Tiny Space Living–Kitchen Essentials


When you live in a very small space, excess stuff can be a serious drain on your energy and can actually take away from your enjoyment of life on the road. Having to move something to get at something every time, and being bogged down by clutter gets old very quickly. On the other hand, having too little can make a person feel deprived and cause a different kind of struggle. Having an understanding of what is necessary is key to not getting over cluttered.

I lived in my Mitsubishi Montero Sport, or similar mid-sized SUV’s for about 11-years, before getting a small Astro Van in 2016. (I even lived in a Subaru Outback for about three years). Below is a picture of the inside of Mitzi in July 2016. You can see that I had my bed down one side, and at the rear of the vehicle I have a blue box, with two plastic shoe boxes on top. The blue box is my dry food box, and where I also kept canned foods and things like aluminum foil. One of the shoe boxes is full of things like first aid, lotion, super glue…you know, all those things people who live in houses have an entire bathroom cabinet with drawers to accommodate.

The other box is my kitchen.


I kept my kitchen near the rear of my vehicle, because most times I would cook right on my bumper. I would set up a kind of table on top of my bed by using the brown trays, or the lid of the box. However, if I found myself with the luxury of a picnic table, they were convenient to grab and move over to the picnic table.

Because my space was so tiny, I narrowed down the essentials over time, and it’s possible that some people might think I still have too much.


Above is a picture of my tiny kitchen, minus the stove and the extra pans I had stored in the blue box (for big cook-ups). As you can see I have a couple of hot pads in there. I found them to be very useful. Not only to set scalding hot pans on, but they made great clingy bases on slippery surfaces, like the top of my ice chest or the bumper. I also kept two cloths, one for washing and one for drying (but I usually just rinse or wipe out, and air dry).


In the picture above, you can see that everything I needed for cooking was in this tiny box, including a small pan for making tea while still in bed.

Here is the list:

Two knives, two forks, two tea spoons, one tablespoon, two sharp knives for meat (two of each in case I had a guest).

One big knife, one wooden spoon, one spatula.

1 can opener on a string with a beer bottle opener, one corkscrew (very important things Smile).

1 Vegetable peeler (to be honest I don’t know why I keep this, I rarely use it because I just reach for a knife).

1 plastic knife and fork (for backpacking ~ I have a stainless steel spork somewhere too).

A stainless steel mug, with collapsible handle.

Powdered milk for my tea (I’m English, I’ve got to have milk in my tea).

Pan gripper.

Matches (for lighting camp fires).

A tiny chopping board (which I rarely use, and can probably get rid of).

Three small stainless steel pans ~ I found I needed three because when it’s very cold (below freezing) it’s necessary to heat up the mixed fuel canister before it will work properly. I did this by putting a tiny bit of water in the larger pan, heating it, then setting the gas can in the water. This would warm the fuel and get the stove roaring, I could then heat tea water with the tiny bowl on top to use as a lid. It would then become the bowl to hold the tea bag or whatever.

Backpacking stove by MSR. (Always crack a window when using a stove indoors).

Wind breaker.


That is what I kept inside my shoe box, and I never really lacked for anything. With this kitchen I could heat up tea, or soup without getting out of my sleeping bag. It was easy to carry to the picnic table if I decided to do a big cook up. I could then get my other pans (a small non-stick backpacking set), and my Dragonfly white fuel stove. The Dragonfly is far more economical for major cooking sprees, but the MSR was handy and quick for just making tea. I grew tired of collapsing the stove every day, so I found a padded lens case that the stove fit perfectly in while set up.

There are of course a lot of other options for stoves, and so much of it depends on space and finances. I didn’t have much space, and I already had these stoves, so I made do.


I used this kitchen kit for about 11-years (and even longer if you count camping trips in previous years). In 2016 I moved into a small Astro Van. My space is still quite small, but I do have room for a few more items. In the two months I’ve been living in the van I’ve added two things; A single burner propane stove (instead of the MSR backpacking stove) and a collapsible wine glass, because I’m tired of drinking my wine from a stainless steel mug.

