For those just joining us, please realize that this site is devoted to traveling in our minivan camper conversion and not cooking at home on 48-inch commercial stove! For that reason, we are going to be talking about the various types of stovetop cooking units available that take up much less space!
One of the most basic is a little “Sterno” camp stove that is great for backpackers. It simply uses a can of alcohol gel fuel to heat a pan set on top of it. Keep in mind that these are basically the same thing you see under warming trays at restaurant buffet tables, and are very limited in heat output. They work best for one-person meals.
The next step up would be small, single burner propane stoves, which have more heat capability, but are still limited to single pans on the top of them. Some also use “Coleman fuel” (what we used to call “white gas”). They come in various shapes and sizes, some of which are nothing more than a burner attachment screwed to the top of a propane canister, while others are more like a single burner stovetop complete with a drip tray, and for which the propane canister is mounted off to the side.
What we recommend for the minivan camper conversion is a two-burner propane stove, which is about the size of a large brief case. They are easy and quick to set up and use, cool down quickly for packing up, and easy to keep clean. Keep in mind, these are mainly for cooking in pots and pans, although there are a few accessories available.
There are grills and griddles, some one-piece and some reversible that can be used on top of the camp stove, for meats or pancakes. Another handy and inexpensive accessory is a small folding toaster that sets on top of one of the burners and makes toast. You can make up to four slices of toast at a time with it, and it works quickly. We have one of these, and it works great! Just keep in mind that you do have to watch it and turn the bread over to toast both sides! I have to think of the signs we have seen posted at some places “Your mother doesn’t work here! Clean up your own mess!”… and that’s exactly what you may have if you don’t watch your own toast!
There are also waffle irons for use with stove tops, appliances like coffee makers that set over the stove burner, and even ovens that set on top of the burners!
And in addition to that, there are propane fired skillets, and even propane fired portable ovens, both of which you can set on a table top. The oven that sets on the stove burner is usually designed to fold up flat for storage, so that’s a plus for our minivan camper conversion. The other units are nice to know about, and may come in handy for some uses, but not really practical for our minivan.
No matter what you cook “on” you will need some “cooking tools“, and we’ll talk about some of those in another section.
It’s amazing what you can find when you do a little research. We came across products we hadn’t even thought about! As always, when we find others, we’ll be sure to let you know about them!