The Best Hot Drink Recipes for Camping, Hiking, and Backpacking Skip to Content

Our Best Hot Drink Recipes for Cold-Weather Adventures

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Ya know what makes everything better in the backcountry when it’s freezing cold? A sweet, hot drink and a snowball fight. Here in Vermont, we have six months of winter (at least for now), and hibernation is out of the question. We’re always on the lookout for ways to make winter camping, hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing a bit more fun. We’ve got a pretty good collection of hot drink recipes for cold-weather adventures, so I thought I’d share some of our favorites with you.

It all started when we read the Swallows and Amazons series out loud to our kids when they were younger. Have you read them? They’re really fun adventure stories featuring a bunch of kids who are always exploring without their parents. One thing that I love is the kids always bring a Primus stove, a kettle, and tea with them on their outdoor adventures. Sometimes they even have fresh milk, bread, and fat sandwiches.

Tea time in the backwoods is a regular occurrence in the books, and it’s inspired me to pack something hot and delicious in my bag of tricks before setting out on a winter adventure. At the very least, I always try and remember a thermos of hot chocolate. Here are some of our favorite hot drink recipes for winter hiking, camping, and exploring, including favorite drinks for kids and hot alcoholic drinks for camping with big people.

Hot Camping Drinks for Your Next Adventure

A man kneels outside pouring hot chocolate from a thermos into a mug.
The best hot drinks for camping are the easiest to make!

Even when we camp in the summer, there’s always the chance of a brisk morning, and nothing pulls me out of bed faster than the thought of a piping hot drink to go with my view. In the winter, hot drinks are a must or my kids will stay in their sleeping bags all day long. Here are our favorite hot drinks for winter adventures.

Hot Drinks for Mornings at Camp

Whether you want to pop out of bed for sunrise or enjoy a leisurely morning around the campfire, you need a special pick-me-up to help jumpstart your day. These hot drinks are so easy to make, you can whip them up while your eyes are still shut!



Camping Coffee: Easy Mocha Lattes

I’m one of those people who can’t give up coffee when camping.  I usually make it with freshly-ground coffee beans using the pour-over method, but if we’re backpacking or trying to lighten our load, I opt for this super easy mocha latte mix.  It’s just what I need to get going on those cold camp mornings. My teens love these as well.

Mix at home:
2 cups instant dry milk powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
½ cup instant coffee or espresso granules

At camp:
Add 2 – 4 tablespoons mix to a mug with boiling water. Enjoy with a morning walk.

Camping Tea: Spiced Chai Lattes

A Hydroflask mug wit a tea bag in it. The tag on the tea bag says Let your energy be used to build, not destroy
Not a coffee person? Try this amazing camping chai latte

This tea is perfectly spiced and quite sweet. Feel free to cut down on the sugar if it’s too sweet to your liking. When we’re pressed for time, we buy Oregon Chai powdered mix to bring camping, but if we want a real treat we mix our own camping Chai at home.

Mix at home:
2 cups instant dry milk powder
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

To avoid sediment in your finished tea, grind all the ingredients to a very fine powder in a food processor. Pack some black tea bags to use when you get to camp.

At camp:
Add 2 tablespoons of your chai mix, a teabag, and a cup of boiling water to your favorite camping mug. If you’ve got your spice kit with you, add a tiny bit of vanilla.

Lemon Ginger Tea for Camping

A woman sits near a camp fire holding a cup of steaming tea.
Sometimes a cup of herbal tea is all you need.

This lemon-ginger tea is great when you need a boost but don’t want the caffeine.  It’s also awesome if you’ve got a cold. 

At camp:
Steep 1 lemon zinger tea bag in a mug of hot water
Take out the teabag, and add ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
Add a bit of maple sugar, honey, or sugar to taste

Hot Campfire Drinks for Kids and Adults

Hot drinks and campfires go together perfectly, especially in cold weather. If you’ve got the fire lit, you need these winter warmers! The following hot drink recipes are suitable for kids and can easily be tailored to adults who want a hot alcoholic drink to go with their campfire. You’ll find more hot alcoholic drinks in the next section.

a close up of a campfire with hands warming up and a tea kettle.
Hot winter drinks for camping!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate for Camping

Hot cocoa is a camping staple in our family. Kids love to dip their roasted marshmallows in it, and it’s such a classic winter warmer.

A few caveats though — hot cocoa may keep some kids up well past bedtime – all that sugar isn’t the best for sound sleeping. Also, it can be a pain in the butt to clean hot chocolate mugs when camping. Be sure to add hot water to the empty mugs as soon as you’re finished drinking for the best results. Whatever you do, don’t leave the empty mugs until morning – what a mess!

First, a basic hot chocolate mix for camping, hiking, and backpacking – 

For fewer lumps, use a flour sifter to sift:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

After sifting, add 2 cups powdered milk.  2 – 3 tablespoons of this hot chocolate mix will make one cup of cocoa.

To make peppermint hot chocolate while camping, steep a peppermint tea bag in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. Remove the tea bag and add the hot cocoa mix. Adults, if you want a little extra kick, add a shot of peppermint schnapps to taste.  If you want to get really fancy, try the Chocolate Mint Hot Toddy recipe from 50 Campfires. It’s seriously delicious! Enjoy these with your favorite ghost story and roasted marshmallows.

