Campervan food essentials to inspire your camping kitchen

Imagine a world without lists.

Even if you’re able to make regular escapes in your campervan or caravan, running through a quick checklist before you dash out the door will always pay dividends when you pull up at your destination.

Well fellow campervanners, it’s time for another list! And this time we’re talking campervan food.

Campervan Converts - campervan food, a stocked pantry

As much as I love the philosophy of hunting for fresh seasonal produce at little roadside huts, the doomsday prepper in me can’t leave civilisation until the campervan pantry is bursting with some bare essentials.

With a bit of creativity you can produce loads of meals just from these ingredients, or you can supplement with fresh fish, meat and extra veggies as you go along.

Campervan Converts - campervan food, Greek salad

Campervan Converts - campervan food, prawn stir-fry

Campervan Converts - campervan food, couscous

Campervan Converts - campervan food, veggie curry

So here’s the list of basics that you’ll always find in our campervan kitchen. It seems extensive when it’s typed out, but we manage to fit everything in one large plastic tupperware box (which is easily transferred to and from the house) and a small fridge. Plus we have a ‘tea and biscuit cupboard’ which houses the rest.

And while you’ll rarely use everything here on a weekend break, when you’re reaching the end of your trip and only have a few fresh ingredients left to play with, a squeeze of lemon juice or a quick garlic and parsley butter can really liven up an old field mushroom.

Campervan Converts - campervan food, lemons

Campervan Converts - campervan food, garlic

Campervan Converts - campervan food, olives

Campervan Converts - campervan food, mustard

LIST OF CAMPERVAN PANTRY BASICS

DAIRY / FRIDGE

Butter

Milk

Yoghurt

Cheese (usually have cheddar, feta, sometimes haloumi and a small block of parmesan)

Mini pots of Philly (good for a quick sauce)

Eggs

Bacon

Meat (usually buy fresh as we go)

Fruit (selection)

SAUCES / CONDIMENTS 

Balsamic or red wine vinegar

Soy sauce

Sweet chilli sauce

Mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Tomato ketchup

Sachets tomato paste

Branston pickle (of course)

Mustard  (usually have Dijon and wholegrain)

Dried herbs and spices (a selection, but the following are always there: oregano, chilli powder, ground cumin, paprika, ground coriander, sesame seeds)

Extra virgin olive oil

Carton ready made stock and a couple of stock cubes

Honey

DRY GOODS

Breakfast cereal (small box, also porridge sachets take up little room)

Bread/rolls (we actually rarely take bread with us – it takes up too much room in the fridge and doesn’t last long in the cupboard, particularly in the summer)

Biscuits / snacks / cake

Flour (only a small amount in a tupperware / ziploc bag – useful for a quick sauce thickener)

Pine nuts

Pasta and/or spaghetti

Risoni (great for a quick camping ‘risotto’)

Rice

Noodles

Couscous (small sachets are good – am currently addicted to Ainsley Harriot’s)

TINS/JARS (mini tins where possible)

Tuna

Mixed beans / kidney beans / chickpeas

Baked beans

Beetroot

Capers

Olives

Curry paste

Coconut milk

Chopped tomatoes

Pesto

VEGGIES

Peppers

Onions and spring onions

Garlic / ginger / chilli

Lemons

Tomatoes

Mushrooms

Ready washed baby spinach

Potatoes and sweet potatoes

Avocado

Broccoli / bok choy / green beans / snow peas (easy to stir fry)

Bunch fresh herbs (whatever’s in the garden – mint / basil / coriander / rosemary / parsley wrapped in a paper towel)

DRINKS

Tea (many kinds!), coffee, sugar

Bottled water

Squash / juice cartons

Wine

________

Campervan Converts - campervan food, chilli con carne

Campervan Converts - campervan food, steak

Campervan Converts - campervan food, risotto

Campervan Converts - campervan food, prawn stir-fry

So all you need to do is fill a large tupperware box with some pantry basics like those in the list above, and there’ll be no excuse for serving sausages every evening – you’ll be creating fabulous camping meals that are the envy of all your neighbours. Recipes coming soon!

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What to pack in your campervan?

