Motorhomes, Campervans and Caravans come in all shapes and sizes, but unless you have one of those absolutely massive RV things with wind-out sides then you will share the same problem as us. Space. One of the best things about motorhoming is the ability to take your kitchen with you, so you can cook your favourite meals and experiment with fresh local ingredients wherever you park up. However, you actually have very limited space to store all your motorhome kitchen essentials. Which means that you have to pick your cooking gear wisely and think about how you will store it.
When you draw up your own personal list of campervan must-haves for your rv kitchen here are a few things to consider:
- Weight … you have to think of the payload impact of packing lots of heavy cooking equipment
- Stackability … with limited cupboard and drawer space the ability to stack items is most important
- Collapsibility … collapsible kitchen items can be a great way of minimising space used, but at the same time you want things to be robust and sturdy
- Usability … we only have three gas rings so this has been an important consideration. Your list might vary if you have an oven or microwave. If you don’t, then you might also love our post about how to cook without an oven in your motorhome or campervan
- Cleanability … we don’t want any kit that is hard to wash up
- Storability … if you can go smaller without compromise then that’s good
- Versatility … can you do multiple things with one item?
- Hard-wearing … your campervan cooking gear needs to be able to survive the bumps and knocks of the journey. Plus be suitable for indoor and outdoor use. And, you don’t want to have to replace it all after only a few trips, so quality is important
- The Noise Factor … no-one wants to drive along with metal pans rattling and glassware chinking
We are now on our third van, and have gradually acquired the perfect set of motorhome kitchen essentials for us. Of course some of these may be different for you. A lot of this depends on your cooking preferences. But here is a list of our must-haves and things we would not be without. And we hope you find it useful. This is the motorhome cooking equipment that “lives” in our van all the time: all these items are either compact, lightweight, multi-purpose or just plain lovely to use.
Tefal Ingenio Cookware
We bought our first set of 3 Tefal Ingenio pans back in 2011 and they are still going strong. The beauty of these pans is the handles unclip, and the lids are completely flat. This means you can stack one pan INSIDE the other. So the whole set only takes up the space of one pan. These saucepans are particularly popular with French flat owners who want high-quality cookware but have limited storage space. The handles are really sturdy (we are not talking flimsy camping pans here), the non-stick coatings are superb. Obviously you can use them on the hob, but also under the grill, in an oven, and you can get plastic lids to keep food in the fridge too. They do a whole range of pans, frying pans and woks. These pans form the heart of our motorhome cooking essentials and we absolutely love them to bits. (We even bought some for home use too)
The Ridgemonkey is an extremely popular and well-reviewed bit of kit. You can use it to make toasted sandwiches, but also for bacon, warm up pasties, make omelettes, medium size steaks and even mini pizzas. Great for campfire cooking, as well as on your gas hob.
These pan protectors are the essential companion to the Tefal Ingenio Cookware. Stack your pans without worrying about scratching. Also eliminates rattles! Some people use these to stack between their plates too.
Making coffee with an Aeropress is almost as easy as instant, and so much better. The Aeropress is inexpensive, low-tech and just a brilliant coffee maker. You can read more in our guide to the best travel coffee makers or you could just buy one. They are unbreakable, light, inexpensive and make fantastic coffee. Don’t even think about a cafetière instead. Really. The coffee grains in an Aeropress are so much easier to dispose of, as they are much drier and you just pop them out into the bin.
For years we had a fantastic melamine camping set, with plates, bowls and mugs. It served us very well, and in fact we still have it to use at home in the garden. It’s a no brainer choice and has the added benefits of being unbreakable, easy to wash and most importantly easy to stack and store while being chink-free when you drive. However when you are on a longer trip you can get fed up with plastic plates. So last year we upgraded and bought a set of Corelle dinnerware plates and dishes. Wow, what a difference. Corelle perfect for the motorhome kitchen because it is resistant to chips and breaks, it offers a combination of good looks and durability. Corelle dinnerware is made of a unique Vitrelle® glass that thermally bonds 3 layers of glass together, resulting in in a lightweight dinnerware that resists chipping, breaking, scratching and staining. It is designed for easy handling and compact storage by nesting neatly and efficiently. So ticks a lot of boxes. Also highly versatile being oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher safe.
What the French call une cocotte minute – for the obvious reason they cook fast – we see a lot more French motorhomers with Pressure Cookers than British van owners. However, we would not be without ours. Because we only have 3 rings, and gas is precious, the pressure cooker is a great way to cook quickly, and also cook things like a whole chicken or a beef stew that would not otherwise be possible. Also brilliant for beans, pulses and curries. But if a pressure cooker is not your thing, then you might want to look at our ultimate guide to oven alternatives.
