MSR MugMate Coffee/Tea Filter
Simple, light and effective. It might not deliver the richness of a press but at just one ounce it more than delivers the goods for coffee-loving backpackers.
- Doesn't work well with fine grinds. Might leave a little sludge in the cup.
As a sunrise coffee freak I've tried a couple of different coffee methods, including a lightweight press and collapsible filter, but the MSR Mugmate is the one that finds its way into my pack. It fits perfectly in my Snow Peak mug and at only an ounce, it's the one that makes the most sense.
I've found that a grind that is too fine takes a while to filter but otherwise you'll get your morning fix quickly. I'll usually fill it about 1/3 of the way with coffee, give it a quick shot of boiling water, and then pour it slowly over the grinds.
While a true coffee connoisseur might be better served with a press as far as taste, the ease and weight of the Mugmate makes it a great choice on the trail where there are other considerations. Still, it always make a great cup of coffee and cleanup is a snap. Easy to expel the grinds in to a baggie to pack out (or drop in to a cathole) and a little water gets rid of what's left. I've had the one I use now for about five years and it's no worse for wear.
A really solid and simple product that delivers the goods.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $12
This could have been better in one way: the lid could latch or fasten somehow. I want the lid to latch so I can use it similar to a tea ball and immerse the whole thing.
I finally came up with a solution to keeping the lid on, but only after losing the filter: Use an elastic hair band wrapped around the two sides looped over the top. This will allow you to immerse the little thing and keep you from losing the top.
I use this thing all the time at home.
Works pretty well. Like all immersion methods water temprature is critical, "just off the boil". Use a larger, coffee press grind size to reduce the inevitable sludge in the cup. Grounds tend to bloom and float when filling the cup so prewetting the grounds helps. Carry coffee in a zipbag inside the filter.
This is identical to the Finium brand filter available at half the cost and similar to other tea filters. Swissgold has a similar design with a better filter.
The best way to go for trail coffee is to use fillable teabags (I use Teeli). Nothing to clean, can be prepared pre-hike, use any cup. They can be reused if you like.
Price Paid: $15.95
At under one ounce, you cannot justify leaving this at home. Forget the coffee pot or french press. While it's designed as a one-cup filter, you can use it for countless cups at once by boiling a large pot of water for as much coffee as your group requires, add the grounds, stir, and then strain the coffee "mud" through the MugMate for each cup. This filter was about $8 just a few years ago.
Price Paid: $8-ish
Coffee is not a luxury; it is mandatory. I use this in a double-wall Snow Peak mug and drink fantastic coffee anywhere I want. The filter is very light and very high quality. I even use it at home because other coffee filters/tea diffusers have much wider mesh or simply holes. I get no additional taste from the MSR filter.
Cleaning is a snap as well. Most of the time, pouring water through the outside is enough to clean it.
Bottom line that this is my favourite piece of equipment on a trip. I appreciate my jacket but I love my coffee!
Price Paid: $12
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Current Retail: $13.97-$19.95
Historic Range: $6.99-$19.95
Reviewers Paid: $8.00-$15.95
.98 oz / 28 g