GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator Review: Brewing, Capacity + More

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Rating and Summary

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel 3-Cup Coffee Percolator has a high-quality, heavy-gauge, marine-grade stainless steel build, from the coffee pot to the inner percolator. It’s also very user-friendly, and is the only percolator I know that comes in a 3-cup capacity.

However, the handle on the 3-cup capacity is small and gets a little hot when using high heat, probably because this is a smaller pot and is closer to the fire.

Brewing coffee outdoors with the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
Brewing coffee outdoors with the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
7
Brew Time
8
Capacity
8.5
Ease of Use
9
Clean Up
9.4
Quality
Overall Score 8.6 / 10
Pros: High quality stainless steel build, user-friendly, lots of capacity options
Cons: Handle on the 3-cup capacity is kind of small and does get warm
Price: I paid US$25 for this GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

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Product Details

Here’s what we’ll discuss here:

  • Unboxing
  • In the Box
  • Price
  • Specifications
  • Instructions
  • How to Use

Unboxing

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Coffee Percolator came in a nice Amazon box, but the GSI Outdoors packaging itself was not great; it was just some plastic and stickers. Here’s what it looked like:

Taking out the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator from the Amazon box.
Taking out the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator from the Amazon box.

In the Box + Price

In the box, you get the GSI Outdoors Glacier coffee pot, a spreader, a filter basket, a stem with a base, a perking knob, and some instructions.

I paid $25 U.S. dollars for it, but for the updated price as of now, you check out these places: Amazon, REI Co-Op, Backcountry.

Specifications

Here are my personal measurements of the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator in a 3-Cup capacity.

  • Length from top of the handle to spout, about 6.25 inches or 16 cm.
  • Length from bottom of the handle to spout, about 7.5 inches or 19 cm.
  • Length of handle, about 2.5 inches or 6 cm.
  • Diameter of lid, about 4 inches or 10 cm.
  • Diameter of base, also about 4 inches or 10 cm.
  • Height from base to perking knob, about 6 inches or 15 cm.
  • Weight, 418 grams or 14.8 ounces.
  • Made in: China.

Official Instructions

The official instructions say to fill the percolator with water, and not to overfill it, so you can use the cup level markings as a gauge. After, GSI Outdoors recommends heating at the highest setting, and perking for no more than 3 minutes.

I tried this, but my coffee tasted a bit burnt, and I did not like it.

How I Use It

So, if you’re interested, here’s how I make my own percolator coffee. For me, I use 6 ounces of water for 1 cup of coffee. I grind my medium roast coffee into a coarse grind, I use 10 or 11 grams of grounds for 1 cup of coffee, and I pour it into the filter basket.

Next, I place the stem, filter basket, and spreader into the coffee pot, close the lid, and place the GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator on the stove. My personal preference is to bring the water to a boil on medium heat, and when it starts boiling, you can see the water perking in the transparent knob at the top of the GSI Outdoors Percolator.

The GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator on the Coleman Portable Butane Stove.
The GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator on the Coleman Portable Butane Stove.

After, I usually lower the heat slightly to medium low heat, and wait about 7 minutes, before turning off the heat entirely.

Then, I let the GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator sit for a few extra minutes to allow the water in the filter basket to drain out and the grounds in the coffee to settle at the bottom, before pouring it out to drink. When pouring, I use my thumb to apply pressure on the attached cover hinge to keep the lid closed.

Testing and Performance

Here’s how I tested the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Coffee Percolator:

  • Brew Time
  • Capacity
  • Ease of Use
  • Ease of Clean Up
  • Quality

You can also find all the test results in this section.

Brew Time

For brew time, I looked at the time to first perk, which is the amount of time it takes for the water to start boiling.

At a 1-cup capacity, or 6 ounces, it took the GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator 3 minutes for the water to boil. And at a 2 and a half cup capacity, or 15 ounces, it took 5 and a half minutes.

Timing how long it takes for water to boil in the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
Timing how long it takes for water to boil in the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

These are estimates and can change depending on different factors like the temperature of your water, the surrounding temperature, the amount of heat you use, and stuff like that. I used tap water at room temperature, and brought it to a boil on medium heat.

After the water started boiling, I let the coffee percolate for about 7 minutes on medium-low heat.

Capacity

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator that I bought for this review is marketed as a 3-cup coffee percolator, and the maximum amount of water it could hold without touching the spout holes is about 15 ounces. GSI Outdoors measures each cup of coffee in a 5-ounce cup, so I suppose that’s pretty accurate. Based on my usual 6-ounce cup though, it’s 2 and a half cups.

Filling the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator with 15 ounces of water.
Filling the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator with 15 ounces of water.

As for the minimum capacity, when I tried brewing just 1 cup of coffee, or 6 ounces, my “brew” was extremely diluted. This is probably because there wasn’t enough water to go up the stem and spread over the grounds. My 11 grams of coffee grounds were not fully used.

So, minimum capacity for my GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator is 2 cups. It works perfectly and brews a real tasty coffee.

As for the filter basket, when I filled it to the brim, maximum capacity is about 48 grams or 1.7 ounces of coarse ground coffee. This is more than enough for the maximum of 2.5 cups of coffee.

I filled the filter basket of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator to the brim.
I filled the filter basket of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator to the brim.

Basically, the GSI Outdoors Percolator is good for brewing a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 2.5 cups of coffee, if each cup is 6 ounces.

If you need a bigger percolator, the GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator also comes in a 6-cup, 9-cup, and 12-cup capacity. The 3-cup capacity that I bought is the smallest.

Ease of Use

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator has a 2-cup and 3-cup marking on the outside of the coffee pot, and you can see it pretty clearly from the inside as well. There isn’t a 1-cup marking, because if you brew any less than 2 cups, your brew will be really diluted.

