I confess I actually looked up the definition of appliance and gadget, wanting to make sure I knew the difference between the two. If you are interested, an appliance is a device used to perform a specific function, powered by gas or electric current. A gadget is a small device considered innovative or ingenious, including those powered by electricity. This post is all about some super handy RV kitchen gadgets that are fantastic for any RV.
Here is the list of what I consider essential RV kitchen gadgets.
High Quality Knives
If you enjoy cooking, you must invest in good knives. This is true no matter how or where you live. I brought my Wusthof knives with me from sticks-and-bricks life. High-quality knives are an investment to be sure. I researched many brands, then thought long and hard about my purchase.
In 2009, they were my Christmas gift to myself. One that has long since paid for itself. The knives are as fantastic today as the day I took them out of the package.
Although my set came with a lovely knife block, it didn’t make the transition to RV life. I keep the knives in a drawer with other cooking utensils. But many RVers use the space-saving magnet strip to hang their knives. It’s a great and practical idea, though not necessarily a pretty one.
My set includes (and pictured in feature image):
- Hollow Edge 7-Inch Santoku Classic Cook’s Knife
- Classic 4 1/2-Inch Utility Knife (This one I use so often, I never put it away.)
- Classic 6-Inch Chef’s Knife
- Kitchen Shears (these now come in a variety of colors)
And although I don’t have one, a knife sharpener or sharpening steel would be awful handy. So far, I’ve taken mine to be sharpened by a professional. It is usually only a couple dollars.
Bamboo Utensils and Cutting Board
It’s kind of amazing the new things RV life has introduced me to. And I don’t mean travel, adventure and the RVing community. I mean things I easily could’ve tried in sticks-and-bricks life but just never did.
Bamboo products are an example. Before RV life, I owned bamboo kitchen cooking utensils because they came to me as gifts. Never used them. Why? Because they look like wood and when I think of wood, I think of slivers.
I know, ridiculous.
But I couldn’t get past the idea that I’d get a sliver in my finger or, worse, in my tongue if I used one. So I stuck with my tried-and-true white plastic 99 cents cooking spoons.
I brought the bamboo and white plastic ones with me to RV life. And I finally tried the bamboo ones. I liked them. Actually, liked them better than the white plastic ones and now I use them exclusively.
Bamboo comes with two added bonuses. First, it’s considered a renewable environment-friendly resource because it grows ten times faster than trees, requires less water and no pesticides. And, unlike plastic, it remains valuable to the Earth through its decomposition. Second, it’s lightweight.
I use bamboo both for my cutting boards and cooking utensils. If you don’t like the feel of bamboo, look for ones with silicone handles. I have a thin cutting board for cutting. When I first wrote this post, I also had a thick sturdy cutting board I place across my sink to give me a little more counter space but I didn’t end up liking it. So, now I have just the one. And more recently I picked up a bamboo scraper for dishes and pots.
As I was double-checking links in this post, I also came across wooden cutlery for camping (made with birch, not bamboo). I hadn’t seen those before. They are a better way to have picnics than the plastic ware. It is more expensive but, even so, what a nice ting to do for the planet. I’m guessing, you also might be able to reuse them if you were inclined too. But, that’s true of the white plastic utensils we all throw away so maybe that’s not realistic.
I use the bamboo cutting board, spoon and spatula with such frequency, they are the items that are hung with Command strip hooks in my RV kitchen for quick and easy access.
And—surprise—no slivers to report.
Stemless Wine Cups
I brought two stemless wine glasses with me into RV life. But they have since broken. No surprise. Glass and RV life are not a good combination.
At one of the wineries I visited with my sister, we received complimentary wine glasses with our tasting. While they lasted a bit longer, they too have since made their way to broken glass heaven.
I considered silicone stemless wine glasses and I know people who rave about them and would put them on any best of RV kitchen gadgets lists. But I cannot get past the idea that taste will be affected. Plus, because they are squishy, with my clumsiness, that’s just a spill waiting to happen.
I found stainless steel stemless wine cups. And I love them. They come with lids, stainless steel straws and a brush for cleaning the straws. Plus, they come in a variety of colors. I purchased the black but have found the black chipping and rubbing away (admitted, I’m hard on them). They are so sturdy but, at some point, if I need to replace them I think I’ll go with the boring plan stainless steel which should help.
Surprise, you can use them for more than wine. Basically, any cold or hot drink. Best of all, you get to decide what material is best for you and your RV needs. The bottom line is, stemless glasses are a must-have, multi-use RV kitchen gadget.
Exceptions to My Own Rule
As a general rule of thumb, I don’t have single-use items in my kitchen arsenal. I mentioned that as a space-saving tactic in a recent post. They take up too much space to justify their low functionality unless you use the item frequently. For example, much as I loved it, I got rid of my Italian garlic press (a gift from a cooking friend who made frequent trips to Italy). Now I chop garlic with my Wusthof knife. Though I will admit, I often miss a garlic press.
