Let the RV Kitchen Downsizing Project Begin!
Scaling your stick-house kitchen to fit into an RV galley can be a daunting and unsettling task. Downsizing in general is difficult. Giving up the walk-in closet, Jacuzzi tub, bonus room, and extra bedrooms is one thing, but restructuring every aspect of your cooking routines is an entirely different challenge.
If you’re like most people who like to cook at home, you’ve spent a lifetime getting your kitchen just the way you like it. You have all the necessary utensils and small appliances like mixers, juicers, a rice cooker, and a bread maker. You probably have more than one set of favorite knives and a very special set of pots and pans, and let’s not even talk about your fancy dinnerware set.
In your kitchen, everything is where you want it, strategically located close to the range top, oven, or coffee bar. Potholders, potato mashers, and pot lids are conveniently located in a drawer or cupboard near the stove, the strainer and knives are close to the garbage disposal, everything is in its place and has a purpose.
With an oven, range top, indoor grill, one or two microwave ovens, and a large refrigerator, you’re ready to prepare a holiday feast for 20 or an intimate dinner for two, but now it’s time to go full-time in an RV and you need to adjust to your RV galley. It’s time to downsize your kitchen for an RV lifestyle.
How to Downsize to a Small RV Kitchen
If you like to cook and plan to continue cooking in your RV, this transition needs to be very strategic and the smaller your rig, the more strategic it needs to be. You can’t take the whole kitchen with you. You probably won’t be able to take a tenth of all your kitchen tools, so planning what type of cooking you will want to do is an important first step in this downsizing process.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Will I be comfortable cooking inside my RV?
- Will there ever be a time when I need to cook for a large gathering?
- Are there tools or appliances that serve more than one purpose?
- Could a blender do most of the work of a juicer, a blender, and a mixer?
- Which appliances don’t I use on a regular basis?
- How many knives and pots and dishes do I really need in an RV?
- What types of meals will I routinely prepare and for how many?
Some people are uncomfortable cooking inside their RVs. There are many alternative cooking opportunities in an RV such as large outdoor propane griddles and barbecues and many trailers and fifth wheels even have outdoor kitchens.
Our pastor and his wife owned a 32-foot Class A motorhome for over 15 years, and they never cooked inside their coach. They used a Coleman camp stove on the picnic table outside of their RV for all their cooking. They didn’t want the smells, the grease, or the mess inside the coach.
What’s the Best RV Cooking Method for You?
These are all personal decisions that will affect the process of downsizing your kitchen for an RV lifestyle. It’s hard enough to decide what you can take with you and where you will put it all. Some RVers even have to figure out how to take their large outdoor barbecues and grills.
Perhaps traveling with a toy hauler or pulling an RV with a truck accommodates transporting these outdoor cooking tools, but for those who camp in travel trailers, or Class A, B, or C RVs, there is generally not enough room to haul the larger outdoor gear.
Cooking Inside the RV vs Outdoors
The decision to cook outdoors is just one aspect of RV kitchen downsizing. One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is what type of cooking will do while living in an RV.
Personally, I downsized from an amazing kitchen and I knew I would still want to cook in the RV. But I also knew I wouldn’t ever be cooking for the whole family at Thanksgiving in my motorhome.
I would be cooking for two and I’m perfectly happy to make these meals simpler. The Crockpot has always been my kitchen friend and in the RV, it has taken on an even more meaningful role.
What will you cook in the RV?
My downsizing decisions ultimately came down to what kinds of things would I most likely want to cook in the RV. Would I still need a huge pot to cook Dungeness crab? Of course, I would! It’s my favorite food and I generally don’t trust vendors to honestly reveal the freshness of their cooked crab, so I like to cook my own, to be sure it’s fresh. Would I need a bread maker in the RV? Not really. I can cook Rhodes bread in the convection oven on the rare occasion when I want a loaf of fresh bread.
Would I ever cook a whole turkey in the RV? Yes, just because we’re living small doesn’t mean that we’re not going to observe any of the holidays. Will I need to cook a huge turkey to feed a couple of dozen people? No. My microwave/convection oven will do the job nicely on a smaller bird.
“The next step [in downsizing] is to locate items that you simply don’t use. For example, you may have an electric egg poacher or iced tea brewing machine that were great for the first 6 months that you owned them. You haven’t touched them since, and that was over 7 years ago. Doing away with these items can still be viewed as “tidying up” as opposed to ditching everything you own.” – Advises Shannon Goins on Do It Yourself RV.
Simpler meal planning and preparation
My meals now are smaller and simpler, and I only need one set of really good knives, one set of super dependable pots and pans, and just a few dishes and storage containers, plus my crab pot.
I won’t be doing any canning or making any jelly or pickles, and I probably won’t be baking any pies, but I can still whip together some amazing meals in the RV and with a little careful planning, I have all the tools I need right where I need them.
Youtubers Prone To Roam shared some great advice on how to declutter tackle RV kitchen downsizing in this video:
For more downsizing tips, check out this article on How To Get Rid Of Your Stuff And Hit The Road Full-Time. You may also like these 6 Quick & Easy Camping Meal Ideas.
Peggy Dent is an author, writer, and full-time RVer, traveling around the US and Canada. She’s traveled more than 130,000 miles in a motorhome, over the past 20 years, and is currently writing for the RV industry. You can contact her through her website at www.APenInYourHand.com
Albert H Rioux says
To go full timing, I installed a full sized kitchen sink. It has worked great for 15 years.
I agree with everything you’ve said. Truly, especially the crock pot! I quickly found that the 1.5 qt crock pot is great for “just the meat” enought for two adults. I love that half the dinner is already made effortlessly and a quick making of veggies or a salad finishes it off nicely. It tucks away taking up little space. Recently I bought a 3qt Instant Pot (MINI). I’M STILL LEARNING THE BASICS OF USING IT but it may well replace my 1.5qt crock pot over time…the Instant Pot (Mini) does so many styles of cooking. Like you I’m a firm believer in smaller multi purpose cookware and multitasking with it. I’ve been RVing for over 25 years, first was a bumper pull and now a Class A coach. I seriously do not ever want to be in a bricks and sticks house ever again. I have too much fun living to do and yardwork is never part of it 😂, not for me anyways.
Bartholomew Martina says
Boondocker’s needs are different too. We must consider that we will be running the generator for a long time to power a crock pot, or have a huge battery bank and a sufficiently powerful inverter. The only electrical kitchen appliance I run my generator for is my fuzzy logic rice cooker, as it does such a great job and only takes about 1/2 hr to cook up a batch. I’m considering buying a pressure cooker, but will be getting a gas model to save electricity.
Marlee Huber says
Interesting article. I noticed you have West Bend Cookware and am amazed you don’t own the stacking pieces that allow you to stack up to three pans and use only one burner. I have my mother’s 60-year-old Saladmaster set in our RV and it is invaluable for maximizing the propane by using one burner instead of three. At home, I have the West Bend set and use the stacking feature a lot.