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New RVing Kitchen Gadget Additions


A mistake we made in our first year on the road was buying designated camping gear for our kitchen. We learned our lesson, living in an RV doesn’t mean camping. And you don’t have to compromise.

This is your home, and you can have all the amenities of any kitchen.

There’s nothing that necessarily makes a kitchen appliance or gadget ‘RV friendly’ other than it fits, can be powered by your available energy sources and doesn’t easily break while in motion.

In the past few months we’ve added a few items to our kitchen that we thought we’d share today.

Dometic Ice Maker

Dometic left us an ice maker on our doorstep! Thanks!

Dometic left us an ice maker on our doorstep! Thanks!

To my sweetie Chris, there are precisely four food groups – Salsa, Guacamole, Tortilla Chips and Ice.

While we keep several ice trays in our freezer, they’re not always enough to keep up.

Some time ago we inherited a portable ice maker. To our surprise, when stopped for more than a few days, it was quite a nice addition. We set it up outside under an awning and it requires no plumbing.

Just pour some fresh water in, provide a little power and inside of 15 minutes we have little soft ice pellets.

I actually prefer soft ice, given my sensitive teeth and tendency to want to smush ice in my mouth (I avoid it otherwise). I also appreciate the reduced sounds of ‘crunch crunch crunch’ all the time as my sweetie devours the softer version.

Plus, when we’re entertaining – we have ice constantly making to keep up with the party. Great for those happy hour cocktails!

Our older model was showing its age and wearing down. We mentioned this to our friends and Dometic reps at the recent Escapade Rally we attended. To our surprise, we found a new Dometic Portable Ice Maker sitting on our doorstep at the end of the rally!  Thanks guys!

So far, the Dometic has been performing well as compared to our older Emerson. It’s efficient and quiet, and keeps harmony in the house. It also looks more styling!

Silicone Baking Liners

Around the holidays, we put together our wish list so that we get stuff we’ll actually use as gifts. I took notice of our friends Nina & Paul pulling one of these out many times when we converged on meals together.

We had to make cookies for this blog post.. oh.. the... sacrifices!

We had to make cookies for this blog post.. oh.. the… sacrifices!

These silicon baking liners take the place of parchment paper, and can turn any pan into a non-stick surface that evenly distributes heat.

The Dometic convection/microwave combo we picked up last year (which we’re still very happy with) came with a raised metal baking platform. Combined with a round Sil-Eco version it makes for a perfect makeshift pizza ‘stone’ as well as a cookie sheet (all gluten free, of course.)

The Sil-Eco cleans up incredibly easily, never sticks and we’ve been super impressed with it. Easy to store either flat or rolled up, making it especially small space friendly.

And they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.


New Bartending Fun

I was on the verge of investing in a decent bar set for mixing cocktails, and had a boston shaker and tools all set to click buy.

Then I discovered two items that might make more sense.

Cocktails at our place!

Cocktails at our place.. using our Tervis Tumblers as shakers.

First, is the new Tervis Tumbler Shaker lid which includes a jigger cap and strainer.

I’ve had Tervis Tumblers since I was a kid, and we’ve carried them onboard all our RVs. They’re great insulated cups that stand up well to a traveling lifestyle. This new lid snaps on to any 16 oz Tervis cup, turning it into a cocktail shaker!

Does it work as well as a real set? Perhaps not. But we love re-purposing things we already have and not adding breakable glass to our kitchen.

Next, some fellow NuRVers posted about the Bar10der and we were intrigued. It’s like a Swiss-Army knife with all those bartending tools you might only use occasionally anyway.

A muddler, reamer, knife, jigger, zester, strainer and more. Besides being functionally useful, they come in a variety of colors – and what a clever name for a 10-in-1 tool!

So, instead of buying a full on bar set, we decided to give this combo a try first. Since we don’t mix cocktails all that often (most know our preference for wine anyway), it’s been a great compromise for functionality and storage space.



Smart Instant Pot

They had us at ‘Bluetooth’.

We kept hearing about these Instant Pot things – some sort of combo slow cooker, rice cooker and pressure cooker (which has always been a scary word to me!). When some fellow RVers posted about a pre-order deal for the new IP-Smart Instant Pot, we couldn’t resist.

I’ve gotta quit hanging out on RV groups!

The Instant Pot is a big larger than our 10Q rice cooker.

The Instant Pot is a bit larger than our 10Q rice cooker.

We’ve used a dedicated rice cooker for years – and frequently whip up a batch of black beans, Rotel and rice as a quick meal. (Topped with Lizano salsa, cheese and avocados… yum!).  If we could have a device that replaced the rice cooker AND added functionality, well.. score!

We’ve had ours in since February, and I have to admit – I’m not quite in love with it yet.

While we have made some great chilis, vegetable side dishes, curries and soups.. we know we’re not yet tapping into the potential.

Here are the things I’m having trouble adjusting to:

1) This thing is HUGE! Much larger than we were anticipating.

