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-   -   design thesis on expedition kitchen (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/4wd-overland-travel/design-thesis-on-expedition-kitchen-20796)

DFA 28 Jun 2005 14:17

design thesis on expedition kitchen
Hi everyone,

as I am doing an expedition kitchen for thesis project in industrial design I would like to ask you what you would expect from an expedition kitchen? What is crap on the ones on the market existing, what requirements do you have on an expedition kitchen. Mine will be designed for car overland travellers.

Please tell me your experiences, your wishes, your thoughts about it:-)

Thanks a lot

JulianVoelcker 28 Jun 2005 20:28

I've never seen an off the shelf expedition kitchen, but if I was desiging one I would want it to be:
+Secure storage for cutlery, plates, etc without too much rattle over bumps.
+Dual burner gas cooker (pref with grill) with good side and back protection/shelter from the wind.
+A solid surface for food prep.
+Easy access to food store and fridge.

With so many options to consider with regards vehicle, number of travellers, storage space that would be very difficult to create an off the shelf solution.


Euro Landcruiser Owners Club

DFA 28 Jun 2005 20:51

That was the reason why I chose the topic for my thesis. During my research I realised that all overlanders chuck a stove, some boxes and cooking items together, sometimes in banana boxes and that's it. the only good two burner stove i think is the coleman one.

my aim is to design a well composed kitchen package, with all the ost necessary stuff included. The points you mentioned are important I think. Nothing worse after a long day traveling than a hungry stomach and a hard to handle cooking procedure..

- Do you have experience in cooking with petrol and diesel?

- where yould you personally place the kitchen when storing and cooking? rear door? inside storage, cooking away from the car or attached? ....?

what items does your kitchen have?


Robbert 28 Jun 2005 22:28

My 2 cents:
- A campinggas 2 burner stove (much cleaner/easier smaller, lighter then the coleman stove)
- a 12kg gas bottle
- something that allowes you to cook near but not in the vehicle. Some sort of shelter is apreciated
- good wind protection
- easy access to water (without spilling all over the car)


DFA 29 Jun 2005 04:29

yep, gasstoves are the cleanest way, no doubt.
I think I will integrate a multi fuel stove..then you are flexible all over.

Ok, so here's a scenario and another question on your experiences:
I know cooking in the car is more or less a no-go, so what do you guys do when you're standing somewhere in africa and it rains kudus and lions and it won't stop - and you're terribly hungry and have to cook sth:-)...?

JulianVoelcker 29 Jun 2005 17:59

Hi Frank,

At the moment I am a travelling virgin compared to most here, but am aiming for a couple of trips to North Africa either with a friend or my family (wife + 3 kids) using a Toyota Land Cruiser.

Travelling with the friend, I would just go for a compact dual burner gas stove that would go on a fold up table, with cuttlery, plates, cooking kit, etc all stashed away in a draw unit in the back of the LC.

For a family trip I would take a trailer along as well which I would build myself to incorporate kitchen facilities although there are a number of companies that sell similar things.

At the end of the day the design really hinges on your type of vehicle.

With something like a LR with barn style doors in the back, I have seen some people put in fold down gas cookers (folding down from the door), but you can't do this with an LC with the horizontally split rear.

Also with a diesel vehicle I would rather go for a gas cooker as opposed a petrol one, although with a petrol vehicle a petrol cooker would make more sense.

One thing that I have seen that looked inpressive was a suitcase style box used for storing cuttlery, cooking utensils, etc that you opened up and put on it's end and was a cross between a picnic hamper/kitchen unit. Something like that would be very handy and easy to setup, but the dimensions would again need to tie in with your vehicle.


Euro Landcruiser Owners Club

DFA 29 Jun 2005 21:20

do you know what kind of suitcase box that was?which brand?

I know that it's hard to create sth that fits all cars. it's not possible i think. It's all about compromises!

If you would have to buy all the stuff you mentioned, would you rather put everything together by yourself or could you imagine buying a kitchen off the shelf. I have to find out what people want...what they like to do by themselves and what they wanna buy....


Runner 30 Jun 2005 14:44

Trek Overland make a folding stainless steel expedition kitchen that fits into a LWB wagon rear body. They have also put one in their expensive expedition trailer. Silly money - they are stainless steel.
Ive replicated one using an ex-military wooden box and shelving, fitted with a camping gas twin burner stove, various shelves etc, and used alonsgide an Engel 40l fridge. They all fit neatly and unobtrusively in the back of my LR 110 and can cater for four people. The food is stored separately in a cupboard unit.
Will send pix if you want

DFA 30 Jun 2005 16:07

yes I would love to see it. Looking forward to pictures. Where have you been travelling with it?

