a Blog About Adventure Travel for Kite-Surfing and Cycling with a Custom Built Van
Van Kitchen Essentials
Van Kitchen Essentials

Van Kitchen Essentials

As mentioned in our previous post, Van Menu, food is a big part of our life. We love to eat and we prefer to cook our own food. That being said, we don’t like to bring extra cooking utensils that take up space. Here is a complete list of everything in our van kitchen essentials.

Van Kitchen Essentials
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Van Kitchen Essentials

Cooking with Fire

Van Kitchen Essentials - Stoves
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2-Burner Stove

For most meals on the road, we use our Coleman Camping Stove. This utilitarian stove is easy to pack, set-up, and use. We commonly refer to it as ‘Old Faithful.’ We have had it for almost 10 years and it never lets us down.

This stove runs on 1-liter propane tanks. They can be found in almost every store for less than $5 (4-packs are usually around $16). We also have a 5ft adapter hose to connect the stove to our 20 lbs propane tank that we use for our shower. Cooking twice a day, a 1-liter propane tank usually lasts us 7-9 days.

What we use:

  • Coleman camping stove
  • 1-liter propane tank
  • 20 lb. tank adapter
  • MSR Backpacking stove
  • MSR propane tank
  • lighter

Backpacking Stove

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When we are only boiling water or making coffee, we breakout our MSR Backpacking Stove. This cute little stove takes seconds to put together and works great for a quick morning coffee. A slight negative for this stove is that the propane tanks are a little harder to find and are a little pricier. (A 3.9 oz tank is just under $5.)

The MSR stove is our go to when we have to cook inside on rainy, snowy, or extremely windy days. However, as with all propane devices, it is important to have good ventilation. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is a serious threat in a small space. Most importantly for cooking, don’t forget the lighter!

Van Cooking
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Kitchen Essentials for cookin’

The most essential cooking utensil in our kitchen is our stovetop expresso maker. For us, a morning without coffee is no morning at all. Especially, if it is cold outside.

Otherwise, we do most of our cooking in a sauce pan and a skillet. To keep everything from buring and sticking to the pan, we also always bring a bottle of spray olive oil.

For prepping, stirring, flipping, and pouring, we use 2 pairing knives, a wooden spoon, a wooden spatula and a rubber spatula.

Finally, don’t forget a couple of hot pads. These are essential for saving your fingertips. A lesson learned after a few too many burns.

What we use:

  • 10″ skillet
  • 2 quart sauce pan
  • 1 wooden spatula
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 rubber spatula
  • 2 pearing knives
  • stovetop expresso maker
  • spray olive oil
  • 2 hot pads

Kitchen Essentials for Eatin’

A few years ago, we received plasticware dish sets for backpacking. These are our staple dishes when traveling around in JoVanna. They are light, easy to clean, and stack inside each other.

The plate fits the bowl as a lid for keeping food warm. This is very helpful for instant oatmeal or rice noodles. The plate also works well for draining a pot of boiled noodles. No collander needed!

What we use:

  • 2 plates
  • 2 cups
  • 2 bowls
  • 2 spoons
  • 2 forks

Kitchen Essentials for Cleanin’

The best advice we’ve read about cooking while staying in the van is to always clean up immediately. As soon as we are done eating, we clean up and put everything away. This usually only takes a few minutes and it helps keep everything neat and smelling nice.

We use our sauce pan as our dish washing sink and heat the water directly on the stove while cleaning up the dishes. For washing, we use half a spong, dish soap, and a dish towel for drying. We wash and dry everything together and put all our supplies back where they belong.

We don’t have a designated place for garbage yet. Instead we use small bags and take it out regularly (usually after cleaning up from dinner). Again, it is a small space that can easily begin to clutter quickly.

What we use:

  • sponge (cut in half)
  • dish towel
  • paper towels
  • antibactiral wipes
  • small bottle of dish soap
  • garbage bags

Essential Van Kitchen Knicknacks

Two simple things that we used to always forget, but we always needed, are scissors and a bottle opener. Although you can use the knife for cutting and a lighter for opening a beer, these two items are nice to have around.

Additionally, having plastic bags or tinfoil for storing opened or leftover food is really helpful. Tinfoil can also help when cooking, especially if you have a firepit available.

What we use:

  • scissors
  • bottle opener
  • extra lighter
  • 1 gallon plastic storage bags
  • sandwich bags
  • tinfoil

Hope this is helpful as you stock your van kitchen. Did we forget anything that is a “must-have” for you? Let us know in the comments and happy cooking! Thanks for reading. Follow us for more posts on van camping and KiteBikeVan adventures.

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