Outside Camp Kitchen

obnoxiousblue

Active Member
Jun 14, 2009
247
Commack, LI
Hey friends! My name is Mike and I used to post here pretty regularly a number of years back. Then, I had been camping in a 1977 VW bus named Peabody, and PuP was a better resource for camping related items versus the VW forums which were more focused on restoration, shows, etc.
In the years since, that camper moved on to a new home, its sale helped me buy my sticks n bricks, and I’ve since gotten another (older) VW to play with and more recently another camper. While still a van-based camper my roof does pop up, so I hope to find the same support back here on PuP!

2ABD63CB-5491-4A40-9F3C-A98CA5F61277.jpeg

I’ve been doing some research on a new outdoor kitchen set up. My unit has a built in galley with a 2 burner stove, sink, fridge, etc. but we all know how cumbersome cooking in the camper can be. I had “fallen for” the TailgateNGo (https://tailgatengo.com/products/tailgate-n-go-1) but never pulled the trigger because I wanted to see other options, it turns out there are very few. I also came across the HitchFire (https://hitchfire.com/pages/the-hitch-kitchen) but their production seems to face delay after delay. I think what I’m really looking for is almost a modern take on a chuckbox that I can put on my hitch or platform when traveling, but haven’t found or seen anything.

60164E8E-3985-4B3E-B4A7-9890D9056F88.jpeg

Does anyone here have a self-container solution for their camp kitchen?
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
14,046
Albuquerque, NM
Chuck boxes and the like have always seemed cool to me, but in reality, we realized they are bulky, heavy, and not a flexible in use. I don't remember ever seeing a hitch-mounted kitchen, in all our years of camping (33 seasons and counting) but I'm sure they're out there. The hitch mounted things we do see can be rather frightening when viewed on the road, I sometimes wonder if the owners realize just how much they can bob about on the road, or how close they come to the road at times.
Since we have had cargo space you probably don't have with the van, we stuck with what might be termed a modular system. Stove & fuel traveled in the roof top cargo box, I still miss that attic space, since we can't use it with our truck. We use roll-up and folding tables, and food in Really Useful boxes. When we used a cooler more, it was in the back of the vehicle; we now have a fridge that works so we use a smaller cooler.
The roll up tables are very space conserving, I had one that adjusted to counter height, I haven't found a direct replacement, we have a much heftier one now, but it replaces using two tables. (Browning and Alps are two of the badged brand names for the same table)
 

SteveP

Super Active Member
May 21, 2015
2,697
Similar to a concept I had before we got the pup, for tent camping. The main reasons for abandoning the concept was the problems with accessing the rest of the storage in the truck bed, concerns about making it weather tight, and the need to permanently mount it on sliders to make it accessible with the tailgate down.

Those concerns may not be applicable in a van application as long as it will fit through the back door. It appears to be light enough not to seriously impact your load capacity, a definite plus over home built. If it was about 1/2 that price I might consider it.
 
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Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,188
Is that really your license plate?? Bwahahaha! :p

One thing I dislike about assorted slideout or other attached kitchens--might not be an issue on a VW--is the height. Some of the cool "off road" trailers have slideout kitchens I'd need a stepstool to use. Pretty sure I'd need some sort of box-lowering gizmo for these to work for me on my truck.

I think it's a great concept because I hate setting up a camp kitchen. I want to HAVE a kitchen ready to go.
 

J Starsky

Super Active Member
Aug 3, 2017
1,429
East Central MN
I sure like the full galley doors you see on more modern TT's than ours - click below. We won't cook inside, we set up a Mess Tent. I can't call it a fold out kitchen, but I've got 100% of your cooking needs, just add food & water.
For multiple days or single stays, we just take what we need from the bins, cook/clean/pack it up. The actual tent goes up dependant on weather and/or duration of stay. Usually is stays unpacked due to general laziness and sunshine.

