Campervans are wonderful creatures for numerous reasons. They provide epic road trips, your bed on wheels and you can cook wherever you fancy. Whether the shores of Milford Sound or simply a pub car park we loved the fact we could rock up anywhere and cook up a storm. Cooking in a campervan did provide a few issues however. We’d only two rings, two pans, usually no electricity and limited gas & water. WHY DID WE AGREE TO THIS CAMPERVAN COOKING CHAOS?!

After a few fails and an inedible mess or two we bring you our 10 top tips to ensure you too, will cope cooking in a campervan. Without further ado here’s our top tips for 5 Star dining on two rings. . .

New Zealand Campervan Camping Kitchen

Want to know what to cook in your campervan?

We’ve put together a few helpful posts in order to help you cook up a storm in a campervan:

  • Vegetarian Camping Food – Vegetarian dishes which can be quickly and easily thrown together in your campervan.
  • One Pot Camping Meals – These easy recipes, all cooked in one pot to make cooking and cleaning much easier.

As a bonus, why not take a look at our first series of Cooking In A Campervan on YouTube.


Before you think Tupperware is reserved for middle aged mums, they’re gonna become your new best friend. Store food such as porridge oats, rice, pasta and so on in Tupperware boxes. This is to avoid a mice or ant invasion. It’s not just your Tim Tams you want kept safe, mice can also chew wires and potentially do some serious damage on your van!


When cooking in a campervan, stock up the essentials (like pop tarts) and non-perishable items in the city. These will be so much cheaper in larger supermarkets than the smaller corner shops on the road. Although keep an eye out for farmers stalls and local markets for fresh veg, eggs etc. as although at times more expensive, they are nearly always organic, fresh and you support local produce. Ensuring your cooking in a campervan will be even more tasty! That and the fact Loz always get’s carried away in big supermarkets. . .


On day two of our campervan adventure we received a knock on our back window, terrified we were parked in the wrong place or had ran over something we answered a little hastily. Instead to our surprise it was a fellow camper with an armful of food, explaining she was leaving for the airport the next day and didn’t want her meat/cheese/bread to go to waste. When we left our Cathy the campervan we did the same – any leftover food we gave to the campers next to us, who were equally delighted. We call it campervan cooking karma.

Girl Eating In A Campervan


As your water is limited, you have to be smart with the washing up. When the pan is still hot, add water and washing up liquid to it immediately. This saves a lot of water later on when your food has congealed and hardened to the pan. We stupidly left a porridge pan untouched, then had no hope of scraping off the cement like substance 2 hours later. Soak immediately and any residue will wipe right off with minimal water and effort! You can watch that hilarious porridge video here.

Cooking In A Campervan Setup


In relation to the point above, be very careful what you put down the sink! The odd pea, spoonful of scrambled egg and so on may slip through but when cooking in a campervan, bear in mind you will need to empty the water wastage later. Any food trapped in the sink pipe will cause almost immediate smell. The smell of last night’s rotten dinner is not what you want to wake up to the next day. We purchased a basin to avoid this although some campervans will come with plugs too.

Coffee In A Campervan


We’ve all seen into the wild, so although you want to save a penny or two when cooking in a campervan ensure you are well informed before foraging. Whilst brambles and raspberries can be readily available at roadside, be careful if foraging mushrooms that you are well informed of how to prepare and cook them. If you do find plenty safe mushrooms, we have a quick & easy camping stroganoff recipe you might like!

Girl Walking Through The Forest


We were really surprised by this (physics ain’t our strong point) however, chances are if you’re staying in a free campsite/wild camping you won’t have electricity. If you need electricity for your fridge to work you may be tempted to empty it’s contents thinking the food will go off. Turns out, the more full your fridge is, the more cold it will hold. If it’s empty it will get warmer quicker. So fill it. Don’t go chucking food out because you won’t have a fridge for a few days, use that space wisely.

Eating Meals In A Campervan


We forgot this the day we made salmon risotto. We could smell salmon risotto for days afterwards! Don’t get us wrong, there are some amazing salmon farms near Mt Cook and in Akaroa in New Zealand however, think before cooking in a campervan. The same goes for curry. That smell clings to the curtains for days. To be fair, we love curry so I’d happy sleep surrounded by it’s stench. Salmon, not so much. For a stinky-free risotto, read the recipe on our vegetarian camping food.


Last night’s 5 bean chilli can be tomorrow’s sloppy joes. Re-use and rework your meals, ensuring you don’t waste a drop. Water, space, time and kitchenware is limited when cooking in a campervan so create meals that can be eaten the next day too without starting from scratch. Great leftover meals include curry, casseroles and risotto.

Couple Eating In A Campervan


Our final tip, is to in fact not cook in a campervan kitchen at all. Instead, use your campsite’s kitchen. The communal kitchens are a great way to meet other travellers, find recommendations of new destinations, share food and advice. The best part, they often have “free shelves” full of spices, pasta, tinned foot etc. for you to help yourself to. Similar to Point 3 – if you take from the free shelf, it’s good campervan cooking karma to give also. Similarly, we stumbled across numerous BBQ areas during our road trip, another ideal spot to cook those smelly smoky meats not in your van!

Now it’s time to put those tips to the test and try out an easy camping recipe or two! The best campervan meals are one pot camping recipes or if you’re vegetarian we’ve put together a whole meat free vegetarian camping menu just for you!

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By |2019-01-18T11:25:19+00:00September 13th, 2018|Travel Tips|13 Comments

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Arunima Dey

I have never been on a camper van in my life. But it seems like such an awesome way to travel. I would definitely want to follow all the tips you have given.


I never camped before but good to have these tips handy in case I will jump into such an adventure one day 😉

Alice | Girl with a saddle bag

Oh my goodness, I can relate to some of these! Not sure I’d be enjoying the smell of salmon risotto for days after either ? That said, it’s all about the one pot dishes when you’ve not got much gas, so risotto is never a bad bet. And thank you for the tip about the fridge – that one is new to me and one I must remember!


Would love to drive a campervan around New Zealand one day – will keep these tips in mind. I agree camp kitchens are your best bet when camping!

The starving artist

The tip of don’t cook inside the van is soluch a good tip. I would never think of the smell! Also yes communal kitchens are a great way to meet new people. Or heck even over a fire! This makes me want to do a trip around the USA


Great tips! An extra one is to cook things that are quick – use less gas, less chance of accidents in the van and less chance of carbon monoxide. So I cook lots of dehydrated meals, fast cook pasta, things that only need hot water or fresh veggies that only take a few minutes (e.g. broccoli rather than beetroots!)


Wow this is amazing that you guys did this!! Sounds so cool yet a little bit intimidating haha I would love to try out van life for a bit one day! Great advice!! I will save this post for when the day comes ?

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