Many campers and outdoor enthusiasts will tell you that enjoying a morning cup of coffee out in nature is one of their favorite parts of any camping trip. There are many different ways to make a high-quality cup of coffee while on the road, and each option has different benefits and drawbacks.
Choosing the best coffee maker for an RV comes down to a few practical factors such as the power source and how the water is heated, as well as personal preferences like your favorite styles of coffee.
In this helpful guide, we will break down the most important factors to consider when shopping for an RV coffee maker and take a closer look at the five RV coffee makers that I find to be most impressive.
Choosing the Right RV Coffee Maker
Many RV owners will tell you that their favorite and most used part of the camper is their personalized coffee bar, and I know firsthand how important a high-quality cup of coffee can be while camping or on a long road trip.
I have hand-selected five of the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing your next RV coffee maker, and keeping an eye on these factors throughout the shopping process will ensure that you end up with the best possible device for your camping needs.
One of the most important factors when it comes to any coffee maker is the way that it heats up the water. Traditional home coffee makers feature built-in heating elements, which are convenient but require access to a regular power outlet not present on more simple RVs and camper vans.
Some of the most simple coffee makers like French presses and pour-over coffee devices require you to add hot water, making them perfect for more simple camping setups. A basic bottle-top camp stove can be used to boil water, and many campers use a simple kettle as well.
While the simplicity and ease of use of traditional and pod-based coffee machines are appealing to some, many campers have found that they prefer to use versions with smaller water reservoirs. Others simply fill as much water as they need per serving, ensuring that excess water does not spill out when storing the machine away.
There are also 12-volt coffee makers available for campers who only have access to a “car style” power outlet. Additionally, there are 12-volt electric kettles available that are perfect for heating water for Aeropress, pour-over, and French press devices.
Price and Budget
Most experienced campers know that the expenses can quickly add up on a long camping trip, so it is important to keep costs down as much as possible when building a mobile coffee setup for many.
Coffee makers and devices come in many different shapes and sizes, as well as a wide variety of different price points. I always start by penciling out my camping expenses and setting a firm budget when buying new camping gear, as this ensures there is plenty of money left over to have a great time on the road.
Filters and Maintenance
While maintenance and upkeep may not be the first thing that comes to mind for many campers when looking at different coffee makers for their RVs, it is an extremely important factor that can make a world of difference during the middle of a long camping trip.
This is a very important factor to take into consideration, particularly with pour over coffee makers. Pour over devices like the Hario V60 require the use of specialty filters, which can be tough to find in a pinch and can become expensive over time.
Coffee makers that feature a more traditional design with built-in heating elements also require maintenance over time, as the water lines will eventually need to be cleaned and “descaled.” High-end machines feature automatic cleaning functions, and it is always a good idea to clean out the water lines on a regular basis.
Style of Coffee
Different styles of coffee makers excel at producing different styles of coffee, so it is important to choose a coffee-making device that makes the type of coffee you enjoy most. Fans of traditional drip coffee usually enjoy French press coffee, while those who prefer a stronger and more concentrated cup tend to prefer Aeropress coffee.
It is also important to note that there is a big difference between coffee makers and espresso machines, and it is important to stick with a machine you know makes the style of coffee you and your family enjoy most.
Size and Convenience
Space is always an important factor when it comes to packing for a big camping trip, and some camping setups have far more space available compared to others. Those who are tight on space should take a closer look at the Aeropress and pour over devices, as they are very compact and easily fit into a small drawer or bag.
Campers who have large trailers with plenty of extra kitchen space have far more options to choose from, and many choose to use larger pod-based devices. This allows many different people to enjoy different coffee styles on the same morning, and the single-serve capabilities are ideal for camping trips.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Coffee Maker for An RV
|Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Aeropress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press Kit||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|RoadPro RPSC785 12-Volt Coffee Maker||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Dripper Pour Over||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Keurig K- Slim Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
Best Coffee Maker for an RV – Our Top 5 Picks
With hundreds of different coffee makers available for purchase today, many campers find it tough to decide which option is best for their RVs.
I have hand-selected five of the top coffee-making devices that I have personally used and had great success with on the road over the years.
1. The French Press
The French Press is a simple and efficient coffee-making device that features a cylindrical reservoir area where both the coffee beans and hot water are added. A circular metallic mesh filter connected to a plunging rod is then pushed from top to bottom, trapping the coffee beans and separating them from the freshly brewed coffee.
Fans of traditional drip coffee are most likely to enjoy french press coffee, as it is similarly mild and usually enjoyed with the same ratio of cream and sugar as with drip coffee. It is also very simple to use, though it takes some people a while to dial in their ideal brewing time.
Bodum is one of the leading producers of high-quality kitchen glassware in the world, and one of the most highly respected brands in the culinary industry. The Bodum Chambord is one of the top-selling French press devices on the market, and I have found it to offer the best combination of quality and durability in my experience.
