by Todd Walker
Of all the pleasures of camping, sipping a freshly brewed cup of joe around the morning fire is, as the old TV commercial hummed along, the best part of waking up. Sorry, now the jingle is stuck in your head. Many campers employ a variety of gadgetry and complicated contraptions in pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee.
Wanna simplify the whole process? Of course you do.
The process is so simple you’ll kick yourself for purchasing, and packing, that expensive French press!
Harlton’s Hobo Coffee Maker
I dubbed this simple, yet amazing, bush coffee maker the “Harlton Hobo Coffee Maker” after watching a Karamat Wilderness video loaded with Kelly Harlton’s bushcraft ingenuity. I highly recommend this channel for simple solutions and philosophy of crafting in the bush!
Here’s what you’ll need to make one on your next adventure…
- Cotton Bandana – Kelly uses a pre-cut triangular piece of parachute material
- 3 finger-size, arm-length sticks
- String long enough to tie around the sticks bundled together
This may be the shortest tutorial in the history of this blog. It’s so simple not much explaining is required.
Step 1: Build a Tripod
Bundle the three sticks together. Tie your string around the sticks with a quick knot to hold them together. Fold them out to form a tripod. The height of the tripod needs to be high enough to allow your coffee cup to sit under the bandana.
If you’d like to make a more permanent tripod for base camp cooking or your backyard, check out our video below. This is a bit overkill for the Harlton Hobo Coffee Maker though. Just tie the sticks together.
Step 2: Attach Bandana
I keep a few multifunctional bandanas in my haversack. If you have a large bandana, you can fold it diagonal to form a triangle. If not, just tie two corners on two legs of the tripod with the remaining two corners secured to the third leg with a simple over hand knot.
Check to make sure your coffee cup will sit under the bandana funnel. Adjust as needed.
Step 3: Add Coffee Grounds in the Funnel
Not real complicated here. Depending on how you like your coffee, between motor oil or brown tea, add enough grounds to satisfy. I make my first cup strong. A couple of scoops filtered trough into my 16 ounce kuksa is about right for my taste. The next cup filtered through the grounds will be weaker.
Step 4: Add Hot Water
Boil up some water up in a pot over the fire or stove. Once she’s boiling, place your cup underneath the bandana filter and slowly pour hot water over the grounds. Gauge the amount you pour for one perfect cup of steaming hot goodness. Have your buddy’s cup ready to slide under to catch the next cup if you happen to over pour the first cup. Don’t waste a drop.
All that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy. I’ve found my first cup is easier to swallow than my buddy’s embellished fishing tales.
Clean up is a breeze. Untie your filter and shake out the spent grounds. Be careful not to whip the filter in the air or you’ll cover yourself with used coffee grounds. Rinse out and hang the bandana to dry while you cook up a hearty breakfast fit for a woodsman. If you’ve got to get moving, tie the filter on the outside of your pack to dry while tramping to your next campsite.
The beauty of Kelly’s simple bush coffee maker is its weight, and the fact that you craft it on the spot. No modern gadgetry required to make the perfect cup of camp coffee.
Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,
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