Best coffee maker for vanlife and campers

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What we talk about in this article

As full time travellers, we don’t want to compromise on daily things like coffee. And nobody should. Even if you only travel for 2 weeks or 2 months in your motorhome, camper or van, you can still get great coffee in the morning. Lola likes to have tea in the morning, but I can’t live without coffee. I actually go nowhere before coffee, so, it is a big deal. And I tried quite a few coffee making techniques for vanlife. They weren’t all equally successful. So I feel like I know what I’m talking about when presenting you the best coffee maker for vanlife and motorhome life!

Instant coffee

While not really a ‘coffee maker’, I guess almost everyone has considered this one to start with. It’s easy, convenient, fast, … But it isn’t really great tasting though. 

I used instant coffee for a while, in between trying other things that I didn’t end up liking for vanlife. It’s been in the running for quite some time.

All you need to make instant coffee, is a decent kettle to make hot water!

But then I started itching to find a better solution again.

Instant coffee Pros

  • Easy
  • Quick
  • You only need to add hot water

Instant coffee Cons

  • Not the cheapest
  • Not the tastiest

Pour-over coffee maker

This insta worthy coffee maker is quite a popular method of making coffee during your travels (or at home). The glass pot just looks great, especially when you put it in front of a scenic background, like a beach sunrise or a mountainous view from the door of your van.

But, that’s not the only reason why the pour-over coffee maker is popular in the vanlife community. It’s also an easy and cheap way of getting great coffee while on the road.

You can use regular ground coffee, which you can switch up when travelling through different regions.  Who doesn’t like exploring different tastes in each country?

Pour-over Pros

  • Relatively cheap to get
  • Can use a reusable coffee filter (so eco-friendly-
  • Beautiful designs

Pour-over Cons

  • You have to take your time to do it right
  • Large to store
  • Glass pour-over jugs break easily in a van
  • You still need a kettle

French Press

The French Press is also quite Instagram worthy. It looks great in vans, but that’s just one of the reasons for it being popular in the vanlife community. The French Press coffee maker is also an easy and convenient way of making delicious coffee, starting from basic ground coffee. 

To use this coffee maker, you need 2 devices: the French Press and a kettle to heat up your water. You just add the ground coffee in the glass jar. Then, add the water and let it sit for a bit. After that, press the filter down to separate the ground coffee powder from the actual coffee.

You have to press down slowly or your coffee will have coffee grounds in it, which is not very tasty! I liked using the French Press quite a lot, but in the end, I switched to my all time favourite… Keep scrolling to find out which is the best coffee maker for vanlife!

French Press Pros

  • Quick and easy
  • Budget-friendly coffee
  • Full flavour

French Press Cons

  • Have to take your time to press down the filter
  • Might have coffee grounds in your coffee
  • Glass jar might break easily
  • You still need a kettle as well

Foldable coffee dripper

I tried the Sea to Summer X-Brew coffee dripper. It’s a plastic, collapsable coffee filter that you can put over your mug. 

One thing to consider: you need to pour the water over the coffee very slowly. Otherwise, you end up with coffee that looks like tea. So, this is a coffee maker for people with patience and dedication!

The idea itself is pretty good, but mine already gave in within one month. I’ve seen other people being really happy with this coffee maker, but it was not the right one for me.

If you want to try one of these, make sure to select one that has a reusable filter inside. Otherwise, you still have to get paper filters before you can get started. The Sea-To-Summit X-Brew has a mesh filter inside.

Foldable coffee dripper Pros

  • Very small to pack
  • Simple and straight forward system

Foldable coffee dripper Cons

  • Not durable enough for daily use
  • You need a lot of patience
  • You still need a kettle for your hot water


The Aeropress is another super popular option among vanlifers and campers.

We saw a lot of YouTubing vanlifers recommend this coffee makers and it looks quite promising indeed. The Aeropress is a single serving coffee maker which is easy to use and surprisingly quick. 

You just add your coffee grounds, add water, and press the top down in order to get a mug of fresh coffee. It works a little bit like the French Press, but with paper filters instead of the built in mesh filter of the French Press. Also, the Aeropress results in a single serving, while the French Press comes in different volume varieties.

Aeropress Pros

  • Quick and easy
  • Easy to clean
  • Small to stow away

Aeropress Cons

  • You still need a hot water kettle


A percolator to make coffee, the system is older than your grandparents and it works like a charm. This kettle type coffee maker is almost as popular as the French Press and it serves its purpose perfectly in a motorhome or van. 

You can use a percolator with regular coffee grounds and water. The coffee maker can be used on a gas stove or campfire, but there are also induction stove variants.

