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I drive a VW California. It’s a camper van based on a Transporter body. It drives like a car, but you press a button and you’re camping. I take it on tour with me - Sean Lock
Sometimes all you want to do is just jump in your van and hit the road and see where it takes you. The lure of getting away and spending some time in your van by yourself, or with your friends and family is enticing and, at times, almost overpowering.
But if you’re going to spend a couple of days, a week, or even longer traveling the highways and byways of America, you’re going to need to be prepared for your vacation, and cookware should be at the top of the list of the equipment that you’ll need.
We all need to eat, that’s just one of the inevitable facts of life, and while you’re out on the road and fully immersed in your vancation, the thought of a well-cooked meal to cap each day off perfectly will never be far away.
Preparing that meal while you’re in a van, where space is at a premium and there isn’t any room for non-essentials, isn’t as easy or straightforward as it is in your own kitchen.
When you’re cooking in your van, regular pots and pans, and even plates, dishes, and cutlery are about as useful as a chocolate coffee pot. They just won’t cut it, which means that you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and rethink all of your van-based dining plans.
And that’s where we come in. There’s no need to worry or panic, after hunting high and low, we’ve put together a list of the best van cookware that you can use to prepare a well-earned meal at the end of, and kick start the next day with.
Easy to use, clean, and store, the cookware on our list will help to ensure that you can make the most out of your vancation and enjoy every single second that you spend cooking in, or next to your van.
Fire up the grill, and turn up the heat, it’s time to start working meal-based miracles with the solution to all of your van cookware problems…
Best Van Cookwares
Attempting to figure out the differences between camping cookware and van cookware and what differentiates the two is an eternal riddle that there really isn’t an answer to.
Why? Because there is no answer to the question, the things that make a cookware set ideal for camping are exactly the same as the things that make a cookware set perfect for your van.
It needs to be light, easy to clean and store, and needs to have pots and pans for you to cook whatever you want, and need, to without having to scrub and reuse some part of it while you’re preparing your meal.
Stanley’s Base Camp Cook set for four people doesn’t just efficiently and effectively tick all of those boxes but it also includes a full set of durable simple to clean cutlery and plates, so you don’t have to think about adding them to your list of van must-haves. Everything that you want, it’s all right here.
With over a century of camping experience to their name, Stanley has been helping to keep hikers and adventurers on the road with their no-nonsense approach to solving the vacation and weekend break conundrums that matter to you.
And with their twenty-one piece, all in one cookware and mess set that’s exactly what they’ve done. They’ve solved your van cookware problem.
- All In At Twenty One - This twenty-one piece set includes a three and half-liter pot or pan (depending on what you want you to want to use it for, it qualifies as either), a frying pan, a heat resistant trivet, a cutting board, and everything that you’ll need to eat the delicious meal that you’ve cooked, or are planning to cook with it.
- Harder Than An Old Barn Nail - This cookware set is fashioned from stainless steel, so all of the cooking equipment is scratch proof, rustproof, and has been made to last for a lifetime of adventures and road trips.
- Lifetime - While we’re on the subject of lifetimes, Stanley’s cookware set comes with a lifetime warranty, so if some unforeseen catastrophe does befall it while you’re cooking in your van, just give Stanley a call and they’ll either replace it or refund you.
- Storing And Cleaning - As it’s made from stainless steel and hard-wearing, durable plastic, it’s easy to clean. And when you’ve finished using it, it’s been designed to be stacked and stored in the three and half-liter pot, which means that you’ll have no problem finding room for it in your van.
- Pint-Sized Plates - The plates aren’t huge, so you might want to bear that in mind if you’re planning on cooking enough to feed a lot of hungry mouths.
- Instructions - There are none. Instructions that is. For some reason, Stanley didn’t think it was necessary to include any instructions with the cookware set so you’ll have to figure out how everything works and fits together again when you’ve finished cooking by yourself. It isn’t the end of the world or a deal-breaker, but it is incredibly frustrating.
With a name like Gutsdoor, the first thing that we thought of when we stumbled across this cookware set was one of those rugged outdoorsman types who chops down trees, smokes a hand-made pipe, only wears lumberjack shirts, and builds canoes for a living.
And the fact that we couldn’t find out anything about the brand, apart from the fact that a lot of van fans and camping devotees seem to swear by them and their products, just reinforced that image and solidified it in our minds.
This eleven-piece cookware set is made from anodized aluminum, which makes it tough and means that it heats up quickly and considerably reduces your cooking time, and as it has a non-stick surface it’s easy to clean when you’ve finished cooking.
