My husband and I have been living full-time in our 24′ RV for 5 years now. When we were first making the transition, it was hard in general to decide which items would stay and which would go. Downsizing was really a challenge when it came to kitchen. When you make nearly all of your meals from scratch like we do, it seems like you need absolutely everything!
Through years of trial and error, our tiny kitchen runs pretty smoothly. Not only can we cook complicated meals, but the we can do it together without. Here are our top picks things that every RV kitchen must have.
RV Kitchen Essentials
Small Coffee Maker
If you love coffee, we highly recommend the Aeropress coffee maker. It’s lightweight, uses no power, is easy to clean, and make a banging cup of coffee every time. It only takes up about 4″ of space too!
Pair this with a manual coffee grinder and you can wake up to the best cup of coffee, made exactly the way you like it, every single morning. Just add near-boiling water and you’re all set!
We light to keep a small footprint, so buying paper plates is off the menu for us. In our RV, we use Corelle Dinnerware. It’s durable, doesn’t break or chip easily, is lightweight, looks good, and is easy to wash. For our glasses, we originally set out with plastic cups that looks like real glasses. Lately we’ve been moving over to using real glass, but only because we learned to effectively pack our dishes for safe travel.
In any case, I highly recommend that you avoid purchasing a 16 piece set. A good rule of thumb is to carry one plate, bowl, spoon, fork, etc for each person in your house (plus 2 guests).
Dish Drying Mat or Rack
I adhere to the habit that you should always dry your dishes immediately. We’re in a very small space at 24′ and every bit of excess moisture makes a huge difference. Letting your dishes drip right after washing means that the majority of water has already drained off. That makes it much easier to dry them with a towel and will keep your towel from getting soaked by the time you’re done.
Using a folding dish mat like this one is great. When it’s wet, you can move it around or hang it up in an appropriate location (like outside) to control moisture around your house. Plus, it’s fast and easy to set up when you need it and it stashes super small when you don’t.
Space-Efficient Spice Rack
How can you cook without spices?! Having a space efficient spice rack can make all the difference when you want to have all of your favorite spices on hand. Space efficiency, like using magnets to utilize vertical space, or buying square containers to avoid empty spaces can mean that you could free up and entire drawer or shelf in your pantry. That’s critical when you already have so little space.
These square, magnetic spice jars are the best of both worlds! Now you can decide if you want to stash and stack them in your pantry or keep your most used spices stuck to your refrigerator or stove top.
Fridge and Cupboard Bars
These tension rods are basically short curtain rods. Basically you use them by tightening them against the walls of your refrigerator or pantry and wedging them up against your food items.
Why? Because there is nothing worse then getting off the road, going into your fridge for a cool drink, and splat! Last night’s dinner has flipped over, spilled all over the inside of the fridge, and has started pouring onto your kitchen floor. These refrigerator bars prevent your items from shifting and tumbling out when you get done moving.
Nesting Mixing Bowls
We have a set of mixing bowls that sits on the countertop in our RV kitchen. We store our fruits and vegetables in these bowls when we’re not actively using them. What about when we need them? We just dump all the veggies out onto the counter. Most of the time, we’re going to use those ingredients anyway.
Mixing bowls can take up a lot of space, so it’s best to look for nesting bowls so they all fit inside each other. It’s also ideal if you get all metal bowls, measuring cups, and spoons because then you can also use them to quickly heat ingredients on your stove top and near a campfire without them getting damaged. Stainless steel is also lightweight and durable.
Ideally, if you’re in an RV, you’re going to be around a campfire sooner or later. Not only does a camping toaster work outside, but did you know you can also use it on your gas stove top as a no-power solution to replace your conventional toaster? In just a few short minutes, you’ll have up to four slices of toast without the cost of critical storage space or electricity. Plus, it folds down to store flat in any drawer or on it’s side in a cabinet.
Stackable Pots and Pans
Short of small appliances like Air Fryers and InstantPots, traditional pots and pans take up the most amount of space in the kitchen. But let’s face it, it’s really hard to eat well if you love soup and you don’t own a stock pot. Whenever possible, choose pots and pans that stack inside each other to save much needed space. Better yet, get your hands on a set of these Magma Pots and you’ll save even more room since the handles won’t get in the way!
Lightweight Cutting Boards
I keep one large, heavy cutting board in my RV to film for Tiny Kitchen. My workhorse cutting boards for every day use are these lightweight bamboo cutting boards. The biggest benefit to cutting on bamboo boards? We were able to shave off a corner to accommodate counter size and our circular sink!
As with all tiny spaces, you have to watch out for with excess moisture. Since most RV kitchens don’t come with a dishwasher, you’re going to hand washing a lot of dishes. Having a few fast drying towels on hand will help you quickly dry those dishes and prevent a lot of moisture from lingering in the air. We personally keep three around for different purposes—one for the counter, one for our hands, and one specifically reserved for clean dishes.
That’s it! Now you just have to figure out the most efficient place to store it all in your tiny kitchen. Of course, you are going to have a slightly different list based on your personal habits. When selecting your items, just ask yourself the following questions:
- How often do I need it?
- How important is it that I have it?
- How can it take up as little space as possible?
What do you absolutely need in your RV kitchen?
Let everyone know in your comments below! I would love to hear about it.