There’s nothing better than cooking up a feed in the great outdoors. But whatever your chosen kitchen setup, one thing is for sure – there’s always room for improvement! If time has taught us anything, it’s that it’s not always the big expansive accessories that make the biggest difference to an outback kitchen. In fact, quite the opposite!
So whether you’re a fancy gourmet-meals kind of camper or a sausage sanga lover, here are some simple and easy camp kitchen upgrades that can turn cooking from a chore into a passion!
12V WATER PUMP
Although your average hand pump will get the job done, there will be situation when you need running water and both hands free. The addition of a 12V water pump is one of the most practical upgrades you can make. They’ll supply good water pressure at the flick of a switch, and can literally revolutionise your camping setup.
When possible, it’s a good idea to rig up your system so that your manual water pump can still be used. This means you can still access your water even if the electric pump fails.
To set it up this way, install a 12V water pump with a manual switch and use it with a hand-pump style of tap. It’s then as simple as lifting the handle on the manual tap and flicking on the pump switch. The manual switch is vital as hand-pump taps cannot contain the forces required for a pressure-operated pump and will, therefore, leak.
WATER FILTERS AND PURIFIERS
More often than not, camp cooking requires the use of fresh, drinkable water, and that’s where water filtration systems really come into play. For touring purposes they’ll need to be capable of removing all bacteria, colloids and viruses, not just larger particles such as dirt and algae.
To get the job done, you’ll need a system capable of filtering down to at least 0.5 micron on the size scale, which is generally displayed as the rating for the individual filter. However, for that extra bit of protection, a reverse osmosis system holds the title for the highest quality of filtration available. It’s capable of filtering down to 0.0001 micron, thanks to the thin film called a membrane.
It’s hard to put a price on good quality drinking water, but with a water filter on board and a tap outlet at your camp kitchen’s sink, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that most campers only dream about.
EXTRA BENCH SPACE
Cooking in the bush is getting much more extravagant nowadays, which means you need more space than ever before to prepare and serve up your banquet. Drop-down or fold-up tables are a great way to gain a bit of extra bench space and there are literally hundreds of ways you can build them yourself these days.
The most important thing is to make sure the bench is able to handle a heavy load as camp ovens and camp cooking gear in general is heavier than you would think. Another option is to use concealed tables that fold out from underneath the main kitchen unit as they provide plenty of good usable bench space yet pack away without eating up too much storage space during transit.
While most modern campers come standard with a kitchen unit, many kitchens offer very basic storage facilities. If you’ve got an afternoon free, why not build a few shelves inside the kitchen to help keep things a bit more organised? The best part is that you can customise the size of the shelves and compartments to suit your equipment.
A great idea is to line the shelves with the soft non-slip matting, to help keep things even more secure and create a bit of a buffer.
If you’ve got an old plastic bottle lying around, then, believe it or not, you’ve potentially got a dispenser as well. Plastic bags, toilet paper, paper towels and pretty much anything that gets packaged on a roll can utilise this cracking little budget DIY.
For most applications, you’ll need a 1.25L or 2L plastic bottle, and you’ll need to remove the cardboard roll from the centre of your chosen consumable so you can pull out the bag or sheet from the inside.
Then it’s a matter of cutting off the bottom of the bottle and feeding the first bag or sheet through the smaller opening at the top. If you’re going to mount it on its side, it’s a good idea to block off the larger open end so your consumables are contained. Simply poke a few holes close to the end and weave some string across the top.
Check out the full feature in issue #89 June 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.