And when you’re ready to start cleaning, Gutsdoor has made sure that it’ll be even easier than you dared to dream it could possibly be by including a loofah sponge in the set which will make short work of all the grease, grime, and food remnants that are left in the pot and pan.
While they stole our hearts by including three BPA (those nasty plastic chemicals that can and do poison people) free plates, what really sold us on this cookware set was the fact that Gustdoor includes a kettle with it, which makes it simple to rustle up a cup of joe, no matter where you are.
And as we need a caffeine hit to get us up and going in the morning, the kettle was and is a cookware blessing.
- Eleven Pieces To Go - It’s an eleven-piece cookware set that’s made to ready to go when you are and can be cleaned and stored away in less time than it takes to unpack it. Well, maybe not, but you know what we mean. It’s quick, simple, and efficient, which means that it’s everything that a van cookware set needs to be.
- Easy Storage - The entire set has been designed to be stored in the two-liter pot, and when you’ve finished packing it up, it’ll slip straight into the nylon pack that’s supplied with it. So if you don’t have the space to store it in a cupboard, under the sink, or on a shelf in your van, you can just hang it from any hook that’s available.
- Made From Aluminum - Don’t worry, this isn’t the same sort of aluminum that tins are forged from, it’s anodized aluminum, which means that it’s super strong and made to last super long. Gutsdoor’s cookware set also has a nonstick coating, so it’s easy to clean when you’ve finished whipping up a meal.
- It Includes A Kettle - If you love coffee as much as we do and need it to make your brain work and limbs move in the morning, then a kettle is essential. It’s an easy way to get all the caffeine you need while you’re on the road in your van.
- It’s A Size Thing - It’s a little small for some van fans, and while Gutsdoor claims that it has everything that three people will need for a camping trip, it’s only big enough for two. So, if your van crew number more than that, you’ll either need to double up on the Gutsdoor or look elsewhere.
Overmount believes that their camping equipment can help you to express yourself, and while we’re not sure how that works with cookware set and how this set can help you to find your inner voice or self, what we are sure of is that’s an ideal way to cook up a storm while you’re in your van.
This fifteen-piece cookware set is made from anodized aluminum, which means that it absorbs and transmits heat efficiently and quickly, so it will reduce the time that you spend cooking and is durable enough to take all the bumps and spills of van-based life in its stride without suffering so much as a scratch.
It includes everything that you’ll need to turn your van into a culinary paradise, a pot, frying and kettle, and everything that you’ll need to eat your creative masterpieces.
And Overmont has, quite literally, thrown in the towel with their cookware set, as they’ve included one to make sure that cleaning up when you’ve finished cooking is straightforward and easy.
And when all is said and done at the end of your trip and you need to pack your cookware away and store it, all fifteen pieces can, and will, fit in the one-liter pot which will, in turn, sit snugly in the nylon bag that’s supplied with the cookware set.
So when you need to find somewhere to store it in your van until your next adventure, it’ll slide right into any available space that you have, or hang comfortably from any spare hook.
- Fifteen Pieces In One – It’s a fifteen-piece set that contains everything that you’ll need to prepare any meal that takes your fancy in the comfort of your van. If you can dream a meal up, or find a recipe for it, with this cookware set to hand, you’ll be able to prepare it.
- Aluminum – It's been forged from anodized aluminum, so it’s hardy, durable, and should prove to be an erstwhile cooking companion on all of your van based adventures.
- Easy To Clean, Simple To Store – As the pot and pan have a non-stick surface and the bowls are made from extra tough plastic, it’s also easy to clean. And, when you’ve finished using it, everything in the cookware set will fit inside the one liter pot, so it’s also simple to store.
- It’s Not Exactly Huge – The whole easy to store thing that means it fits inside the one-liter pot has a downside. And that downside is that this cookware set is small. When Overmont says it’ll happily cater to all of the campfire cooking needs of three people, what they actually mean is that it’s only really big enough for two
Their name may make them sound like a candy company that does a roaring trade in Smores and marshmallows made for roasting around a fire, but MalloMe is actually an incredibly serious and scrupulously fastidious manufacturer of camping and camp based accessories.
If something has anything to do with spending an evening under the stars, then the chances are that MalloMe has its own branded version of it in its extensive catalog.
Fashioned to the highest exacting standards, this ten-piece cookware set is made from anodized aluminum, so it’ll heat up quickly, which means less cooking time at the end of a long day, and as the cooking components have a non-stick coating, they’re also easy to clean when you’ve finished cooking.
And that anodized finish? It makes this pot and pan set incredibly tough and durable, so unless you really put it through its paces on a regular basis, it should outlast your van.
