Not all Sprinter conversion vans are created equal. Some have the luxury of a van kitchen…others do not. Either way, dining al fresco is one of the great joys of VANlife. For us, it’s sometimes nice to break out the outdoor kitchen and serve up some worthy vittles in the open air. When we travel, we store our outdoor kitchen gear in VANdal’s back-end gear garage. The rest of our pots & pans, Sea to Summit collapsible bowls, and other kitchen necessities stow nicely in our little galley.
Here are some of our favorite items for camping & cooking outdoors:
Camp Chef Everest 2-Burner Propane Camp Stove
This high-powered stove is B.A.!!! Water boils fasters than you thought possible & the 25,000 btu’s will sear your salmon in a flash. For about the same as you’d spend on a run-of-the-mill Coleman, you can upgrade to the Camp Chef Everest and dine happy.
VANdal has a wonderful kitchen – we have a two burner propane stove, sink, refrigerator, and plenty of counter space. But some days we want to be able to cook outside, enjoy the scenery, and not have lingering food odors (we love salmon!) inside our home. The Everest Camp Chef is perfect for that task, especially when combined with the Alps Mountaineering table. We spent months researching various stoves, different fuel types, and burner configurations. Ultimately, the Everest Camp Chef was the undisputed winner for several reasons.
Each burner is capable of putting out 20,000 BTU’s, which is vastly superior to most camp stoves…and heck, even most home stoves! We opted for this level of heat capability in part because that’s how we roll…. And in part because we do plan to use the stove at various altitudes and weather conditions.
The polished surface and removable grill make cleaning a snap. It comes with wind deflectors which do a very good job of guarding the flame. The build quality is fairly decent as you would expect from a mass-produced Chinese product. It seems these days that all stoves are produced in the same factory to the same quality standard. Nevertheless, it boils water VERY quickly, the simmer controls are efficient, and it’s easy to clean up, pack, and put away for the next meal. As queen of the camp kitchen, Bethany is a happy camper, indeed. And… no more salmon smells emanating from VANdal.
These, along with our Helinox collapsible coffee table, are indispensable for around the campfire or hanging out under the VANdal awning. They’re so tiny & light we also carry them in our backpacks & take them everywhere.
- MSRP: $100
- LIFETIME GUARANTEE!
- Fast, easy assembly
- Durable, breathable ripstop nylon fabric
- Aluminum frame
- Weighs only 1 lb. 6.4 oz
- Holds up to 250 lbs
- 20 x 20 x 15”
- Packed size: 17.5 x 5 x 5”
- Seat height: 2”
- Stuff sack included
We have spent well over a year searching for the perfect folding camp chair, having tried every imaginable brand and configuration, including the beautifully made wooden Kermit chair (handcrafted in TN).
The requirements for the perfect chair are: 1) Must be comfortable. 2) Must be light and easy to carry. 3) Must be compact enough to fit into our crowded VANdal gear garage without monopolizing space.
The Alite Mayfly turned out to be the perfect chair, meeting and exceeding all of our criteria. It comes in its own small stuff sack about the size of a man’s forearm. It unfolds quickly, with all the legs and supports being made of high grade alumimum tubes, shockcorded together, onto which the seat cover slips on easily. The chair barely weights one pound, and allows you to sit low to the ground with your legs outstretched. Even after several hours around the campfire, neither of us was uncomfortable. (Plus, the added warmth from being able to sit so low and close to the fire was an added bonus). Even at our exaggeratedly different heights (Martin is 6’2” and Bethany is 5’3”), the chairs are an excellent fit and designed to comfortably accommodate up to 250 pounds.
Lastly, one of the nicest features of the chair is the angle it puts your body into. Unlike most camp chairs, which sit you upright at 90 degrees, the Alite Mayfly is slightly declined, preventing your hips from getting too tight. This also makes it more conducive to utilizing its other great feature: An option to remove the bar that forms the front leg of the chair so that it can be used as a rocker. **Note these chairs are great for all terrain because there are no stick legs, but rather bars so weight is evenly distributed and the legs don’t get stuck in sand or dirt.
Its only downfall is that, being so low to the ground, it can sometimes be a bit tricky to get up after a long day on the trails when your legs are stiff and sore. Well worth it, though!
Alps Mountaineering XL Dining Table
Easy-to-use aluminum roll-out table that compacts itself into a cylinder. We take it to Venice, FL for shark tooth collecting jaunts and always have it in the VANdal gear garage for outdoor food prep.
- Size: 28″ wide x 55″ long x 28″ tall
- Weight: 14 lbs.
- Aluminum Fold-Up Top
- Sturdy Aluminum X-Frame
- Shoulder Carry Bag Included: 5″ x 7″ x 55″
- Anodized Aluminum Frame
The Alps Mountaineering XL table is absolutely wonderful. Made of lightweight aluminum, it is durable and rust-free, folds and unfolds in less than 20 seconds, and rolls into a tubular round stuff sack that takes up minimal space in the VANdal garage. It’s perfect for setting up our Everest Campchef stove, with plenty of prep work space. We’ve only had ours for a short time, but our friends Barbara and Craig have had theirs for a few years and it shows no wear and tear. In fact, it was brilliantly used at their last Low Country Boil — Even though we were on an island without running water, the table proved easy to clean of the remaining shrimp, potato, crab and corn by simply removing the easy-to-roll top piece and giving it a good rinse in the water. You can always find them at a discount on Sierra Trading or Amazon.