Single-Serve Never Fails On The Trail

  • Photo of a hand with nail polish holding a camping mug with a single-serve sachet in it.

Early in 2021, our pals Tina and Grayson Currin hit us up about hiking with coffee. They were planning out the details of their next major journey—the Pacific Crest Trail—and coffee was on their “essentials” list.

Photo of Grayson and Tina sitting and looking at the camera. Grayson is making a peace sign and Tina is smiling.

A few years earlier, they sold their house, quit their office jobs, and moved into a Sprinter van with two cats and a dog to travel the country as freelance writers. Then in 2019, they took on the Appalachian Trail, the classic 2,180-mile Georgia-to-Maine trek. If there’s one thing all distance hikers can agree on, it’s probably that every ounce in your pack matters. And if there’s one thing Tina and Grayson agreed on, it was that their coffee experience really matters on a long hike.

“A few years ago, we hiked the Appalachian Trail with an engineer named Crusher, a brilliant thinker who long helped one of the largest manufacturers in the United States make its systems more efficient. His way of thinking—about process and products and how they could interact more seamlessly—was exotic to me, a neurotic and flighty bookworm since childhood. Each night, during the earliest days of our long relationship, he would talk about “setting himself up for success” for the next morning. He’d prepare his food and toiletries, put things in their places, and plot out his hiking plan. That mantra and the organization it entailed initially grated me, and I’d mock him for it, which actually said more about what I didn’t do than what he did." —Grayson

Big Trouble Single-Serve at a camp spot along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Prior to departure, Tina and Grayson mapped out their route and their coffee routine (including sustainability impacts and pack weight implications). They each planned to use two packs of Big Trouble Single-Serve per day, to make roughly 16 ounces of brewed coffee.

“I’ve tried a few dozen caffeination methods while on assorted trails over the years; nothing matches the sheer satisfaction that I get from Counter Culture’s little compostable bags of ground beans. I’m not just drinking caffeine—I’m enjoying it."—Grayson

Grayson's campside "cold brew" using Big Trouble single-serve coffee.

They began their journey in Mexico on April 21, 2021. In early July, as they were nearing the halfway point, we checked in to see how they were doing. By then, they were banging out 30 mile days to get past California before potential fires became an issue. 

We’re actually hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with Crusher now, walking 2,653 miles from Mexico to Canada. And I have actually adopted his mantra as my own now, setting myself up for success as best as my still-flighty brain will allow each night. And that’s where Counter Culture’s Single-Serve packets come into play. Every night, I filter 12 or so ounces of creek water into the same titanium coffee cup I’ve carried while camping for nearly a decade, then push two coffee bags of Big Trouble toward the bottom. I plop my cook pot’s lid above the cup (who wants to drink lodgepole pine needles, you know?), and climb into my sleeping bag for the night.

“As soon as I’m awake, I fire up my tiny stove for a minute or so, just enough to warm my campside cold brew while I finish the first of two morning Pop-Tarts. I pack my bag while I warm my hands with my cup, my body and brain with what’s inside.

“Some mornings, I even pass Crusher a coffee pack or two—you know, so he can set himself up for success for the miles ahead.”

Photo of Tina and Gray at a sign marking the start of the Pacific Coast Trail.

As often as cell service allows, both Tina and Grayson share what’s essentially a daily journal of their adventure on Instagram. Do yourself a favor and follow Tina and Grayson as they crush the rest of their epic journey (with Crusher). Their humor, grit, and drive are truly inspiring.

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