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As a seasonal camper with a 5th wheel, we are in our camper kitchen more weekends than our home kitchen during the summer. From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon most of our meals come from our RV kitchen. What we quickly learned when we started out camping is the importance of having the right RV kitchen accessories. We are also seasonal campers along with 200+ other RVs. Get-togethers with other campers are frequent, and to “bring a dish” means cook for more than just our family. Figuring out how to make this work was a challenge, but now we have it down to a science, and this is largely based on how we use our RV kitchen.
Considerations for RV kitchens
As a new RV camper owner, you may be asking “What should I put in my RV kitchen?”. There are a few things to consider when you’re looking for RV kitchen accessories. Everything I write about here comes from first-hand or second-hand experience.
First, you need to consider the limited amount of space you have between counter space, cabinets and drawers. Smaller refrigerator, smaller oven (what my wife likes to call the EZ-bake model), less counter space. Unless you have a massive fifth wheel or park model trailer, you more than likely have smaller appliances. This means you need to optimize for every inch you have and make the most of it.
Second, consider that you are camping outdoors so stay away from things that break easily. Stay away from fragile items like delicate wine glasses and lightweight glass serving platters. Stick to plastic, stainless steel, or heavyweight glass for cooking and serving.
Third, you will more than likely have to wash these items by hand, so pick RV kitchen accessories that clean up easily. Most plastics clean up easily with some Dawn dish soap and a scrubby sponge. Non-stick pans are your friend for cleanup, especially when your water supply is limited. Ceramic-type frying pans have come a long way as well.
Size matters in your RV kitchen
Choose RV kitchen accessories that stack neatly to take up less space. Also pick items that can serve more than one purpose.
These nesting bowls take up a lot less space than regular bowls. They have air-tight lids that are great for prepping foods for cooking later or taking them to a party. These are also microwave-safe.
Small cookie sheet pans
You quickly realize how small most RV ovens are the first time you try to fit a pan in them. A smaller cookie sheet pan with slightly taller sides makes it a little more versatile to use for things other than cookies.
Sink drying rack
The old style drying rack takes up too much space. This drying rack rolls out and spans across your sink so you can put the dishes on them to dry. When you’re done, you can roll it up and put it away to reclaim your sink. TIP: Make sure you measure your sink dimensions before buying one.
Conveniences of home
Your RV is your home away from home. So why not have all the conveniences of home? Here are some RV kitchen accessories you can bring along when you’re on the road with your RV.
Keurig coffee maker
This is a matter of preference, but we love the ability to pop in a coffee pod and make just one cup of coffee. My wife uses the Keurig for hot water for her tea. We also use Keurig at home, so we bulk order coffee pods and split them between home and camp. Our Keurig sits on its organizer rack (see next item).
This Keurig organizer drawer allows you to keep a variety of coffee pods accessible without taking up precious counter space in the RV kitchen. We load ours with a mix of hot chocolate, Dunkin coffee pods and decaf tea for my wife.
We primarily use plasticware at the camper, but the multipack didn’t fit in the drawer. Fill this utensil organizer with plastic ware, or load it up with stainless steel forks, spoons and knives. We use our utensil organizer a little different than home. When we eat outside at a picnic table, we bring the entire organizer and put it back when we are done.
Soft touch can opener
Instead of taking up counter space with an electric can opener, a manual can opener can be put back in a drawer when done. I prefer the soft touch model that locks onto the can.
Keeping a toaster in your RV kitchen is a matter of preference, depending on how often you toast. A smaller two-slice toaster takes a little less room in the cabinet. This compact toaster has wider slots but a narrower overall base for better storability.
The evolution of the crock pot, with an Instant Pot you can “set it and forget it” and come back to a delicious hot meal. Perfect for preparing meals while you’re out on a hike, or bringing a hot dish to a get together.
Countertop Ice Maker
RV kitchens have small freezers, and ice is in high demand on hot summer days. A small standalone ice maker makes sure you have plenty of ice an makes it fairly quickly. Fill with water and you’ll have ice ready to serve in no time.
