However, we needed some things. After all, we still wear clothes, cook food, take care of our dog, and so on and so forth. Some things we didn’t need at all any more (goodbye high heels!), but for some purposes, we just needed different stuff.
Some of our ideas about what RV life would look like have ended up being different than the reality. For instance, we thought we would cook over a campfire all the time, so we have lugged a cast iron Dutch oven all over the country. In the past five months, we have cooked over a fire once, used the Dutch oven not at all, and I can count the number of campfires we’ve had on one hand. Other stuff we invested in (or were gifted), on the other hand, has been great! For instance, we got a set of dishes that we knew wouldn’t break when jostling around during travel.
So now that we have been on the road for a while, we have a good idea of the things we really need and the things we could do without. I thought it would be fun to share! (I’ve also included some links in case you’re starting out yourself and looking for recommendations.) I’ll make this into a little series: kitchen stuff, organization stuff, decor & chores, and gadgets & technology. My goal is not to review every item we own (that would be very boring), but to give you the standouts and lessons learned.
Stuff We Needed
We learned quickly that hand washing a wire colander is a special form of torture. We gave up and got this guy:
We had this before we left mostly for making soup and things like that. We got rid of our normal counter-top blender (too big!) and now this little thing pulls double duty. It fits in our utensil drawer AND makes smoothies. 🙂
Dish pans and sink-top drainer
This will be obvious to anyone who routinely does all their dishes by hand. We, however, relied heavily on our dishwasher in our sticks and bricks house and despised doing dishes. We also didn’t have to worry about water as much, so we didn’t have water saving routines around doing the dishes. We quickly learned that you need dish pans (one for washing, one for rinsing). Duh.
We also found a small dish drainer that can rest either on top of the sink or on a counter. I can’t find anything similar on Amazon, but it is a great multi-option tool that has obvious travel day storage.
I love my AeroPress for making coffee each morning. Small, compact, easy clean-up, and I think it tastes better, too.
HydroFlask Water Bottle and Pint Glasses
You can fill this water bottle with ice water at 8 am and still have ice cold water in the afternoon. It’s amazing and we almost always have it with us.
The HydroFlask glasses are made with the same insulation. It works equally well for hot coffee (if you don’t mind drinking coffee from a pint glass, at least), keeping beer cold, or a refreshing glass of huckleberry vodka lemonade on a hot day. None of their products have a weird metal taste and though they are pricey, they have a lifetime warranty.
We considered getting rid of our Pyrex containers because, well, they’re glass. We decided that they are solid enough that we would give it a shot and we are really glad we’ve kept them. Not only are they good for leftovers, they can go in the microwave, the convection oven (our microwave is a combo), or the normal oven. We use our microwave far more often than we anticipated, partially because it keeps the RV cool inside, partially because it minimizes dishes, and partially because the solar system is more awesome than our wildest dreams. The downside of these is they are really heavy and we don’t have a great place to store them. That means they are up high, and after driving you may end up sending one flying when you open the cabinet. We accidently bopped Cheat with one after a particularly rough road bounced them around. He runs away now when we open that cabinet.
Coleman stove or similar
One thing we didn’t fully recognize was just how hot the inside of the RV gets when you cook in the summer. We got rid of our two-burner Coleman propane stove… and then wished we hadn’t.
Stuff We Could Do Without
We used this all the time car camping, but RV life is just… not camping. The smell of wood smoke in your hair is less pleasant when it makes your whole bed smell like smoke, too. In general, though, I highly recommend this Dutch oven, it just didn’t fit with our new lifestyle (it’s not you, Lodge, it’s me). We do use our cast iron skillet constantly!
Did I think I would be baking bread all the time? I don’t know.
HA. We didn’t even use place mats in our sticks & bricks house, and we had a nice table there! These didn’t make it past our first stop, even though they were just the perfect shade of orange.
In general, we did pretty well as far as the kitchen is concerned and we learned quickly. The biggest change was learning how to cook keeping the heat of the RV and amount of solar power in mind. Well, that and minimizing dishes to wash. 😉
Next week, I’ll cover all the stuff we needed for organization (or turned out to be useless). I’ll let you in on a secret: I am an organization ninja. Prepare to be amazed.
Note: This post uses Amazon affiliate links, which cost you nothing and help support our blog! We only link to products we like and use.