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When you think of living in a van, some might think of spaghettios in a can, dehydrated camping food, and maybe eating out all the time. Most people in a van are on a budget and want to optimize their budget as much as possible. This is why it is important to think about what kind of kitchen you want in your van build. From a full-on oven, inductions stove, to a portable gas stove you have plenty of options to ensure you can make full meals while living on the road. Below is a list of my top campervan cooking and stove options for vanlife.
Gas Stovetop options for a campervan
Propane vs Butane
For Gas stovetop options you have to first decide if you want propane or butane. They are both fairly similar when it comes to cooking capacity but they have a few differences when it comes to convenience. If you are using the larger bottles instead of the 1 pound containers then butane has a clip and is easier to attach to your stove than the propane screw-on container. However, butane can be much harder to find if you are out in the wilderness.
Portable Stove vs Slide-in gas stove
The next consideration you need to make is whether you want your stove to be portable or inset inside of your van. If you find yourself doing a lot of hiking and camping outside of the van then you might consider a small portable stove that you can bring along with you.
You also need to consider how much space you have in your van. If you prefer a very clean look and want to have as much counter space as possible a portable stove can be stored and you have your countertop space available for other uses when you are not cooking. The downside to a portable stove is that you have to take it in and out of its storage spot anytime you want to cook and that can get frustrating. Not to mention you are completely taking away your option to have a large fuel tank which can save you a lot of money compared to constantly buying the small one-pound containers.
Best Campervan Portable Stovetop Options for Vanlife
Coleman portable bottletop propane camp stove
Coleman is an extremely popular brand in the outdoor arena and for good reason. They have great reviews and reliable products. Below is a great option for someone who hike-in to camp, doesn’t cook often or needs a large setup.
- Small and portable
- Easy to use
- Only allows for cooking one item at a time
- Can only use 8″ pan
Coleman Portable Butane Stove
A great option for someone who wants a simple portable butane stove burner.
- Small, easy to store
- Budget-friendly (around $20)
- Instastart ignition
- Highly Rated
- Only allows for one 10″ pan
- Uses butane which can be harder to find in remote areas
Coleman Double Burner Portable Stove
A personal favorite the Coleman Double Burner Portable Stove is great for anyone in a campervan or RV. We have the Coleman Tritan portable stove alongside an induction cooktop which allows for flexibility depending on our needs.
- Double burner allows for flexible cooking needs
- Portable so you can cook inside and outside
- Multiple options for different options
- Instastart ignition
- Bulky and can take up a bit of space in the cabinets
- Since you need to store it, you have to take it in and out
Best Campervan Drop-in Stovetop Options for Vanlife
I personally love the look and feel of having an indoor stovetop inside of my campervan. Your home on wheels feels more complete with a full kitchen. This is where a drop-in stovetop can be nice when you are building your campervan. Although it does take up counter space it allows for quick cooking.
A recommendation from Eamon and Bec the Flame King is a great option for a drop-in gas stove in your campervan. We updated our kitchen and now utilize the flame king and absolutely love it! It’s easy to install and cooks wonderfully!
- Two burners for flexible cooking
- Manual Start
Another popular option in the vanlife world Atwood brand offers a few options from a two-burner to a three-burner gas cooktop for more flexible cooking.
- 3 Burners for ultimate flexibility
- Still under $200
- Manual start
- Takes up more counter space
Rosehill Induction Stovetop
Induction can be a great option for anyone who isn’t thrilled with the idea of having gas in their campervan. The consideration that you have to make is that you will have to have enough solar so you can use your induction even on the cloudy days. For us, we have a 100-watt refrigerator which means that we have to watch how much solar we before we decide to cook. If you have a large solar battery bank and efficient appliances then an induction unit may not be such a bad idea.
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t stay hot for long
- Must use magnetic pot or pan
- Can be a big draw on your electricity
- Single burner doesn’t allow for flexible cooking
Campervan Oven Options for Vanlife
Believe it or not, joining life on the road does not mean you have to get rid of your oven. There are several vanlifers that I know personally who added an oven to their van build and use it on a daily basis. You simply have to be willing to give up a little space and want to spend the money. If you love to bake then check out these campervan oven options for vanlife.
Dometic™ CU-434 Propane 3-Burner Stainless Steel Stove
There are many other brands, sizes and price ranges that you can look at when choosing your campervan kitchen options. These are a small section of brands that have high reviews and are used by many vanlifers. Are there any options that you believe I have missed? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
- High-quality oven
- Oven and range combo
- Close to $1000