How To Pack The Perfect RV Kitchen

Finally, the time has come to take your dream RV trip – you've planned out your itinerary, and you know the best routes to get to your destinations. Along the way, you will see exciting sights and visit fantastic campgrounds. Everything has been scheduled , and now you're ready to get out on the open road, except for one packing dilemma: the kitchen.

Discovering how to pack the perfect RV kitchen will save you time and money. You will save time because you have what you need, and you know your menu. You will save money by eating in your RV and avoiding expensive tourist cafes'. Sure, you can always eat out at restaurants, but if you dream of the grill-out campsite experience, you will need to do a little planning. Using your RV Kitchen allows you to cook for your families specific health needs. Do you have a gluten free child? Are you vegetarian? Do you eat a low-fat diet? If prepared, you can address these dietary needs with ease from your new rolling kitchen.

Packing your RV's kitchen is an important consideration and should be right up there with packing your clothes and making sure everything in the vehicle is in working order. It's time to think about meal planning, along with kitchen supplies and space-saving gadgets that make the most out of your recreational vehicle's limited space.

Now don't panic over what to take with you on your next adventure! This article will take your hand and guide you through packing this integral area of your RV.

Making Lists

Start early. Before you do any packing for your trip, get out the old pen and paper and start making lists of what your kitchen will need.

If you've gone RVing before, chances are you have a pretty good idea of what you'll need. Consider these areas of kitchen concern:

  • How big is your RV's kitchen? If your RV kitchen is tiny, you must plan meals with minimal indoor preparation. This issue is overcome by prepping food at home or by using an outdoor table for chopping and grilling.

  • How long will you be out on the road? A weekend away requires little preparation; a week or two RV vacation needs more kitchen planning. A full-time RVing lifestyle takes strategic direction. Know what you are getting into before you start your list.

  • What will be your eating schedule? We're talking about eating out, preparing food in the RV, grilling out, etc, all of which are of particular concern for families. If you are traveling with kids, it's important to know how many meals, snacks and desserts you are going to need. It's also helpful to look at each area you plan to visit and know whether or not you intend to eat out. For instance, if you know you will eat out twice for lunch, that will affect the amount of sandwich preparation you bring.

  • What kind of meals will you be preparing? Are you grilling out? Using your crock pot? Each type of meal requires different tools. If possible, plan the majority of your meals around one form of cooking. If you have lots of freezer space, you may want to assemble crock pot meals ahead of time and start the unit first thing in the morning.

Meal Plans

If you're heading out on the road for just a few weeks, consider making a plan of your scheduled meals. Once you have an idea of what you want to eat and when, work from that list to figure out the supplies and food you'll be using.

While you won't want to eat the same thing for dinner every night, don't be afraid of a little repetition of ingredients when it comes to breakfast and lunch. Buying eggs, lunch meat, bread, cheese, sausage, oatmeal, and drinks won't take up a lot of space in your fridge. These staples will provide an excellent foundation for your breakfasts and lunches without too much repetition. For dinner, decide what type of heat source you will use – grills, oven, stove and, if you bring it, a crock pot.

Basic RV Food and Supplies Lists

These lists contain essential food and supplies that you will probably use. Consider them as a useful guide for creating your personal RV kitchen.

Food. Again, you might not need every item on this list, but this is a good starting point. Also, don't forget to turn on your RV's refrigerator a day or so before your trip to get it down to a cold temperature by the time you end up needing it.

  • Oils (vegetable and olive)
  • Pancake mix
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, salsa, mayonnaise, syrup)
  • Spices (salt, pepper, other necessities)
  • Beverages (drinking water, tea bags, coffee, sodas)
  • Bread
  • Flour
  • Sugar and brown sugar
  • Baking soda and powder
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal, granola, granola bars
  • Snacks (nuts, chips, candy, etc.)
  • Rice
  • Canned foods (soup, tuna, etc.)
  • Fruit
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Eggs
  • Salad dressing
  • Cheese
  • Sandwich meat

Supplies. Much like food, the supplies you end up bringing on your trip will depend on your kitchen's size and your personal preferences. These items are merely some of the more commonly used in an RV kitchen, and you can pretty much assume you will end up using them at some point.

  • Plastic and paper dishes (bowls, plates, cutlery, etc.)
  • Cups (plastic cups, disposable cups, etc.)
  • Serving dishes (platters, bowls, serving tray)
  • Cutting board
  • Miscellaneous kitchen gadgets (can opener, tongs, pizza cutter, whisk, cheese grater)
  • Colander
  • Pot holders
  • Measuring devices (cups, spoons, etc.)
  • Pots, pans, skillets
  • Dish and hand soap
  • Washcloths and towels (for dishes, hands and messes)
  • Matches & lighter
  • Pitcher
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Cleaning supplies (spray cleaners, rubber gloves, broom/dustpan, sponges/scrubbers)
  • Baking sheet
  • Bags (trash, Ziploc, grocery, etc.)
  • Sealable storage containers of varying sizes

Extras. If you find you've got a little extra room after packing your kitchen with the essentials mentioned above, you might want to bring a few extra things. Make sure they're items you'll end up using because space is limited.

