Bulletproof Coffee for the trail! It's so easy to prepare and is a tasty, calorie-dense, and energizing way to start a long day of hiking!

Bulletproof coffee with instant coffee?

Yep, it’s definitely possible.

Inspired by the original recipe, I came up with an instant-coffee version for when you don’t have regular coffee (or milk) with you. It works especially well as a tasty, calorie-dense, and caffeinated morning beverage for campers and backpackers.

I call it Backpacker’s Butter Coffee. Here’s how to make it.

How to Make Backpacker’s Butter Coffee

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Serves: 1


Backpacker's Butter Coffee ingredients


1. Pour the 8 oz of water into your cook pot and heat it up. For instant coffee on the trail, I like to heat water to the point where I can see bubbles just starting to form on the bottom of my cook pot. Or you can brew a cup of actual coffee with a good camping coffee maker.

Step 1: Pour the 8 oz of water into your cook pot and heat it up

2. Pour in the instant coffee

Step 2: Pour in the instant coffee

3. Add the Brain Octane oil or whatever alternative oil you’re using. Or, you can use prepared packets of MCT oil and coffee creamer such as those from Know Brainer.

Step 3: Add 1-2 tbsp of Brain Octane oil

4. Add the grass-fed, unsalted ghee or butter.

Step 4: Add the grass-fed, unsalted ghee or butter

5. (Optional) Add the powdered milk

Step 5: Add the powdered milk (Optional)

6. Stir the mixture with your camping spork until the ingredients are well-blended. If car camping, I recommend using a milk frother instead since it does a much better job. Using a spork won’t blend the ingredients together very well, but hey, you’re in the backcountry…do you really care?

Step 6: Stir the mixture with your spork

Bulletproof Coffee for the trail! It's so easy to prepare and is a tasty, calorie-dense, and energizing way to start a long day of hiking!

If using a milk frother, just stick it in the mixture, turn it on, and let it mix the concoction together for about 15 seconds. This method creates the nice latte-esque head of foam you get when preparing regular Bulletproof Coffee in a blender at home.

Mixing a mug of Backpacker's Butter Coffee with a milk frother

Backpacker's Butter Coffee has a nice head of foam when you mix the ingredients together with a milk frother

7. Drink up! You can drink it right out of your cook pot or pour it into your camping mug, backpacking mug, or insulated water bottle. I drink mine out of my cook pot but have to let the pot cool down for a couple minutes before drinking so the metal doesn’t burn my lips. You can use a product like Snow Peak Hotlips with your cook pot so as to not burn your lips, or you can just start packing up while it’s cooling down.

Take my empty pot’s word for it — this stuff is tasty!

Step 7: Drink up!
I was worried I hadn’t taken all the pictures I needed but still couldn’t stop drinking this stuff.

Recipe Notes

You obviously won’t have measuring spoons with you while backpacking, so you’ll have to eyeball the amounts of water, ghee, Brain Octane oil, and powdered milk you use.

Brain Octane oil can have a laxative effect in high doses. The same goes for its alternatives. If you haven’t been consuming it regularly, start with small doses and increase over time. The original Bulletproof Coffee recipe recommends you start with 1 tsp and slowly build up to 2 tbsp.

Why Would You Even Want to Drink This Stuff While Backpacking?

You probably aren’t asking yourself this question if you already drink Bulletproof Coffee at home.

If you’ve never before tried or heard of Bulletproof Coffee, though, you definitely are.

There are some questionable claims made about Bulletproof Coffee that you might have come across. But I’m not here to talk about those. “Mental clarity” doesn’t strike me as a reason backpackers need to be drinking butter coffee in the morning anyways.

Instead, there are 2 main reasons to drink Backpacker’s Butter Coffee while backpacking.

1. It Has a High Caloric Density (Calories/Ounce)

Backpackers need to consume lots of calories per day to maintain their body weight and energy levels. Andrew Skurka suggests 3,000 calories per day. Outdoor Herbivore suggests 3,500-4,500+ calories per day depending on the temperature and difficulty of the hike.

To consume this many calories while keeping food weight manageable, you need to carry foods that have high caloric densities (Cal/oz).

Backpacker’s Butter Coffee is exceedingly calorie-dense because the 3 added ingredients all have high calories per ounce ratios. Here are the ratios for the brands I used:

  1. Ghee — 240 Cal/oz
  2. Brain Octane oil — 255 Cal/oz (the highest amount possible since it is pure fat)
  3. Powdered milk — 151 Cal/oz

Whether or not you believe the other claims about Bulletproof Coffee, you can’t deny that it is an efficient source of calories while on the trail.

2. It Tastes Much Better Than Plain Instant Coffee

Let’s be honest:

Instant coffee doesn’t taste very good.

However, adding to it some oil, ghee, and powdered milk sure does make it a whole lot tastier.

And sometimes that’s all the reason you need.


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