The kitchen is a standard component of a motorhome. It provides flexibility and independence and contributes to self-sufficiency. The extent to which it is used varies from camper to camper. But no one should do without it completely in a motor home.
Why does RV need a kitchen?
With a kitchen in your RV, you don’t have to rely on restaurants and still don’t have to eat cold food all the time. Some campers consistently cook for themselves for weeks at a time. Others alternate restaurant visits with cooking for themselves. Shopping at the supermarket and cooking yourself helps tremendously to reduce travel costs. You also increase your flexibility and eat when you’re hungry. The motorhome kitchen is therefore unbeatable when it comes to self-sufficiency and independence. And even if you’re not much of a vacation cook, a kitchen is also a great convenience gain for breakfast or a snack in between.
Components of the motorhome kitchen
The kitchen in a motorhome usually consists of:
- A cooking facility
- A refrigerator
- A sink / A sink
- Various storage compartments for food and dishes
Depending on the motorhome class, the kitchen can now be spacious or compact. In the camper, the sink of the kitchenette is usually the only one in the vehicle. In large motorhomes, on the other hand, it is only for washing dishes (and teeth are brushed in the wet room).
The stove in RV kitchen
Every kitchen, of course, first, needs a cooking facility. This usually consists of a gas stove, but now there are alternatives.
Cooking with gas
In most cases, the cooking facilities in the motorhome are permanently installed gas stoves. Two or three flames allow the simultaneous heating of several pots. My recommendation is clearly a 2-burner stove. A 3-burner stove wastes space. Who really cooks such extensive menus when traveling that three cooking pots are needed at the same time to prepare them? We ourselves usually use only one stove, very rarely two are used at the same time.
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Cooking with electricity
If you have shore power available, cooking with electricity is of course an obvious alternative. The difficulty with an electric stove in a motorhome is to get the necessary voltage for cooking on the road. Nevertheless, there are solutions for this (e.g. with a solar system and inverter), if you attach importance to a gas-free setup. This is usually only an option for expedition motorhomes.
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The sink in RV kitchen
The sink should be easily accessible and sufficiently dimensioned. The depth of the sink is important because for washing up it is pleasant to be able to sink plates to a good extent. Many manufacturers are trying to develop clever systems: for example, the stove and sink can be covered when not in use, and thus become a work surface. Personally, I find this visually appealing, but not particularly practical: when I cook, I need a work surface, sink and stove at the same time, which is why these covers wouldn’t do me any good.
Wastewater from the motorhome kitchen
If you frequently wash dishes in your motorhome, you should make sure that the wastewater pipes are designed accordingly. If they are too thin, food debris will easily get stuck and clog the line. You should also make sure that a siphon is installed. This is an odor trap that prevents unpleasant wastewater odors from spreading into the interior. Otherwise, driving off after a long period in the sun can be very unpleasant. If no siphon is installed, you can help yourself by closing the drain before driving off. Even if the drain is sufficiently dimensioned, you should generally avoid flushing away food residues. This not only creates unpleasant odors. They also end up in the wastewater tank, from where they are often difficult to remove. If this is nevertheless necessary, it helps to flush the wastewater tank with Danchlorix, for example.
Relate: Best RV Water Pumps
Best Kitchen Sink for RV
The refrigerator in RV kitchen
The refrigerator is very important.
Not everyone knows that the standard RV refrigerator runs on two fuel sources. It can run on your standard 110-volt electricity as well as propane!
The refrigerator itself (electrical control) runs on electricity and is powered by your 30 amp / 50 amp connection (e.g., 110 V, power cord, standard plug to pedestal, etc.), But the refrigerator brain, the component that thinks to determine when the Refrigerator turns on / off, is actually connected to the RV’s 12 V battery pack! This means that even if you are wired to full power, if you have a dead battery onboard, your refrigerator will not turn on. Your battery powers the refrigerator’s control board (aka the brain) and decides whether or not the refrigerator’s cooling unit needs to be turned on.
