View Poll Results: What type of device do you use for cooking in the van and what kind of fuel does it u
A built in stove top that uses gas or propane 31 77.50%
A protable stove that uses gas or propane 9 22.50%
A built in stove top that uses electricity 4 10.00%
A portable stove that uses fuel other than gas or propane 5 12.50%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-09-2020, 01:13 AM   #1
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Exclamation Camper Van Cooking

Hi everyone,
I'm new here and was hoping to learn more information about how people go about cooking in their vans. My name is Ryan Koester and I'm a college student going through Cal Poly. I'm working on a project to make compatible portable stove top for those cooking outside a house! I'd really like to learn more information about how cooking devices are currently used and stored as well as any features you particularly like or dislike about your current cooking set up such as having compartments for storage or the type fuel source used. Any information would be extremely appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
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Old 01-09-2020, 02:40 AM   #2
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Built in Origo marine alcohol / 120V stove and Optimus Hiker stove to cook outside.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:16 AM   #3
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Interesting project. I would guess the majority of RV owners on this forum have a built-in cooktop permanently connected to a house system. The majority of those systems are probably propane gas. So the main cooktop for most of us is not technically portable. As GeorgeRa's post suggests, many of us also have some means of cooking outside the camper similar to someone camping in a tent might have. Could be a camp stove or a small grill.

Others can chime in about their use of alternatives, such as induction cooktops, etc.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:56 PM   #4
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Built in Wallas / Webasto diesel cooktop. Portable Nuwave PIC induction cooktop.
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Old 01-10-2020, 03:56 AM   #5
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As GallenH stated, most of us have completely converted vans with built in beds, baths, toilet, water & waste tanks, refrigerator, and kitchen cooktop.

Many have brought along outside cooking stoves or grills and may have some good suggestions for you. In our case, we eat mostly sandwiches and heat with the microwave (when we're not eating out) so I'm afraid I'm not one to offer much help here.

If you're considering a stripped down van, you may want to include older motorhomes built inside a van so you have many amenities to assist you. Some 20 year old models sell relatively cheaply. Just don't buy junk.
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Old 01-10-2020, 04:18 PM   #6
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I didn’t know quite how to answer the survey, since we don’t cook in our van. We have the usual built-in propane stove, but we cook outside on a propane Coleman using the disposable cylinders or the bulk tank from our travel trailer.

I hate the idea of throwaways, and I hate the duplication, so your question is an interesting one.

I like the size of the small butane burners, and they can be moved inside or outside as required. However, they still use disposables, they lack wind protection, and they can't be used with larger pots that overhang the fuel cartridge.

Electricity is off the table, since we camp without hookups, and I’m not interested in an expensive solar and lithium system to run an induction burner.

Whatever fuel is used must be able to boil a quart of water in around 5 minutes up to around 10K feet altitude. It should be safe to transport, easy to find, refillable, and not require fussy priming like the old white gas stoves. A single decent-sized burner would suffice. Easy lighting and convenient wind protection is a necessity. I'd love to have one appliance to use both inside and outside.

I don’t have an answer, but that is what I’d like. Best wishes with your project!
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:18 PM   #7
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Another thought. I'm not sure of precisely what your project entails but if your final design incorporates propane fuel, you might consider a built-in ignitor that works something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I got tired of lighting our built-in cooktop with one of the stock butane lighters. This one works quite well and doesn't get blown out by wind (I've used it on a grill in windy conditions as well).
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:16 PM   #8
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Interesting. I will say the piezoelectric ignitor on our Coleman stove has worked reliably for over 30 years. I do like something built-in. Never forgotten, never lost, never empty, always ready.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:25 PM   #9
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We have a built-in range top using propane. Storage consists of built-in drawers and also bins under the aft bunk.
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:07 PM   #10
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Convection microwave and two burner propane built into van, plus we carry an instant pot, sous vide, and induction hotplate to use inside or outside. Don't carry a BBQ any more!

Brian.
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:13 PM   #11
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Most modern gas cooktops come with the built-in equivalent to those rechargeable plasma ignitors. Older ones use piezo ignitors, as Jon mentions.

That said, the little plasma devices are great. You can easily ignite a piece of paper using one--very handy for campfires. They can be recharged from any USB outlet. Recommended.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:15 PM   #12
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We have the conventional 2 burner propane cooktop and a combo microwave/toaster oven, which is amazingly good at toast, but can only be used on shore tie or generator. We have a Keurig for coffee. Outside we have a Coleman gas grill, and added a cast iron griddle (which would also work inside on the cooktop). An Instapot is highly recommended and very versatile.

