Hot Campsite Drinks

We’ve gone into detail on how to make a cup of joe for campsite mornings, but coffee is not the only hot drink we enjoy with the sunrise. When you wrap your hands around a hot cup, dip your nose to inhale the fragrance, and look blissfully out across the campsite to the rising sun, you may want coffee, but you may want something different in the way of hot campsite drinks.


Three times as many Americans drink coffee compared with tea, but tea is the top hot drink in the world. Tea aficionados know that heating water in an old coffee pot will never give you a good cup of tea, so be sure that you use a clean kettle to boil water for tea.

Be sure to boil that water, too. Herbal or green teas can be made with hot water, but black tea gets rich flavor from the oxygen stirred up by boiling. So you must start with fresh cold water and let it boil before you pour the water into the teapot or cup.

Since the freshly boiling water is so important, you must get the tea leaves ready before you pour — never pour out water and then drop in a teabag. Teabags are convenient for camping, so it’s okay to use them. You can also use loose tea — dried tea leaves — if you have a teapot or a tea strainer at your campsite. Pour the boiling water over the leaves and let them steep for about five minutes before you pour.

If you’re not carrying tea paraphernalia, just pour the water into a cup with a teabag. Let it steep, and agitate the tea bag occasionally.

Hot chocolate

Powdered hot chocolate mix is easy to come by. You can find it at the grocery store in moisture-proof envelopes that travel to the campsite just fine.

If you prefer to make it yourself and avoid that alkali, hydrogenated coconut oil, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglyderides, and artificial flavor, you can do it easily. The basic recipe is equal parts sugar and cocoa. Use the kind of cocoa you bake with. 

You might prefer unequal proportions, so feel free to experiment. Some people like to add cinnamon, a hint of pepper, or a pinch of salt.

You’ll need milk of some kind. If you have milk in the cooler, just heat it up in a pan away from the center of the fire. When the milk begins to scald — bubbles form at the edge of the pan — you can stir in the cocoa and sugar mixture.

If you don’t have cold storage, powdered milk works just fine. Add it to the sugar and cocoa mixture. Start with equal amounts of cocoa, sugar, and powdered milk.

Adjust to taste. When you’re ready to make a cup of hot chocolate, fill your cup halfway with the powdered mix and then fill the cup with hot water. The water doesn’t have to be boiling, and it doesn’t have to be cold when you start. Hot cocoa just isn’t finicky like that.

Hot lemon and honey

Many people swear by hot lemon and honey first thing in the morning to keep digestion regular and ward off colds. It’s easy to bring to the campsite.

Carry a couple of lemons. Slice one and divide the juice between two cups. Carry some honey, too, and add a spoonful to each cup. Pour in hot water and stir. When it cools down enough, drink.

The only challenge here is to make sure that the honey is in a secure container. Honey spilled in your backpack is never a good start to the day.

Pick up a sturdy container at Uncles Sam’s and fit it out with ground coffee, loose tea or teabags, hot cocoa mix, and maybe some spices or marshmallows to mix it up. Pack a clean kettle, and you’ll be set for plenty of sunrises.

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