For those looking for the ultimate cooking setup in your SUV, look no further than the Air Down Gear Up Dedicated Kitchen! This system provides a level of access to your fridge, stove and a work surface that will change how you think about cooking in the outdoors. The kitchen deploys in seconds, allowing you to focus on the food instead of struggling with tables and setting up.
The kitchen consists of 3 stages: The fridge slide, the stove tray and the slide out table. All 3 stages can be deployed individually, or all together providing you the optimum amount of access for your needs in any given situation. We have provisions to tie down your fridge and stove, allowing you to keep everything secure while out on the trail.
For our fridge setup, we are utilizing a Jackery 500 powerbank to power the fridge and few other goodies. The Jackery is very simply plugged into a DC outlet in the vehicle. We have found that the 500 can power our 55 quart ARB fridge for about 3 days without any additional charging, making it perfect for a weekend get away. The Jackery requires about 6 hours of vehicle run time to charge fully. You can add solar charging to extend run times, or upsize the battery for longer-use needs. We have found the 500 to be sufficient for our uses.
We recently set out for some larger group trips, and wanted to share how we used our kitchen. To start, we utilize space in the standard drawer to house some of the cooking essentials. We keep a set of nesting pots/pans from GSI to maximize space. For the group trips we also put a larger cast iron skillet into the drawer. In the stove tray we keep the stove, a 1lb propane tank, an assortment of cutlery, cooking utensils and some simple spices.
The kitchen has an optional wing, and for these trips we utilized the wing with emergency gear underneath (tow straps, a tire repair kit, jumper cables, etc) and utilized the space above the wing to store re-usable grocery bags with all the dry good food. The fridge obviously got loaded up with all the perishables and off we went.
Our basic meal planning consisted of bacon and eggs tossed in a tortilla with some salsa for a breakfast burrito, simple warmed up soups or mac & cheese for lunch (my kids would happily live exclusively off mac & cheese) and for dinner we'd do some kind of veggie plus a cooked meat. All of this combined with snacks throughout the day keeps every very well fed and happy on the road.
We use a combination of pots, pans and a cast iron skillet for all the cooking needs. For the breakfasts we'd utilize two pans to cook up the bacon and eggs, lunch was a pot for heating up the soup or boiling up mac and cheese (as an added bonus, the GSI nesting pot we use has a built in strainer) and for dinner we'd break out the cast iron for cooking up the meats.
With the stove tray being accessible from either side, you can position it to be out of the wind. When the wind wasn't a concern, you can utilize the standard drawer and the top of the platform for even more prep surface. The Richlite slide out table can be used directly as a cutting board, so it makes a great spot to get all your prep done. The Richlite surface of the stove tray and the slide out table also makes for easy clean up. I would use water and a paper towel to scrub up all the big messes, and then come in with an alcohol wipe to disinfect all the surfaces.
The dedicated kitchen might just change how you approach remote cooking. The ease of deployment combined with unparalleled access to work surfaces makes preparing fresh, wholesome meals on the road or trail as easy as it's every been. With no need to store and fight with tables, you'll find yourself looking forward to cooking your next meal!