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AeroPress Go: The Best Way to Make Coffee on the Road

Say goodbye to instant coffee. Get step-by-step instructions for making the best (and easiest) camp coffee of your life using an Aeropress.

A woman using the Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press in her Sprinter van

Coffee is an integral part of my morning routine both at home and off on adventures. Whether I’m road-tripping in my Sprinter van, going skiing for the day, car camping, or backpacking, that delicious coffee aroma is something I look forward to every day. The AeroPress coffee maker has been my go-to method for making that perfect cup of joe for nearly 10 years.

The new model – the AeroPress Go travel coffee press – is super compact, it takes less than a minute to make a cup of coffee, and the process results in a rich, smooth flavor that I haven’t been able to achieve with drip coffee or a french press. Cleanup is also a cinch, which is essential, especially when you’re in a van or car camping. There are no messy grinds to rinse out. You can literally plunge the grounds into the trash and wipe or rinse the AeroPress clean!


What is an AeroPress?

The AeroPress is a simple and inexpensive travel coffee press that can be used at home as well. It’s durable and lightweight so you don’t have to worry about it breaking, and it makes a deliciously strong cup of coffee. Plus, AeroPress coffee only takes a minute to brew which means I get that coffee in my hands sooner.

There are two types of AeroPress coffee makers, the original and the AeroPress Go. I’ve had my original AeroPress coffee maker for almost a decade and the seal was starting to get a little worn, so I recently upgraded to the AeroPress Go, the new, compact, travel-size version.

The travel AeroPress Go being held in a palm of someone's hand with an induction stove in the background
The AeroPress Go

The AeroPress Go vs the Original AeroPress

The major difference between the original AeroPress and the new AeroPress Go is the size. When you have limited storage in your van or camping bins, this helps save space.

The AeroPress Go also comes with its own mug and lid and everything nests, keeping the whole setup nice and tidy.

There isn’t too much of a difference in weight between the AeroPress and AeroPress Go – the AeroPress go actually weighs 3.5 oz more than the original AeroPress but that’s because the weight includes the cup and the lid.

The original AeroPress has a slightly larger capacity than the AeroPress Go (10oz vs 8oz), and if you like a bigger cup of coffee, you may think that the original is better. However, to make a bigger cup of coffee with the AeroPress Go, you simply add more grounds and top it off with more water at the end. I’ll talk more about that down below.

The verdict for me? I now prefer the smaller AeroPress Go due to the space savings.

The original AeroPress next to the travel AeroPress Go on a countertop
Original AeroPress on the left vs AeroPress Go on the right

What you Need for Making AeroPress Coffee

  • An AeroPress or AeroPress Go (see where to buy one at the bottom of this post)
  • A lightweight stove or another method for boiling water – I prefer the Jetboil when camping and backpacking as I’ve found it to be the most efficient, compact stove for boiling water. In my van, I use the induction stove.
  • Your favorite ground coffee, ideally a fine drip grind
  • A mug – I like this insulated Stanley vacuum mug or the Yeti Rambler for car camping

You actually don’t even need a separate mug for the AeroPress Go – it comes with a mug that it packs into. It’s a great solution for backpacking, but for car camping, I prefer an insulated mug with a lid you can sip out of to keep your coffee hot like one of the options listed above.

An Aeropress Go with an orange insulated mug and Jetboil Flash and orange bag of coffee grounds sitting on a campground table
My camp coffee setup: Aeropress Go, insulated mug, & Jetboil

AeroPress Coffee Instructions

Making AeroPress coffee is a total cinch. Here are step-by-step AeroPress instructions for making the perfect cup of joe.

STEP 1: For both the AeroPress and the AeroPress Go, push the plunger out of the chamber where it’s stored.

STEP 2: Put a filter in the filter cap (the filters are included) and twist the filter cap onto the chamber

STEP 3: Stand the chamber on the mug (either your mug of choice or the one that comes with the AeroPress Go) and put one rounded scoop of fine drip grind coffee in the chamber (the scooper is included). Shake to level the coffee grounds. This makes an 8 oz cup. For a larger 16 oz serving, you use two scoops of coffee.

