The GSI Outdoors Personal Java Press is a fantastic option for camping and backpacking with friends. Though it is a bit heavy (certainly not in the ultralight category), it comes with a mug which makes sharing easier.
The GSI Personal Java Press and its included mug, both with nylon insulators to keep your beverage warm longer.
The Personal Java Press is a typical French press, but this one also comes with a cup. Both the press and the cup have neoprene insulators to keep your coffee warm longer on those frosty outdoor mornings.
Coffee brewed in a French press has a distinctively strong taste with a thicker (sometimes even muddy) consistency. Some coffee drinkers love it. Some hate it. When waking up early to a dew-covered sleeping bad, a picnic table, and the scent of pine needles, sometimes a strong press-pot is what you need. This coffee maker did not score particularly high in our taste tests, but if you prefer this type of brew, then this is a good choice for caffeine of the camping variety. If you want a press that gives a cleaner flavor, consider the Espro Travel Press.
Mmmmm, a delicious morning brew from the GSI Java Press. This brewer did not come up on top in our taste tests, but the flavor is distinct and one that many people love.
Ease of Use
A French press is easy to use to make coffee, you throw some grounds into the bottom and pour in water. You can time how long you steep for a more consistent flavor, but this is not a necessary step. However, we found that this press seems to get stuck often, and can be hard to press down. On top of that, the truly annoying part of a French press is the cleanup. Scooping and rinsing out the grounds is messy, and it is hard to leave no trace with this method — the grounds usually end up somewhere on the ground. This is not allowed in bear country, so please do your research about the area you're heading into before taking off.
Pressing on a crisp camping morning. Sometimes the GSI Psersonal Java Press is difficult to push, or can get stuck on its way down.
This press can brew 20 ounces at a time, plenty to get two people at least partially going in the morning. Nylon sleeves insulate both the press itself and the additional mug, so your brew will stay warm while you break down your tent.
Since the GSI Personal Java Press comes with its own included mug separate from the press, it is easy to make coffee for two, sharing the coffee from the press.
The Personal Java Press comes with a separate cup that conveniently stacks inside the press (though you have to disassemble the screen and rod first). We liked this feature, as it means everything can pack down decently well. However, the press itself is still rather bulky and heavy for stashing in a backpack.
All the pieces of the GSI Personal Java Press. Having an included but separate mug makes it so you can drink your coffee sooner and easily share with others.
Including the cup, this system weighs 11.05 ounces, which is on the heavy side for coffee makers in this review. This is probably not the best choice for a backpacker, but it's still handy for a family that heads out on weekends with a well-stocked camp kitchen.
For the French press lover who wants a decently compact setup, the Personal Java Press with its accompanying mug is a solid choice. Due to its weight, it's probably better suited for car camping than backpacking, though for short trips it might be fine. For almost $30, this press is the same price as the AeroPress but doesn't produce as rich tasting coffee. For the money, we prefer the AeroPress, even though the brewing process is more complicated.
Pouring water into the GSI Personal Java Press, using Cincinnati roaster Deeper Roots Coffee's La Armonia Hermosa for a special morning treat.