 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,589
Nj
They look heavy, and if you needed to get in the back of the van, would you be able too? I would first look at what you need and a place to put it. What do you cook and how? Do you really neeed a griddle, burners and a grill? What fuel will these things run on? How often and how many trips a year? Chuck boxes are nice and lots here use them, but they are not for me. As someone above said, folding aluminum tables or roll top tables make good stands, you can get a grill with multiple inserts if needed. Store them on a rear mounted rack.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,989
Northern Virginia
I agree about the price…OUCH and does that include the appliances or are they separate? I get where your coming from lack of storage perspective, but I personally cannot see myself spending that kind of money when there are other WAY cheaper albite takes a bit more storage ways. That’s just me though. I’ve seen lots of people make chuckboxes however the biggest downside is weight When it’s full. Permanently riding on the hitch would be like an earthquake with whatever is inside. Would that thing you are looking at be designed to permanently ride on the hitch? The way the description reads It’s designed to fit in the bed of the truck and moved to the hitch when you get to your destination. Another problem I see is rain shelter for those ugly days. not Trying to be a Debbie downer but wanted to give you things to think about. Best of luck with whatever your decision.
 

kudzu

Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 20, 2014
680
Knee deep in kudzu
To me, the Hitchfire kitchen looks like a better option than Tailgatengo. I don’t see the price on the Hitchkitchen. How much is it?

Hitch-mounted, swing-away storage seems like a very good option for you, as long as it is mounted at the correct height & very sturdy. Also, as long as it isn’t too heavy. Nothing like that is cheap, though some might be affordable for you. The question is how much a DIY kitchen box would cost & how well could you attach it to the swing-away hitch set up?

In the end, there probably isn’t a cheap & easy solution. I can totally understand someone opting for a premade solution.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,589
Nj
Here is an "affordable" swing away hitch carrier. https://www.stowaway2.com/swingaway-hitch-frame (Affordable in quotes because to me it is still pricey, even if it is in the cheaper range.)
If you look at the hitchfire site thr stuff is $$$ but not too bad. Here is a drill on a swingout arm with table. That would be mostly all you need. You could add a table top burner , like a colman white gass stove, or the butane one if you dont need it much. If you look into the grill maybe it has a stove top attachment.
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,429
If you add up the components of these prefab solutions the price isn't that crazy. My setup isn't self-contained, but it did add up:

Camp Chef Yukon 14" 2-burner stove: $175, I think.
Cover for stove: $30
Grill box for stove: $129
Pizza oven for stove: $129
Griddle for stove: $79
Carrying bags for stove, grill box, pizza oven, and griddle: $120
Propane conversion kit to use trailer propane: $50
Coleman folding table: $40
Collapsable sinks (2): $25

Right there I'm just a little under $800 for an outdoor kitchen. And, IMO, totally worth it; with it I can cook just about anything I could cook at home. Occasionally I might need a 3rd burner for boiling pasta or potatoes, while grilling on one burner and baking rolls on another burner. In that case I'll use the 3-burner stove inside the trailer, but that's rarely necessary.

Anyway, by the time you add up the components themselves, you can easily hit $800-1000 just for the appliances. Suddenly an $1800 chuckwagon custom insert doesn't seem so unreasonable.
 

obnoxiousblue

Active Member
Jun 14, 2009
247
Commack, LI
Is that really your license plate?? Bwahahaha! :p
Sure is! The German translation of Guest House! Dog house might’ve been appropriate as well!

Thanks all for the replies, some good stuff here for sure.
It’s certainly not an insignificant sum of money, and for that I appreciate the alternatives a few folks have offered up that I’ll be checking out tonight. Since I’m in a van, and not a tow vehicle with a trailer. Space is at a premium without impacting sleeping or seating space. No doubt I’ve seen some scary things bouncing around on hitch trays though, and I don’t want to be that guy!

I don’t think I could build something comparable with the versatility for less, since this does come with quite a few attachments though it doesn’t come with your cooking appliance.

Gonna swing back and check some of the other options shared above! Will be reporting back!
 

obnoxiousblue

Active Member
Jun 14, 2009
247
Commack, LI
Hitch-mounted, swing-away storage seems like a very good option for you, as long as it is mounted at the correct height & very sturdy.
In the end, there probably isn’t a cheap & easy solution. I can totally understand someone opting for a premade solution.
The HitchFire doesn’t have a release date lined up yet. So that’s a gamble.
I’m thinking about the StowAway/SwingAway carrier which should do a good job supporting the weight and then adding a set of drop down legs for when it’s in the “swung out” position to keep the weight from really beating up the hitch.
 

Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
3,086
DFW, TX

They are pretty pricey, but an excellent piece of kit. I almost bought a King Charles off FB a couple years back, but couldn’t quite justify with what I already have.

