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13 Essential Tools for a #Vanlife Kitchen

13 Essential Tools for a #Vanlife Kitchen

I know, I know. Most van lifers are lucky to have 13 items total in their van kitchen, but I am talking about those among us who LIKE TO COOK, and potentially live in or spend a lot of time in their home on wheels. I am offering solutions to save space, energy and time to those who look forward to the zen moment in the day/trip where they get to cook, with a nice view, some tunes and possibly a cold beverage or two. To these people, I have a list for your packing day. You can thank me later.

These things I have found the most used, and I continue to discover new ways to use them on the regular after a year of life in my tiny kitchen. I definitely have too many things in my kitchen, we are food photographers after all, so I get a pass for props space…but these I could not live without even if I didn’t photograph everything we eat.

I have listed uses that are aside from the obvious ones, to get your mind thinking about how many things you actually will need and what kind of foods you want to cook on the road. Don’t like pancakes? That eliminates the need for numbers 1, 4, 5 & 12. Can’t live without a frothy latte? Bring rechargeable batteries and number 5. will be your new bestie. Love to chop? Number 3 & 6 are all you need. If you like different textures in a salad, I highly recommend number 9. the potato peeler and julienne peeler. I make shredded vegetables for Okonomiyaki or crunchy salads, or zoodles (zucchini noodles) either flat like ribbons or thin like spaghetti - the possibilities are endless.

Baking is easy with a small measuring cup and whisk. Measuring out rice, pasta or quinoa is easy with my little Pyrex jug on hand (I store it with the coffee cups, it’s used THAT much). Ultra sharp knives are a no-brainer, especially if you love the meditative pleasure of chopping. I love to make sauces like Mojo Picòn or a pesto with fresh herbs by hand, smashing garlic with the flat side of a cleaver, then dicing and dicing until the paste forms on the cutting board. I like getting messy but also these techniques bring out so much flavour, and I find it VERY relaxing to do. Making juice from scratch also provides me with a sense of calm, not to mention the best tasting juice if you find yourself in places like Andalucía (Spain) or the Algarve (Portugal) where the sweetest oranges literally fall at your feet. I take a large, deep stainless steel bowl, place it next to my cutting board, slice open 3-4 oranges per glass and hand squeeze over the bowl until it is filled with delicious juice then pour into glasses or use a funnel to fill a bottle.

A word about plastic while we are here. I am trying valiantly to remove and reduce any and all plastic from my kitchen, an extremely hard task when you are shopping in different places every time and have limited water, space and time for domestic stuff. I choose to fight the battles I can, so most of my kitchen cupboards are stocked with glass, wood, bamboo and stainless steel tools. That said, I have a few plastic and silicone things which do a great job and all things being equal, I expect them to last forever (we know how uncompostable they are so they should!) So my juicer and spatula (who already have 10+ years with me) are staying, until such time that they need replacement (if ever), then a more sustainable option will be sought. I have recommended a plastic juicer in my links below, because it really is cleaner and I believe is a one time purchase, you will never need to buy it again, if you prefer a wooden one, try this one made from beautiful olive wood. Silicone is also a hard wearing substance and can be recycled in some places, it is also cleaner and more food safe than plastic, so when pressed to buy plastic or silicone, look for silicone versions when you can, like the handle of the Oxo julienne peeler recommended below (rather than the one we have). If you would prefer a wooden spatula, this one matches the juicer I just mentioned.

And now without further ado, here they are, the 13 things I cannot live without in my #vanlife plant-based kitchen…aka

13 Things You Will Use

In A Motorhome/ Camper Kitchen


Some brands we love to use:

Pallares Solsona

Amazing hand made knives from Catalonia, Spain.

Knives from Pallares Solsona on a magnet (from IKEA) tough enough for a kitchen on wheels.

Knives from Pallares Solsona on a magnet (from IKEA) tough enough for a kitchen on wheels.

Chopping foraged wild angled onion (wild garlic), fermented garlic and dried chili with a  paring knife.

Chopping foraged wild angled onion (wild garlic), fermented garlic and dried chili with a paring knife.

Fine dice is easy with this giant cleaver from Pallares Solsona.

Fine dice is easy with this giant cleaver from Pallares Solsona.

Ibili Menaje

A Basque company that make everything you could ever need for your kitchen but our favourite loot is their cute enamel cookware and crockery ranges, in Blanca (blue and white) or Bordeaux (red and white). They make metal plates, bowls and cups that are great for camping and #vanlife and look so cute when used all together. Our favourites are this plate, this baked eggs dish and this baking dish (which is also great for making massive salads). We use them all for everything and they can also go on the stove, so they’re great for reheating food or baking in the dish. They also have a compact stainless steel camping range.


Ibili also make this juicer. Juice made by hand tastes better, saves space and uses no electricity, it’s a win, win win!

Hand squeezed juice tastes better!

Hand squeezed juice tastes better!


Make a wide range of kitchen tools but this julienne peeler is my absolute favourite. Make Korean pancakes, zoodles, pretty salads and my favourite snack, with very little chopping involved.


I have used Pyrex glass measuring jugs my whole adult life in every country I have lived in, you cannot find better. They also make cool, science-y looking beaker measuring jugs like this one.

This is not sponsored content, we just love things that work well. We have used affiliate links for some of the products you find here but they are things we have tried and tested and have survived a year on the road with us, and others much, much longer! We try to work with brands that we find locally, and support Spanish small business so our kitchen holds as many Spanish brands as we can find. I hope you find some good tools for your #homeonwheels here, send us a comment if you have any to add to the list!

Our first eCookbook is here!

Our first eCookbook is here!

Sweet Potato Okonomiyaki Vegan Pancakes

Sweet Potato Okonomiyaki Vegan Pancakes