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Trail Beverages: What’s on the Menu?

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to bore your taste buds! Whether you’re a lover of luxury or a minimalist, check out this smorgasbord of drink options.

Hot Drinks for the Trail


Seems like most folks crave a cup (or three) of coffee in the morning, so why should you have to give this up while camping? All you’ll need to enjoy this beverage away from home is a heat source (campfire, camp stove, etc.), kettle, hot water, instant coffee packets and a mug.

If you’re not an instant coffee kind of camper, you can grind your own grounds at home and bring a percolator instead of a kettle.

Give it an extra something by adding spices to the grounds before brewing.

Spiced Camping Coffee

For every 1/2 cup coffee grounds, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Brew according to your favorite method.


For every 1/2 cup coffee grounds, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Brew according to your

Tea comes in so many varieties, from black to green, from red and white, from minty to fruity. All you’ll need is your chosen tea variety (either loose leaf with an infuser or bagged), a kettle and mug.

To make your tea special, try adding some homemade hibiscus syrup. You may be able to find hibiscus flowers at your local farmer’s market or even specialty grocery stores.

Hibiscus Syrup

Mix 3/4 cup hibiscus flowers, 4 cups water, 1 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the burner, cover the pot. After 5 minutes, strain the syrup and store in airtight containers.
Jasmine Tea on a Cold Camping Morning

Hot Chocolate

A classic camping beverage sure to please both kids and adults is hot chocolate. This creamy drink is perfect for breakfast or dessert, and by adding a little kick, you can make it even better.

Camping Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mix 1/2 cup cocoa mix, 1 1/2 cup powdered milk, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Add the mixture to hot water.

Cold Drinks for the Trail

Note: It’s important to watch your sugar intake with juice, sports drinks and soda.

Still and Sparkling Juice

Either keep these in your cooler or buy varieties that don’t need to be refrigerated — like juice boxes.

Sports Drinks

Gatorade, Powerade and other sports drinks are yummy, even when they’re at ambient temperature.


If you’re a soda drinker, bring it with you while you’re camping. Just make sure you stay hydrated with water.


Milk can live in your cooler too, or you can pick up shelf-stable milk that is more thoroughly pasteurized than refrigerated milk. It comes in cartons, just like juice. I’ve used this for cereal at the campsite in the morning, but it’s my personal preference to try to keep even this milk chilled — if nothing else because it just seems weird to drink lukewarm milk.

Alcoholic Drinks for Campers

Note: Many campgrounds, including state and national parks, prohibit public drinking. Also, camping is generally a safe activity, but there are four important reasons to drink responsibly while you’re enjoying your natural vacation.

  • You need to remain vigilant and watch out for wild animals or other potential dangers.
  • If your health is compromised, it may be very difficult to get to a hospital or urgent care center.
  • You need to maintain good judgement; an impromptu drunken challenge to climb a boulder or swim across an icy stream just might not end well.
  • It’s easy to get loud and rambunctious while drinking, so be courteous to your neighbors and keep each other in check.


Sure, you can bring your favorite brew, and with the popularity of microbreweries these days, it shouldn’t be hard to find an option you love.

If you want to make your own beer on the trail, or if carrying the weight of glass into the backcountry isn’t an option, check out this alternative.

Pat’s Backcountry Beverages has devised a product for you to carbonate your own water and then add a packet of brew concentrate of your choice — Pale Rale or Black Hops IPA. Pat’s also makes soda concentrate for the kids or designated trailblazers.

Mixed Drinks

Standard wine coolers in single-serving packages are a great option for alcoholic camping beverages. To chill them, just keep them in the cooler. If you’re backpacking, store them within your pack, which tends to be cooler than the open air during the summer months.


If you’re car camping or glamping, there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying wine just as you would at home. If you’re backpacking or just feel like trying something different, check out Bandit Wines or other single-serving wine boxes or packages.  


Ahhhh, good old water. Always trusty, always great for you.

Note: Do not drink unfiltered, untreated water. Also, you might want to consider having at least one water bottle that is only for water, because bottles that have had other contents can still attract bears and other animals.

The absolutely most important drink you can bring with you while camping or hiking is water, so even with all of these tantalizing choices, don’t forget your Camelbacks and water bottles. All the same, you can perk up your water by adding Mio, Crystal Light or other liquid or powdered drink additives.

As a bonus, if you’re camping during the winter, these additives freeze at a lower temperature, so you can keep your bottle full of liquid longer!

What’s your favorite trail beverage? Do you have any drink recipes to share? Please do so in the comments below.

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