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The Ultimate Kitchen Essentials List for Camper Van Cooking

Cooking delicious meals in your camper van doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a collection of the best kitchen essentials for your long term travel - be a chef wherever you go!
The Ultimate Kitchen Essentials List for Camper Van Cooking

Wandering around the world is much easier on a full belly! Travelling with our vans, we are the lucky adventurers that carry a full kitchen with us anywhere we go.

Every morning, we can enjoy the simple luxuries of a good cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast. And during the day, we can barbecue, roast, bake, bend and steam pretty much food we fancy (*not specifically in that order).

Your van kitchen will ideally need space for a stove and/or oven, sink, fridge, and storage for cooking accessories and utensils. But like any other item that ends up included in your travelling gear, your kitchen essentials need a bit of thought. To achieve a compact and practical kitchen, you can't have too many gadgets around, and it also means shopping for multipurpose kitchen gear that maximises usefulness. Your kitchen items need to be durable, quiet when you drive, easy to clean and as compact as possible to save space. We will share our top kitchen essentials for camper van cooking in this guide.

A good chef's knife

You can downsize many items when moving into your van, but a full-size chef knife shouldn't be one of them. Cutting, chopping, slicing and dicing is still mostly done by hand, and with a quality chef's knife by your side, you'll save yourself a lot of effort and time. And since you can use a chef’s knife for all of your cutting needs, this is a valuable purchase that will serve you for your entire trip and more.

Food prep' essentials

Preparing the food is the first step in any kitchen. Cutting, peeling, processing, we've got you covered. We spent a long time looking for kitchen products that are highly functional, easy to use and clean, and that are built to last.


If you’re a fan of making dips, sauces, soups or smoothies, you’ll likely want a powerful blender. As you know, maximising space and function is key when living in a small space with limited storage - and it's particularly true regarding food processors, which can range from small to voluminous.

Kitchen Accessories

The list is long... but if you cook like we do, you know that it takes great tools to get the job done. Here's a quick collection of the kitchen accessories that we are taking on the road with us in our van's kitchen.


You don't need the entire collection of small and big pots, saucepans and skillets that you traditionally have in your home kitchen, it would simply be overkill and take too much space. Get 2 - 3 pots/pans and that will cover all your needs.

Stackable pots and pans can save on precious storage space in your camper van. All the pots and pans fit inside of each other using less storage area. Some nesting cookware sets come accessories like a colander or with one pot lid that can fit all the other pot sizes saving even more space. Whether you want to buy individual pots and pans or buy a set that fit into each other, it is your choice.

Other cookware alternatives:

A real oven or is a gas stove top enough?

A gas camping stove to cook meals while living the van life makes sense: they are relatively cheap, compact, simple and easy to fix or replace - and they run on gas which means, no drain on your battery.

But if you are like us and want a full kitchen in your van, a real oven complete with burners is an item you won't regret having.

Eating & drinking utensils

Difficult to eat without them, these kitchen utensils will find their place whatever your kitchen setup is: a good cutting knife, some cutlery, plates and cups, and a few kitchen accessories to make your cuisine on the road a little bit easier!

Coffee & Tea on the road

Smart kitchen storage

Having a compact and practical kitchen makes life so much more easier when you're living in a van, where space is limited. Here are some storage options to store food properly, make your van's kitchen more organised and optimize the space even more.

Outdoor Stoves

Washing station

Kitchen Safety

Travelling with a fully working kitchen is a daily treat on the road, but it can also turn real quick into a safety hazard. You are living in a confined space, with the fridge, the heater and the stove often just feets apart, and where ventilation is sometimes lacking. It's important to know the risks and keep yourself safe from carbon monoxide and other natural gases by ensuring appropriate ventilation and instaling appropriate campervan carbon monoxide and gas detectors in your vehicle.

We recommend to always read the instructions and setup manual given by the manufacturer to know where to place the co alarm for it to be effective, as the sensors can be sensitive and may respond to steam and condensation as well as other gases.

What to do if your carbon monoxide detector’s alarm goes off?
If your alarm goes off, immediately turn off all potential sources of CO (stove, heater, fridge), get some fresh air and ventilate your vehicle by opening the doors and windows.

Call the emergency services immediately if anyone is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning (symptoms include headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, feeling faint, and shortness of breath).

Items discarded

In our mission to stock a fully functional and multi-purpose minimalist kitchen, we’ve used some accessories that haven’t stood the test of time or that we thought wouldn't be ideal to take with us. We thought it might be useful to share with you why we decided not to take them. Here's the list of items we decided not to take in our van:

Collapsible bowls & water bottles: Great for saving space in your kitchen during short travels, their downside is their poor durability. You certainly don't want to struggle to eat and drink from flimsy plastic bowls and bottles everyday. We would always recommend finding a lightweight metal or bamboo equivalent.

An ever evolving list

Making freshly brewed coffee without stepping out of the van in the morning, firing up a barbecue at the beach or cooking a gourmet meal with local ingredients bought from stalls along the road are all parts of the joys of our life in the van.

In this guide, we tried to present the best high quality and versatile kitchen essentials that provide the most value for your money. Of course some of these may be different for you and a lot of this depends on your cooking preferences. But this is a list of our must-haves and things we wouldn't be without.

If you like the guide, or feel like we missed an important item, please let us know in the comments.

*Disclaimer: The links in this article are affiliate links. Shopping via these links support us in our journey and it costs you nothing: it's a free way to keep us rolling :-)