The 2-cup marking measures about 11 ounces, and the 3-cup marking measures slightly more than 15 ounces, and shows the water level touching the spout holes.

The cup/water level markings on the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
The cup/water level markings on the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

The handle is made of silicone, which is pretty heat-resistant and usually cool to the touch when using low to medium heat. When I tried using high heat to perk my coffee, the silicone handle got fairly hot, probably because this is a small pot and the handle is closer to the fire.

The handle on this 3-cup capacity pot is also not very big, coming in at about 2.5 inches, so you might want to be careful of the 2 steel plates that connect the handle to the coffee pot.

Measuring the size of the handle of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
Measuring the size of the handle of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

There’s a cover hinge near the handle that attaches the lid to the pot, which does get hot after percolation, but I found that it cools pretty quickly.

After I turn off the heat and wait a few minutes for the coffee grounds to settle at the bottom, the hinge gets cool enough to touch. I use my thumb to apply pressure upward on this hinge to keep the lid closed during pouring.

Me using the cover hinge of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator to keep the lid closed during pouring.
Me using the cover hinge of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator to keep the lid closed during pouring.

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator comes with a transparent PercView knob, so you can tell when the water starts boiling, and also the color of your coffee.

Sometimes, the grooves of the knob don’t align well with the lid, and it takes a couple tries to screw it in correctly. I don’t like this, but it’s fine as long as you get the right angle, so it’s not a super big issue for me.

The PercView knob on the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
The PercView knob on the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

It’s pretty stable on the stove, and lastly, because I used a coarse grind, only a minimal amount of grounds got into my last cup of coffee. If you find grounds in your coffee, you can either wet the filter basket or use coffee filter paper to line the basket.

Clean Up

To clean up, just toss the grounds and run water through all the components of the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator. They can be taken apart easily for a good washing. I found that percolating water is more effective at getting rid of the coffee bean oils. The product information says that it’s dishwasher safe.

Quality

The GSI Outdoors Glacier coffee pot and lid are made of stainless steel, which is heavy-gauge, Type 18/8, and marine grade. The welds are also marine grade. The outside isn’t exactly a mirror finish, but it’s pretty close to that. The finish on the inside is pretty decent too, with minimal staining.

The stainless steel coffee pot of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
The stainless steel coffee pot of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

The stem, filter basket and spreader seem to be made of the same stainless steel, and they’re pretty sturdy. The spreader fits perfectly on the top of the coffee pot, so the entire percolator sits firmly inside the pot. It doesn’t move about much when I shake it gently.

The stainless steel stem, filter basket and spreader (basically, the inner percolator) of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
The stainless steel stem, filter basket and spreader (basically, the inner percolator) of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

The PercView knob is made of BPA-free resin, with a rim that measures about 2mm. I think the size of the PercView knob is the same across all GSI Outdoors percolator capacities.

The handle is made of fairly heat-resistant silicone, and is fixed firmly to the pot with marine grade welds. It’s not very big and it does get hot when using high heat or larger fires though.

The silicone handle of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.
The silicone handle of the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator.

After a few weeks of light usage, I did not notice any rust or corrosion, all the componentry is still intact, and the resin PercView knob is still in good shape with no signs of melting or anything like that.

I saw quite a few negative reviews about the PercView knob becoming loose over time, but I think many of them are a few years old and not that recent. My PercView knob can still be screwed tight after a few weeks of use. I don’t screw it in super tightly when perking coffee though, I leave it slightly loose to give it a bit of wiggle room for expansion when it gets hot. In any case, GSI Outdoors does sell replacement knobs, in both glass and resin.

GSI Outdoors offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Pros and Cons

For pros:

  • The GSI Outdoors Glacier coffee pot has a high-quality stainless-steel build. It definitely feels heavy-gauge, and the percolator inside is made of stainless steel as well.
  • It’s also very user-friendly and feature-rich, with the cup markings, silicone handle, cover hinge, PercView knob and being dishwasher safe.
  • You also have lots of capacity options with this GSI Percolator, because it comes in a 3-cup, 6-cup, 9-cup and 12-cup capacity.
The GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator comes in a 3-cup capacity.
The GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Percolator comes in a 3-cup capacity.

As for cons:

  • The capacity is kind of limited, and you can brew a minimum of 2 cups to a maximum of 2.5 cups of coffee, if 1 cup is 6 ounces. I was honestly surprised that the 1-cup capacity did not work and the coffee tasted diluted.
  • Also, the handle is small on this 3-cup capacity, and gets hot when using high heat or bigger flames.

Recommendation

Would I recommend the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator?

Overall, I really like this GSI Outdoors Percolator. The build is high quality, food grade, marine grade and it feels heavy gauge for sure. It’s very feature-rich and user-friendly, and it’s the only percolator I know that has a 3-cup capacity.

Even though you can’t brew less than 2 cups of coffee when using this, and the handle is a bit small, I still think that this is the perfect if you’re solo-camping, you don’t drink that much coffee, or you don’t have that much space. It’s a space-saver for sure, compared to other camping percolators that I have.

I placed the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator on a table outdoors.
I placed the GSI Outdoors Glacier 3-Cup Percolator on a table outdoors.

So yeah, I would recommend this GSI Outdoors Percolator in any capacity option, whether in a 3-cup, 6-cup, 9-cup or 12-cup, and I think the 3-cup is especially great for that niche group of people who might need this.

How does the GSI Outdoors Glacier Percolator stack up against other popular camping percolators though? To find out, you can click here: The 9 Best Camping Percolators: I Bought & Tested Them All (complete with YouTube video).