The Aeropress Go setup inside a campervan setup
Heating up water to make coffee in the Aeropress Go

STEP 4: Heat water up until it’s almost boiling, and pour it into the chamber until Level 1 for one serving or Level 2 for a bigger cup.

A woman pours hot water into the Aeropress Go travel coffee press
Pouring water into the Aeropress Go

STEP 5: Stir for about 10 seconds, then insert the plunger until you feel resistance to create a vacuum seal. I personally like my coffee strong, so I leave the plunger in the chamber for a minute or two before I plunge. Then you press the plunger down gently until it reaches the grounds and can’t plunge any further.

A woman presses down on the Aeropress Go travel coffee press
Press gently down on the Aeropress (similar to how to press down a French Press)

STEP 6: Enjoy! Here are a few ways to enjoy your AeroPress coffee:

  • For espresso style, enjoy as is.
  • For Americano style, add hot water to make an 8 oz or 16 oz coffee.
  • You can also add your favorite milk to make a latte (my favorite non-dairy plant-based milk for coffee is cashew or macadamia nut milk).

The AeroPress and AeroPress Go can also be used to make cold brew. Simply follow the instructions above but use room temperature water instead of hot water and stir for 1 minute before pressing.

STEP 7: Clean up is super easy – simply twist off the filter cap, push the plunger to eject the used coffee grounds into the trash, and give the seal a quick rinse.

A woman smiles standing in the doorway of her Sprinter van drinking a cup of coffee made by the Aeropress Go
Drinking out of the included Aeropress Go mug

AeroPress vs French Press

A French Press is another popular option for van life and car camping. I prefer the AeroPress because of both the flavor and the cleanup. With the AeroPress, it’s easier to Leave No Trace since the grounds can simply be plunged into the trash. With a french press, you have the wet grounds at the bottom of the french press that must be swirled around and rinsed out. Then what do you do with those wet grounds? It’s much easier to pack out the grounds in the case of the AeroPress.

In addition, the cleanup for the Aeropress requires less water. When you have limited water, not having to waste water cleaning your coffee maker is a huge plus.

The only downside of the AeroPress is that it’s more difficult to make a large batch of coffee. You can brew up to three concentrated shots of coffee “espresso style” at once with the AeroPress that you can then top off with hot water to make three 8oz cups of coffee. I actually have two AeroPress Go’s in my van so I can make a larger coffee for both Ryan and I at the same time. If you are the kind of person who likes more than a cup or two every morning or you are making coffee for a large group of people, then you might prefer a french press or a large percolator.


Where to Buy an AeroPress

At $39, it’s hard to beat the AeroPress. Considering it will last you for years whether you’re making coffee at home, on the road, or while camping and backpacking, it’s even harder to beat (as I mentioned, I had my original AeroPress for nearly 10 years before replacing it with an AeroPress Go).

You can buy an AeroPress or AeroPress Go directly from the AeroPress website (they have some handy quick tutorials as well).

They are also available at REI, Amazon, select Bed Bath & Beyond Stores, and some independent retail stores.

Have you tried AeroPress Go coffee yet? What’s your favorite way to make coffee on the road? Share your comments and questions below!

Get step-by-step instructions for making the a strong, tasty, and quick cup of coffee on the road using the Aeropress Go.

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43 Comments

  1. I’m a fan of doing pour overs while camping….I bought one of GSI’s ultralight filters that you just clip onto your mug/cup of choice and wa-la. The only thing I’ve discovered is that it’s not easy to pour water slowly out of my jet boil, so while car camping I actually pour the hot water into my hydroflask coffee cup and put the lid on and the pour it out of there over the coffee grounds, comes out at JUST the right speed. I’ve even started using my GSI pour over at home too 🙂

  2. I never thought to brew the thing upside down. That looks a heck of a lot easier and more controlled than doing it by the directions.

  3. Hah this looks like a really cool tool – I need to check this out. Same as you I use instant coffee when backpacking but when just camping I could use something little bit more sophisticated 🙂 Cool tip!

  4. I make a concentrated espresso in the Aeropress – filtered into a small jar – then use that as the base for a rich tasting cup by adding hot water. And there’s enough to share.

