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):

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.

Wooden cutting board with a small knife and a variety of food including jalapeno, half an avocado, mushrooms, green onions, spinach leaves, and 2 eggs. A pan is partially shown at the top of the shot.
The small knife is great for fruits and vegetables and is the reason it gets used every day.

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.

Small bamboo cutting board on a black table with a bamboo pot scraper, a bamboo cooking spoon and spatula sitting on top.
My bamboo items. You can tell the spoon and the cutting board get the most use.

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.

Two black cups with two lids sitting in front of them. Great RV kitchen gadgets that don't break.
My stemless cups. I never use the lids but have kept them. At first I thought I’d try to hide the little chips on the black but then decided that wouldn’t give you the full picture. But as I write this caption, I see the tiny damage spots didn’t get picked up by the camera.

Exceptions to My Own Rule

Wine Opener

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.

On a rock ledge, a bottle of wine with a rabbit-type bottle opener.
This rabbit-style wine opener was my first fancy wine opener. Shiny metal objects are hard to photograph. You can see the seal cutter laying flat. In my book, it’s definitely worth the space.

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.

Box of wine with a stemless wine glass. An electric wine opener. All sitting on a kitchen counter.
The newer, fancier wine opener. It also comes with a foil cutter as well as a rechargeable USB cord. By the way, that is a glass stemless wine glass. Real glass. The Sumpter Dredge is etched into it. It was a thank you gift from the ranger after workamping for two months. Wish me luck in not sending it to broken glass heaven.


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.

A cutting board with a whole lemon and a whole lime. Then a hand-held juice sitting next to them.
To juice the lime, you lift just the top and put the lime in the green cup. But to juice a lemon you lift the top part and the green layer to get access to the bigger yellow cup on the bottom.

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.

With access to a plug, you can keep your coffee warm anywhere. Even outside.

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.

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