When building out the van, I knew it would have just two main areas; The bed, and the kitchenette.
Designing and organizing the kitchenette was a work in progress. It took several months of Van Life to learn the most efficient way to utilize such a limited space. Eventually though, I did get to the point where everything had its own spot and cooking become enjoyable once again.
Designing the kitchenette (tips and tricks to save space)
It took a while to find the perfect hooks, but once I did, I put them everywhere! They help save so much space, and they are not such a strong metal that they cannot be bent. Hooks they will give a little bend can be used to hold nearly any sized item. (e.g. my cooking pan with the thick narrow hole)
Strong Velcro become my next alibi, and works to hold my fruit plate and pastry cover down. They have never budged, thanks to large pieces of extra strong Velcro.
Bread Board Sink Cover
Finding a bread board to fit over the sink was a great way to gain more space. A key was finding rubber bumpers that are raised high enough to clear the sinks rim. I also added two hooks to the top of the board to it can now hang out of the way when not in use.
Adjustable Table/ Extra Counter Space
Even with my bread board sink cover, there was very limited counter space. I found this bamboo bathmat to be a perfect supplementary counter board. I sometimes just set it on the bed to hold extra cooking items, or I use my keyboard stand as table legs and prop it up to the desired height. The board also has rubber stoppers and wood ledges that causers it to sit perfectly atop the stand. It may seem a weird combination, but both piece are incredibly versatile and fold up and out of the way so nicely.
Nets and Knobs
On the road, I found that my my kitchen cabinet provided inadequate food storage space.
I also found that the turns and bumps of the road caused bruises to my produce, making it go bad faster than usual. The nets I found to hold my produce, prevent this bruising and expand my food storage space.
The knobs are a cute addition, although any hook could be used to hold the nest up.
My portable butane stove is one of my all-time favorite purchases!
I wanted something with more of a “real kitchen” feel, vs. the typical large green camping stoves.
I took a chance on the Gas One Ultralight and have been delighted with the outcome!
It is very small (9.5 x 8.5), and its carrying case makes it so easy to pack up and put away.
Butane canisters are also incredibly easy to handle. They pop in and out of the stove with the push of a lever, and unlike propane there in no attachment hoses or struggle to screw the canister in.
Butane also has about 12% more energy power then propane (according to David Thornber of Caravanning), causing a can a butane to burn longer than the same size canister of propane.
Another great feature is that the Ultralight flame ignites with the turn of the knob (just like a real stove), unlike propane, there is no need to have a lighter handy nearby.
As always, remember to keep safety in mind, ESPECIALLY if cooking inside your vehicle.
Using gas in an enclosed space produces harmful amount of carbon monoxide, so always keep your windows or doors open, or better yet- cook outside.
Racks are another great way to save on space. I especially love my over the counter rack which is big enough to hold my dishes. A plastic drinking glass is also great for holding silverware, and with a rack like this- it fits right inside.