The second source of fuel to run your refrigerator is propane (known as “liquefied gas”). Running your refrigerator on propane still requires 12-volt battery power for the control board brain. It also requires that you have propane in your tanks and that the tank be open, allowing propane to flow into the propane appliance camper. How do you decide which fuel source to use? Well, it depends on your camping situation.
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Storage compartments in the kitchen
Of course, you still need storage space and storage possibilities for:
- pots, pans, cutlery, small parts
Also, consider small details that can save your nerves (especially during the trip):
- hooks to hang and dry dish towels
- easily accessible storage for salt and spices
In off-the-shelf motorhomes, you’ll have to do some touch-ups, as many motorhome designers have obviously never cooked in a motorhome kitchen themselves.
Packing List for the motorhome kitchen
To make your kitchen practical, you still need to take some small items (as well as food, of course). Camping supply stores have all of these specifically for the needs of RV cooks. RV kitchenware can often be stacked and is lightweight. However, you should keep in mind that this special equipment is often more expensive. In addition, aluminum is often used for pots and pans to save weight. However, aluminum is suspected of promoting Alzheimer’s disease and should therefore be viewed at least critically in the kitchen. Ordinary accessories from the kitchen trade work just as well. You only have to accept compromises in terms of weight and stackability. But if you limit yourself to reasonable quantities, this is not a problem.
Tableware for RV kitchen
For reasons of space and weight, you should try to get by with a few accessories as possible. Especially when it comes to dishes, excess in the motorhome hardly helps: There is not enough space to “park” large quantities of dishes in a dirty condition, and washing up is no pleasure (where you want to put the clean dishes, a lot of dirty dishes still occupy the space).
As basic equipment, the following will do:
- A pot
- One soup plate, one small plate, and one large plate per person traveling with you
- One water glass and one wine glass per person traveling
- A large salad bowl
- Small bowls (for cereal, salad) (one per person)
For plates, melamine is often recommended instead of porcelain for weight reasons. Melamine is said to be food-safe, lightweight, and unbreakable. However, there are health concerns when melamine is heated. Therefore, health-conscious campers prefer dishes made of bamboo. When it comes to glasses, we prefer real glass – it’s simply more pleasant to drink from. When transporting them, you just have to make sure that they are stable (e.g. wrapped with tea towels or firmly anchored with clips or other systems for the kitchen cupboard). Wine glasses without stems make it easier to store them in the camper.
Cutlery and kitchen utensils in the camper kitchen
Of course, it’s best to pack according to your personal needs. Here is a suggestion:
- spoons, forks, knives (again, 1-2 pieces per category per person will suffice, so for example, 2 spoons, 2 forks, and 2 knives for two travelers)
- a large knife for cooking
- a ladle (for soups, etc.)
- a spatula
- two cutting boards
- lighter or gas lighter
- a bottle opener
- one corkscrew
- one can opener
- kitchen roll/paper towels
For washing up:
- biodegradable washing-up liquid
- sponge, cloth
- tea towels
- garbage bags
The food in the camper kitchen
The ingredients for the camper should generally be chosen so that they can be easily stored in the camper. With the following basics, you can conjure up something to eat even when the market is already closed. In addition, you will always have some side dishes:
- pulses and
- canned foods (tuna, tomato sauce, pasta sauces, pesto, etc.)
- soup cubes
- crackers/crispbread (bread substitute if you can’t find a baker)
- pepper, salt, and herbs
- vinegar and oil (salad oil as well as oil for frying)
- a carton of UHT milk (for emergencies, when you forgot to buy fresh milk or the refrigerator is not running)
Perishable food can be bought fresh at the market and either consumed immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a short time.
Keep a separate set of condiments in your RV kitchen so you don’t have to raid the house before every trip. Keep items such as pasta sauces, dried pasta, and canned goods on hand in case you don’t end up near a grocery store. Try to bring items you can use in different dishes.
When RV decorating, show your personality! Add some color, change the curtains, paint the walls and cabinets, use maps as wallpaper, put up artwork, your counters a makeover.
An outdoor RV kitchen provides an additional place to cook food, which can come in handy if you’re tailgating, cooking something with a distinct smell, or don’t want to heat up the inside of your RV. You can even cook outside while things are being prepared inside the RV.