One thing to think about is cooking if you do not have 110V available. If you have an older inverter (that produces modified sine wave AC) and sufficient battery capacity your newer appliances may not operate. We are evaluating upgrade to a pure sine wave inverter.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:20 PM   #13
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Here's a different take. No disposables and these stoves are super efficient. I know this is not the only kind developed.



Energy: Rocket Stoves for Developing Countries
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:44 AM   #14
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We cook almost every night when traveling in our van. We did not build in a stove because we prefer to cook outdoors when the weather is right. Our latest and most successful stove is this jetboil halfgen:
https://jetboil.johnsonoutdoors.com/...ystems/halfgen
It was the smallest footprint with the highest quality I could find. I velco the feet to the van counter. We use the same propane canisters as we do for our grill and we use both daily when traveling the functionality is good, but disposing of the propane canisters is painful. The advantage is that these canisters are easy to carry and are usually available in even remote places.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlooliver View Post
Our latest and most successful stove is this jetboil halfgen:
https://jetboil.johnsonoutdoors.com/...ystems/halfgen
I like the jetboil though it is a bit pricey. We got this Coleman Grill at a Coleman Outlet store and it has served us well. Only complaint is the grate is pressed enameled steel and warps with heat. I have a cast iron griddle that fits on it also. I also line the bottom with foil each use.

The 1 lb propane bottles can be a nuisance. I recently purchased an adapter that enables refilling of 1 lb bottles from a 20 lb tank. That will presumably lower the cost and eliminate the disposal issue.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:54 PM   #16
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Many people do refill the one pound bottles, but for most such bottles, I am not sure about the legality of doing so if you transport them.

I have one of those little adapters too but have yet to get around to trying it!

I think the argument against refilling them is that they were never intended for refilling and the valves were not really designed for repeated use - also perhaps the bottle walls are not as durable as they otherwise would have been made if intended for a long life due to refilling.

There is at least one company that does sell one pound bottles specifically designed and approved for refilling though. I think the empty bottles sell for aroud $10 or so.

I forget teh brand name, but hey sell the bottles and also a complete kit with a stand to hold the donor 20# bottle upside down and the required connector for something like $50.

I have been told that Lowes sell them, but that may be just in the USA, I haven't seen them (yet) here in Canada at our local Lowes store.

I haven't tried the adapter I bought yet but I understand it is hard to get a full pound of propane into the one pound bottle this way, but you can come closer if you cool the small bottle in the fridge / freezer first.

Lots of Youtube videos on this!

Some show a method of getting more propane into the smaller bottle by positioning it horizontally with the safety vale at about 10 o'clock position and using needle nose pliers to pulling the safety valve pin to open it and to use the safety valve it as a vent or "spit valve" as is used on a fixed RV tank.

If using that method I imagine it would be wise to know the tare wt of the empty bottle, and to weigh after filling to ensure no overfilling.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:05 PM   #17
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We use a microwave, instant pot, portable induction plate and fake George Foreman in the van. We have 200 Ah batteries and rarely plug in.

We use a portable butane burner outside when the weather is nice and bugs arent biting. I confess wed rather cook inside because its so much easier.

When I was building, I assumed we would use our Caldera Cone backpacking stove in the van, but decided we would not have open flame of any kind in the van.

Interestingly the Caldera Cone concept is similar to the rocket stove described above. There is a version that uses twigs. It is incredibly efficient.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:00 PM   #18
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I mostly use a 1000W microwave. 400W solar and 690ah battery. I have a butane camp stove that works well even inside. I plan to try a inductive stove soon.
I have a self built camping van.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:26 PM   #19
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The danger of refilling the propane disposables is the valves tend to develop slow leaks when repeatedly connected and disconnected. I've even had a partial canister leak a little after being disconnected following one use.

There are commercial 1# canisters that are designed to be refilled. I've heard mixed reviews about their performance. The weak spot is the same: the valves, which don't have a positive shut-off.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sehc View Post
I mostly use a 1000W microwave. 400W solar and 690ah battery. I have a butane camp stove that works well even inside. I plan to try a inductive stove soon.
I have a self built camping van.
How big a inverter? And how is this power system working out?
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