  5. My Aeropress makes it into the camping gear tote every time! A must have for my camp mornings. It’s great to see that someone else brews upside down besides me.

  6. We start our camp coffee with fresh ground beans using our Porlex hand crank coffee grinder. Hand grinding beans takes a bit more time, but hey its a wonderful way to start the day. Sitting in a beautiful campsite, grinding your own beans enjoying the view and the incredible scent of freshly ground beans really sets the tone of the day. We currently use a Snow Peak Titanium press, but apparently this grinder fits perfectly inside an Aeropress making it uber compact. Gifted one of these little grinders to a coffee loving friend who initially thought it was just another gadget she’d never use, but is now a total convert and says it’s one of her favourite camp kitchen items!

  7. Thank you for recommending the Aeropress. I have a Jetboil but never could find the right approach to make good coffee while camping. The Aeropress is on my list of things to buy before my next campling trip. Thanks!

  8. We too are fans of the Aeropress. For our first campervan missions we used a stainless steel French press, which works well enough. However, cleanup was a nuisance. With the Aeropress I find I can make the same 2 mugs of coffee I’d get from the French press in the same amount of time, but with much less time spent cleaning up. For heating we generally use a smaller electric kettle (rated just below 1000W to keep our inverter (1000W Magnum) from tripping. Great coffee from an apparently indestructible device.

    Like you, we’ve turned to instant coffee for backpacking trips; we’re there to walk, not cook. Will have to try your favorite brand. Ours is Medaglia d Oro.

  9. Wake up, start fire, boil water in pot, toss in instant coffee and sugar, taste, add more instant coffee, wonder if coffee cup will disintegrate cause it’s so strong, make oatmeal, make second coffee, usually better than the first 🙂

  10. I enjoyed reading the article and I learned a lot how to make killer camp coffee using an Aeropress because I never used this technique before.

  11. I love my Aeropress! There’s no substitute for fresh coffee in the morning after sleeping outside. It just gets me going!
    -Cheers!

  12. Since I am a big coffee drinker I enjoyed the article . I am going to invest in the aero press and try it at home. The problem I do usually drink a small pot at any given time . Cant wait to read your other articles

  13. I love your website – very helpful. I like using Press’d coffee pods. Easy to use, compact, tastes pretty good for instant. I’m not that picky, though, so…

  14. Hey Kristen,
    Yea good choice with the Aeropress! I similarly use it both at home and on the road . It is just hard to beat in terms of taste. versatility, and durability. And the old inverted method is quite a bit of fun (even though I do think that the traditional can also make some superb brews :))

  15. Yea gotta love the Aeropress for the outdoors. The other trick that I have found with using it is that by using two paper filters instead of one the coffee is even more smooth and light. Worth giving a shot if you haven’t already

  16. Read your article, have ordered the aero press. Believe or not when backpacking I always pack a mini Moka and ceramic cup. I’m hoping the aero press works out, as the older I get, the heavier the moka pot gets

  17. Big fan of the pour over; paper filter and funnel. Been doing it for 50 years! And the Jetboil is fast and easy for the hot water.

    1. Me too! I’m a pour over gal – like the ritual of it. And I make it extra strong and drink first cup while another is dripping in 2nd cup. I also stock up
      on Trader Joe’s boxed whipping cream (in the bakery aisle) so I always have lovely rich cream for my coffee out in the wilds.

  18. I too have been using the Aero Press for some time. I enjoy the smooth brew and as you mentioned the easy clean up. After several yrs I also was losing the seal on the rubber plunger and was able to order another from Amazon. Just an FYI. I had not heard of the AP Go and am interested. Thanks

  19. Thank you for all the good information. I have been considering an Aeropress. Right now, we just use pour over. I’m sharing your site/article with my Van Life Pantry-Nomadic Pantry FB group. I am always looking for good information.

  20. Hey Kristen – You are the only person I know that has been doing Aeropress longer than me! I wore one out, too, but realized that the inside of the cylinder had deteriorated, not the plunger! Go figure. My newest addition to my morning coffee ritual is a hand grinder. This is sometimes a PIA on busy mornings but worth it; the fresh grounds elevate my great cup of Joe to an awesome cup of liquid pleasure. Highly recommended.