Like many other minivan campers, we turned the van’s trunk space into a small kitchen that would equip with all the necessities for us to make a nice meal. The idea is pretty simple. We need some counter space for prepping food, cooking and storage spaces for food and water. We browsed through many setups on google, instagram and pinterest to see what we like and what we don’t like. It could be as elaborate as having pull-out drawers and sliding platforms, like the Jucy minivan rental; but we wanted to keep it simple and reduce the amount of woodwork. So we ended up making just a platform with a space for a small sink, and three wood beam for support. We later got rid of the middle wooden beam because it is not really doing much. After 10 months of cooking out of the van, I’d say this mini kitchen worked out pretty well for us 🙂
With the limited amount of space, deciding what goes into the space and how to make everything fit and easily accessible were quite challenging. We made a few trips to Target, Walmart and the Container Store just to find the right container for us. The Japanese dollar store, Daiso, were awesome for cheap, small and cute house-hold items. I got sauce containers, utensil holders, collapsible colander and tongs from there.
Out of all the kitchen stuff that we have in the van, I’d say we used 98% of them and I am quite happy about that. Almost everything we brought with us were indeed useful and helped us to make a great dinner. The pictures show the basic things that we use for cooking and eating, pot, pan, chopsticks (awesome for both cooking and eating), spatula, tongs, scissors, knife, mugs… you can tell from the photos.
Because our trunk is quite deep in depth, it gives us extra storage space for bigger items like the 7-gallon clean water tank, 2.5-gallon grey water tank, containers for dry food and utensils, thermo slow cooker, bear can, soft cooler bag, foldable chair, foldable side table and a 1-gallon propane gas tank!
Pros and Cons of the set up? I like the separate side table that allow us to move the stove to wherever we want. This mobility worked great on a windy day! I love the sink. I think it is the “fancy” part of our kitchen set up. Being able to have a place to wash dishes and drain water makes cooking a lot less undesirable. While this is an “open kitchen” idea (:P) with great ventilation, a rainy and windy day can quickly turn this into a miserable experience. It is inherit that we have to move many things around each time we cook, taking out cooking wares, setting up the propane tank, and putting everything back. But the most painful thing is putting the 7-gallon tank full of water into the trunk. Ugh. We dread this every time, so we learned to find a hose to fill up as much as possible.
Cooking is never a one-person job for us. I am usually the one who cut and prep the ingredients while Min cooks on the stove. This is what cooking looks like for us.
Perhaps I should write another one about the delicious food that we manage to make on the road. Here’s one. Beef noodle soup!