What you bring for your Overlanding kitchen will depend on the kind of trip you’re taking and your culinary tastes. Setting up your Overlanding kitchen, if you consider yourself a campground gourmet, might be one of the highlights of your holiday.
If you’re a first-time camper or a seasoned veteran, it’s still a brilliant idea to review the simple food-handling guidelines before you head out.
Use this detailed guide as a starting point, then tailor it to your preferences and travel itinerary.
Overlanding kitchen gear
- Cooler and freezer
Bringing this type of equipment with you is a no-brainer. If you are going for just one day off-road or a few months Overlanding, you still want to have some chilled food or beverages handy.
Depending on how much traveling you do, you have a few choices of fridges. Some of them will have a freezer compartment, which is a good option for long-term journeys.
- Camp table and chairs
You are going into the wild, but even there, you still deserve some comfort while dining. It would be best if you thought about bringing a table and chairs (or at least one) with you.
Since your rig has limited space, you can get foldable tables and chairs, make your own (for example, from the tree stump you find in the forest), or get a tire-mounted table.
- Camp stove and oven
The stove is probably the most crucial part of your Overlanding kitchen, where you will turn raw food into delicious dishes. There are different types of stoves, but the most common is gas (propane/butane) stovetop.
Depending on how much space you have available and your needs, there are stoves with one burner up to three-burner stoves.
- Camping dishes and cutlery
While Overlanding, you still want to eat (mostly) like a human being, with a fork and knife and from a plate or bowl. Remember to pack at least one dish, bowl, and each piece of cutlery per person.
You would do good to take a sharp knife and sharpener as well for prepping the food. A chopping board will also be handy.
- Pots and pans
The very instruments you are going to use to cook your meals in. Best for Overlanding, we find, is cast iron pots and pans. You can get a good set for a relatively small price.
There is a little bit of maintenance to them, but you can use them on the stove or directly over the fire.
- Dutch Oven
Some Overlanders swear by it, and some don’t even bother. It’s a personal preference, but if you don’t mind packing some extra gear, this one would be great.
If you don’t care about preparation time, it’s straightforward to make a hearty meal in it; just put ingredients in, close the lid, put it over the small heat, and wait few hours for magic to work.
- Firepit and BBQ
A portable fire pit or BBQ is also a handy thing to have with you. If you want to save on the gas for your stove or change things up a little, you can cook over the open fire or burning embers.
It’s good to have your fire pit for fire safety as well. In some places, open fires are forbidden, but with a fire pit, you have fewer chances to break the law and spread fire in the forest.
- Sink/wash bay
It’s good to have a sink to clean the dishes or wash your hands. If you don’t have an elaborate setup in your rig, you can bring a basin to serve you as a washing place to pour water into. There are a few foldable options to save space in your rig.
And while we are into cleaning, it’s also good to take with you some biodegradable soap. You want everything clean, but you don’t want to poison any plants or animals while you’re at it.
How to organize Overlanding kitchen
There are as many ways to organize an Overlanding kitchen as there is people Overlanding. Everyone has different preferences and would set their camp kitchen differently.
There is, however, one thing in common: make it comfortable and keep your Overlanding kitchen in one place. You want easy access to all your cooking gear and your food and want to keep it clean without any trouble.
There are few options for organizing the kitchen in your Overlanding rig.
You can mount it by yourself or ask a professional to do it for you. Slide-out is just a shelf that sits hidden in the car while you drive and slides out (hence the name) from the vehicle when you need it.
The most common slide-out would be used for a fridge, cooking stove, or prepping counter, but you can use it for storage as well. Slide-outs can go in the back of your vehicle or, if you have a rear side door, to the sides.
Shelves are more tricky to use because of constant movement. Your vehicle is moving erratically, and items will struggle to stay on the shelves.
It still works, but maybe not for everything. Shelves would be great to put plastic containers with your gear inside and tie them down with a strap or a line.
You can hide cupboards in the inside wall or on the outside of your Overlanding rig. There are plenty of possibilities, and many people get creative with cupboards turning them into hidden panels.
Inside, you can arrange things to your liking; whether they hang or lie down, it’s up to you, as long as you tie everything down properly or fit it well within the space (you don’t want anything moving freely as you drive down the trails, believe me.)
Camp Chef Explorer 3x Stove
You will sometimes be required to prepare a large quantity of food for a large number of people. We don’t judge you if you only have a small group but still want to consume a lot of food. The Explorer 3X can be your best buddy if you’re the kind of outdoor chef who loves a feast for any occasion.
This unit has enough power and room to do any cooking job, with three 30,000 BTU burners. Combine the Explorer 3X with any of 14″ cooking device accessories available, such as the BBQ Box or the Italia Artisan Pizza Oven, to create a versatile unit that can serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The downfall of this stove is its size and weight. While Overlanding, you can carry it in your cargo space, but it’s not very suitable for backpacking trips.
With the Coleman Classic Propane Stove, you can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a dependable stove that folds up easily.
It’s simple to operate: switch it on and change the heat with the two independently adjustable burners, and you’ll be cooking with over 20,000 BTUs in no time. The cooking surface is large enough to accommodate a 12-inch and 10-inch pan at the same time.
Meanwhile, even in the most challenging conditions, the PerfectFlow pressure control technology holds the heat constant. WindBlock panels protect your flame from the elements and can be adjusted to match a larger pan. When the meal is over, remove the chrome-plated grate for easy cleanup.
There is a minor flaw to this old-school stove. The flame can only be fine-tuned to a limited extent, but that doesn’t prevent you from a great cooking experience.