I use a couple different chuck boxes myself, depending on the trip and needs. I have a Beavertree chuckbox, which is now sold by Yoke Outdoors I think. It is a great, lightweight option. Holds a stove and most basic cooking gear and supplies. I also have a pair of old Campmate Camp Kitchen boxes- they pop up on FB and CL from time to time - bigger and heavier than the Beavertree, but have more utility with side tables and swing out doors with storage. Biggest issue with these is they get heavy.

I have transitioned now to larger stoves when I have the room. My current goto system is a Camp Chef Pro60X I rescued from the trash heap. It has a single burner BBQ box and a single burner griddle, so I can cook almost anything. I supplement it with a 3 burner Coleman 5428 propane stove, as when I cook for larger groups the extra burners are handy.

I use a GCI Outdoors Master Cook Station, which so far has been my favorite camp kitchen out of all the ones I have tried. It does not collapse as small as the roll top kind, but it is closer to counter height, lots of shelves and big work surface. I use a collapsible bin for a sink, which sits perfectly in the vinyl one it comes with. The only complaint I have is it does not have leg levelers but I can usually get buy with some of the spare Lynx blocks I have.

I also have a couple of Coleman deluxe high stands. These are super lightweight, collapse small, but are great standalone stove stands. I use my 5428 on one, and have attachable shelves that clip onto the side of the stove, which is super handy.

I thought about adapting stuff to hang off the side of my pup, but ultimately decided I wanted the flexibility to set up a mess tent under a canopy if needed. Usually though I set up the awning and screen room, and then put the kitchen there mainly so I have easy access to water and electric and sometimes there isn’t room in the site for multiple canopies.
 

William Correll

New Member
Dec 11, 2021
2
Hey friends! My name is Mike and I used to post here pretty regularly a number of years back. Then, I had been camping in a 1977 VW bus named Peabody, and PuP was a better resource for camping related items versus the VW forums which were more focused on restoration, shows, etc.
In the years since, that camper moved on to a new home, its sale helped me buy my sticks n bricks, and I’ve since gotten another (older) VW to play with and more recently another camper. While still a van-based camper my roof does pop up, so I hope to find the same support back here on PuP!

View attachment 89327

I’ve been doing some research on a new outdoor kitchen set up. My unit has a built in galley with a 2 burner stove, sink, fridge, etc. but we all know how cumbersome cooking in the camper can be. I had “fallen for” the TailgateNGo (https://tailgatengo.com/products/tailgate-n-go-1) but never pulled the trigger because I wanted to see other options, it turns out there are very few. I also came across the HitchFire (https://hitchfire.com/pages/the-hitch-kitchen) but their production seems to face delay after delay. I think what I’m really looking for is almost a modern take on a chuckbox that I can put on my hitch or platform when traveling, but haven’t found or seen anything.

View attachment 89328

Does anyone here have a self-container solution for their camp kitchen?
 

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sgibbons

New Member
Feb 22, 2022
8
Hey friends! My name is Mike and I used to post here pretty regularly a number of years back. Then, I had been camping in a 1977 VW bus named Peabody, and PuP was a better resource for camping related items versus the VW forums which were more focused on restoration, shows, etc.
In the years since, that camper moved on to a new home, its sale helped me buy my sticks n bricks, and I’ve since gotten another (older) VW to play with and more recently another camper. While still a van-based camper my roof does pop up, so I hope to find the same support back here on PuP!

View attachment 89327

I’ve been doing some research on a new outdoor kitchen set up. My unit has a built in galley with a 2 burner stove, sink, fridge, etc. but we all know how cumbersome cooking in the camper can be. I had “fallen for” the TailgateNGo (https://tailgatengo.com/products/tailgate-n-go-1) but never pulled the trigger because I wanted to see other options, it turns out there are very few. I also came across the HitchFire (https://hitchfire.com/pages/the-hitch-kitchen) but their production seems to face delay after delay. I think what I’m really looking for is almost a modern take on a chuckbox that I can put on my hitch or platform when traveling, but haven’t found or seen anything.

View attachment 89328

Does anyone here have a self-container solution for their camp kitchen?
I recently seen that Yakima has an EXO SYSTEM CAMP KITCHEN BUNDLE. It's expensive, but it's an option. https://yakima.com/products/exo-ope...5960.319864313.1674667417-58500241.1674667417

1674667705968.png
 




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