Hands-on Gear Review

GSI Personal Java Press Review

GSI Personal Java Press
Price:  $30 List | $20.96 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Press has included cup, insulators keep coffee warm longer.
Cons:  Press tends to get stuck, flavor not as refined as other brew methods, messy cleanup.
Bottom line:  Great option for the French press lover that camps but, pour over methods scored higher.
Editors' Rating:   
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Brew Type:  French Press
Weight:  press alone: 8.16 oz, press + cup: 11.05 oz
Materials:  Shatter-resistant, BPA-Free Infinity clear polypropylene with removable insulating EVA sleeves
Manufacturer:   GSI Outdoors

Our Verdict

If you can't live without your French press coffee in the mornings, then this camp-specific press-pot is worth your while. The insulators keep your coffee warm longer, and the included cup makes sharing easy. It is more convienient to use this separate press than one of the specific press accessories that compliment camp stoves like the Jetboil and the Reactor. If you are looking for the best possible tasting coffee while camping, check out the Aerobie AeroPress. If you want a simple yet refined morning brew, try the Hario V60 Plastic Dripper, which is easier to clean and less expensive.

RELATED REVIEW: The Best Camping Coffee Makers of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
McKenzie Long

Last Updated:
August 23, 2012


Brew Features

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 distinctive strong, muddy taste. 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 exactly what you need. This coffee maker did not score particularly high on our taste tests, but if you prefer this type of brew, then this is a good choice for caffeine of the camping variety.

Ease of Use

A French press is easy to use to make coffee, you just throw some grounds into the bottom and pour in water. However, this press seems to get stuck often, and can be hard to press down. The 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.


Including the cup, this system weighs 11.05 ounces, which is the heaviest coffee method in this review. This would not be the backpacker's choice, but is still handy for the family who heads out on weekends with a well-stocked camp kitchen.


The cup conveniently stacks inside the press (though you have to disassemble the screen and rod first), which makes it pack down decently well, but it is still rather bulky and heavy for stashing in a backpack.

Best Application

Due to its weight, this press-pot is best used when car-camping and not backpacking.


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 other press.

Other Versions

GSI Outdoors Commuter Javapress Coffee Mug
GSI Outdoors Commuter Javapress Coffee Mug
  • A french press travel mug without the plunger
  • Grounds are separated by a nesting cup (which also creates double wall insulation)
  • Best uses - Gourmet Backpacking, Car Camping, Day Use
  • $22.95
McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: September 18, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Person Icon

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   Sep 18, 2013 - 08:48am
Slacker77 · Backpacker · Ontario, Canada
Overall good product - I prefer french press coffee when I can get it, so I chose this product over drip devices (which do have the benefit of being much more compact.

I like that the GSI press will make 2 cups of coffee, and that one cup and that it nests into the press along with the plunger with plenty of room for a ziplock containing the ground coffee, and one with some sugar. It's a sturdy product and makes a fine cup of coffee. The insulation and lid keeps the coffee nice and hot. In a number of years of using the product, I have never encountered the problem of the press getting stuck or hard to push down, which seemed to be an issue for the outdoorgear review. I don't actually find it hard to clean either, though it may be more difficult than other devices tested - I see this as a non-issue. It is also pretty indestructible.

There is one incredibly annoying issue with the product though, and that is the spout. It pours incredibly poorly, and no matter what technique I use, there is significant dripping down the side of the press. Not a deal-breaker, but it is poor design. I find a very slow pour works best. The only other drawback is the size - it is definitely bulkier than drip devices, but its worth it for the flavor I get.

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