is the best option for you.

Conveniently packed in a travel size with a mug and lid doubling as the storage case, the Aeropress makes one to three cups of coffee, depending on how strong you like it.

Best of all, the Aeropress can be used to brew hot or cold brews, so it is perfect for any climate.

PROS

+ Can brew hot or cold coffee

+ Makes multiple cups of coffee (1-3)

+ Packs compactly into the travel mug

+ Lightweight (0.70 lbs / 318 grams)

+ Easy to use

CONS

– Lots of parts

– Requires you to add boiling water if you want hot coffee

Stanley for French Press Coffee

The original French Press just got an upgrade with the Stanley French Press.

The Stanley French Press doesn’t use glass, which is great for living on the road. Plus, the makers at Stanley have put their product to the test, from category 5 hurricanes to 4,000-foot drops; Stanley has made sure their product will withstand almost anything you can throw at it.

The Stanley French Press also has insulated walls that will keep your brew warm for up to four hours.

PROS

+ Makes multiple cups of coffee (1-3)

+ Keeps coffee warm for up to 4 hours

+ Durable

+ BPA free

+ Lifetime warranty

CONS

– Bulky (almost 10 inches long)

– Heavy (1.15 lbs)

– Need to boil water separately

Hario v60 for Pour Over Coffee

Hario has been producing quality coffee makers for ages. They are known primarily for their glass pour-over systems, so it is no surprise that a Hario coffee maker has found its way on our list of the best van life coffee makers.

Hario now makes a plastic pour-over coffee maker, the Hario v60, which is perfect for van life.

If you are worried about the environment, you will be glad to know that the Hario v60 uses BPA plastics.

PROS

+ Inexpensive

+ BPA free

+ Easy to use

CONS

– Requires filters

– Need to boil water separately

Stove top coffee maker, our pick for the best coffee makers for van life, on a table with a cup and phone.

Stove Top Coffee Makers for Van Life

A stove-top camping coffee maker is just as it sounds. A coffee maker that brews coffee using the stove. These coffee makers do not require any additional pieces to brew the perfect pot of coffee like the manual van life coffee makers. The stove-top coffee maker boils the water as it makes the coffee in the same device.

Here are our favorite stovetop coffee makers.

Bialetti Moka Pot the Ultimate Coffee Percolater

The Bialetti Moka Pot is our go-to coffee maker and the camper coffee pot that we have consistently had in all three of our vans and our sailboat. A complete coffee system, this coffee maker doesn’t require any extra pieces like something to boil water in to brew a fine cup of coffee.

The Bialetti brews really strong coffee and is perfect for those who enjoy an espresso-style coffee, although it is not quite as concentrated as true espresso.

The Bialetti Moka Pot can be purchased in a range of different sizes, from tiny single-cup serves to twelve-cup serves. We have found that the three-cup Bialetti maker is just perfect for the two of us on the road.

PROS

+ Brews more than one cup of coffee at a time

+ Doesn’t require additional parts to brew a cup of coffee

+ Easy to use

+ Strong espresso-style coffee

CONS

– Not compact

Bellman Espresso & Steamer for the Perfect Cappucino

The Bellman Espresso & Steamer is for serious coffee drinkers. What makes the Bellman Espresso & Steamer one of the best van life coffee makers? This top-of-the-line coffee maker means you will never be far from cafe-quality coffee, even in the most remote parts of the world.

The Bellman is similar to the moka pot but includes an attached wand allowing you to froth your own milk, perfect for those who like cappuccinos or flat whites.

This coffee maker can be adjusted to make three to nine cups, so it is suitable for the whole family.

PROS

+ Brews more than one cup of coffee at a time

+ Doesn’t require additional parts to brew a cup of coffee

+ Includes milk frother

CONS

– Not compact

– Expensive

Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers

Cold brew coffees are now (probably) just as popular as hot coffees. In almost every country that we have visited, cold brews are on the menu. Cold brews are personally my favorite type of coffee to drink, especially during the summer, as they have lower acidity and more flavor.

OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker is one of the best on the market. Its design is based on the original style of cold brew, where the coffee drips drop by drop through the coffee grounds for the perfect brew.

The OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker takes 12 – 24 hours to brew up to seven cups of coffee concentrate, perfect for a full week. Its compact design makes it one of the best cold brew coffee makers for van life, as the jar is designed to nest inside the filtering system for easy storage.

The cold brew system comes with a metal filter, but you can also purchase paper filters if desired.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with the OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker.

PROS

+ Brews up to seven cups of cold brew concentrate

+ Doesn’t require paper filters

+ Compact

+ Inexpensive

CONS

– Takes 12-24 hours to brew

– Glass jar

Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker is another cold brew coffee maker perfect for van life. Unlike the OXO, the Takeya uses a diffusing methodology similar to brewing tea.

One of the best things about the Takeya is that it is extremely easy to use and clean. Its sleek, compact design is great for van life, plus the pitcher is made of plastic (a bonus for van life).

The Takeya comes in 1 quart (4 servings of coffee) and 2 quart options (8 servings).

PROS

+ No additional pieces (all contained within the pitcher)

+ Plastic pitcher

+ Doesn’t require paper filters

+ Inexpensive

CONS

– Takes 12-24 hours to brew (standard brew time)

12-V Coffee Maker for Van Life

They don’t exist.

Well, they do exist, but they are not worth it… not worth the cost nor the extra amount of solar that you would need to power the 12-v coffee maker. There are plenty of other options to choose from to get your java fix first thing in the morning, that we wouldn’t recommend it.

If you absolutely want a 12-v camper coffee pot, the two that seem the most similar to your standard “home” coffee maker include the

Both have less than glowing reviews on Amazon, and we cannot recommend them. Purchase at your own risk. đŸ˜‰

We also have read about other vanlifers that have taken regular “home” coffee makers on the road. We, personally, don’t think the extra solar power needed to run a standard coffee maker is worth it, but if you have ample, then by all means, shoot for the stars. If you plan to be in campgrounds and have access to mains power, then perhaps this is something worth considering.

Other Compact Coffee Makers

If you are like us, and you are starting out your van life adventure in a teeny tiny van, then you may not have the space to pack a large coffee maker (not that any of them are overtly large). Or, if you like to explore the wild outdoors and want a coffee maker that is useful both inside the van and outside the van when you are hiking, then these coffee makers might just be for you. Each one weighs less than 200g and takes up almost zero space.

JoGo Coffee Maker and Tea Brewing Straw

The JoGo Coffee Maker and Tea Brewing Straw is unique in terms of coffee makers. Essentially, you pour hot (or cold) water into a coffee cup with the coffee grinds. After you leave the coffee seep, then you use the straw to drink the coffee.

The filter on the end of the straw keeps the coffee grinds from coming up the straw. A pretty interesting way to drink coffee, and clearly one of the most compact options on the market.

PROS

+ Compact

+ Lightweight (less than 1 oz)

+ Easy to use

CONS

– Requires you to boil water separately

– Only brews one cup of coffee at a time

– More expensive than the other compact coffee makers

Primula Brew Buddy Portable Pour Over

Primula Brew Buddy is easily one of the best coffee makers for those short on space. It weighs less than 1 oz (<30g) and is simple to use. It works similarly to the Hario v60 pour-over but is considerably smaller.

PROS

+ Compact

+ Lightweight (less than 1 oz)

+ Inexpensive (less than $10)

+ Easy to use

CONS

– Requires you to boil water separately

– Only brews one cup of coffee at a time

Snow Peak Collapsible Drip

A wonderful Japanese creation, the Snow Peak Collapsible Drip is the perfect lightweight and compact coffee maker for van life and for camping.

Like with any pour-over, the only downside is the need for a filter to brew the perfect cup.

PROS

+ Compact

+ Durable (stainless steel)

+ Easy to use

CONS

– Requires you to boil water separately

– Only brews one cup of coffee at a time

– Requires coffee filters

Kuju Coffee

Looking for an ultra-lightweight coffee solution? Well, the creators of Kuju Coffee have designed the perfect pour-over coffee bag that attaches to your coffee mug without any coffee maker.