2) The learning curve and lifestyle adjustment has been daunting for us. We have to know up front what we’re putting in the pot – once it’s sealed, adding something isn’t feasible. I generally cook on a whim and hardly know what I’m making even halfway through cooking (hmmm… will this turn into a soup, a curry, a Tex-Mex stir fry?). I generally just get a few ingredients out and improvise the rest of the way.

3) It hasn’t yet replaced our rice cooker. I haven’t figured out how to make our rice dishes in it without burning things and we’re often needing to make up a pot of rice anyway to compliment curry dishes.

4) The Bluetooth feature is more of a gimmick and not worth the added cost in our opinion. Sure, it’s fun and entertaining to show off to friends. But it takes longer to pull up the app on our iPhone, make a connection and adjust settings – than it takes to just press the buttons on the device itself. If you’re considering such a unit, save the bucks and get a non-Smart version (unless you need some geek points).

All and all though, we don’t regret the whimsical addition to our kitchen – and intend to continue to get acquainted. We just need to spend some more time on Pinterest to find recipes and experiment. Do you have any favorite gluten free and vegetarian recipes to share?

It does come in quite handy when attending crowdsourced meals (aka ‘pot lucks’) allowing us to create dishes that serve more than a couple people, and is supposed to be energy saving so potentially ideal for boondocking. We’ll see if this one keeps its (large) place in our kitchen.

Update – Recall Notice: Instant Pot has contacted us about a recall on our Smart Instant Pot, and a new one is inbound to us.

Some other Kitchen Gadgets we Love:


Here’s some of our other RVing Gear Posts:

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37 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. Hello, Hopefully you will get this comment on this older post….

    Could you share any examples of how many amp-hours a couple of typical meals would take for the Instant Pot? I have only a 100 AH lithium battery and trying to determine how much cooking a meal will deplete.


  2. Another comment, thank you so much for responding. My question is do you have a problem with rodents? It seems to me that cheaply made trailers and slide-outs are more prone to mice and such, but in your opinion, is a bus like yours somewhat more secure in the undercarriage to prevent such annoying pets from getting up into the carriage and living space?
    PS–does one need a class C license to drive?
    Thank you, thank you! So curious about the roadlife.

    • We haven’t had problems, but we also made sure all holes into the storage and interior space are as filled as possible. We also have a cat 🙂

      Our bus is regenerated as a motorhome, and in our state of domicile a regular license is all that is needed.

  3. On Youtube it was mentioned that you do not cook with propane. Just curious if you have electric stove top and do you have electric oven or just rely on the convection oven? (Please comment on if you would recommend relying solely on electric appliances such as electric fry pan or electric hotplate? Reason whay I ask is that propane or gas cooking scares me!)
    Also, how do you manage food storage in a small space? Don’t suppose there is a large pantry and canned goods are heavy and add extra weight, so how do you store food or how often do you go to grocery? Have you tried to use of freezed dried foods (veggies like dried spinach with no preservatives) purchased in cans which are light weight? Thank you so much, enjoyed watching the vids. Very entertaining to those of us still stuck at home!

    • We use a variety of electric gadgets for our cooking – induction hob, Instapot, rice cooker and convection/microwave oven. Works great for us. Can’t make specific recommendations, we’re all unique.

      We do actually have lots of food storage space in our bus, and it’s not a problem for us at all. We have tons (literally) of excess cargo capacity. We usually hit a market once or twice a week for fresh veggies and ingredients (which we prefer) – much like when we did before hitting the road.

  4. Sorry for the late comment, I thought I had commented before but maybe it was on FB. Anyways, just directing some fellow RVers to your post and wanted to suggest JL Fields cookbook Vegan Pressure Cooking. She also has a FB page. Vegan Richa, while not IP specific, is vegan and GF and you could easily allow for cheese, dairy or eggs for the non-dairy versions. I’m still on the fence about getting an IP and wonder how you feel about after having it for a while now.

  5. I love reading about kitchen stuff for rvs. I love to cook so when we do start full time rv-ing it’s nice to know I won’t have to give up too much! I was wondering, why not just get a crock pot? I’ve noticed many full time rvers don’t have one.. Is there a downside to them?

    Find me at RedheadedOwl.com

    • The InstantPot can be used as a crock pot, so if we ever wanted to cook that way – we have that ability. We prefer multi-functionality to separate devices when we can manage it.

  6. Thanks for all the tips on the gadgets! We have been toying with the idea of an ice maker for a while as we seem to use so much. I’m sure it would pay for itself fairly easily. Good to know the Dometic brand works great! Truly enjoy all the great info you share!

  7. This is a sort of useless comment to all US readers (i.e. almost everyone reading, in all likelihood). There is an amazing cooking “pot” available to Europeans called the Remoska.


