Trail Tea




Introduction: Trail Tea

About: Building design/consulting in Vancouver, WA. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to look in construction dumpsters :) ---the way some have to workout everyday... i have to …

Why Make Tea? It may seem like extra effort but it's a great way to stay hydrated. The extra weight of a pot and optional fuel + stove easily offsets the weight of carrying 2 cups of water. It typically takes me 5 minutes to make a cup of tea whether using a fire or stove.

Where were we hiking? These photos were taken at Avalache Lake in Glacier NP (NW Montana). The cover shot was last year in June. This other shots were in July '18.

Step 1: Ingredients

Stove v Fire. In Glacier, during the summer months, there is almost always a fire warning. A stove is required. I now find the stove easier but for a decade I was exclusively building small fires.


  • Stove - I'm using an MSR Pocket Rocket. --these stoves have continued to advance and the old models keep getting is a link to a model under $15, similar specs
  • Pot - there are an endless supply of lightweight options online. my approach is to show a local thrift for the best quality aluminum or stainless pot
  • Cups - again, there are a wide range of lightweight mugs available. similar to finding a pot... there are many options at a local thrift
  • Lighter - yes, always a good idea to hike with a lighter
  • Water - if you have a fresh water source it's a good idea to use it. It does mean you have to bring water to a rolling boil. you can always use fresh water. you'll see I top up mugs with fresh water to cool the tea
  • Foil - makes for a handy lid. In this case I knew I'd have some from our trail brownies.

Tea v Coffee. Both work great. For tea I carry tea bags. For coffee I carry Turkish grounds so that the grounds sink and I can pour coffee off the top. (you'll want a spoon if you make coffee)

Step 2: Boiling

Boiling water doesn't take long on a stove or fire. A fire gets hotter but takes a bit of effort to build. See here how I approach fire building...Build a Beach Fire

Treating Water. There are lots of options for treating water. As kids we always carried pumps. New solutions use gravity filled carbon filters. My preference is to always hike with potable aqua, a pot and a lighter. With these tools I know I can have clean water. Further, I can use these items to sterilize equipment, dressings, wounds.

Step 3: Steep + Pour

Once the water is boiled I steep the tea in the pot before pouring into individual mugs. I also use the pot as a mug.

Fresh water is added so that we don't have to allow time for the tea to cool.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Hope you've found this useful! As with most of my instructables the goal is to remove hurdles and make it easier to do simple projects. For many hikers making a fire or pulling out the stove feels like a burden. Hopefully this helps you feel more confident and can lighten your pack as you trade water weight for tea.

Thanks for reading! --Jeff

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    Question 4 years ago on Step 4

    Hi, JP, ever make tea from leaves you find hiking?



    Answer 4 years ago

    Spruce tips. Yes. I like the flavor but find it easy to carry tea/coffee. I've know some who like to have a little emergen-c or other supplements.