Mulled Spiced Cider for Camping

Hot mulled cider is one of my favorite things in all the world. If you’re car camping, just pop gallon of sweet cider into your cooler for an easy after-dinner nightcap.

If you’re backpacking, you’re going to want to buy powdered apple cider. It may not taste exactly like farm-fresh cider, but it’s pretty good, especially after you’ve spent the day adventuring. 

At home:
Pack apple pie or pumpkin pie spice into your homemade camping spice kit, along with your apple cider.

At camp:
If you’ve got the real deal, pour it into a saucepan and mix it with a few teaspoons of apple pie or pumpkin pie spice. Let it sit on the back of your campfire until you’re ready to drink it. If you’re of age, try your spiced  hot cider with a wee bit of bourbon. Yum!

Nutella S’mores Hot Chocolate for Camping Decadence

roasting s'mores over a campfire.
Love s’mores? Make them into a decadent hot drink!

Here’s a seriously rich dessert/drink for those special camping celebrations:

At home:
Prepare basic hot chocolate mix (recipe above). Pack Nutella, marshmallows, and Bailey’s Irish Cream for the adults.

At camp:
Boil water (1 cup per person) over your campfire and add a couple of dollops (2 tablespoons per person) of Nutella to the pot. Stir to dissolve. When the Nutella is mixed in, remove from heat, and stir in 2 tablespoons of hot chocolate mix per person, and a shot of Bailey’s (for the adults). Top it all off with a roasted marshmallow.

A young man sits near a campfire enjoying a hot drink.

Hot Alcoholic Drinks for Camping

This section is specifically for adult campers who want a hot alcoholic drink after a day of adventuring. Pro tip: Don’t overdo it! While a nip of alcohol before bed has a warming effect, drinking too much will actually make you colder when you’re trying to sleep. Plus, you’ll have to pee all night, which is never a fun experience when camping.

Campfire Bourbon Toddy

If you are a bourbon fan, this one is hard to resist!

Pack the following:

  • a small container of honey
  • bourbon or apple bourbon
  • a lemon
  • several cinnamon sticks

At camp:
Boil water (1 cup per person) over your campfire or stove. Stir in two tablespoons of honey per cup and divide between camp mugs. Add a twist of lemon peel and a cinnamon stick to each mug and serve.

Tahini Campfire Hot Chocolate

a person sits in front of a campfire in the snow enjoying a hot drink.
Enjoying a hot drink near a snowy campfire

Unexpected and delicious! Don’t let the tahini in this recipe put you off.

Pack the following:

  • shelf-stable box of unsweetened almond milk
  • small container of honey or agave syrup
  • small container of tahini
  • a bar of dark chocolate

At camp:
Heat the almond milk (one cup per person) over your campfire or stove. Add a tablespoon of tahini, a tablespoon of honey or agave syrup, and an ounce of chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth and enjoy with your favorite spooky story!

Campfire Coffee Cocktail

This hot alcoholic drink for camping includes Guinness beer, Irish whiskey, and expresso, so only drink it if you really need a pick-me-up and are planning on staying up for a while. This recipe makes a few servings

Pack the following:

  • 1 14.9-oz. can Guinness
  • A small bottle of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Instant espresso powder
  • Paddy old Irish whiskey
  • A few teaspoons of mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • Ground nutmeg (for serving)

At camp:
Pour the Guinness into a saucepan and heat it over the fire until it is reduced by about a third. Add a teaspoon of vanilla to the Guinness reduction. Set aside to cool.
Heat 1/2 cup of water per person over the campfire. Add instant espresso powder to taste and stir to dissolve. To this, add an ounce of Irish whisky per person and a few teaspoons of molasses.

Mix 1/2 cup of heavy cream with an ounce of Guinness reduction and stir until thickened. Pour over the spiked coffee and sprinkle with ground nutmeg.

Ready to get out there and brave the winter ‘round a raging fire? Bring along our hot drink recipes for winter camping and you’ll never want to come home! Do you have any favorite hot drink recipes for winter camping? Please share them with our readers in the comments below!


Want more camping inspiration? Check out these posts!


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a collage of outdoor photos featuring hot drinks. Caption reads: Winter warmers: Hot drink recipes for camping.
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Jeremy

Monday 28th of December 2020

I like your post but something is wrong with the scrolling. I found it really irritating when trying to navigate back up to a previous recipe.

Rose Martine

Tuesday 3rd of November 2020

thank you i greatly appreciate your advice, will it be nice and high with one quantity if i exclude the raspberry glee? and is this mixture firm once set? i have made mini cheescakes before but was never successful 🙁

Nigel William

Monday 26th of March 2018

Great suggestions! Do you recommend any Thermus that can keep the heat?

Tara

Monday 26th of March 2018

Thanks, Nigel! Our thermos is a Stanley - simple and effective, but we often carry individual travel mugs and we love our Hydroflasks for that. Stuff stays hot for 4+ hours, even on cold days.

Natalie

Saturday 31st of December 2016

YUM! I love hot drinks whenever the weather starts to cool down, but I'm quite unoriginal with my hot cocoa and English Breakfast tea. :) Definitely trying a few of these ASAP!

Swati & Sam

Sunday 25th of December 2016

To be honest I am a coffee addict whereas Swati loves to experiment with drinks. Maybe I will try the peppermint hot chocolate. Lovely pictures and a good selection of drinks. Thanks for the share.