Coffee-To-Go: How to Prepare For Your First Backpacking Trip


instant coffee to take with you on a trip
The Waka Life Blog

Coffee To Go: How to Prepare for Your Backpacking Trip

Learn how to make coffee while backpacking, tips for packing lightly, and some trails suggestions.

How to Prepare For Your Trip

what coffee to drink while packpacking

Whether it’s your first trip or your tenth, it is always good to be prepared for your trip ahead! This includes your body, the things you choose to pack, and the areas you are going to. Here are a few ways you can prepare for your own backpacking trip.

1. Train your body

One of the most important parts of preparing for your trip is to get your body used to the physical exertion needed for backpacking. If you are not used to hiking and hiking for long periods of time, it would be best for you to start physically training weeks or months beforehand. Since backpacking also includes carrying a heavy pack on your shoulders, you can even plan short hiking trips with a heavy backpack, even one heavier than the one you’re going to take, so your body will have an easier time.

2. Check for permits and rules

After choosing the area for your trip, do your research for any needed permits. This should be taken care of early on to ensure you can get the needed permits before your leave. Additionally, check for any rules you must abide by in the area you are backpacking in.

3. Pack food

While you may want to limit or even go without certain items, the one thing you should pack more than less is food. We’re not saying to go crazy with the amount of food you take, but be sure to pack what you think you’ll need and a little extra. It’s better to have a bit of leftover food rather than running out part way through your trip.

4. Make your backpack as light as possible

It may be tempting to bring every single thing you think you might need, especially since if it’s your first trip. But since you will be carrying everything you need on your back, it is important you try to keep your bag as light as possible.

The Importance of Weight

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The weight of your backpack is an important thing you should be aware of. Since many backpacking trips can consist of long periods of walking and hiking, your stamina and energy can be used up quickly if your pack is extremely heavy. It’s a no brainer that a lighter pack means an easier time. Here are a few tips for lightweight backpacking.

How to Control The Weight Of Your Backpack

  • Pack wisely:

While it may take a few trips to really realize what you need and can go without, it makes it easier if you are able to initially cut down to the basics. Think outside of the box and see if you can bring one item that can do multiple things. Such as a hiking stick that can also be used to prop up your sleeping tent so you don’t need to bring poles.

  • Clothing:

Separate your clothes into two categories: one you can hike and sweat in and one you wear when you are relaxing or sleeping. Clothes that are made of synthetic materials are also lighter than those made of cotton and are oftentimes waterproof.

  • Share the weight:

If you are traveling with friends, plan together and distribute out the weight evenly amongst yourselves. If you’re going in a group, there’s no sense packing two or three of every item. Instead, allocate what you need and how many of each item to bring.

  • Packaging:

Particularly with food, its packaging can be bulky and add weight. Instead, you can try to repackage your food into smaller more compact ways. This can help make more space while reducing weight and also reduce the amount of trash you produce and have to clean up.

Waka Coffee’s Single Serve Coffee Packets and Your Trip

Waka Coffee quality instant coffee for traveling

If you love your daily cup of coffee, there’s no need to go without on your backpacking trip. All you need is an instant coffee travel kit. It’s easy to make your own with Waka Coffee’s instant coffee and your favorite mug or coffee tumbler. A single serving packet is only 0.14oz (4g) with the coffee in it, and an entire box with 8 packets, coffee, and the box it comes in, is about 1.6oz (45.3g). This is incredibly lightweight and is a great option for carrying coffee along with you. By bringing along Waka Coffee, you can get your cup of joe without weighing down your bag with coffee grounds and equipment.

Backpacking Coffee Options

the best instant coffee to take on a trip

Cowboy Coffee

This is one of the easiest methods of making coffee while camping or hiking. All you need is a pot, water, coffee grounds, and a heat source. To make this coffee, you start by boiling water in a pot. Once the water boils, take it off the heat and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then stir in coffee grounds, about 2 tsp or according to your taste, and let it rest for a few minutes.


  • Easy to make, no technique needed
  • Can make coffee for groups of people
  • No filters needed


  • Easy to over extract coffee grounds
  • Clean up necessary since grounds don’t dissolve
  • Can create a thick coffee consistency or sediment in coffee

Instant Coffee

Using instant coffee for backpacking is the easiest method to get your caffeine fix while traveling in the wilderness. All you need to do to make coffee is to mix the coffee crystals into hot or cold water. Those crystals will instantly dissolve and leave no coffee ground clean up post brew.


  • Easy to use, no technique needed
  • No clean up since coffee crystals dissolve
  • Lightweight and small packaging
  • No other equipment required


  • Quality instant coffee is often pricier
  • Only makes one cup at a time if you choose the single-serve packets

French Press

Making coffee using the french press is possible while backpacking, although a bit more time consuming because of its portable equipment. To make coffee, you first add grounds into the press. Then boil water and pour about a third of the water onto the grounds and let rest for a minute to “bloom”. After, add the rest of the water and let sit for about 3 minutes to steep. Then slowly press the plunger and pour the coffee into a mug.


  • Create a strong tasting coffee
  • Durable equipment


  • Longer brewing process
  • Sediment in coffee
  • Bulky equipment (not easy to store)
  • Makes only one or two cups at a time

Our Five Best Backpacking Trails Suggestions in California

best destination to take your instant coffee to

If you are still looking for great locations for your next backpacking trip, we have gathered some suggestions from our home state of California.

1. The Lost Coast Trail (Humboldt, California)

This is a 25 mile long hike along mostly untouched wilderness and beaches and takes about a three day trip. It features beautiful views and landscapes, wildflowers, and untouched nature with mostly just backpackers in the area. There is also plenty of water, but many parts of the trail includes walking on sandy beaches and across rivers which can be hard on the legs and body.

2. Crystal Cove State Park (Orange County, California)

The trails in this area is a good place to start backpacking since it is not as risky as other hiking areas. It is oceanside and features beautiful views of the ocean and sunset. The trails are usually busy during the day, but you have plenty of time to hike up in the evening and set up camp before sunset hits.

3. San Gorgonio Mountain (San Gorgonio, California)

This is the tallest mountain in Southern California with various trails that lead to the peak. In general it is a little over 17 miles and takes about 10 hours to climb. This is a hard hike because you are gaining elevation the entire way. This hike features beautiful views, a creek and waterfall, and beautiful nature.

4. John Muir Trail (Yosemite & Central Sierra, California)

This trail features one of the best scenic views in the country and goes through three different national parks. It is 211 miles long and can be divided into four sections. It has various nature views such as peaks, lakes, and waterfalls. This a long hike and can take about three weeks to complete if you choose to do a thru hike.

5. Sky Trail Loop (Marin, California)

This hike features campgrounds, beaches, and beautiful forests and views. It is a 7 mile hike that can be done in one day, but you can reserve spots at the campground to stay overnight if you’d wish to. There are also more trail options you can explore depending on how long you want to hike.

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