The Coleman Triton is a slightly more expensive model than the Coleman Classic, but it has better temperature control and produces more heat.
The two 11,000 BTU burners can boil water less than a minute faster than the Coleman Classic. It can very easily fit two 10-inch pans side by side.
In the simmer test, the Triton comes out on top. It maintains a constant temperature of 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit with virtually no changes.
The Triton also has a slim and streamlined design and small weight (11lbs), making it very portable. It is a good option if the space is limited.
It’s powered by a 16-ounce propane canister, but there are adapters available to make it work with a larger 20-gallon tank.
The slight downfall of this stove could be its weak wind efficiency. It is most likely due to its slim build, which places the burners higher and more open to the wind.
Bio-Lite Wood Burning CampStove 2
With BioLite’s award-winning stove, you can transform fire into electricity. A portable campfire with patented combustion technology produces a whirlwind of smokeless flames that can cook your meals and charge your gear simultaneously.
A KettlePot for boiling, a grilling tray, and a touch-sensitive light are all included in the CampStove kit. Furthermore, the thermoelectrical charge of the fire is transformed into power that can be used to charge your devices.
Leave the gas canisters at home and explore the potential of the sticks and twigs in your immediate vicinity.
Like with all battery-powered devices, the rechargeable battery itself can only last so long. The expected battery life for this little stove is few years, though, so there is no major panic.
Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven
Staying away from home doesn’t necessarily mean staying away from your comfort food and favorite oven-made dishes.
When it comes to gourmet treats at the campsite, s’mores over a campfire aren’t the only choice. The cooking possibilities are infinite when you bring along Outdoor Oven.
The capabilities and range of a home oven are unlocked with this oven. The Outdoor Oven is designed to be both compact and flexible, providing enough heat to cook everything from a breakfast skillet to fresh cinnamon rolls.
It’s ideal for camping, emergency preparedness, tailgating, and other outdoor activities. The Camp Oven can reach temperatures of up to 400F and can comfortably accommodate a 9 x 13 pan.
You can keep a temperature of 350F for up to 7 hours with a 1 pound propane tank.
Many users of this product complain of the time it takes for the oven to heat up. But if you don’t mind waiting, it’s still a great experience to have an off-grid oven.
Alternative cooking solutions for Overlanders
If you are tired of your standard camp stoves or looking for some backup plan for when you run out of gas, here is a list of a few alternative cooking solutions.
Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
The Go-Anywhere portable charcoal grill gives a taste of home everywhere you go, even if you’re spending most of your days on the road. Its rectangular shape fits well in the back of most vehicles, and the lid locks for easy portability.
It can hold up to six burgers made with a Weber burger press. The heat is retained by the porcelain-enameled lid and base, which will not rust or peel. The cooking grill is made of plated steel that is extremely durable and maintains heat, and it’s also easy to clean. Dampers make it simple to regulate the temperature inside your grill.
Plus, the lid is lockable for fast transport.
One flaw that might be overlooked in the long run is the legs of this Grill. They seem to be a little short.
BioLite is coming with a new product in 2021. Another one of their tech pieces, BioLite FirePit, produces hyper-efficient flames and gives you a good view of the magic thanks to the X-Ray mesh body with patented airflow technology.
Without the smoke, enjoy the warmth, smell, crackle, and feel of a wood campfire. To convert it from a fire pit to a portable hibachi-style grill with included grill grate, you can just lift the fuel rack and toss in charcoal, firewood, or wood pellets.
With the free Bluetooth app, you can monitor the size of your flames manually or remotely.
The only downfall of this tech firepit would be the tech itself. While it works well considering Bluetooth connection, the app can crash unexpectedly from time to time.
Campfire Defender Pop-Up Pit
The Pop-Up Pit is the best camping fire pit on the market. Since your fire pit is raised off the ground, you won’t have to deal with moisture or a lack of airflow.
The Pop-Up Pit measures 24″x24″ and is big enough to keep the entire camp hot. It produces 80% less smoke as it burns, packs down to the size of a camping chair (total weight 8 lbs.), and it’s made out of rust-resistant aircraft aluminum.
To turn your Pop-Up Pit into an outdoor barbecue, add the optional grilling grates. Cook your favorite meals over lump charcoal or few logs.
When considering buying this fire pit, make sure you purchase the option with flame and heat shield. Otherwise, you have to buy it separately or figure out an alternative.
GoSun Go Solar Oven
GoSun Go Solar Oven is very innovative and supporting renewable energy, the fastest and most common solar oven from GoSun.
Under direct sunlight, it can bake, roast, and steam a meal for one person in just 20 minutes. It’s small (14” x 7” x 3.4”) and light (just 1.98 lbs), so you can take it with you everywhere you go.
It quickly reaches temperatures of up to 550F. It’s easy to set up and store because it’s durable and collapsible.
Is it going to rain or snow? It’s no problem. The GoSun Go will serve you a wet, sizzling meal even if you can see clouds and shadows coming.
The downfall of this little magic box is the small size of food you can put inside the cooking tube.
Complete kitchen setups for Overlanding
If you ever wondered about complete kitchen setups for Overlanding? We have to tell you that few options are available.
They usually consist of stoves and sinks, but also table tops and storage compartments. They fold in nicely to take as little space as possible in the back of your Overland vehicle.
However, they can be pretty pricey, considering you can very quickly and relatively cheaply put together your very own setup.
As you can see, Overlanding doesn’t have to be tough on your food pallet just because you are in the wild.
You can bring your favorite kitchen gear with you and cook meals just like at home in an organized manner, even from the back of your vehicle or on the riverbank in the forest.