Camp Stoves, Camping, Education, Gear

Car Camping Kitchen – Everything You Need

Car Camping Kitchen

Car camping is a very specific type of camping and is significantly different from RV camping, or tent camping. This means you need to make sure you are prepared for all that comes with this activity before you embark on your journey. You most likely will have less space and specific issues that you may not foresee. Of course, it also means that you get to be creative when preparing for car camping. One area of specific importance is your car camping kitchen.

Many hacks that are used for RV camping or tent camping can be replicated in car camping. However, it is good to test what is actually going to work for your situation. No two cars and trunk space are the same. So, we have compiled a list of things to consider when organizing, preparing, and utilizing a kitchen space while you are car camping. Are you ready to explore car camping kitchens?


You have an amazing car camping kitchen now become an amazing campfire chef too!


Car Camping Camp Kitchen Equipment

Since people do not typically cook out of their cars, it is important to prepare yourself with all the necessary equipment you may need in order to feed everyone. This could mean that you need to find a way to fit everything in your car or you need to make your car a liveable space including a kitchen.

Now that depends on what kind of car you are taking, how long you are camping for, and how big your party is. Nevertheless, you will want to seriously take into consideration the following pieces of equipment in order to have a proper kitchen. These are the bare minimum of what is necessary.

  • Camp Kitchen Table
  • Portable Grill
  • Trash Can
  • Cooler
  • Collapsible sink
  • Proper containers and storage
  • Reliable kitchen utensils you need
  • Water Jug
  • Fire gloves
  • Water bottles
  • S’mores sticks
  • Dutch Oven
  • Pots and Pans
  • Plates
  • Cups

Meal Prep in Your Car Camp Kitchen

Being prepared for any cooking situation will be the best choice to make your trip most enjoyable. Especially when you are on a car camping trip. Here you literally have no resources readily available to you to cook from in your car.

Since this is a more specific type of camping trip, it comes with more specific circumstances that have certain requirements. In this case, you may have to get creative and make things that will suit your car while you are staying in it.

For example, some people decide to create a pull-out table that sits below the backseats of their van, so you may stand and cook. Others simply carry a foldable table with them. But you must make sure that you have the space to cook. Using something like this camp cooking table will surely help you put everything in its place and keep you organized.

With this in mind, you also need to consider what you will be cooking in order to bring the proper supplies. Any sort of extra meal prep you can to eliminate the work you have to do is going to make your life much easier.

That could mean putting the meats in their marinades and storing them in zip-top bags until they are ready to be cooked. Or maybe making pb&j sandwiches ahead of time. You may consider simply having the snacks you know your group likes on hand. You may also want to put some extra thought into what you can prep if you have someone in your party with a dietary restriction or allergy.


We have you covered with these handy recipes to make before you hit the campsite.


Know What You are Getting Into

Car Camping Kitchen

This step is somewhat self-explanatory as you already are aware that you are preparing to embark on a trip only utilizing the tools in your car. However, that does not mean that you can wrap your brain around it right away. So make sure that you think to yourself in the most realistic way about what this trip will include. Certainly, define what your expectations are for this trip.

This is not to say that you should not take this trip, or that you are unaware. But you should take into consideration many factors that may affect your trip either positively or negatively. Car camping kitchens may seem like they are easy to put together. However, with all of the other gear, you need to make sure it all fits, or it won’t ship!

A great tip here is to measure your trunk space. If you have an SUV, van, or wagon you should be golden. There will be enough space. However, if you have a car you may need to consider if you can put the back seats down. Once you have your space measured, you can begin to look at product sizes and storage lockers which will make packing more block-like.

Trust me on this. You will want to make a plan on where each box goes in the trunk. This will help you on your last day get everything back in without any hassles.


Tired of the small space? Check out these great beginner RV Tips!


Make Car Alterations

One major part of cooking a healthy meal is making sure the space you are cooking in is clean. This may help you get a better idea as to what is needed in order to actually create a place that will suffice for cooking. Making changes and adding to your car’s features is a common thing to do, especially for car camping. Feel free to do so, and be creative with what you are doing.

For instance, if you have an SUV you may want to build a pull-out drawer that stores your kitchen. Maybe you have a second pullout that acts as your pantry. The nice thing about these drawers is that they will also act as a shelf in your trunk.

Car Camping Kitchen
Build or Buy. A pull-out camp kitchen can help take your organization to the next level.

If you have a lift gate in the back, then you could consider adding some hooks. When the liftgate is up you can hang a lantern to make for better nighttime lighting. Or even to hang utensils and your trash bags. The options are endless. So get creative!


Once you have your car camping kitchen set up consider these 15 camp cooking hacks.


Final Car Camping Kitchen Thoughts

Car camping can be a truly magical vacation to have if you are ready for it. By following these practices and making sure you have the proper equipment for your kitchen, you will have a fabulous journey. So get your car camping kitchen in order now. The goal of any camping trip is to decompress from the real world. You don’t want to have to put up with the stresses of cooking. So with these car camping kitchen tips, you can hopefully make life just a little bit easier. In doing so, you will have a wonderful trip into nature. That is what it is all about anyways.

Have you had any good or bad experiences with car camping kitchens? We would like to hear about them in the comments, on our Facebook, or on Reddit!

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