    Unlike traditional slow cookers like the InstaPot etc., the Remoska puts the a heating element in the lid, allowing to also brown, bake etc. The promo copy reads:

    It cooks better than an oven and is positively miserly with electricity – your oven will hardly need to be switched on. Roast chicken pieces (crispy skin, flesh as soft as butter), succulent lamb chops with golden roasted potatoes, toad-in-the hole and fish bake; toasted sandwiches, baked potatoes, pizzas from frozen, ready meals in their foil dishes; you can even bake light, moist sponge cakes and delicious scones. The pan is coated with Teflon® Classic so it’s easy to clean and, being so compact, it can be packed up

    Unfortunately, the Remoska is made in Romania, and although you will find the odd mention of it in a couple of US-based websites, it is, fundamentally, unavailable in the US.

    My parents use one in their Fiat Ducato/Murvi camper van, and report extremely favorably on it. Very sad we can’t get these things on our side of the Atlantic.

  8. I’m curious about the microwave. Is there something about the Dometic brand that makes it more suitable for an RV over a typical household brand?

    I enjoy reading your blog. The solar articles have been especially informative.

    • Not particularly. We went with this model because of the size. It’s difficult to find smaller combo convection ovens & microwaves, and we didn’t have much space to work with.

  9. my partner and i are making plans to join the world of full-timers, and your blog is one of our favorites. it’s especially cool to know there are other glutenfree veggie folks on the road! one of my concerns has been “would we be the freak outcasts who can never join in on gatherings that involve food?” so it’s nice to know there’s a possibility we’ll run into some glutenfree rv’ers 🙂

    i didn’t even know a portable ice maker was a thing! i’m not a huge ice lover (sensitive teeth, too), but my sweetie is *and* i do kinda like that soft ice. how cool! 🙂

    • You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many fellow food restriction folks there are on the road. Crowdsourced meals have actually been pretty easy hanging out in some of our mobile communities. And, eating out on the road is pretty doable too.

      Looking forward to a GF Veg meal with you guys somewhere down the road!

      • I tried to reply the other day but i got an error… musta been on my end 🙂

        YAY it’s so heartening to know there’s other food restricted folks out there on the road. it’d be great to share a gf veg meal with you guys 🙂

        thank you for the kind response!

  10. We’ve got to get those silicone baking sheets. I love silicone cupcake holders, using them as ramekins for dipping sauces (love the bright colors). I’m still hoping I can find room for my juicer!

  11. Plant-Fueled Trucker on fb is always posting delicious meals made entirely in his Instant Pot. I don’t have one yet, so that’s all I can contribute.

  12. I love my InstantPot. But… I’ve been using it for 2 years. It was slow going at first. I love that I can cook for two or ten. The Smart IP wasn’t available when I purchased, but I doubt I would have bought it anyway. There’s plenty of recipes out there on the Internet. You can pretty much convert any recipe you currently use. Check out the blog at http://www.hwww.Hippressurecooking.com because there is anew article that covers recipe conversion. I hope you find your groove with it.

  13. are you guys using the sautee feature on the insta-pot – i love to be able to sautee the veggies first all in the same pot then add everything to it for a truly one pot meal

  14. After deciding I really didn’t need my microwave in the trailer, am going to get another baby crockpot to use (with the removable pot). I would also say that the Yoshi mat I have for the outside grill is indispensable and think the baking mat that came with it will work like your silicone ones. If I still had my big motorhome your ice maker and bartending items would be in it! LOL

  15. After a cheapo multipot’s teflon-lined pot began flaking after 6 months, I was initially thrilled to buy my InstaPot last year. Loved it’s stainless steel pot and even bought a glass lid for it with the idea of using on my RV stovetop as a pasta cooker (it did fine, but lack of handles made it a bit tricky to use that way). But the 2 biggest challenges for me were size (6 qts is comically large for a solo person in a 24-ft RV!), and electrical (when I started boondocking more, I’d never use it as I didn’t want to run the genny that long).

    So, in Feb, I gifted my Instapot to RV friends who still have a big house, and then bought myself a 4 quart Fagor Futuro pressure cooker ( http://amzn.to/1REuhPG ). It was expensive, but oh so worth it!

    The glass lid I bought for the Instapot fits the Futuro too so it makes an excellent stock pot or pasta cooker that way (and probably a slow-cooker too). The pot has very heavy-duty stainless that works well on either a propane stove or induction cooktop. No built-in timer like the Instapot, but my iPhone can do that job easily enough. I’m really liking the smaller 4 quart size and the fact that it fits nicely into my pots/pans drawer in the RV!

    • I think we could have done quite well with a much smaller Instant Pot – I can only imagine it being way overkill for 1 person. Even making dinner for two, we end up with leftovers. We have however run it off the solar/batteries .. and it does pretty well.

  16. Nice list of RV kitchen gadgetry. I lparticularly ike the ice maker and the baking liners, both of which I was previously unaware of.

    Now that bartender set, use caution! (Hahaha!) 🙂

    Enjoy! Thanks for sharing these useful finds.

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