Questions to ask yourself BEFORE stocking your RV kitchen (less may be more)


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When we first purchased our Airstream trailer (and being an avid cook at home) I couldn’t wait to outfit our new “kitchen”. Let’s just say my first impulse may have been a bit ambitious! After we had a few trips under our belt, I got the hang of what kitchen equipment was really necessary and what needed to go. Whether you’re just starting out with your RV, or you’ve been at it a while and just need to re-evaluate, ask yourself a few questions before you bring along that food processor, place setting for 12, and who knows what else! Let me know your thoughts!
  • Do you like to actually cook while you're camping, or do you prefer to prep food before you leave home?
  • How much storage does your rig have? (You'll only want to take along what you can access easily)
  • How many people are you usually cooking for? (i.e. If there's just two of you, don't take 8 place settings)
  • Will you mainly be cooking in your rig or on your camp grill? (Makes a difference in pots / pans vs just some aluminum foil)
  • How much weight can your tow vehicle handle? Might seem like a silly question, but everything adds up………from full water tanks, to clothing, to pots and pans! I usually try to avoid plastic in my life whenever possible, but a little bit in your RV kitchen goes a long way towards keeping things light. (so don’t take the whole set of cast iron cookware 😊)
I'll post soon with a list of what we take along! Would love to hear your thoughts!
When we travel to the south for the winter our list of 'take alongs' is very different from the one I use when camping closer to home.
As for food I take the basics and some frozen items. I cook ground beef, divide it and add things I will use it for, soup for casseroles, broth or pasta sauce. After these are frozen at home I vacuum seal them and stack them in the freezer. They also help keep the freezer cold.

I like to cook over a campfire so I do take my big pans in a plastic tote in the 5th wheel pass through. In the kitchen I use good pans yet not heavy ones. The dutch oven usually goes when I know I will use it.

One of my favorite things is to find local farmers markets to get fresh fruits and vegetables.
Weight is an issue and when on long trips I rely on buying what I need locally. Besides you meet some of the nicest people in the local grocery store, I even found out how to cook 'southwestern beans' from scratch that way.

I am now wondering if taking an Insta Pot is worth the weight. Everything has to have at least 2 functions.

I would like to know others feelings on traveling with their fridge running or propane.
We have found that propane will keep the fridge cool as long as it's not hot outside > 85°F. When it's hot the only way to keep the fridge from warming is to keep the door closed as much as possible and get it back on A/C when we park for the night. I do like your idea of taking frozen items and using them to help keep the fridge cold.

Does your fridge warm when it's hot outside?
When we started RVing with the family, we packed it heavy; crammed with nearly everything. Then we realized after just a couple of trips that, with rare exception, there's a Walmart near any destination, or at least along the way. So we started stocking up the trailer more "normally", which allows for more variety as you shop along the way for what you want. It also takes a lot of stress out of feeling you have to "plan" for an entire week or two.

We've found over the years that we're very traditional in our wants for food on a trip. Typically easy things to cook on a grill outside. My wife will make lots of healthy snack items such as cut veggies, etc. We are happy to survive on the basics of easy food prep for a week or two. If you rotate things like chicken, beef, pork, fish and some cold-cuts, you can easily get by. One of my favorite meals is breakfast; I love to cook Spam, eggs, bacon, etc on the grill. I love the man-grill life when camping. We'll roast corn on the grill. Make toast on the grill. Chili over a campfire. Etc ...
Which leads me to my next point ...

We have never, ever cooked in our RV. Rarely we've made some popcorn or reheated a few things in the microwave, but we've never cooked or baked in it. To me, the camping experience is enhanced by cooking outdoors, and there's the added benefit of not having a "kitchen" smell in the furniture, bedding and your clothes. Our RV is 14 years old, and people always comment about how "clean" it appears and smells. I'm absolutely meticulous about cleaning it at the end of every trip, and because we don't cook in it, there's no odors to get rid of.

Also, as un-eco-friendly as it sounds, we have got to a point where we use as much paper and plastic as we can. Paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery, alum foil all make life SO much easier. With a small sink, small H2O supply, and a desire to enjoy life on vacation, my wife and I don't want to spend time washing dishes, cups, bowls, knives, forks, spoons ... And clean-up is easy; burn the paper and recycle the plastic/foil on site (if possible). We do have some metal knives for food prep, but generally if it can be disposed of, it's our preference. Yeah - not the most planet friendly approach. But we've good about conserving resources and recycling at home, so on vacation we "splurge" and toss ecology aside.
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dnewton3, funny you mention cooking inside. We cook inside, but only certain things. We will cook vegetables on the stovetop if its raining outside. We will bake biscuits in the oven, or cornbread. I will not fry anything inside. Like you said, it puts grease in the air to condense on the ceiling, and your cabinets, and belongings.
Most things we cook on the blackstone grill top or the portable charcoal grill.

When we use the crockpot, we set it outside on a table.

We typically cook chicken and squash with zuchinni and onions on the black stone, as a stir fry. Chicken fajitas. Grilled jumbo shrimp on skewers. Fresh long green beans are good on the flattop.

On charcoal, shrimp and steaks, and buttered corn in the husk.

I do cook eggs , sausage and hash browns on the blackstone as well.
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