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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Van Camping Kitchen: Compact Cooking Tips and Must-Have Gadgets

Image by Sebastian Sonnen via iStock

Van camping offers a unique blend of adventure and convenience, allowing explorers to bring the comforts of home on the road. Central to this experience is the van camping kitchen, a compact yet efficient space where meals are prepared and enjoyed amidst nature. For those new to van life, mastering the art of cooking in these small quarters can be both challenging and rewarding. 

Today, we delve into the essentials of creating an effective van camping kitchen. Whether you’re a seasoned van camper or just starting, some compact cooking tips and must-have gadgets will enhance your van life culinary experience, making every meal an adventure in itself.

Let’s explore how to make the most of your van camping kitchen, turning it into a hub of delicious creativity and convenience on your travels.

Table of Contents

Expand Your Van Camping Kitchen Outside

tire table 17

In van camping, the kitchen isn’t confined to the interior space. Expanding your cooking area outside is not only practical but also enhances the overall camping experience. Utilizing outdoor space effectively can transform meal preparation into a more enjoyable and social activity. It is a game-changer for van campers. 

One ingenious solution is the Tailgater Tire Table, a compact, sturdy platform that attaches to your vehicle’s tire. It’s made from powder-coated aircraft-grade aluminum, ensuring durability and resistance to the elements. The table is incredibly easy to install and doesn’t require tools or a hitch, simply mounting to your vehicle’s tire. This offers a stable workspace or dining area in any outdoor setting, regardless of ground conditions.

tire table 16


Notably, the table is lightweight, weighing only 5.5 lbs, and it’s compact, making it easy to store and transport. It offers ample surface space with dimensions of 29″ x 23″, and can hold up to 50 lbs – perfect for preparing meals, holding a portable stove, or just enjoying your food outdoors. 

By incorporating the Tailgater Tire Table into your van camping gear, you open up new possibilities for meal preparation and dining, truly embracing the spirit of outdoor adventure. The brilliant black color adds a stylish touch, making it not just a functional piece but also a visually appealing addition to your van camping setup.




819fLzIq3UL. AC SL1500

13 Pcs Camp Kitchen Cooking Utensil Set Cookware Kit

81ks3xhmnAL. AC SX425

RoverTac Multitool Hatchet Camping Tool

71Wi5XFHEDL. AC SL1500

Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern, LED Lanterns

61VpYgBk3eL. AC UL320

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness

512vC4QDZ6L. AC SL1000

163 Pieces First Aid Kit Waterproof

61V2R2avXVL. AC SL1500

Coleman Camping Chair with Built-in 4 Can Cooler

Space-Saving Cookware Essentials for Van Camping

Flex™ 4 Cook Set by MSR

Efficient use of space is crucial in van camping, especially when it comes to cookware. The key is to opt for compact and multifunctional items that maximize functionality without cluttering your limited space. Nesting cookware sets and space-saving utensil sets are ideal choices for van campers, offering versatility and convenience.

Nesting cookware, like the Flex 4 Cook Set, exemplifies space-saving design. This set includes a large 5.3L pot and a 3.2L nonstick pot, alongside plates, mugs, and a versatile handle, all fitting snugly together. The set’s ability to nest within itself makes it a superb choice for those who want to cook full meals without sacrificing valuable storage space.

Front Runner Camp Kitchen Utensil Set

Similarly, space-saving utensil sets, such as the Camp Kitchen Utensil Set by Front Runner, are indispensable. This high-quality set includes knives, forks, spoons, and a range of other cooking utensils, all enclosed in a roll-up storage bag. The durability and thoughtful design of these utensils make them perfect for van life, where every item needs to be both functional and compact.

These cookware and utensil solutions from BTR Outfitters reflect the needs of van campers. They demonstrate that with the right gear, you can enjoy a fully functional kitchen setup, no matter how limited your space may be.

Portable Cooking Appliances for Van Camping 

Partner Steel 22 2 Burner Partner Stove from BTR Outfitters

Image Credit: BTR Outfitters

The right appliances can transform cooking in a van from a challenge to a delight. Portable stoves and compact grills from BTR Outfitters are essential for van campers, offering the functionality of a full kitchen in a mobile format. Their features and fuel options are designed for convenience and efficiency in small spaces.

For instance, the Partner Steel 22″ 2 Burner Partner Stove, with its windscreen, offers robust cooking power in a compact design. This stove is perfect for van camping, as it balances size with functionality, allowing for diverse cooking options while taking up minimal space.

Ultimate Skottle Grill Kit from BTR Outfitters

Image Credit: BTR Outfitters

The Ultimate Skottle Grill Kit is another excellent choice for van campers. This all-in-one kit includes a grill, burner, and several accessories, offering a versatile cooking solution. The Skottle Grill is particularly suited for off-grid camping, allowing for a variety of cooking methods from grilling to frying, all in a portable package.

These appliances illustrate the importance of choosing cooking gear that suits the van camping lifestyle. They ensure that campers can enjoy delicious meals without the need for bulky or cumbersome equipment.

Meal Prep and Planning for Van Life

Selective focus of male hand while cooking steak in camp

Image by sutiporn via iStock

Meal preparation and planning are very important in van camping to make efficient use of limited space and resources. The key is to plan ahead, focusing on meals that are easy to prepare and require minimal ingredients and utensils.

Effective ingredient storage is vital. Utilizing airtight containers and compartmentalizing your fridge or cooler can keep your ingredients fresh and organized. Space-saving strategies, such as using collapsible bowls or multi-use kitchen tools, also help in making the most of your van kitchen.

Pre-cooked meals or one-pot dishes can be a lifesaver, especially after a long day of adventure. These meals minimize cooking time and reduce the amount of cleaning needed afterward. Additionally, consider meals that can be cooked over a campfire or portable stove, adding variety and enjoyment to your dining experience.

With thoughtful preparation and the right approach, mealtime in your van can be both a practical and enjoyable aspect of your camping experience.

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