The first notable exception to my on rule is a fancy wine opener. When you drink wine, one-function or not, you must have a wine opener. Of course, there are compact corkscrews that will do the job and for years in sticks-and-bricks, despite owning the fancier one, I always used the compact harder-to-use one. The other felt too fancy for me. I have no idea what I was saving it for. But you know, one’s logic isn’t always logical.
And, to double down on this exception, I recently acquired another fancy wine opener. In my defense, I plan to give the first fancy one to my sis.
It’s a , where in one fluid movement up and down the opener does all the work. I learned Rabbit is actually a brand. The one I have and love is from Brookstone and is named the Compact Wine Opener. It includes a handy foil cutter to remove the packaging at the top of the bottle.
The other exception to my single-use rule is a juicer or a squeezer. It’s funny because I had one that I brought with me to RV life. Then decided I couldn’t justify it so during one of my cleaning and organizing sessions, I purged it. Almost immediately, I decided that was a bad move. So, yes, I bought another one. Not very economic-minded of me. I know.
Of course I could easily hand juice a lemon. But what I really like about juicers are 1) you get all the juice and 2) the seeds stay in the juicer so you don’t end up with them in your food.
When I made the new purchase, I did find one that, if you want to get technical about the matter, means I am not in violation of my rule. Truth be told, it was a reader purchase through my Amazon link and I just loved it so much, I bought one for myself.
Because it has the middle flap, it is both a lime juicer as well as a lemon juicer. See? Two functions. And I use it all the time, especially to squeeze lemon juice on salads.
An RV Kitchen Gadget or Tiny Appliance?
Whether you call it a gadget or an appliance, the coffee mug warmer is awesome if your coffee gets cool before you finish it. When I discovered this handy gadget many years ago, I bought one for work, one for my dining room table and one for my home office so I’d never be without warm coffee. There are fancier, more expensive brands out there, but I’ve had my no-thrills-less-than-$10 Mr. Coffee mug warmer for years.
I bought one for all of my coffee-drinking friends and family. Having bought a dozen of these, you understand how much I love a mug warmer.
I brought my favorite mugs with me to RV life. They’ve since broken. (Like I said, glass and RV life are not a good combination…or maybe it’s glass and me?) Now I make and drink my coffee in a purple Yeti coffee mug that a reader gifted me. However, if you manage mugs better than I and like to take your time with your morning cup-of-Joe, this is a must-have item.
And, in my travels, if I stumble across a mug I simply cannot live without, I’ll be all ready.
RV Kitchen Gadgets Wish List
I’ve mentioned this one several times so it won’t surprise you to know that a Berkey Water Filter is on my RV kitchen gadgets wish list. But let’s back up for a second.
Being at a new place is an exciting part of RV life. But it is also a hard part.
In addition to new sights, sounds and light, another thing that can be vastly different from place to place is the palatability of the water. It ranges from fantastic to nearly undrinkable.
No doubt you are aware that bottled water, while tasting good, is a poor solution. The plastic it comes in is terrible for you and the environment. Plus tests show the water is barely above tap water when it comes to what is filtered out.
Filter water pitchers, such as PUR and Britta, are the next step up. Certainly they are better on the environment than purchasing water bottles. But as for filtering, as I understand it, their filters leave in a lot of stuff you probably don’t want. This can leave the barely palatable water still tasting pretty bad.
At the top of my wish list for my RV kitchen is a Berkey Water System. They are pricey but get rave reviews from everyone I know who has one and many RVers do. The tanks are stainless steel and the filter really gets rid of the minerals in the water, making for consistently good water.
Depending on your space and needs, Berkey come in a variety of sizes from Travel Berkey (holds 1.5 gallons) to the Crown Berkey (holds 6 gallons). The most popular size is the Big Berkey which holds 2.25 gallons of filtered water.
No matter what size you decide, they all use the same filter. One Berkey Black Filter filters 3,000 gallons of water. Obviously, one filter lasts a long time so you don’t have the ongoing expenses. I have a Britta currently and that filter is changed every two months. It makes me think that over time, the Berkey might be more cost effective than it initially seems. You can also add a Berkey Fluoride Filter if you want that out of your water as well.
My hesitation about the Berkey isn’t the price tag as you might guess. It’s the space. Or, I should say that was my hesitancy. A longtime reader sent me a photo of how he secures his Berkey in his van and I’m going to copy his idea because it’s perfect.
In the next few weeks, I have an RV hacks post where I’ll share his idea.
Your Fav RV Kitchen Gadgets?
There you have it. RV kitchen gadgets I own and love as well as one I hope to have soon. What about you? What are your favorite RV kitchen gadgets? Do you have any on the wish list? Please share.
