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Essential RV Kitchen Supplies
Stocking a Camper's Kitchen
Preparing a meal in an RV can be challenging. You'll need some kitchen basics, but won't have room for specialized tools.
I've outfitted a fifth-wheel, a motorhome and a campervan. Here are my suggestions of what you need to save space, but still be able to cook a full meal.
Save yourself some trial and error by checking out what I've learned in twenty years of RVing. Once you equip your RV, you'll have some tasty meals on the road.
Use What You Have
Start by looking through your kitchen for extra items like wooden spoons, cookware, and anything you have duplicates of. Don't get carried away and drag out things like cookie cutters and blenders. Usually you are fixing basic meals in the RV, not baking Christmas cookies. Look at the space available (storage space, counter space) and decide how much cooking you will attempt.
Add Workspace in an RV Kitchen - with a Stove Cover, Sink Covers, and Countertop Extensions
The first thing I add to a travel trailer or motorhome kitchen are covers for the sink and stove top. This gives you more space for fixing meals.
Usually the sink is a double except in the smallest RVs, but you want covers for each sink. That way you can remove one to use the sink and still have work space where the other sink is.
The last travel trailer we bought had one cover that went over both sinks. It was easy to fix. I just had it cut in half so each sink could be covered or uncovered individually.
RV Stove Top Cover
This is meant to fit most stove tops. Measure your stove to be sure it fits it.
The great part about having a stove top cover like this, is the extra counter space it provides. Many times, I'm doing most of the cooking in the microwave, so the stove top is going to waste. A topper like this reclaims that space.
This RV Kitchen Has a Sink Cover
RV Sink Cover
Again, you'll need to measure for the size you need. This one also serves a double purpose as a cutting board.
RVs Have Limited Counterspace - Make the Most of It
Usually the table is not too far away, so when I cook, I use the kitchen counter and the dining table as my work area.
Don't fill the counters with non-essentials. I have the paper towels hanging under the cabinets, so that doesn't take up valuable space on the counter. I keep my dish washing detergent under the sink and out of the way.
Check on adding a flip-up counter extension. You can also pull open a top drawer and put a cutting board on it for some extra surface space.
You'll be mighty glad to have an extra foot or so of counter space while you are cooking in the recreational vehicle. Attach one of these, then when you need more workspace, just flip it up.
Select Sturdy, Unbreakable Items for Traveling
Make sure everything is reasonably unbreakable. I always opt for sturdy plastic if I can find it for things like a measuring cup or mixing bowls. If you want real plates, opt for something like Corning that doesn't break easily. Put the rubber separators in-between each plate so they don't rub together while jostling down the road. I keep some paper plates and paper napkins in the RV too for times on the road when I don't want to bother with washing dishes.
I have Corning plates, but think that next time I would get Melamine. It's lighter in weight and pretty much unbreakable.
I don't carry a large set of dishes, as it is usually just the 2 of us traveling in the RV. If you have a cookout and invite people over, get some paper plates.
Essentials for Any RV Kitchen
- Can opener (a manual one takes less space). Make sure it opens bottles too.
- Measuring cups and spoons (plastic ones that nest together) - Even if you don't cook much, these come in handy.
- A mixing bowl
- A cutting board
- Some basic kitchen knives for chopping, paring, steak, etc.
- Set of dishes (although you can use paper plates), eating utensils (or plastic knives/forks/spoons), cups and glasses (plastic is best).
Get a Dish Drainer That Folds Flat for Storage
Some items are worth paying a bit extra for the convenience and space-saving. My folding dish drainer fits compactly under the sink, but when open, it holds quite a few dishes. A regular-sized dish drainer just would take up valuable counter space.
Folding Dish Drainer Saves Space in the RV Kitchen
You can also get a small drainer that sits in one side of your double sinks.
More Places to Find Inexpensive Supplies for the RV Kitchen
RV stores like Camping World have dishes and kitchenware for RVing. Check out what they have, then take a look at places like a dollar store or Wal-Mart. Chances are there is something that will work fine for a lesser price.
Scout out yardsales as well. Sometimes you find an inexpensive set of dishes or pots and pans that way.
Some Useful Items for the Kitchen - in a Recreational Vehicle
Use Multipurpose Items
You can't take them all. Don't feel that you have to have one of everything like in your regular kitchen. Space is at a premium. Choose things that do double duty. A single mixing bowl can also be a salad bowl and a popcorn bowl, so no need for specialized items.
I have a vegetable peeler that is a combination piece. It has a stiff brush, a soft brush and the peeling part. I can peel a cucumber, scrub a baking potato or softly brush a mushroom clean with this mulitpurpose tool.
Save space with a colander that collapses to store flat. This drains your salad greens, serves as a popcorn bowl or drains spaghetti. (no, you do not need a salad spinner)
I can't give a list of everything you'll need. It depends on your cooking style.
Nesting Food Storage Containers Are a Good Idea
Look for food storage sets that fit inside each other to save space. This is the set I use now.
The containers are a rigid plastic, so I can use them in the microwave too. That saves carrying small microwave cooking pieces. I just use these for that.
Plan Meals ahead for the RV Trip
As I stock the RV with food for a trip, I mentally think through the cooking utensils needed to prepare those meals. Then I make sure I have a colander if I'm planning something like spaghetti. Actually I avoid spaghetti as it steams up the whole RV. That's the kind of thinking you need to do in getting the right things in your RV kitchen.
Kitchen Sizes Vary Widely in RVs
Quick RV Cooking Tip
MaggiePowell - "I put meat and marinade for several meals in plastic zipper bags then freeze flat. Every morning I can take one meal out of the freezer and let it thaw/marinade over the day. When we arrive at the campground, the meat is ready to grill."
© 2013 Virginia Allain