- Simple design that has stood the test of time
- One of the easiest mobile coffee-making devices to use
- Wide reservoir is simple to clean between uses
- Produces high-quality coffee that is generally not overly strong
- Lightweight and compact design makes it perfect for RV use
- Requires the addition of hot water from a kettle or other source
- Some people end up with a bit of coffee ground in their cup of coffee
- Wider and larger compared to ultra-compact options like the Aeropress
2. Aeropress Devices
The Aeropress is a very popular coffee-making device that has become very popular for being able to brew coffee in under one minute. It produces a distinctly flavored strong cup of coffee, and it is very simple to rinse out and keep clean between uses.
While the original Aeropress is simple to transport and bring along on an RV trip, there is an even slimmer and more compact version called the Aeropress Go. The Aeropress Go has been embraced by the camping and backpacking communities, and I have found it to be the best compact option for smaller coffee servings.
By simply adding ground coffee, hot water, and an Aeropress filter, campers are able to enjoy between one and three cups of coffee in under one minute. The device is so simple to rinse out afterward that it can be cleaned and put away before the coffee is even cool enough to drink.
- One of the fastest ways to make coffee each morning
- Made of high-quality Polypropylene that is extremely durable
- One of the best options for smaller campers and RVs
- Easy to keep clean and dry after each use
- Produces a high-quality coffee with a clean taste and strong finish
- Requires the use of a specialty filter each brewing cycle
- Some people find the Aeropress and Aeropress Go hard to use at first
- There is a chance of accidental burning, and I know two people who have had mishaps
3. 12 Volt Coffee Machines
12-volt coffee makers are very popular among truckers, as they are a perfect way to enjoy a traditional cup of drip coffee while on the go. Many simple RVs and camper vans only have 12-volt power outlets, making these little devices perfect for making pots of coffee each morning.
These handy portable drip coffee machines require a bit more space than models like the Aeropress or French press, but they also feature integrated heating elements making them “all in one” coffee machines.
The majority of other portable coffee makers for RV use require the addition of hot water from an outside source like a portable kettle, but 12-volt drip coffee makers do all the work for you. Simply add water and coffee grounds, flip a button, and relax while the machine brews a full pot of coffee and keeps it warm all morning.
- Offers similar design and features as regular home coffee machines
- Many campers enjoy the fact that they can keep a pot of coffee hot after brewing
- Can be used with simple RVs and trailers, and even plugs into cars and trucks
- Produces coffee that is exactly like home-brewed coffee many are used
- Larger capacities are available compared to other styles of coffee makers
- Can be difficult to fully clean out and dry for storage between uses
- Not all RVs have 12-volt outlets, and the vehicle must be on during use
- Some people do not enjoy the quality of coffee offered by regular drip coffee machines
4. Pour Over Devices
When it comes to simplicity and portability, it is tough to beat the “straightforward” design of the pour-over. There are many different options to choose from, and the majority of pour-over devices can be divided into two categories.
The first category of pour over devices features an hourglass-like design where the coffee grounds collect at the top, and the brewed coffee fills the bottom. The filter and used coffee grounds are then removed, and the device functions as a carafe for holding and serving the coffee.
The second style of pour-over device is even more simple and more compact, and many find it to be the superior option for camping and RV use. These devices are placed directly over the coffee mug where the coffee collects, and I have many friends with RVs who swear by designs like the Hario V60 during camping trips.
- Simple designs that are easy to use with little to no learning curve
- Two different primary design options to choose from
- Makes a high-quality cup of coffee that brings out interesting flavors
- Very compact and easy to keep clean while on the go
- Hot water can be poured in different ways and at different speeds to change the flavor
- Requires the use of special filters that can become expensive over time
- Most options are made of glass or ceramic materials that are prone to cracking
- Some people do not have enough room in their RVs for a pour-over device and kettle
5. Pod Based Machines
When it comes to simplicity and variety, it is hard to beat the design of pod-based coffee machines. Pod-based machines allow for single servings of coffee to be brewed quickly, and there are hundreds of different coffee pod options to choose from.
One of the major drawbacks of pod-based coffee machines for RV use is the fact that they require ample space and a traditional wall outlet with power. Neither of these is an issue for those with larger RVs and generators, and pod-based options are great for larger families on camping trips.
Some of the largest and most recognizable coffee companies in the world like Peets and Starbucks sell coffee pods full of their signature blends, which is great for more particular coffee enthusiasts who generally only enjoy certain types of coffee.
- There are hundreds of different coffee pod styles to choose from
- Very simple to operate and keep clean with a disposable pod system
- Great option for single-serve use on camping trips
- Can also be used to make drinks like tea and hot chocolate
- Offers the same styles of coffee on a camping trip as at home
- Requires a regular wall outlet and generator or another power source
- Can be tough to make sure that all the water is out of the reservoir when storing
- Takes up significantly more space than other coffee-making devices
Best Coffee Maker for an RV – Final Thoughts
Keeping a high-quality coffee maker in the RV is essential for many campers, and I personally start every morning of a camping trip with a hot cup of coffee. While there are many different portable coffee makers on the market today that are suitable for RV use, the Aeropress Go is the best option for the widest variety of campers.
I love the fact that it makes high-quality coffee in under one minute, and it is very easy to keep clean and put back in the drawer – leading to a clean and tidy RV in the morning.
Click here to take a closer look at the Aeropress Go, and decide for yourself if it is a good option for your recreational vehicle!