Links to Gifts Guides & Relevant Posts:
- Ideal Gifts for RVers and Others
- Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffer Ideas for the RVer
- Creating More Space in Your RV
To see products recently purchased by readers or to browse and shop at Amazon, follow any one of these links. Huge thanks for your support.
- BINO 3-Tier Collapsing Foldable Laundry Drying Rack
- Husky HB4500 4500 lbs. Brute Power Jack
- Ultra-Fab 38-944020 Electric Tongue Jack Protective Cover
Affiliate Link Disclosure. As a result of being an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
You have it right, Debbie: most important tools in your kitchen are good knives.
I cook a lot so my next most important item is my food processor – not practical for you as it weighs a lot and takes up space. I use mine almost every day.
Thanks, Sharon. I do have a food processor but still haven’t used it yet. Like you, in my sticks-and-bricks, I used mine frequently. But after I purchased my first “good” knife I understood what I was paying for. Such an improvement over the inexpensive ones.
Maybe you could wrap a kitchen towel or dish cloth around your wine glasses while you travel so they won’t break. You may miss not being able to see the wine you are drinking once you move on to stainless steel containers. Enjoy Oregon. Love, Marie
Yeah, I definitely might. I’m going to place the order soon, so I’ll let you know how I like the stainless steel ones.
Good list DL
Great, sharp, knives are one of the most valuable tools in the arsenal. I also believe in kitchen shears/scissors.
I must admit, a cheap wine opener is our standard, screw top wines of decent quality are now abundant, and heck, who doesn’t like the multipurpose bottle opener/un-corker/screwdriver/knife thingie.
Coffee mugs – yes breakage is an issue – I still use an old plastic mug (with top) I got when on a GC trip in the 90’s – its indestructible.
Do you use any of the collapsible strainers, bowls, measuring cups, etc?
Have a good day
RB n Harley
Hey Russell, You reminded me I should’ve added a collapsible strainer to the list. I have one and love it. I don’t have any of the other collapsibles but would definitely consider them. Speaking of wine…you know what I tried for the very first time this week? Boxed wine. I tried Black Box brand and was astonished by how good it taste. It was $22 for the box that held the equivalent of 4 bottles and it is supposed to remain good for 30 days after opening. I think because of the lack of bottles, the packaging is so much less expensive. It might have been my first box of win but it won’t be my last. I have to say a coffee cup that has survived since the 90s is pretty impressive. Thanks for the comment. Take care and head scratches to Harley.
I think my favorite gadget is the Omnia stovetop oven. I do have a knife sharpener and good knives.
My most used pot is a Korean wok. I also carry a pressure cooker, cast iron griddle, small cast iron skillet, and since I’m now solo, a 1 1/2 quart pot.
I carry too many wine glasses. I have a pair of acrylic stemmed wine glasses, acrylic stemless wine glasses, and stainless stemless wine glasses, which are my default choice.
I’m loving my Keurig mini, but have an aeropress for backup if my batteries aren’t in good shape. So also a coffee grinder.
My silicone collapsing strainer gets a lot if use, too.
My wine de-corker is a rechargeable battery one.
We need to meet up again.
Ruth, you’re the second person to mention the collapsible strainer which I have and love it. I listed it on a previous gadget post so completely missed including it here. I haven’t ever heard of the stove top oven you reference but recently I purchased a Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Oven which I’ve heard amazing things about but I haven’t tested it out yet. I also never heard of a battery operated wine corker which sound very interesting and, I suspect, easy to use. If you also use the fill-your-own Kurig cup, another option for coffee when the battery is low is to boil water and then slowly pour that through the filter. I’ve done that when my batteries are low too. Even a quick cup of coffee can be a drain and on a cloudy day or late in the day, it can be hard to get them back up again. Thanks for the ideas and comments. We definitely will have to meet up on the road.
Great post! I had to check out several of your recommendations.
If you have a link to buy one of those Berkey water filters, will you please post it? If I’m able to splurge on one of those, I’d like to buy it through your site.
Thanks for sharing these great ideas.!
Karen, if you click on the highlighted Berkey and Berkey Fluoride (with fluoride filters), you’ll go the the listings in Amazon. You can also check out the Berkey site itself but be careful because there are a lot of site which seem to want you to think it’s the real Berkey site. I’m thinking you’d be okay with any that are an “authorized Berkey dealer.” When comparing prices always factor in shipping and make sure you are comparing like to like. It can be easy to miss that a lower priced one, for example, doesn’t include the filters. The one thing about Amazon is that they have a proven return policy. If you get one, let me know how you like it.
Great post as always!
When my sister and brother-in-law come to visit with their Casita, my brother-in-law is the best house guest because he sharpens all of the knives in the house. One visit he brought us a small knife sharpener with a suction cup base. It is quite small, about 2 inches across, and easy to use. We bought another one to keep in the trailer.
In the same vein as the collapsible strainers, you should check out the collapsible silicone storage containers. Great for leftovers, but collapsible which is wonderful in a trailer where space is limiting.