Backcountry Brewing

Coffee isn't optional.

Montana’s backcountry and good java go hand in hand. But when packing one’s own supplies into the wilderness, what’s the best compromise between weight and quality, mess and simplicity? After many years of trial and error, I’ve discovered some strategies and tactics to pass along.

Soul Mug
Your own personal, packable coffee mug should be durable and retain both heat and liquid when inevitably knocked over. Scientific analysis may suggest otherwise, but in my experience, stickers, stains, dings, and scratches enrich the flavor of any beverage.

Vive la France!
One tried-and-true approach to brewing backcountry coffee is the French press. Cleanup can be messy, but this method produces a delicious cup of fresh java tailored to individual taste and strength requirements.

Ride ‘Em Cowboy!
Popular with fans of the Old West, this method was en vogue back when Charlie Russell was putting paint on canvas. Simply boil a pot of water, remove from heat source, and gradually stir in coffee grounds. The grounds will float, but be patient and wait for them to sink. To speed things up, tap the side of the pot, add a dash of cold water, or even throw in a few pebbles. Finally, make sure the person who gets the first cup can romanticize the experience of having coffee grounds in his teeth.

There’s an App for That 
Okay, not really. But for the instant-gratification types, just take a packet of instant coffee and add water. In a couple of minutes you’ll have a tasty, mess-free cup o’ joe that took up virtually no space in your backpack. As a bonus, these are also handy to keep in your car for times when your only coffee option is the nearest Town Pump.