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GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Review

A great ultralight backpacking option, as long as you pour carefully and aren't too rough with the contents of your pack
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Price:  $10 List
Pros:  No filter needed, tiny and light
Cons:  Must pour carefully for bold flavor, delicate clips
Manufacturer:   GSI Outdoors
By Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett  ⋅  Apr 29, 2020
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 19
  • Taste - 40% 6
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Group Cooking - 15% 5
  • Portability - 10% 9
  • Weight - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip is one of the most compact and nearly one of the lightest-weight camping coffee options we tested. This rad little dripper sits above your vessel while brewing, so you don't have to worry about over-steeping your coffee. The overall design is on the fragile end of the spectrum, but the flexible filter does make it easy to clean. While other models may produce a tastier cup of coffee, this ultralight and compact device is a great option for backpackers and weight weenies alike.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

If space is a premium and you're counting every gram (and milligram) in your pack, the GSI Ultralight Java Drip is a great option. At just 1.1 ounces, this dripper is so compact it will nestle under a fuel canister.

Performance Comparison


The GSI Ultralight is the most portable filter we tested. Just fold the little plastic legs and this fits under a fuel canister.
The GSI Ultralight is the most portable filter we tested. Just fold the little plastic legs and this fits under a fuel canister.

Brew Features


The Java Drip has a nylon filter supported by three lightweight plastic legs. The clips are a little delicate, and you need to be careful to avoid spilling the filter, but the whole dripper weighs less than half an ounce without it's included cup and just 1.1 ounces with it.

Taste


This filter can produce great taste, but it requires a careful and slow pour. Add water too fast, and the coffee will likely be weak. When we used a gooseneck kettle, it was easy to offer a precise pour and achieve a good flavor, but out of something like a JetBoil, it is much harder.

Be careful how you pour into the Ultralight Java Drip - if you get impatient you might end up with a weak sub-par cup.
Be careful how you pour into the Ultralight Java Drip - if you get impatient you might end up with a weak sub-par cup.

Ease of Use


The Java Drip is relatively easy to use, but, like all filterless cones, it requires some extra cleaning after each use. The larger surface area on this device makes this especially true. You also need the right cup to ensure the legs attach securely. If the rim of your cup is too thick, it's hard to attach the legs or ensure they are stable when holding a lot of water. While we appreciate the compact design and insubstantial weight of this brewer, we also find it rather finicky and don't recommend it unless weight is your primary concern.

While cleaning this nylon filter is straightforward  it does require more water than other models because of a larger surface area.
While cleaning this nylon filter is straightforward, it does require more water than other models because of a larger surface area.

Group Cooking


The Ultralight Java Drip is so-so for group cooking. With a secure attachment, you can load up the filter with grounds and pour enough for 2-3 people. However, if your mug or carafe doesn't securely attach to the filter, it will tip over. Overall, this is best for just 1-2 cups at a time. Detaching and reattaching the legs to various cups in between uses also takes a bit of time and attention.

Portability


This is certainly one of the most portable options in our entire review. Once you fold in the legs, the filter is small enough to fit under any fuel canister. The legs are a little delicate, so you have to be extra careful when packing up, but for those that need small and light, this hits the mark.

Light and compact  this is an easy (though delicate) brewer to consider for your next backpacking excursion.
Light and compact, this is an easy (though delicate) brewer to consider for your next backpacking excursion.

Weight


At 1.1 ounces, the Java Drip is among the lightest weight brewers in our review, and that weight includes its own cup, which results in a potentially significant weight savings compared to other brewers in our review.

This dripper is certainly light  but it's finicky and delicate nature means it may not be the best for everyone.
This dripper is certainly light, but it's finicky and delicate nature means it may not be the best for everyone.

Value


It doesn't get much cheaper than this for a dripper AND a cup! You won't even have to purchase filters. Granted, the Ultralight Java Drip isn't the most robust coffee maker, and breaking this delicate device is a real possibility. Some people will prefer to spend more and get something more durable, but if your main motivation is lightweight and compact, then this is a clear winner.

Conclusion


If counting every gram is critical for your next adventure, then the GSI Ultralight Java Drip could be a great coffee-making companion for your set-up. This brewer is extremely light and is the most compact in our test suite. It's is a little finicky and fragile for our taste, but if you are looking for ways to shave down some grams on your ultra-light kit, it may be ideal for you.

Some of our pour-over brewers  battling it out. Left to right: Primula Brew Buddy  GSI Java Drip  and the Hario V60.
Some of our pour-over brewers, battling it out. Left to right: Primula Brew Buddy, GSI Java Drip, and the Hario V60.

Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett