We realize instant coffee doesn't exactly qualify as a coffee maker, but it's a useful tool for getting caffeinated out in the backcountry or while hanging on the side of a rock face. Alpine Start hails from Boulder, Colorado and is the brainchild of a pro climber and a foodie who wanted to make Instant Coffee That Actually Tastes Good. We appreciate the effort and mostly agree. Instant coffee is just hard to make taste amazing, but this one is decent and will get you going quickly on those important adventure mornings, all while supporting a small company — that's a win-win in our book.
If you just can't get behind the idea of drinking instant but need to stay super light, we recommend taking a look at the super compact GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip. But our backpacking favorite is the Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy, our Top Pick for backcountry hiking. Both weigh just 1.1 ounces but will require you also bringing along real coffee. It's a tradeoff, but fresh coffee always means a tastier cup.