One of the most popular search terms to find this blog recently has been ‘what do I need in my campervan?’ I wrote a post a few months ago about 10 campervan essentials you need to pack for your first trip, but if you’re after a full list, here’s an inventory of pretty much everything we take for a weekend away. And because it’s always nice to have a nosy through other people’s cupboards, a few photos of how we store it all in a very small space.

Kitchen

Our main kitchen cupboard has three shelves, which we’ve lined with some rubber grip matting to stop things sliding around, and everything is stored in large plastic tubs. Some things stay in the campervan all the time, other things we move into the house when we’re not using them, so it’s much easier when they’re in boxes. One of the tubs acts as a mini pantry to keep all the (non-refrigerated) food together, meaning there’s less chance of finding a stray onion lurking at the back of the cupboard in 12 months’ time.

Cutlery

Colourful knives, forks, spoons

Two sharp knives

Bread knife

Speed peeler

Two tongs

Mini whisk

Serving spoon

Spatula

Can opener

Crockery

Two small plates

Two large plates

Two bowls (cereal or pasta)

Two mugs

Two large wine glasses (Saturday night)

Two small wine glasses (Sunday night)

Two water glasses

Pans and other utensils

Three saucepans (varying sizes)

Two frying pans (large for a fry-up, small for pine nuts)

Three thin chopping boards (probably one too many but they are very thin!)

Two tupperware tubs (handy to decant a large tin)

Mini colander

Stainless steel mixing bowl (useful for all sorts)

Small measuring jug (for mixing salad dressing or just measuring)

Miscellaneous

Whistling kettle

Kitchen towel

Oven glove

Place mats

Two tea towels

One hand towel

Two place mats

Napkins

Small picnic bag

Ice block

Thermos flask

Cleaning / utilities

Surface wipes

Jay cloth

Scourer

Washing liquid and dishwashing brush

Microfibre cloth (useful for everything)

Soap

Bin bags

Ziploc bags

Two green enviro bags (handy for a quick supermarket shop)

Living area / bedroom

Two pillows and pillow cases

Bottom bed sheet

Top bed sheet (summer)

Quilt and cover (winter – this stays out during the day)

Two towels (double up for beach/shower)

Clothes

We have one drawer for both our clothes, which didn’t seem much at first, but thankfully Paul is very economical with his packing so I can actually fit a lot in. I’m borrowing an idea that my brother-in-law uses for short family holidays, where everyone can fill just one shopping bag with clothes so they all fit neatly in the boot. I found a nice large M&S food bag does the trick.

We also have a narrow cupboard for shoes and flip-flops; jackets go over the backs of the driver/passenger seats.

Bathroom

There’s actually loads of space in the bathroom (relatively speaking, of course), plus we have two drawers and a cupboard in the vanity.

Toilet roll

Soap

Hand towel

Hand wipes

Sunscreen

Insect repellant

Citronella candle

Insect bite cream (always needed in spite of the above)

First aid kit

Large Cath Kidston wash bag (me), toothbrush (Paul)

Outside

Most of our big items are stored in the space behind the front two seats.

Two camping chairs

Folding camping table

Beach umbrella

Rug

Body board (stored in the bathroom)

Awning (attached to van)

Inflatable kayaks (there’s no storage for these so they stay outside)

Two life jackets (always kept in the bathroom cupboard, only used if we take the kayaks out, or if there were a HUGE flood, I suppose)

Entertainment

Most of this (and the miscellaneous items below) is stored at the front of the van, which is quite spacious and has a few cubby holes and glove boxes.

Playing cards

Travel Scrabble

Mini telescope

CDs

Portable speakers (for outside)

Cross stitch (still to be attempted)

Miscellaneous

Fire extinguisher

Sweeping brush

Window shades for driver/passenger windows (there are no curtains in the front of the van)

Sunshade for windscreen

Curtain tie-backs

Mini fan

Torch and batteries

Various chargers

Matches

No-peg washing line

Tissues

Map

Sat-nav

.

So here it all is!

Reading the list back we seem to fit a lot in. There’s an equally long list for food so I will cover that in a separate post. Is there anything I’ve forgotten??