When heading to the mountains on a camping trip, coffee always tops the list for the essential supplies. For the serious coffee connoisseur this poses a challenge. The typical French press system is made of glass and plastic, not great around rocks and the campfire, and the other essentials for a good cup of joe take up valuable space.
Stanley sent me their Mountain Vacuum Coffee System for review and I decided to test it out on a recent outing with some Scouts.
I have the 1.1 Quart model and this thing is pretty beastly! It’s not heavy, but it is stout, just as you would expect. The first thing that stood out to me was just how cool of a concept this is and how well the system fits together. Here are the pieces.
- Stanley Thermos
- Boiling Pot
- French Press (Yes!)
- 2 Coffee Cups (which act as the lid just like most Stanley Thermos’)
- Coffee Grounds Storage in the stopper
How Easy is it to Use?
The whole reason for bringing a system like this on a camping trip is for the convenience that it offers. So, the question is, how convenient is it to get a superior cup of coffee?
Step 1: Boil Water (almost)
The handle to the boiling pot has some plastic components which are not entirely heat proof, thus the boiling pot should be used over a controlled flame, like that of a Jetboil or similar stove and not over a campfire where the flames and heat may melt the parts. This seems like a poor design issue, but then again this system is likely designed for glampers and not traditional campers.
The goal is to get the water to a near boil as water that is too hot will scald the coffee.
Step 2: Add Coffee Grounds. Set for 5 Minutes.
Easy enough. Just like a regular French press, set it and wait a bit. Use the time to check for ticks.
Step 3: Press and Pour
Using the French press, slowly press the coffee grounds down. After this, you’re ready to serve it or store it.
As expected, the Stanley Mountain Vacuum Coffee System worked really well. The coffee that was made in the morning was hot when we pitched camp again well into the afternoon. I certainly recommend this system for the coffee enthusiast that doesn’t mind taking the time to brew a pot of coffee and wants to have some while on the go. Keep in mind that the system can double as a cooking pot and standard thermos, so even if you are brewing up some hot cocoa or tea, and not coffee, it’s still a good product to have on hand, especially since it can typically be found for under $50.
Want one? Get it here.
Suggestions for Improvement
There were a few things that would take this system from really cool to excellent.
Coffee and Water Measuring
I was surprised that there was no way to measure the coffee or water. There aren’t even markings for cups or ounces on the boiling pot. I had to pour water into one of the cups to estimate how much I should use. Tablespoon indicators inside the stopper would be nice as well.
Ditch the Plastic
Any system that touts manliness or “stanleyness” should stay away from plastic. Plastic is not manly. If it’s heat proof then perhaps it would be acceptable in this case, but it really doesn’t make sense.
Made in China
Stanley products are such a big part of Americana it’s sad to see them being made overseas. I’m not saying that this product is made poorly, but if there were a brand that I expected to operate out of the good ole U.S. of A., that would be Stanley. Let’s bring it back!