I'm writing this almost a year late, but at least that way I can include all the modifications we've made to the truck and how it's performed over the last year. Anyway, we got a new truck. It’s 2 years newer and has 28,000 less miles. Okay, Okay. It’s not new, just new to us. It’s a 2003 F350 with 442,000 miles on it. BUT, it has a Ford remanufactured engine with only 58,000 miles (as o...
Obviously we don’t have a lot of space in our truck camper, but our kitchen does consist of a three burner stove, small propane oven, sink, and microwave, which we can run on our Battleborn batteries. We’re rarely in a sport for more than 4 days at a time, and often we drive everyday, so nothing gets left out on the counters and everything has to be put away. After two years on the road, here’s our top tips for keeping a truck camper kitchen organized and being able to cook as normally as possible.
1.Collapsible and stacking kitchenware: We have a silicone collapsible colander, and make sure all our plates, bowls, and cups stack to fit in our cabinets. Every inch of space matters in a camper! We store other kitchen ware in our oven, and take it out when we want to use the oven, which is not very often.
2. No Glass!: We’ve walked into the back of our camper after a curvy drive and had cabinets open and spill all the contents onto the floor, so avoid all glass! We only have one small square glass baking dish, but it is kept in a cabinet low to the floor so if it ever opens it is unlikely to break. We still wanted to be able to microwave, so we got BPA-free microwavable plastic plates and bowls. They do stain in color a bit with tomato based meals, but have generally been a great purchase and don’t get too hot to touch.
3. Stick Blender: We don’t have room for a real blender, and don’t want any glass, so we have an immersion stick blender that we use for shakes, soups and sauces. It comes with a plastic blending cup, and it only takes about 8 amps and requires only a minute of blending, so can easily run on our lithium batteries.
4. A Good Non-Stick Pan: I’m not a pro-chef, and really I’m just trying to get by on alternating between chili and spaghetti recipes, but from my experience, a non-stick pan is important for cooking in a camper for several reasons. Cooking on propane instead of electricity or natural gas takes time to get used to because propane burns hotter and reacts quicker. When you’re camping off-grid, you have a limited amount of water to wash your dishes. We also don’t run our hot water heater unless we’re taking showers, so we wash our dishes in cold water. Campers also do not have garbage disposals, and a tiny bit of food going down the sink can be detrimental to clogging the pipes. Scrubbing food from a burnt pan would require too much water to clean properly. Having to leave a pan to soak also makes it hard to prevent food particles from going down the sink. We have one decently sized non-stick pan that I do all my cooking in, and can easily wipe all the residue into the trash before washing to prevent any food from going down the sink. We have a three burner stove top, but it is still difficult to fit more than one pan at a time, so having one really good pan is important. We know its important to avoid PFOAs and toxic materials, so we’ve tried cooking on only stainless steel, but it ended up that everything was burned on and too difficult to clean. Cast Iron is too heavy and also hard to clean and maintain. There’s lots of great PFOA-free options now. We use a hard anodized non-stick aluminum pan for all our cooking.
5. Ziplock/crate granular foods: Items that would be a total disaster if they spilled deserve to be zip locked, double bagged, or put into a crate. This includes quinoa, rice, coffee grounds, chia seeds, etc. It would be Blake’s worst nightmare if one of these items spilled in the camper because our food cabinet is directly above the storage area for our lithium batteries, underneath cables and wiring and it would be impossible to clean.
6. Coffee Drinker? I’m not a coffee snob, but I do enjoy my morning cup of coffee. I boil water and use a very basic single serve pour over coffee dripper with #2 biodegradable filters so that I can throw the entire paper filter with the grounds in the trash and not have to clean up any coffee grounds.
7. Keep the Kitchen Sink Clean: This is gross, but both the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink are the hardest parts to keep clean in the camper because we aren’t always level and they don’t always drain properly. It’s a design flaw because Lance camper designed the bottom of the sinks flat, and put the drains towards the head of the camper, even though you want your head to be high when sleeping. If you park your head high, the sinks don’t drain! We have a food catcher/filter on both sinks to catch any bits from going down he drain, and I am constantly wiping out the sinks to keep it clean. We have this suction sponge holder that works with our rounded sink to help the sponge drain. Our camper also came with a cover for the sink to allow for extra counter space, but we’ve found it’s important to take the cover off when not needing the extra counter space to keep the sink from starting to smell. We also pour grey water digester down the sinks to break down any food particles that get past the drain.
9. Outdoor grill: It really makes a big difference to be able to cook outside once in a while. Especially if its hot out and already hot inside the camper. We have this small propane grill that folds up to fit in our outdoor storage. We also made a custom fitting to hook it up to the outdoor propane hose on our Lance, so we don’t have to buy separate propane tanks.