Roman 30 Jun 2005 16:27


When you say "kitchen" for car use, I guess you meen "cooker" or "stove", and when you say "expedition" I guess you mean eating out in the wild ;-)

The one thing that matters most is the type of fuel to be used. Most people prefer propane but it's fine as long as it lasts and refilling gas bottles is always a pain as each country has it's own thread on the hose connector.

Thus, ideally, the cooker should be able to run on various types of fuel, liquid, solid and gaseous.

Let me give you an idea for a soild fuel type unit: investigate a very clever device called "Volcano kettle".

Other features that matter highly - ease of cleaning, assembling, light weight, solid storage box with more than one function, good wind protection, for gas cookers - no need for pressure regulator.

Finally, you are able to cook only what you can carry with you, hence most often you will use pre-cooked meals and very few products than must be stored in a cold place, like raw meat.

Roman (UK)

Robbert 30 Jun 2005 18:40

My set-up I think was both simple, flexible and convenient.
I had a 12kg Gas bottle (european main land type bottles can be refilled in all french speaking african countries. Different fittings for everything in each different country must be something language related...), with which did more then 3 months before it needed refilling.

Attached to the bottle was a 3m tube. long enough to cook at the back (on the folding table in the rear door, or just on the rear bumper), or on the side of the vehicle.
(hope this works: http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/users/3f64c...l9wCBQDvwYp8v)

The camping gas cooker is cheap and incredibly reliable. The only thing to take care of is wind protection. I made something up from a large tin. this wind shield fittend under the grill. I think cooking times more then halved (both because it kept out the wind and reflected the heat).

In case of heavy rain, I would roll out the shelter (highly overrated attribute for an african trip by the way) and cook under the shelter. In all other cases I would cook on the rear bumper. Water Jerries needed lifting out the vehicle each time, so there could be some improvement. But really, simple does it.

I'll try to send you some more pics.

Volcano kettles are clever, efficient but also bulky and messy things.

And about cooking what you can carry. Most overlanders do carry a fridge (typically for beer rather then meat), and there's always local markets with fresh produce that can be carried at least untill your next meal, and occasionally you'll find a nice peace of meat or fresh fish that just can't let go... .

DFA 30 Jun 2005 18:53


thanks a lot for the tips...could you please check the link, I can't enter it cause it's forbidden....you can also send me pics to hofmann.f[at]gmail.com

Tony Robson 30 Jun 2005 21:16

The guy that runs Trek Overland was also developing an exterior kitchen unit for bolting onto the outside passenger side of a hard top. All included in it, bottle on the roof so all you needed to do was to put the gas line in when you opened it up.

Don't know if this is theone he has now developed into the stainless steel unit mentioned above... last one I saw was a big thin ali box mounted on the side of the vehicle....

The conecpt was great but he was having difficulty getting the cooking surface low enough... was at chest height when folded down... was looking into special hinges for it... As I say don't know if its the same one...

this one had done several shows as their show vehicle and been off-roading - NO broken plates glasses etc...

Doubt you'll find a photo of it though unless you contact them.


Nothing on the website about it....


Runner 1 Jul 2005 16:46


Originally posted by DFA:
yes I would love to see it. Looking forward to pictures. Where have you been travelling with it?
In its final form its only been through Europe to the Pyrenees and N Spain, though I worked out the design 'on the hoof' through various trips in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Algeria. The point was I was fed up with opening boxes of kit and setting up stoves, opening jars, fiddling about with cooking gear at the end of a long day driving. The way this set-up of mine works, you just open the door, the thing is ready to go, all the stuff you need is there, the gas is connected. You cook, clean up, close the door and forget about it til the next meal. I still have a few alterations in mind - routing the gas pipe differently, etc, but basically its made cooking on the trail a lot easier and now means I can get creative with spices and weird oils etc rather than 'red glop in a Trangia'. Ill try and sort some pix.

PS I made sure there's a fire blanket and fire extinguisher within reach as my cooking at home tends towards the incendiary....

PPS Mind you I do love camping over and open fire and so have a couple of cast iron pots, kettle, grill tray, hotplate etc for this, as well as the Volcano Kettle Roman mentioned, its getting redundant these days but I do love it!

DFA 1 Jul 2005 18:24

so, did you connect it to the rear door or to the side door?
...You probably meant "ont the roof" right:-)?....yes, please send me pics....you can send them to hofmann.f[at]gmail.com...looking forward....thanks

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