When it comes to camper van conversions, many of the necessary parts of the van can be simple DIY projects. The walls and flooring, bed, and even storage can be quickly built by someone familiar with a few power tools.
However, even the average builder can get stumped by the kitchen. As one of the more complicated portions of a van conversion, kitchens tend to take the most time and money to design and build.
Kitchens are also where a lot of things can go wrong. With cabinetry, fuel lines, vents, water lines, cooler connections, and waste drains, there are a lot of components to try to fit together and keep from leaking or rattling loose while in transit.
Having an already built option not only saves time but also a lot of frustration. Thanks to several companies, there are a variety of kitchen pods to choose from for different sized vans.
Kitchen pods are all-in-one, modular systems that include a sturdy cabinet with a stove and sink and all the wiring and plumbing. In addition, some pods even have charging ports, plugs for a fridge or cooler, and an included fridge or cooler. Some are even removable and can be used outside for al fresco cooking.
1. Trail Kitchens Campervan Kitchen Pod
One of these removable options is the Trail Kitchens series of conversion pods. The Trail Kitchens come in several styles and sizes that fit a variety of vans and even minivans. The Mack Daddy of them all is the aluminum Campervan Kitchen Pod for just under $3,000.
It features a marine-grade water system with a pump, portable single burner propane stove, fresh and gray water tanks, utensil storage, and a Dometic fridge connector. The pod can be designed for both driver and passenger side layouts and the countertops can be customized to the look of each van.
2. Wayfarer Vans Kitchen Galley
Wayfarer Vans has made a name for themselves by creating affordable, lightweight van conversion kits for the Ram Promaster City, Ram Promaster, and the popular Sprinter.
Did you know they also sell their “Walter” Kitchen Galley for the Ram Promaster 1500 or 2500 à la carte? For just under $1,800, the removable galley has a sink with pump faucet, five-gallon fresh and grey water tanks, and plenty of storage and counter space. The stove can be a butane or propane option that can also be moved outside.
3. VanDOit Kitchen Pod
If you want something a little more minimal, check out the Kitchen Pod by VanDOit. This flexible system can be easily installed or removed from the Ford Transit van.
The pod includes the frame with a sink with a hidden pump faucet and a flip-down cover and adjustable storage options for a portable stove. The bottom section pulls out to fit a Dometic cooler and a fresh or gray water tank. The entire kitchen is attached via straps to the wall of the Transit.
4. ZENVANZ Gourmet Kitchen
Along with their beautiful, full conversion kits made of bamboo, ZENVANZ offers their modular kitchen cabinet component and upgrades for anyone who is converting a Sprinter van.
The kitchen includes an easily removable cabinet made of solid bamboo, a bamboo/paperstone countertop, and silverware drawer with soft-close hardware. Upgrade options such as a fridge/freezer, two-burner stove, sink and faucet, and a mounted tabletop can be added on.
5. Portable Sink and Cabinetry Hack
There is nothing wrong with hacking some existing items that do the same job as a more expensive kitchen module. If you are intimidated by cabinetry building but don’t mind doing some of your own research, there are several companies out there that build and ship out portable sinks and cabinets that can be converted into a very useable van kitchen.
Check out this Jonti-Craft portable sink on Amazon. It comes with a tankless, on-demand water heater, pump, faucet, and fresh and gray water tanks. Another company, BestStoreSupplies on Etsy, offers a similar sink for only $599. Combine the sink with your choice of base, storage cabinets, or modular kitchens from IKEA or your local hardware store.
Before deciding on a kitchen pod or module, be sure to know what type of van you want to convert and how much room you want to dedicate to kitchen space. Other factors to take into consideration is your power supply and whether or not the sink pump and fridge will depend on 120-volt or 12-volt power.