Van kitchen essentials

The number one question people want to know when they hear I’m a part-time van dweller is “How do you cook?” I’m not sure what they’re picturing, but the actual setup is pretty dope.

A few of the items I couldn’t travel without:

  • Cast iron skillet

This simple skillet works for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even heating up pizza.

  • Butane Stove

This stove was around $80. One gas canister costs about $3 and lasts me for about a week, so that’s 5 pots of coffee and 6 single pot meals. I like that it comes in its own carrying case and is pretty high quality for the price point.

  • French press

I am definitely a coffee person, like an entire 12 cup pot over the course of a day type. But I didn’t want to sacrifice some of my battery life for a drip and didn’t want to clean out a Chemex carafe every day, so I went with the french press. 34OZ of coffee seems to be the right amount to get me moving but not give me day terrors (which I sometimes miss).

  • Dry goods storage jars

Buying one of those sealing plastic bin systems was perfect for the way that I eat, which is pretty much a neverending parade of snacks.

Probably my best find on the internet for the essentials was this fridge. I did a ton of research to find out the ARB makes the best 12V fridge for $500. But with similar amp consumption, I paid $125 for this fridge/heater from Kooltron. Pulls about 7.5Ah which is by far my largest draw, but average for a 12V fridge.

  • Spices and hot sauce

I am not the greatest cook in the world, but I’m close. So it was important to me have a space to put different kinds of hot sauces and seasonings. Somehow, even hotdogs and mac and cheese taste better in the van.

  • The perfect spatula

Spend the money on the right things. Get nice kitchen supplies, you use them every day.

  • Multi-purpose stainless steel bowl with a lids

Mixing bowl, cereal bowl, leftovers, soup, whatever. And they’re easy to clean.

  • The right knife

It was important to me to be able to use all horizontal space as a cutting board to save space but also to have the perfect knife. Just like a coffee cup, it is important to have the right knife for you and for the way you cook. I use one Wusthof knife and it’s all that I need.

  • Instant-Pot

If you don’t know what an Instant-Pot is by now, just go buy one. This uses the most electricity out of everything (24Ah) that I own but is by far the coolest thing I have running on the batteries.

  • Grocies

Duh. I do my best to shop locally and hit farmer’s markets when I can, and it’s easy in Southern California, but sometimes you just need to place an order and get on with your day. In those cases, I’ll order stuff from Amazon and have it shipped to a locker near wherever I may be that day. Easy. Sign up through that link and you’ll get a free month to try it out.

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