  • Crockpot
  • Hand immersion blender
  • Coffee maker
  • Rice cooker
  • Toothpicks
  • Disposable aluminum pans of varying sizes
  • Scissors
  • Cooling rack
  • Pizza stone
  • Dish drying rack
  • Cooking pans (loaf, pie, pizza, etc.)
  • Cooler

Saving Space

Anyone that has stepped foot in a recreational vehicle knows that space is at a premium. Even the biggest RV models can only fit so much food and supplies. Below are various items that will squeeze the most out of that tiny kitchen, as well as some space saving tips.

Devices. These little gadgets can help you turn every nook and cranny of your RV's kitchen into storage space. Every place in your kitchen and around your RV that you don't already have something stored is a missed opportunity.

  • Paper plate dispenser
  • Over-cabinet devices (paper towel holder, trash can, cutting board holder)
  • Fruit/veggie hammock
  • Extra drawers
  • Racks and shelves to add to cabinets to maximize space
  • Sliding cup rack
  • Vertical racks for storing plates
  • Knife safe
  • Small folding shelf
  • Napkin dispenser
  • Under-cabinet organizer
  • Various hooks, clamps and magnets to turn any vertical surface into storage
  • Over-the-sink cutting board

Tips. Following these helpful hints will add a few inches here and there, and every little bit helps.

  • Get rid of clunky packages. Cereal has both a bag and box, taking up valuable space. Toss the box and keep the bag. Items like sugar or spices can also be stored in resealable bags to save space. Don't forget to label everything.

  • You can store bread and other small items in the microwave when not in use. Store food and other items in square containers so they can fit snugly against each other. Avoid circular containers that leave valuable inches in between each other.

  • A more permanent option for those who plan to full time is to create a permanent kitchen center with modular mates. Modular Mates are a system sold by Tupperware. A Tupperware consultant will measure your pantry and cabinets spaces at no cost. They will then look at the list of foods you plan to bring, and help you order a system of permanent plastic containers that fit precisely in your RV kitchen. Once you have your system in place, just open boxed or bagged food and pour then into your containers. If you are near a store that offers bulk food, then all the better! The beauty of this RV secret is how functional your kitchen will instantly become!

  • Another great tip is to buy collapsible and stackable items. Look for items made by Squish. You can also look for plates, storage containers, bowls, and other plastic items that can be nested within each other to save you tons of space. Joseph and Joseph offers an entire baking sets in which all the pieces rest within each other and are incredibly helpful.

No repeats! If you bring one item that blends, don't bring two other things that do the same job. Get creative, too. If one thing can perform the work of something else, leave out the additional tool. Multi-task appliances are an RVers best friend. Consider 6 in 1 units that offer a crock pot, pressure cooker, rice cooker, and more all in one tidy unit.

Your Shifting Kitchen

When you get out on the road and are driving for multiple hours a day, the items in your kitchen will shift around, potentially causing things to fall and even break. (Think of it like an earthquake every day!) Prevent disaster by following these on-the-road guidelines.

  • Keep cabinets shut with rubber bands or bungee cords. Tying together the handles will keep them from flying open and the valuables inside from spilling out.

  • Line your shelves with a non-stick material. There are specific shelving liners for this, or if you have an extra yoga mat lying around, cut what you need and glue the pieces onto the shelves.

  • NO GLASS! Try to keep glass out of your traveling kitchen. It's certainly not needed when you can make do with strictly plastic items. If you must travel with glass, place them in clean socks before adding them to your cabinet, which will help avoid unnecessary breakage.

  • Pack everything tight and snug. If you leave enough room for items to shift, they then have the opportunity to break.

Hopefully, these ideas have helped you pack the perfect RV kitchen for your next adventure. The biggest secret? Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.

If you're able to, pack everything up before heading out on the road. This will help you see where you stand. Once you have packed your kitchen, you will know what you need. Note how much space is left. Can you take more with you? Are there items that need to go? Do you have things you'd like to bring, but are just too big? Adjusting your kitchen is all part of the process.

Final tip: create a master list to follow. Once you get your RV kitchen packed the way you want it, be sure to write it down and take some photos. Once you've mastered the art of RV kitchen packing, future trips will be a breeze. Remember, your kitchen is a work in progress. You won't get it right the first time out, so cut yourself some slack. Now you are ready for your next big adventure. Good luck packing and happy travels!

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