With a percolator, you fill up the bottom of the pot with water. Then, you add the filter with the tube on top, add coffee grounds, and light the stove. You need a little bit of patience to use a percolator, because it takes a while for the coffee to become stronger. After turning of the stove, you still have to wait a few minutes for the last coffee to drip through before you can drink it.

So, this one is for the patient vanlifers out there!

Percolator Pros

  • You only need the percolator (no kettle needed)
  • High quality coffee
  • Perfect control

Percolator Cons

  • Takes a little bit longer
  • Requires the right technique

Regular coffee machine

This is the old-school coffee machine my parents used to have at their house. We also had it at my first job. It makes really good coffee and it spreads this delicious coffee smell all through the van in the morning. This is how morning should smell, right?

But, the back drawback: the energy consumption. They come in 220V variants. If you’re lucky, you might also find a 12V coffee machine. I have been contemplating this for a long while. But then, I had to say no! 

The fact that this type of coffee maker needs electricity was a no-go for me. Not that we’re ever short on power with our setup, but just the fact that I don’t want to have to turn on the inverter to get coffee. I just things that don’t require electricity.

Regular coffee machine Pros

  • Some of the best coffee
  • No need for other appliances
  • Easy to work with

Regular coffee machine Cons

  • Power consuming
  • Takes up a lot of space

Moka pot: the best coffee maker for vanlife

Here we are: the winner for me (and for many vanlifers alike) the moka pot.

Made by the Italian brand Bialettin the Moka pot is an easy and convenient method of making great coffee in your van or motorhome. I usually prep the pot in the evening, so I only have to put it on the stove in the morning and wait for it to make the bubbling sound. 

It’s easy to use. Just add water in the bottom part. Put the coffee grounds holder on top and add coffee grounds. Then put the top part on and put it on the stove. When you hear a bubbling sound, your coffee is done. 

I do recommend getting a large enough moka pot. I have the 6 cups variant, which makes me one decent cup at a time. I know, I might not do it espresso style like it is supposed to be done…

Moka pot Pros

  • One device only, no kettle needed
  • Easy to use and hassle free
  • Great tasting coffee
  • Budget-friendly

Moka pot Cons

  • None so far

What to look for in a coffee maker for vanlife?

I know that the search for the perfect coffee maker for your van or motorhome can take longer than you initially thought it would take. It took long for me, as I didn’t get the right one straight away. I tested quite a few before I landed on my number one. 

So, it might be good to take a few minutes to think about what it is you want or need. These are a few things that were important for me.


It should not be too much hard work to get my coffee in the morning. I’m willing to do a little bit of work, but not too much. In fact, when things don’t run smoothly in the morning, I don’t get very happy, so hassle free is a valid factor.

PS. I do tend to prep my moka pot in the evening and that makes a big difference. That way, I only need to light the stove and put the coffee maker on the stove.

Good tasting

Duh! Of course I want it to taste good.

But yes, I have used a French Press, being an impatient person. That means I drank coffee which had coffee grounds in it. See, the French Press wasn’t my thing because of that reason. 

Furthermore, all of the coffee makers in this list are valid. They all make good coffee if you do it the right way. Some are just not right if you don’t want to put in the effort or if you’re willing to put in more effort.

Camper coffee pot


If the coffee maker is good and it lasts a long time, I’m willing to pay a normal price for a quality coffee maker. It’s just that I have also payed a premium rice for a low quality coffee maker in the past.  

That’s what I’m trying to say here. The price should be valid and correct. And I think all of the coffee makers in this list can be bought for a reasonable price, compared to the quality they offer.

Energy consumption

When you’re shopping for the best coffee maker for vanlife, you are probably also concerned about the energy consumption. Well, not everybody pays attention to this, especially when they have enough solar. 

Personally, I don’t like to use energy for things I don’t actually need it for. And I think my coffee maker should not consume energy, as there are so many choices out there that don’t use electricity.

Space needed

None of us has room to spare in their van, I would think. Lack of space is also a major concern when choosing just about anything that goes in the van, right? As I only drink 2 coffees each day, I didn’t feel like a coffee maker was allow to take up permanent counter space. This can be different for you, if you drink more coffee or if coffee makes up a bigger part of your daily consumption.

For me the best vanlife coffee maker is compact and easy-to-stow-away!

Which camper coffee pot did you get?

We’re always curious about what other campers have in their rig! So, tell us! Which coffee maker has your preference or which one did you get and are you happy with it? Maybe, we forgot to mention the one you have.

Let us know in the comments!

Also, have a look at these old camper upgrades you can do to improve life on the road!

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