The Best Guide to RV Kitchens
Just like home, one of the most important rooms in any RV is the kitchen. Think about it – it’s where you gather as a group, spend time preparing meals, and it’s often centrally located in your coach. Even if you’re not an avid cook or traveling with a big family, your RV kitchen will get a lot of use. So shouldn’t it be exactly what you need it to be?
But there can be a lot of differences in different kinds of RV kitchen units, what they include and what they don’t, and how much storage space they might have. No matter what size your RV kitchen, there are features that can make it easier to use. So let’s walk through a guide to RV kitchens and their common features you’ll find in RV kitchens and what details to look for if you’re shopping for a new model.
RV Kitchen Appliances
The appliances in small RV kitchens echo the kitchens in sticks-and-bricks kitchens, typically including a fridge, a microwave and a stove and oven combo. Some models will also include dishwashers, which can make your life a lot easier. These appliances can vary in size depending on what type of RV you’re looking at. For instance, a micro trailer might have a small fridge, like the Mallard P16SRD. And a luxury fifth wheel could have a full-size, french-door style residential fridge with all the bells and whistles, like our Cyclone 4270.
When you’re evaluating an RV kitchen, think about how you’ll use it on an ideal trip. If you’re a weekend camper looking at small trailers, a mini fridge and small cooktop may be all you need. If part of relaxing for you includes cooking gourmet meals, look for a kitchen with lots of counter space and room for pots and pans. And if you prefer boondocking with your family, you’ll want to balance a generously sized fridge with the amount of energy it takes to power it while you’re off-grid.
Don’t forget dishwashers, either, like the one available in our Landmark Newport. If you’re traveling with a crowd or small children, having an onboard dishwasher to handle the labor of keeping your limited amount of dishware clean can make or break your vacation. Who wants to be stuck inside, washing dishes all day?
In addition to appliances, take a look at an RV’s fixtures. There’s a wide variety of what you’ll find across the range of RV models, from sinks and faucets to RV kitchen islands and hardware.
RV kitchen sinks can range from small, stainless steel basins to wide, luxurious farmhouse models that would fit right in at any home renovation. Small sinks can be a wonderful space saver, and may include a few details we’ll touch on below that help make the most of the space. Larger sinks can be beautiful and provide plenty of room for washing dishes, prepping meals and even storing delicate items when you’re on the road.
While it might not be at the top of your mind, RV kitchen faucets are another feature that people can have big opinions about. Is your RV faucet small and low to the sink – which might make it hard to fill up a water bottle? Or is it a tall faucet with a sprayer that can help you get dishes clean faster, like in the Road Warrior 414RW? There’s more to a faucet than just how it looks, so be sure to consider this overlooked RV feature when you’re shopping.
Larger RVs can even include kitchen islands, like in the Milestone 370FLMB, which can be a wonderful addition that adds a ton more counter space and functionality. With an island, you’ll likely gain more storage space in the form of under-counter cabinets, and you can cook in a classic triangle formation that makes meal prep easier. Some RV kitchen islands will have a sink in the island countertop, which is great if you’ll have a lot of dishes to wash after your meal, as they can clutter up the counter quite a bit.
RV kitchen storage is crucial, as every square inch of space in an RV is valuable real estate. And the amount of storage you have in an RV kitchen may dictate the kind of meals you make, too. Will you have room for the pots and pans you like to cook with? What about a slow cooker, instant pot or air fryer?
Depending on the size of your RV, you may have everything from fridge, drawer and cabinet storage to a generous pantry or storage under dinette seats. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate pantry, like in the Milestone 377MB, it can be useful for storing more than just food. You might also use it to store smaller appliances when they’re not in use, hold pots and pans, or even corral non-kitchen items behind a closed door. There are a number of specialty items you can buy to help you make the most of this space. For example, shelf risers, small plastic baskets and short tension rods can help you separate the space for different uses.
Under-dinette storage is a great option for storing slightly larger appliances. For instance, if you love your pressure cooker but it’s too big to fit anywhere else, it might live in the cubby beneath your dinette seats. This can also be a great spot to store any oversized tools or utensils, like a grill spatula, tongs or screens.
If your RV is very small, you might think outside the box when it comes to storing kitchen items you use less frequently. Your slow cooker could get stored in basement storage, a bedroom closet or in the back of your tow vehicle if you can’t live without it but you’re short on space.
It’s the little things that can elevate a space to greatness. As you’re looking around RV kitchens, you might want to keep an eye out for details like an RV sink cover, cutting board, chalkboard or message board, and placement of electrical outlets.
RV sink covers can extend your counter space, as in the Gravity 3550, which can be vital when you’ve got a limited area to work with. Often these sink covers double as RV cutting boards, doing double duty when it comes to food prep. And how nice is it to have a cutting board with its own resting place when you’re not using the sink?
Even something like a chalkboard or message board can add some levity and functionality, like in the Torque T274. It’s a great place to write notes to your travel companions, keep track of what you need to buy during your next trip to a store, or just leave ongoing reminders to people who might need them. (Take your shoes off when you come inside!)
Finally, take note of the placement of electrical outlets. Hopefully, you’re looking at a well-designed RV that’s planned the kitchen space efficiently and given you outlets just where you need them. For example, a certain part of the counter may be the perfect spot for your coffee maker – as long as there’s an outlet within reach. Or you might prefer to do some meal prep sitting at the dinette table, in which case, see if there’s an outlet where you can plug in a mixer or food processor to make your life a little easier.
Some RVs even include a thoughtful, secondary kitchen area outdoors. For instance, our North Trail 22FBS includes an outdoor kitchen with a mini-fridge – making it a great place to grab a drink during the day without tracking dirt inside. The Elkridge 32RK has an outdoor kitchen with a bonus griddle for cooking outside, a lovely touch for super hot days. Although it’s a luxury feature, an outdoor kitchen can make cooking in the summer much more pleasant, or cooking for a crowd much easier to coordinate. It may not be a make-or-break detail for most people, but if your RV has one, we’re willing to bet money that you love it.
If you’re a veteran RV camper, tell us – what kitchen details have you found the most helpful on your travels? What advice would you give to new campers about how to use or set up their RV kitchens for success?