I hope this helps a few of you that might be just starting out in this lifestyle, or maybe you are feeling a little burdened down by stuff. Personally and in part, I choose this lifestyle because I don’t want to be burdened down by excess baggage of any kind. That includes a stick-and-brick home with all its excess and bills, jobs that wear a person down, and of course STUFF!

Keeping ones possessions to a minimum, but still having what you need and what gives you pleasure, is ample. We truly need far less than we think we do. Getting rid of unnecessary stuff frees up space, which frees up time.

Time to spend doing things you love doing, like hiking, taking pictures, and writing blog posts…LOL.

Until next time…Remember to Keep it Simple.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature


This post first published on http://NomadforNature.wordpress.com/

10 responses to “Tiny Space Living–Kitchen Essentials

  1. Excellent essay. Just what I needed as well. I do have too much and already dumped over half what I started out carrying. I’m not letting go of more just yet. I can see that I will be tho.


    • Thank you. Don’t overdo the downsizing at first, but pay attention to what you do and don’t use. If you only use something once in a blue moon, think about whether you really need it and figure out if something else will work in its place. (as an example, a glass can be used instead of a rolling pin) and so on. Congrats on the decluttering, it makes a huge difference, not only with freed up space but in ways, you may not be able to imagine yet.


  2. Just found your blog. I love that you blame your Dad for your travel bug. Our father did the same to us. Road trips were a part of our childhood. Dad would take us on spontaneous day trips for a few hours drive, just to see the countryside. The result: 5 kids, each grown and living in 4 different states, and 1 foreign country. He encouraged us to spread our wings and fly. He passed away last year and we miss him greatly. Hug your Daddy next time you see him. Life is short. [To Nomad’s Dad, if you’re reading this: Great job. 🙂 ]


    • Doubtful I’ll get to give my Dad a physical hug. I haven’t seen him in person in 16-years. All my family is in the UK, I don’t have any family at all in this country. Nada! I do get to see him and my mum on Skype occasionally though. I used to complain about my childhood (who didn’t) but now I’m grateful that we spent so much time outdoors. I think it backfired on them though, I think they would have liked me to stay in England.


  3. I like this a lot. I also use a 1/8in cord with loops knotted in every 12in (approx.) along it’s length in which i hang S-Hooks used to hang items i am using like kitchen utensils or cloth items. Hang the cord between two trees or posts. Or you could use this system to hang stuff even inside your van, —-()—–()–
    1/8th in cord —-()——()— LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good blog post, Roxy! I doubt I will ever be wiling to pare (a pun) down to utter simplicity but I felt like it last night after I had a birthday dinner for Sharon and my sink backed up, leaving all sorts of dirty dishes on every flat surface in the kitchen. It’s fixed now, and I’m working my way through the mess – have to wait for the dishwasher to finish so I can load it up again. Have you finished at Trendz yet for the year? Where are you off to? Did the second shot help? Gail Kristin Upp gailupp187@gmail.com



    • Ha ha…and to think you’ve narrowed it waaaaaaayyyyyy down. 🙂 I’m still here in Estes, my last day will be the 13th I hope to be leaving around the 16th. They bribed me into staying until the business changes hands because they were very short staffed. I didn’t have the second epidural; the doctor didn’t think it would help much on its own, and would be better done in combination with physical therapy from someone who KNOWS what they are dealing with (not your typical PT stuff).So far no PT has helped, and I need a specialist by the sounds of it.


  5. Well done my daughter not the life style I would have chosen , the traveling and hiking yes great. And living in a nice size R V. Yes great , I would enjoy that travel about the country ,great , good travels ,


    • Of course you’d love the travel Dad, I take after you. It’s all your fault, all that camping we did when I was young (LOL) No complaints here 🙂 – I’ll probably get a small RV one day. I’ve fallen in love with a particular RV that is on the back of a truck called a Tiger, or Bengal Tiger. Seriously out of my price range right now though. Something has to happen at some point with this pain, so I can work more and save some money.


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