Starting my day with a coffee is really a non-negotiable, and where possible it has to be freshly-brewed real coffee. When I’m backpacking I enjoy taking my time over a good coffee in the morning. It gives me the opportunity to spend a few moments preparing for the day ahead, going over the route for the day, assessing the weather conditions, and reflecting on how things have gone the day before. It’s a wee bit of time for appreciating the place I’d spent the night, and a little bit of luxury to keep morale going when the weather looks grim, or there’s a tough day in the schedule.
What am I looking for in a travel coffee maker for backpacking trips? It should be simple to use and easy to clean afterwards. It should be lightweight and small enough to pack into my travel bags, and robust enough to handle being stuffed into a rucksack. And the coffee has to taste good.
How I tested the Aeropress Go
I borrowed an Aeropress Go from my friend Josh to make a round of coffees for our group as we travelled back from South Georgia to the Falkland Islands on a Royal Navy ship, and was so impressed that I ordered one for myself once I got back home. When it arrived, I tried it out immediately in my kitchen and it quickly became part of my morning routine.
I took it with me on a two-night wild camping trip, a shakedown for taking part in the TGO Challenge, a self-sufficient coast-to-coast crossing of Scotland in May 2022, and kept it in my kit for the event. My TGO route on this occasion took 13 days to complete, walking between 25 and 30km a day, with one rest and resupply day scheduled around the halfway point. I carried all my equipment, including a Jetboil Flash 2.0 to heat water for hot drinks and prepare dehydrated meals.
For most of the TGO Challenge in 2022, I camped overnight in locations remote from local shops, cafés or pubs, so there was no alternative other than to brew my own coffee in the morning before starting to walk if I wanted it.
The Aeropress Go is a portable coffee maker designed for outdoor use, expeditions and frequent travel. If you’re familiar with the original Aeropress, the Aeropress Go is a slightly smaller, more streamlined system, which packs into a dual-purpose storage container travel mug.
It can be used to make hot or cold brew coffee, producing around 250ml of espresso-style coffee which can be topped up with water or milk to make a long black or a latte, in less than 30 seconds.
The components are made from lightweight, tough plastic, with a silicone seal on the plunger and silicone lid for the travel mug. The stirrer and scoop have been redesigned to fold into the plunger, and the kit includes a case that can hold around 20 filters.
The complete Aeropress Go system weighs 326g, including the storage container/ mug, scoop and stirrer, and the dimensions when packed inside the mug are a similar size to a Pot Noodle. If you didn’t bother with the mug, the coffee press itself is a similar size to a small can of beer.
The only waste produced by the Aeropress Go is a small “puck” of ground coffee and a used filter. According to the website, the paper filters are both recyclable and compostable and can be rinsed and reused several times.
After setting up my Jetboil to heat water, I put a paper filter into the filter cap of the Aeropress Go, twisted it on to the chamber, and added the ground coffee. Once the water was ready, I balanced the chamber on the mug and added the hot water, gave the coffee a stir, and pushed in the plunger to produce a mug of espresso-style coffee. I topped my brew up with more hot water to make a long black coffee, and it was lovely.
There’s a range of techniques for the Aeropress Go to brew coffee to your personal taste, and it’s worth trying a couple, but there are a few things to bear in mind. It isn’t suited to making massive mugs of coffee, if that’s your usual poison, but it does produce small, concentrated cups of consistently good quality, which can be diluted with water or milk to your taste.
The Aeropress Go is really simple to use. There are no complex parts that could break while being used or while rattling around inside my pack, and the materials are pretty robust. I think it’s as close to indestructible as something can be.
The tight fit of the plunger means it’s essentially self-cleaning. This is one of the best features, and the convenience shouldn’t be underestimated. There’s no faffing around to clean it between uses, the used grounds pop out and can be collected in a bag for disposal, and it means there’s no additional water required to wash the coffee maker, compared to something like a Mokka pot.
Worth the money?
The Aeropress Go costs between £28 – £35, depending on the outlet where you find it, slightly more than the original Aeropress system which retails for £24 – £27. A pack of 350 replacement paper filter discs will cost around £6, while a reusable metal mesh filter compatible with either Aeropress will cost around £13.
The Aeropress Go kit actually weighs a little more than the original, by around 100g, but that includes the robust multi-purpose mug/storage container and lid. Weight could be saved by leaving out the coffee scoop and stirrer if you’re already going to be carrying a spoon or spork, and substituting the mug for something more lightweight that doubles as a cooking pot.
Otherwise, your camping coffee maker options could be a coffee press compatible with a stove system like the MSR Windburner or JetBoil Flash, for between £15 and £20 (plus the additional cost of the stove) or Sea to Summit’s collapsible X-brew for pour-over coffee, for around £15.
After seeing how many people used the Aeropress Go while working in South Georgia, I was already sold on getting one for myself. It’s now something I use pretty much every day at home, and has quickly become an essential whenever I travel.
It’s a brilliant bit of equipment. Simple to use and very easy to clean, compact enough for travelling and robust enough to pack into a backpack or kit bag. I think I’ll look at getting a reusable metal filter to replace the paper filters I’ve used so far, further reducing the small volume of ground coffee waste created.
With a change in my work schedule coming up that will include a lot more travel in the future, and a few more backpacking trips planned, I know I’ll get plenty of use from the Aeropress Go, making it well worth the investment.
Disclaimer: I bought the Aeropress Go with the money I had left over after all my bills were paid. This is my honest review after a few months of use.