Be patient & Protect for travel
Ok, I've used this filter several times over the past year. Here is what I've learned:
1) It's very lightweight, and if you practice once at home, you'll know the amount of coffee you need for your taste. I like mine strong: 2Tbsp for a 12 oz mug.
2)You can knock out the used grounds into your trash-baggie, then let the filter rest somewhere to dry out while you break camp (on a tree limb is great, just don't forget it!). The dried grounds knock/wipe out easily. Remember to clean the thing when your trip is over, to make sure the mesh stays clear for next time.
1)It takes a while, so be patient. Pour a bit of hot water in to wet the grounds, then add bits of water as it drains through. You'll have to lift the filter up once or twice to see how much water you've got in the mug. Once you've got a full mug, let the filter sit in there a few minutes to get strong (if you like strong coffee)
2)The little lid is pretty much useless unless you use it to hold the used/wet filter while you drink your beverage. I just sit my mug lid on top of the filter and put the whole operation out of harm's way for a few minutes. Leave the little lid at home.
3) Baggage-checking this thing for air travel ruined it. It got pretty crushed up. Solution (thanks from another review): put it inside your mug and use a rubberband to keep your mug lid on and the filter safe from crushing. Or (my idea)put the whole thing inside one of your clean socks.
4) Expensive, do some looking around and you can find other brands of the same thing $5-8 cheaper.
Great Joe, Light Weight - Awesome!!
This little filter makes the best cup-o-joe I've ever had in a trail brewer and with the size and weight its a home run!! I carried a french press for years and have been minimizing my weight due to a back problem, and bought this to try and was not dissappointed in the slightest - wish I'd done it sooooo much sooner. I guess the only downside would be IF your mug is too wide for the flanges to rest on the edge of the mug so it won't sink into the brew. I use a normal size mug, so no problems. I worried about its durability, but have had to pack it in a pocket unprotected and it suffered no damage. It makes tasty brew and you can vary the strength to your liking of course, and since you can see the coffee as its brewing, and even pull the filter out to check, you can get the right kick to your java everytime. A little pricey, but worth it!! If you're a die hard java drinker or even a coffe driker that doesn't want to go without on a backpakcing trip, there is no reason not to pack this little guy whatsoever.
Pretty darn perfect
I bought this to feed my caffeine habit during a 30-day NOLS course. This little thing makes killer coffee, is easy to clean, and doesn't add more waste to your outdoor adventures. For tea drinkers, the filter sits perfectly on the lid while it waits for a second steep. For car camping, I still bring a big old press pot, but the MugMate is also great for hotel travel, where you might want a good cup of coffee in the morning, but the pre-packaged coffee-like substance doesn't cut it.
1) Get your coffee ground coarse, like for a press pot.
2) Use about 1Tbs. ground coffee per cup of hot (not still boiling) water.
3) Pour a little hot water on top of the grounds, just to wet them, then the rest through the side of the filter.
4) Let steep at least 5 minutes.
5) Don't drink the last few sips of coffee unless you like Turkish coffee.
6) If you wash this filter in a dishwasher, the non-stick coating will come off.
As I like to brew my own tea, I have been primarily brewing my own tea at work. Those little tea balls leak leaves and pop open at the worst times. This filter works incredibly well with only the finest grounds sifting through. The 'cap' which can seem useless is excellent for setting the filter in to dry without leaving rings on your desk or getting dirt in the filter if you are out in the field. You can stick a little bag of loose tea in it (or just pour some in) and rubberband it closed and stick it in your bag or pack for later. Its light, been banging around loose in my bag and pack for several months now and seems pretty sturdy(I wouldn't want to put a lot of weight on it) and has served me well over a hundred cups of tea. Solid product and worth the asking price. Making my other tea strainers obsolete.
Makes a GREAT cup of coffee
For myself, a good cuppa coffee in the morning is a must on all backpacking trips. The coffee "tea bags" you can buy taste terrible, and other espresso style set ups are bulky and add allot of weight (not to mention difficult.
The MSR filter is the lightest way to make a good, quick, easy, and great tasting cup of coffee or tea. The filter is fine enough you don't have a bunch of extra coffee at the bottom of your cup. It also enables you to bring your favorite blend and just dump it in.
My only complaint is the top of the filter doesn't stay on. It's great to sit under the filter when in use/in between steeping, but when in your pack in will fall off. This was easily remedied by slapping a rubber band on it.
Excellent Coffe Maker
Used to use this a lot when I was an active Sierra Nevada backpacker, and it brews a great cup o' Joe. A lot more satisfying than the coffee bags, and you can just toss the grounds into the bushes. I got the most use out of it at home, though--I used this to brew my morning coffee for many years (went thru two of 'em), until I found a quicker, easier-to-use contraption. Would still prefer to use it if I'm traveling or tramping about and needed to consider space and weight.
Does the job
Works for a great cup of coffee or loose leaf tea. Tea leaves are a lot easier to clean out, but once the coffee grounds dry they shake out fine. I doubt MSR did anything more than put a stamp on a generic filter that can be found elsewhere for about 1/2 the price, but the fact remains that if it fits your cup it work well. The only reason this isn't 5 stars is that it is obvious they put their name on someone else's product.
The best way to have coffee in the woods
French press is the only way to go for me. The MugMate lets me have high quality coffee wether I'm backpacking or car camping, solo or group. It nests inside my titanium mug to brew a single cup or can be used to filter "cowboy coffee" into each person's mug in a group setting. No limits to how much coffee I can make like with the jetboil or snowpeak french press set-ups. A rubber band keeps the lid on and the filter safely stored inside my mug.
I quit using it for coffee/tea, as instant coffee and tea bags are simpler, though not as tasty. However, I always take it backpacking when I don't take my filter and I expect to obtain my water from fast-moving streams, especially during spring runoff. The Mugmate wedges perfectly into the mouth of a Dromlite water bag, and I can filter pine needles, etc. as I pour collected water from my liter bottle into the water bag. Add the pills, and I'm done with the water chores.
One Cup Wonder
Sole coffee drinker on an extended backpacking trip meant no need for a press or a big pot of cowboy. The mugmate was perfect for that one big cup. Steeps nicely, compact, and cleans easy (sit out to dry, dump grinds in one lump, dip in boiling h2o next use to clean). Since it just had its first run I'm still unsure about durability, hence only 4 stars. Was nervous I'd crush it in my pack.
Still using it in the front country.