I’ve been away from the blog for a while…. Last winter, my husband Mike decided to make a kitchenette for the back of our mini-van. Easy storage for food and utensils for day trips away from camp. Lots of photos were taken….
We knew we needed a cooler and have found milk crates useful for many odds and ends.
Careful measuring of the height with the lid open and overall width were needed.
Regular 1 X 8 boards were ripped down to narrow width to provide framing.
A step drill bit was used to pre-drill for the screw pockets.
Joints were glued and screwed tight.
Square ends were made…
Several test fittings in the vehicle as work progressed.
Center supports and were made and attached to the top. They were also attached top and bottom on the back side.
A cutting board was traced and a recess was routed into the top to keep it from sliding around.
Tapered sides were added to the top to keep items like paper towels, bags of chips or other light items from falling off. The top and upper sides were made from scrap plywood that I had. I suggest ¾” high quality plywood for strength and longevity. A ½ sheet should work, depending on your width.
The lower unit had thin plywood bottoms fitted in the two outer sections and paneling glued and stapled to the framework. One sheet was enough to cover what you see here. The bottoms, top and exposed wood were sealed with several coats of polyurethane sealer.
Several types of plastic storage bins were purchased and test fit. We chose the green ones. Shelves were added above the milk crate and above the big box which lives on the right side.
The container shown sitting on the orange milk crate has a top silverware drawer. We stock essentials such as cleaning sponge, dish soap, silverware, inexpensive paring knife, wine bottle opener and disposable silverware. We carry both paper and plastic dinner plates that can be washed.
We found the storage boxes keep bread from getting smushed. The milk crate is used for boxed items and cans. Crackers, cookies, etc. can be quickly taken to/from the trailer and the van. Other items in the storage boxes include sunscreen, hats, bug spray, rain coats, disposable table cloth (although ours gets reused several times), paper towels, plastic (washable) cups/wine glasses.
The cooler goes in the center section and there’s plenty of room for a small camp stove and a pan or two if you want hot food. We’ve used the kitchenette several times this summer and found the open back door shelters you well in light rain and wind, depending on how you are parked. I am able to comfortably prepare vegatables for salads, cut meats and cheeses, etc.
The unit is secured with small screws to each side of the van, it removes easily and the holes are very small and reusable, with care. While traveling, the counter top makes a nice place to lay out wet towels or swimsuits.