It’s also been designed to collapse into a small bundle at the end of the day, which is MalloMe speak for “it’ll all fit into the pot when you’ve finished cooking with it and cleaning it”.
But that design feature means that it doesn’t, and won’t take up much room in your van, which makes it an ideal cookware set to take with you on the road.
- The Only Ten Pieces You’ll Need - This cookware set has everything that you need to cook and feed yourself after a long day of adventuring in your van.
- Tougher Than Tough - Just like Gigantor, the MalloMe cookware set is tougher than tough and ready to help you fight against and ward off the evil forces of a rumbling stomach.
- Easy To Clean, Easy To Store - The two most vital ingredients that any van cookware set requires are that it needs to be easy to clean and it needs to be compact enough to easily store in whatever available space you have in your van. And the MalloMe cookware’s simple and straightforward design elegance means that it easily fulfills both criteria.
- Quality Control Isn’t Controlled - MalloMe doesn’t appear to have the strictest quality control as some unfortunate van campers have reported that their sets didn’t last anywhere near as long as they expected, or wanted, them to and that they felt that MalloMe’s customer service wasn’t up to scratch when they attempted to report their issues. Caveat emptor.
No, we’re not exactly sure who yodo are either and neither is the internet, but sometimes names aren’t important.
What is important is what something can, and will, do and this cookware set will not only live up to your wildest expectations, it’ll also surpass them.
It’s another anodized aluminum set, the favored material of the van savvy camping cookware manufacturer, which means that it’s lightweight, tough, and built to heat up quickly and efficiently.
The cooking parts of the set also have a non-stick coating, which makes them simple and easy to clean, and it’ll break down and fold up into the largest pot in the set, which makes it easy to store in any space that you can find in your van.
So far, so good and yodo’s cookware set conforms to all of the set parameters of van cookware, but it does have something that the other cookware sets on our list don’t, and that’s what we love about this set.
It includes three differently sized pots as well as a frying pan, so you will literally be able to cook anything that your heart desires with this cookware set. The culinary world will be your van-sized oyster.
- Sixteen Pieces - It’s a huge sixteen-piece set that will cover and cater to any of our cooking plans while you’re on the road and exploring America in your van.
- Hard Is As Hard Does - It’s made from anodized aluminum, so it’s tough strong and has been made to last for an incredibly long time. Providing that you look after it and clean it, it should last as long as you want and need it to.
- The Dreaded Clean-Up - As it’s been given a non-stick coating, yodo’s cookware set is incredibly easy to clean, and as it’s been designed to imitate a Russian doll, the entire sixteen-piece set will fit inside the largest pot, making it easy to store in whatever available space you have in your van.
- It’s A Size Thing - There really is no way to get around or avoid the fact that all van cookware is a little on the small side. It has to be to fit comfortably in your van, which means that it won’t cook as much or be as big as you expect it to be. But unless you’re planning on cooking a banquet, then the yodo should be all the cookware that you, or your van, will ever need.
Best Van Cookware Buyer’s Guide
Which Cookware Set Do I Need For My Van?
The two crucial factors you need to think about when you’re choosing the right cookware for your van, are your budget and how much space you have. You’ll need to think about how much space there is in your van to store and use your cookware and how far your budget will stretch.
That’s why we’d recommend that anyone looking for a set of cookware for their van, and all of the road trips that they’re going to make, doesn’t pass go and doesn’t collect one hundred dollars, but instead goes straight to the source of the best van cookware that any hardened road warrior should equip their vehicle with, and that’s Stanley’s Base Camp Set.
We’ve been using ours for a couple of years, and it has never, and we can’t envision a scenario in which it would ever let us down.
And who knows, maybe one of these days we’ll see you down the road somewhere and we’ll be able to share a warm meal and some good conversation in the shelter provided by our vans. Happy trails!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Van Cookware?
Cookware is a marketing term that was passed into mainstream usage to describe the different cooking items that are needed to successfully prepare a meal. It includes all of the cooking vessels that a professional or amateur kitchen uses, but is usually just used to describe larger and smaller pots and frying or saute pans and saucepans.
Cookware is primarily made to be used in kitchens, but as it hasn’t been engineered to be used outside of that environment, the cookware designed for camping, which can also be used in vans, RVs, and boats tends to be lighter, and smaller than it’s more-traditional counterparts.
Often using a nesting system similar to the one that was made famous by Russian dolls to make it easier to store in the limited space and room that most vans have, van cookware because it needs to be durable and light is usually made from either stainless steel or anodized aluminum.