Stackable Acrylic Glasses
Although it would be lovely to have REAL glasses, realistically if you have limited storage then a set of multi-function, stackable acrylic glasses are the next best thing. You can use these tumblers for water, wine, gin and tonic, whisky, whatever your tipple. These glasses pack easily, so you can chuck them in your backpack if you’re heading for the beach, and because they are stackable, they take up less room and are easy to store. They are shatterproof too, so these acrylic glasses will never break … or, most important of all, won’t chink as you drive.
Unbreakable Large Wine Glasses
These polycarbonate wine glasses are another must-have. Look good, and of course virtually indestructible. If you really want to drink out of “proper” glasses (some people do), then make sure you invest in a caravan wine glass holder unless you have bought a very fancy motorhome that already has one.
Joseph Joseph Folding Scales
I’m a scientific kind of cook, and so I feel the need to have a set of scales with me so I can precisely measure out the cous-cous and, of course, make pancakes! Not everyone will want to be bothered with weights and measures, but if you are then the Joseph Joseph TriScale is BRILLIANT because it folds up so small, and fit easily in a cutlery drawer. There are no others quite like these on the market. And they look pretty cool.
Joseph Joseph Stretch Trivet
While on the subject of foldability, this stretch trivet is equally clever, again it folds up small and you can keep it out of the way, just expand when you need somewhere to rest your hot pan.
Collapsible Salad Spinner
You may or may not think of this as a motorhome kitchen essential. However, as soon as I saw my friend’s I knew I had to have one of these salad spinners. Collapsible, stackable, and multi-functional. Use to drain pasta as well as dry salad leaves. And the bowl doubles up as an attractive serving bowl. Read our full review of this collapsible salad spinner, and watch the video if you’re in doubt.
OXO Good Grips Spiralizer
We are very late to the spiralizer party, but recently acquired an Oxo Good Grips Spiralizer. It is small, and low tech, and inexpensive, but it works really well. Great for courgetti, and also adds a new dimension to salads on the road. It is low-mess and very easy to clean, two key requirements for motorhome kitchen gear.
We love our microplane graters at home, and so have bought a set for the van. Because they are virtually flat they fit in a drawer and so take up less room than a box grater. Plus they are versatile, and lovely to use. We bought: a Microplane Coarse Grater which is perfect for standard grating of cheese etc; a Fine Microplane Grater which is Extra Coarse Microplane vegetable grater because it is great for coleslaws.
The silicone garlic peeler is one of those things you never knew you needed. But it is a godsend in the motorhome because you can peel garlic effortlessly without your knives, chopping boards and hands reeking of garlic.
Knife Blade Guards
Chances are you will have to store your sharp chopping knives in a drawer with lots of other things. So these knife guards for safe storage of your knives will keep your fingers safe as you rummage around in there, and you will protect the edges of your knives.
Le Creuset Wine Accessories
Just because you open a bottle of sparkling wine, Prosecco or Champagne doesn’t mean you have to drink it all in one go. So the Le Creuset Sparkling Wine Stopper will save you from yourself! We also love the Le Creuset wine accessories kit which includes the wine waiter style corkscrew and the wine pump. Although these are not the cheapest options, they are all lovely to use and work for years
Camping Kettle with Folding Handle
Make sure when you buy a kettle for the gas hob it has a folding handle … makes it much easier to pop away in the cupboard.
Le Creuset Silicon Heatproof Mat
This little silicone mat has been with us from the beginning of our vanlife journey. It is just the right size for your gas kettle, and stops it slipping about the van when you are on the move.
Universal Voltage Travel Kettle
We bought a Russell Hobbs Travel Kettle for our last trip to Morocco. We knew the GPL was unavailable there, and so to preserve gas we used this wherever we had an electric hook-up. It’s a nice kettle, is small enough to pack away but big enough to make a decent sized brew. And very light.
Finally… A Complete Motorhome Essentials Checklist
The items listed above are some of our favourite motorhome kitchen essentials. However, this is obviously not a complete list of everything you need to pack. And although we know everyone will have their own individual checklists, we thought it might be useful if we shared ours. So follow the link if you want a complete motorhome essentials checklist. We have split our lists up into the weeks before; the day you leave; the contents of your van and one for packing up to leave a pitch when you are on the road.
What have we forgotten? And what are your particular favourites and essentials that you cannot leave home without? Do let us know!