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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Friday, April 10, 2009

van cooking gear

on vandwellers, celtic gypsy woman posted that she finally has her van, and is beginning the fun journey of setting it up for vandwelling. this is so's always fun to tweak your gear and your set-up (my van is an ongoing project as i do more and more shake-down trips) but there is nothing like the exhilaration of your "first time"! she asked this morning what the rest of us did for a kitchen, and i decided to get rolling on a pictorial project i've been thinking about, so here goes......
this is my newest acquisition in my quest for the perfect water bottle and it might be a winner. it is multipurpose and only cost $5. it is a zyliss shaker bottle, and has a flip spout to drink out of (the flip cap makes it easy to open while driving, and keeps dog slobber off where i put my lips). it holds 16 oz. which makes it perfect for the crystal light protein drink packets i like, and has a little disc inside the lid that helps mix the powder. it has a wide mouth, and is easy to clean and disinfect with a couple sprays of my Clorox Anywhere. it hasn't leaked on me yet in normal everyday use and shaking, although the cap does not seem secure enough to toss into a pack unguarded. it has measuring marks, so i was able to eliminate my measuring cup :-)
these are my cookpots. the hae tea kettle by GSI is lightweight and sturdy and perfect for heating a couple cups of water for tea or oatmeal or ramen. the copper boiler is a heavy but beloved rendezvous you can see it has seen alot of campfires. i can still smell the aroma of a smokey fire faintly when i heat it up :-) it holds water enough for a 2 packet ramen stew with salmon and veggies. a little harder to clean, because of the historically correct little rings around the middle, but worth the extra effort. my frying pans are the Banks Fry-Bake pans which double as ovens. the smaller alpine model is pictured, and will cook a small batch of cinnamon rolls, or a small omelet. the larger model (not pictured) will do a big batch of biscuits or stir-fry for a couple people. on the left is the riser, or scorch buster. i will be doing a seperate blog on the fry-bake pans with some cooking experiments. i had an 8" nonstick frying pan by GSI with a folding handle that i just removed in my ruthless gear purge last week after returning from the west coast. i fully intend to keep it from creeping back in. we'll see.
eating stuff.....MSR alpine plates which are smaller, sturdier and pack flatter. an insulated mug big enough for tea, cup-a-soup, 2 packs of oatmeal, or 1 pack of ramen. my hand thrown mug/bowl made by a friend at rendezvous. i have several of her pieces. they are heavy and don't pack well, but i love eating out of this bowl, so it stays. for now. the rubbermaid bowl is one of those that packs flat, and comes in handy for many things. i use this one for salads or a mixing bowl, and as a small dishpan on a rare occasion.
doing dishes......i usually wipe out my mug or bowl with a paper towel, spray with clorox anywhere, and wash it out. no need to rinse, the clorox anywhere is diluted to disinfecting strength but safe for people, pets and babies. i often respray after scrubbing the dish and let it dry for maximum disinfection. the white spray bottle with the blue top in the back is the travel size clorox anywhere. bandanas make good dishcloths, easy to wash and they dry quickly. a few sprays of clorox keeps them fresh and clean smelling. it's handy to have a lid on your dishpan, in case you can't dump it when you are done, like in a walmart parking lot....
i use backpacking utensils mostly. the gadget with the blue handles is my pot lifter that safely grabs handleless pots and pans. you recognize the can opener. the black thing in the upper left hand corner is an MSR folding spoon. it works for stirring, ladeling, and even measuring....inside lines mark off tablespoons and partial cup measurements. some backpacking recipes are written according to numbers of "MSR spoonsful". a spatula, extending roasting forks, and a mini extendable blowpipe complete the set. no Ron, not weapon type blowpipes.....this is for blowing a stream of air at the base of your fire so you don't catch your cowboy hat on fire.

igloo water cooler....keeps ice for several days....holds 1 gallon of water and 1 bag of ice. the rubbermaid narrow refrigerator bottle fits the shelf next to the igloo and holds 1 1/2 gallon. my butane stove on pull out shelf.
i traded 6 smaller plastic drawers for two larger ones after extreme downsizing. my hope will be to lower the bed somewhat to prevent knocking my noggin on a daily basis.
my new paper towel holder with a mini bungee cord! michael is so smart :-)
my old paper towel holder....a mini plunger that fit into the cup holder in back. i can now reclaim the cup holder, and have one roll of paper towels accessible from the front or back.
proof that i can't see my thumbnails very well :-)

so comments would be appreciated if you liked this pictorial essay....i will do more on other gear!


NEMO '09 said...

Thank you Kate :)

love seeing how your setup is, still trying to decide what items from the kitchen I will be taking with when I hit the road :)

Maitreya said...

Very helpful post. I'm leaving in about a week, ready or not. I'll probably continue van modifications when I get to Washington state.
Is the bulkhead between the kitchen shelf and the driver's seat attached to the van or free standing? I'm still trying to figure out my kitchen area.

Ron said...

heehee... I need to get them blowguns ordered! Target practice at my RV park should be a good conversation starter, no? :)

Tara said...

Wow, that's some advanced van dwelling.

(PS, I hope your not really eating those chemicals)

kate said...

nemo- choosing gear is the best part!

maitreya, the whole bed/shelf unit is attached to each other, but freestanding otherwise, the custom fit between the drivers seat and rear door make it solid and unmoveable.

ron, we can hunt for jackrabbits for dinner at the slabs!

and dear, sweet tara, i sadly am at this point, but have been incorporating healthier foods lately. i am on a whole wheat pita bread and almond butter kick now.....

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. I'm getting ready for the next step in the evolution of Moby's kitchen, and this is some terrific inspiration (as are you!).

Your pictures are such a gift! I know it can be tedious sometimes, but the effort is well appreciated!


Kevin said...

Looking good Kate.
Thanks for posting the pict's

The Traveler said...

does the handle fold down out of the way on your GSI tea kettle?

kate said...

vickie and kevin- thanks! more pics coming soon!

traveler- the handle does fold down flat. this is a great little kettle, light and compact!

kate said...

vickie and kevin- thanks! more pics coming soon!

traveler- the handle does fold down flat. this is a great little kettle, light and compact!