Food prep and serving
Set yourself up for successful meal prep and hosting. Get the road-worthy versions of food prep utensils.
Knives with covers
A friend of ours introduced us to these knives and we love them. This knife can go in the pocket of a cooler without causing damage. You can cut up food (think cheese and crackers) at the picnic table or down by the pool, then safely put it away.
Non-metal serving utensils
These utensils are a must-have for serving in or outside the camper, and it’s always better to have extra. Silicone is less likely to damage foil pans, and the handles don’t get hot when left in hot food.
Serving platter with plastic cover
Prepare your dish to share, whether it’s a veggie platter or a dessert, and then put it in this container and put the locking cover on top. Protects the food from the outdoors (bugs and birds), and makes for easy transport to a friend’s campsite. The lid even doubles as an ice tray to keep the dish chilled.
Load up your glass bottles or anything else you need to take off the shelves before you pull out. These crates fold up neat and tuck away under your dining area seating or couch when not in use.
Countertop utensil organizer
This organizer is heavy enough not to tip over when grabbing a spoon or a whisk, and doesn’t take up too much counter space. Easier than fishing through the drawer for serving or cooking utensils. Stores away in a cabinet without tipping during travel.
A little bit retro, this napkin dispenser is perfect to leave on your table without taking up a ton of space. It’s also great for when you go outside to the picnic table. Loads up and dispenses from both sides.
Deep pot with lid
Whether it’s corn on the cob, Maine lobster or a large batch of potatoes, sometimes you need a BIG pot. This pot is a massive 20 quarts! Stainless steel means you can use it outside on the grill or inside on the stove. Stores easily in the cabinet, the underbelly storage or under the bed if you have the flip-up style with storage underneath.
Small pots and pans set
I refer to these pans as our “dollhouse” pans because they are smaller than the typical set you’d use at home. Non-stick for easy cleanup, and they stack easily for under cabinet storage.
Ceramic non-stick frying pan
If you do a lot of eggs or frying pan cooking, these new ceramic non-stick pans are fantastic for cleanup. We bought ours after another camper permanently “borrowed” the frying pan from our regular non-stick set.
Bamboo cooking utensils are awesome. They’re lightweight, but you can apply some pressure to these without breaking them, and they won’t damage your non-stick pans. They also don’t get too hot when cooking.
Whisks are a great accessory to have in the kitchen but they take up a lot of space. A collapsible whisk fits neatly in a drawer without taking up the whole thing, or eating up all the space in your utensil can.
Get set up for success when you don’t have your dining room in tow.
Plastic knives cut a lot of things, but sometimes you just need a plain old fashioned steak knife. The non-serrated blade is less likely to tear up a paper plate.
Paper plate holders
These paper plate holders are really cool for when people are standing to eat or don’t have a table to eat at (like in a camp chair). These give so much more stability than trying to eat off a paper plate alone, especially with hot or greasy foods.
If you hand-wash dishes like most campers do, a quick dry dish towel is your friend. These are especially useful for wrapping up dishes before packing up.
Squeeze bottles with covers
Most condiments come in their own squeeze bottles, but other cooking fluids like oil and vinegar do not. Load them into these translucent squeeze bottles with a snap on cover to keep them handy in or outside of the camper.
Insulated coffee mugs
Take your coffee or tea on the go and keep it hot for hours with a well insulated mug. Choose one made of stainless steel to guard against drops. Also make sure the lid closes to keep liquids and heat inside, and prevent spills. Personally I’m a big YETI fan and they make them in tons of different colors.
Keep water, soda, and adult beverages ice cold with a well insulated tumbler. A larger one is better to leave room for ice. Again, I’m a big YETI fan and can’t say enough good things about these products.
Everyone will haves their own preferences for RV kitchen accessories. The ones listed above are from my own experience or the experiences of close friends. Your mileage may vary. Best of luck in your updated camper kitchen!