Now there’s an easier way to get better coffee in the wilderness — or anywhere else. Jetboil, a big player in the world of compact, portable gas grills for outdoorsmen, recently introduced the Javastein, a lightweight, fire-and-burner-ready boiler and French press that makes a clean, tasty first cup.
The Javastein is a limited release product that’s meant to save backpackers and adventurers some weight with some familiar home elegance. It’s a sturdy unit for its weight — about a third of a similarly sized press meant for the home. They really stripped down all the extra materials to make it pack-ready for the road. The best part? There’s little disassembly required to do it: Yank the press out of the main unit, and toss them both in the dishwasher. This is a major plus considering the number of pieces in some other French presses that need hand washing.
The whole Javastein system is designed to work with the Jetboil camping stove: It comes with a special attachment to hold the press over one of their stove models, so if you’re in the market, they do make a good pair together. But this particular accessory is so especially ideal for the outdoors that it’s still worth buying without the stove. As for the press mesh: It’s fine for pre-ground coffee, though a few loose grounds do manage to get up around the sides. On direct flame, the bottom gets a bit scorched here and there, but they’re superficial carbon marks that wash away with hot water. No blistering, no odors.
And because of its corrosion-resistant titanium, it can handle a few days of dampness better than a cast iron pot you inherited from grandpa’s camping supplies. The price tag is a little steep, but it’s worth it if you’re buying it as part of the stove rig. But what you get is a near-unbreakable 1.8L coffee-making apparatus that adds less than 8 ounces to your load.
This isn’t the only press from Jetboil, but it has the largest capacity and the versatility that the others lack. If your stove were to fail, this works just fine over coals. If you’re not doing coffee, this is a good way to purify water in an emergency. Light packing is about contingencies, and while there might be better French presses out there, none of them are going to work as hard with so little added weight.