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GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip Review

The GSI Collapsible Java Drip is an innovative design that is compact and easy to use, though it didn't produce our favorite flavor.
GSI Collapsible Java Drip
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Price:  $13 List | $10.49 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Portable and packable, wide base fits on most camping vessels
Cons:  Doesn't give the best flavor, twice as heavy as other pour-over makers
Manufacturer:   GSI Outdoors
By Penney Garrett and McKenzie Long  ⋅  May 30, 2018
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Taste - 40% 6
  • Group Cooking - 20% 8
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Portability - 10% 9
  • Weight - 10% 6

The Skinny

Of all the camping coffee makers in this review, the GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip is the one with the most camping-specific features such as a broad base that can fit over pots or wide-mouthed mugs and a collapsible cone that can pack into tighter spaces. Despite its packability, it's still heavier than some other options at 4.76 ounces. But if a few extra ounces don't bother you, this is a great option. There's a convenient storage cover for clean packing that also doubles as a trivet for the brewer, so it doesn't get dirty while you get caffeinated.

For the genuinely picky coffee connoisseur, be warned that the Java Drip did not deliver our favorite flavor — though it wasn't bad. For the very best taste, look to our Top Pick for Gourmet Taste, the Aerobie AeroPress or one of our Editors' Choice winners, the iconic Hario V60 and the eco-friendly Cafellissimo Paperless Pour Over.

New Color Since Our Tests
GSI Outdoors changed up the color scheme on the Collapsible Java Drip. The blue color, seen in the photo above, replaces the former red color in some of our photos. The manufacturer confirmed with us that other than the color, all other aspects of this coffee maker remain the same as of fall 2018.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The GSI Collapsible Java Drip is a truly camp-ready brewing device — packable, lightweight, and durable, this pour over brewer will keep you caffeinated with ease in the backcountry.

Performance Comparison


The Java Drip providing delicious  precious caffeine in the High Sierras.
The Java Drip providing delicious, precious caffeine in the High Sierras.

Brew Features


The Collapsible Java Drip is a standard pour-over coffee brewer. It uses a #4 coffee filter, though a #2 filter works as well, and can brew anywhere from 1-12 cups of coffee at a time. This flexibility gives it a higher capacity than any of the other coffee makers in this review, which is an advantage for group camping.

Taste


The taste from the Collapsible Java Drip was not as rich or pure as from the other pour over brewers in our review. This could be due to the more bowl-like shape which allows pooling at the edges and, ultimately, over-extraction. Or it could be because the hot coffee comes in contact with silicone as it brews. A faint scent can be detected from the silicone when it is under hot water and while brewing, which is unappetizing. However, it still makes good coffee in the outdoors, so you don't have to (gasp!) consider abstaining.

Luke Lydiard making a backcountry morning brew with the GSI Collapsible Java Drip and the MSR Reactor. Since this is one of the most portable coffee makers  it is conducive to bringing along on backpacking trips.
Luke Lydiard making a backcountry morning brew with the GSI Collapsible Java Drip and the MSR Reactor. Since this is one of the most portable coffee makers, it is conducive to bringing along on backpacking trips.

Group Cooking


While this dripper may not look like a good candidate for larger groups, it's made to serve up to 12 cups at a time by simply filling the cone with more grounds. This doesn't always provide the best flavor, so you may prefer to do fewer cups at a time and repeat. But if you're in a hurry or filters are scarce, go ahead and load up.

Ease of Use


The Java Drip is as simple as any pour over coffee maker. It involves inserting a filter, adding coffee, and pouring in water. An additional aspect about this brewer that we loved was the wide base that allowed us to brew sturdily atop a more diverse assortment of pots and cups. The silicone material was also a breeze to clean, and the collapsible design meant getting packed up and back on the trail was a cinch.

The wide base of the Java Drip fits on the Fair Share camping cup where the other drip style's do not.
The wide base of the Java Drip fits on the Fair Share camping cup where the other drip style's do not.

Portability


Though the Java Drip doesn't provide as refined a flavor as the AeroPress or V60, what it does offer is a well thought out design with ideal features for camping or backpacking. The silicone cone collapses down into a disc that is not quite an inch thick and 5 inches across. This can slide into a backpack and cram into a small space much easier than ungainly rigid cones like the V60 and Ready Set Joe.

GSI Collapsible Java Drip and the MSR Reactor in action in the backcountry. Though it is not the lightest  this is the most packable.
GSI Collapsible Java Drip and the MSR Reactor in action in the backcountry. Though it is not the lightest, this is the most packable.

Weight


This coffee maker is the most portable and packable of any that we reviewed, however, it is not the lightest. Even though it packs small, it still weighs 4.76 ounces, over twice as much as the svelte Melitta Ready Set Joe and almost five times more than the fast and light GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip and the collapsible mesh Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy. While 4.76 ounces isn't much, it could discourage an ultralight backpacker from wanting to carry it. Keep in mind that it can be lightened slightly by leaving the cover behind and just bringing the cone, though remember you will also need filters.

Due to the round shape of the Java Drip  it works best with a basket style filter  though none of the filters we tried fit perfectly.
Due to the round shape of the Java Drip, it works best with a basket style filter, though none of the filters we tried fit perfectly.

Conclusion


We loved the ease of use, packability, and capacity of the GSI Collapsible Java Drip. The small profile means it's great for the space-minded adventurer, and the number of cups it's able to brew at once makes it great for group outings. It can be collapsed and tossed into your camp box along with your headlamp, camp-stove, and tent stakes, and will be ready to use whenever you head out for the weekend. (Everyone has a box like this, right?)


Penney Garrett and McKenzie Long