Simply unwrap the coffee bag, extend the holders, and place it firmly on your coffee mug. Open the coffee bag and pour hot water into the bag until the rim without overflowing. Repeat the process until you have the desired amount of coffee.

If you are traveling for a significant amount of time, these might not be the best solution as they would take up lots of space in your tiny home on wheels.

PROS

+ Compact

+ Lightweight

+ Easy to use

+ Coffee and coffee maker in one

CONS

– Requires you to boil water separately

– Only brews one cup of coffee at a time

– Relatively expensive

– More of an impact on the environment as each coffee is individually packed

BeSt Milk Frother for Van Life

If you like a bit of milk with your coffee, then lucky for you, there are some great options for portable milk frothers on the market today. You will never be too far away from the perfect cappuccino or macchiato on any van life adventure.

Bialetti Cappucino Milk Frother

It should come as no surprise that the world-renowned Italian coffee brand Bialetti is also throwing its hat in the ring for the best milk frother.

We love this Bialetti milk frother because it doesn’t require any other products. Simply heat the milk in the frother on the stove and pump when warmed.

XIMU Rechargeable Milk Frother

More environmentally conscious than other traditional wand frothers, the XIMU rechargeable milk frother is perfect for those on the go. Rechargeable by USB, you can use the XIMU milk frother from literally anywhere.

Three speeds make perfecting your froth super easy. Easy to clean, portable, and less than $15, the XIMU milk frother is a perfect addition to your camp setup.

The bonus egg whisk included also makes a perfect addition to your van life kitchen gadgets!

Zulay Electric Milk Frother

When it comes to handheld milk frothers, the Zulay electric milk frother is leading the pack (at least according to Amazon).

This battery-operated milk frother uses a whisk-based approach to whip your milk into a lovely foam.

To use this milk frother, you will need to heat the milk up separately before frothing.

For the price, you can’t beat it.

Other Coffee Essentials For the Perfect Van Life Brew

You can’t make the perfect cup of coffee on the road without all of the gizmos and gadgets. Impress your camp friends with these additional items for the perfect van life brew.

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

Nothing makes coffee better than freshly ground beans. Freshly ground coffee will impress your new van life friends and make you everyone’s favorite van lifer.

A JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder is easy to use, compact, and will improve your coffee out of sight.

Yeti Insulated Coffee Cup

You can’t enjoy your coffee without a coffee mug. A Yeti insulated mug is a perfect addition to your van life coffee setup.

BPA-free, this insulated mug keeps your coffee warm on those chilly mornings while keeping your hands safe from burning.

The lid is also great for those early morning drives to get to your next destination.

Kelli Van Life Morning Coffee The Best Coffee Maker for Van Life in 2024
Nothing beats a cup of coffee in bed!

Things to COnsider When Buying A Coffee Maker for Van Life

Before you decide on which coffee maker is the best coffee maker for you, there are a few things to consider before making the purchase.

Type of Coffee

One of the most important things to consider is how you like your coffee brewed. If you like espresso coffee, then you will want a coffee maker that will make delicious espresso-type coffee. If you like pour-overs, then you will want a coffee maker suited for that style of coffee. Knowing what type of coffee you like will help you instantly narrow down the best van life coffee makers for you.

Material / Durability

Another consideration when deciding on the best coffee maker is durability and the type of material. Coffee makers that will easily break are probably not the best for the bumpy roads you may face to get to your campsite.

Choose something that can withstand a few bumps and rattles. We have found that steel and hard BPO plastic are best for life on the road.

Ease of Use

One of the things that makes a coffee maker the best coffee maker for van life is the ease of use. A mountain summit is not the ideal place to learn how to brew a coffee. Ensure you choose a coffee maker that you understand. If it has a few extra bells and whistles that you likely won’t use, then skip it.

Value (Best Brew for Your Buck)

It goes without saying that the best coffee maker for van life isn’t necessarily the one that is most expensive. If you are only going to be on the road for a few trips a year, then a $100 van life coffee maker may not be the best option for you. Consider how much you will use your coffee maker, the type of coffee you like to drink, and the price point before making any purchase.

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So, what do you think about our list of the best coffee makers for van life? Did we miss any travel coffee makers? Let us know in the comments below.

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