One of my newest and dearest pals I met at the RTR was Wolf. Wolf has a knack for building things. Wolf also needed a new propane heater for his rig. A propane heater of the bigger kind that I happened to own. One that was too big for my rig and I had been wanting to sell.
Low and behold a trade was struck. I needed a kitchen (and a mentor for showing me the ropes of carpentry), he needed a heater. He gave me some ideas I hadn’t thought about on the layout of it and looked over my plans to make sure it was a solid build. And even though it’s hard to me to let others work on my van (I sorta have a possessiveness over the van, don’t ask), I let him build the whole thing while I watching the process. I stared at him and what he was doing, I asked a ton of questions about what he was doing and why, and not once did he get aggravated or impatient with me.
The build came out great and I took over by painting the wood and organizing everything in and around it. I can actually cook in here guys! Here are some of the features listed below.
Camping stove: I decided on a camping stove as opposed to a built in stove so that I have the ability to cook both inside–when I’m stealth camping or want to generate heat without using a heater– and outside–when I want to cook outside or it’s too hot to cook in the van.
Propane: I’ll be honest, I used a lot of those small green canisters and felt guilty every time. Well finally those days are over as I bought a refillable one. The layout for the kitchen fits it just underneath the stove so connection to it is easy. I also bought an attachment for hooking up my propane heater at the same time if I need to in the winter months. It sits in front of the second side door so when I’m ready to get it refilled I just open the second door and pull it out.
Water Supply: Two 3 gallon jugs for fresh water. These also fit in the space of the second side door for easy removable to refill the jugs. More would be better for longer trips but I already had these and they help with keeping the weight down. Since I didn’t really want a water system dependent on electricity, I went with a hand pump that pulls from one of the tanks. Now it’s easier to fill up my water bottle, boil water, wash things, etc. and I don’t need electricity to do it. Just a little elbow grease and I’m good.
Grey Water: Because I don’t typically have a lot of grey water from the van on any given trip and because I use biodegradable soap for washing dishes, etc., I decided against a holding tank, and instead I have it drain out from the floor of the van. This way, I know my grey water isn’t affecting the environment in a negative way. And if I’m somewhere longer term I use a foldable bucket underneath so I don’t end up making a mud puddle that I’ll then have to drive through.
Food storage: I don’t typically carry a lot of food with me, but I replaced my old plastic bins I was using for food storage with a milk crate I got for free from a grocery store. For the amount of food I carry this is perfect. It fits right under the sink and I added the wheels that came with the plastic bins to the bottom of it to easily pull it in and out. And to keep it from sliding while driving, I built the bottom piece of kitchen framing for that section with a hinge and a latch. So I can lock the milk crate in place under the sink and not have to worry about my food being everywhere if I take a sharp turn too fast.
Let me know if you have any question on my built out. I will try to do a video at some point to show it all working but at least for now, you can see the pictures. This is what worked for me and I’m sure I’ll change things as I use the kitchen more, but it’s been a serious game changer since it’s been installed. Would love to find out how you would or have built your kitchen.