How to Upgrade Your Camp Kitchen

In this post, you are going to see our guide on how we upgraded/adapted our current camp kitchen. Learn why we did this, how we did this and what we used. This was a simple adaptation and the whole job only took around 30 minutes. We bought all the supplies we need to do this job from Amazon but you could also purchase them from your local DIY store.

As Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift we are now going to be able to go camping again, Hooray!!! But, this means being a self-contained unit. This is due to many sites being unable to open up shared facilities until later in the year.

We are currently booked on two camping trips before full facilities are going to be allowed to open again. But, we feel that making this upgrade on our camp kitchen is going to benefit us on ALL future camping trips and not just for the next few months.

What Are We Going to Do?

We are going to add some plumbing to our kitchen to allow our washbasin to drain into a water carrier for easier cleaning up and disposing of grey waste.

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We have seen this done in the past by other campers, especially those who are DIY enthusiasts. Though, with the correct tools and a little time, we think this little project is something almost any person can achieve.

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Shared facilities include shower blocks, washing up facilities and possibly even toilets staying closed for now. Disposal points for grey and chemical disposal should remain available with safety guidelines in place. We normally would use washing up facilities while staying on a campsite. This is the easier option and saves skiddling about with water in the tent.

If you are looking to purchase a kitchen for your camping trips you may want to check out our post on them.

Camping Kitchens – My Top 5 Recommended

This will give you an idea of what is on the market.

Our Camping Kitchen

The camping kitchen we use the most when away camping is our trusted Vango kitchen. We love that our two-burner stove sits nicely on top and that there are hooks and storage racks to store what you need in the kitchen itself. It has a place to hang your towels and a storage bag/bin rack too.

The other great thing and part of the kitchen that we are going to look at adapting in this post is the washing up bowl or sink area of the kitchen.

This is basically a basin set into the worktop to allow you to wash up after meals. Although it is quite small it allows you to be self-contained when needed. This can save running to the washing up area on the campsite. We normally take another, smaller kitchen unit that provides a worktop for food preparation and has a handy zipped cupboard underneath for storage.

What Did We Use?

Here we will list the items we used to complete this little project. We were lucky enough to have all the tools we needed to complete this and just had to buy the hardware.

Tools Needed

  • Drill
  • 1 1/4 inch hole cutter – to cut a hole in the basin.
  • 5mm drill bit – to attach plug to the unit.
  • Gaffer tape – or another strong tape to mark drilling areas.
  • Piece of scrap wood to place under basin while drilling the hole.
  • piece of kitchen roll or scrap material to wipe off excess silicone.

What We Bought

Preperation

Preparation for this was easy. You simply need to think about where you want to place your plug within the basin and mark it off with tape. The tape helps when cutting through the basin and will save the basin from cracking or splitting.

Cutting The Hole

Next, we took a 1 1/4 inch hole cutter drill bit to cut out our hole for the plug and attached pipe to fit through. We had already taped off the area we needed to save the basin from splitting or cracking. Please note that you should not cut the hole with the basin in place. The basin needs to be taken out and placed on a solid surface. We used an old piece of scrap wood underneath. This way you reduce the risk of cracking the basin and don’t cut into anything you shouldn’t.

Fitting The Plughole

The plughole comes with a piece of attached pipe to push through the hole you have just drilled. Depending on the length of the pipe you may need to trim it slightly so it doesn’t get damaged when the kitchen is folded for storage. This can be easily done with a small hacksaw.

Once you know the pipe is at the correct length it is time to fit it into your basin. Before fitting we ran a small amount of silicone around the outside of the hole we had just cut into the basin. This will help give a good seal and prevent any leaks from occurring.

We then pushed the pipe through and into place before turning the basin over and repeating the silicone process on the underside of the basin before screwing the plug into place.

Wipe off any excess silicone once the plug is screwed in place. You can do this with a piece of kitchen paper or scrap of material. It is best to dampen this with water first.

We then let this sit while we drilled a small hole into the back of the unit for the plug to attach to. You don’t need to do this step if you do not wish to. I would most likely lose the plug if a didn’t! For this, I used a 5mm metal drill bit. This is because the area of the worktop out basin sits in is made of aluminium.

Again I carefully held a scrap piece of wood underneath while I drilled. If doing this please be very careful. Watch where you place your fingers as you don’t want to be drilling into them. If you have clamps you could also clamp the piece of wood in place while you do this. This helps prevent the metal from warping or denting.

Allowing For Drainage

Now to think about how you are going to drain the water effectively into a container. For this, we used a waste pipe with a flexi-hose. This simply screws onto the pipe underneath with the other end of the hose being placed into a container to collect wastewater.

We used a waste pipe with the flexi-hose as I didn’t want to be sitting the water container directly under the plug point as our kitchen has a wire shelf underneath and I didn’t think this would be strong enough to hold much weight as a full water container. With the flexi-hose it will allow me to place the water container behind or beside the kitchen on the ground. This will also help reduce the risk of spillage.

Conclusion

This was a simple project that we think will make a huge difference to our camping set-up, especially while we need to be self-contained.

It will give us the flexibility to do our dishes at/in the tent when we wish and be able to safely dispose of our waste water. If we chose to do this before the basin had to be carried to be emptied and this normally meant some spillage. With all water now going into a water container that can be sealed, disposing of our waste water is now going to be so much easier.

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