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Is an RV Outdoor Kitchen Worth It?

Is an RV Outdoor Kitchen Worth It?

Is an RV outdoor kitchen worth it? Are washer and dryer hook-ups that important? Do you need another half bath or full bath for the kids? 

It’s great to ask yourself all of these questions before you purchase an RV. But the answers will be different for everyone. 

You can research those other questions on our blog later, but for now, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of an RV outdoor kitchen. Then you can decide if it’s a suitable space for your family.

What Is an RV Outdoor Kitchen? 

RV outdoor kitchens come in many different sizes. Some only have a stovetop; others have a large refrigerator, wine cooler, tv mount, and more. The purpose of an RV outdoor kitchen is to give campers space to cook outdoors. 

Many RVers don’t like cooking inside their RVs because it smells up the whole rig, and when using the stove and oven, it can get quite hot inside. Outdoor kitchens provide another cooking space with much better airflow. 

Making The Outdoor Kitchen More Functional!

What RVs Come with Outdoor Kitchens? 

Many RVs come with outdoor kitchens. Travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and motorhomes all have models that come equipped with outdoor kitchens. The floor plan and size of the RV will affect how big or small the outdoor kitchen will be or if you’ll have one at all. 

If you want a full-size RV outdoor kitchen with a large refrigerator, stovetop, storage space, sink, and more, then you’ll have to look for longer rigs that can accommodate such a space. But if you’re content with just a small refrigerator and maybe a stovetop, you’ll have more options.

Pro Tip: Make cooking easy with these 33 Must-Have RV Kitchen Accessories!

Outdoor kitchen set up image.
Big rigs can come with a refrigerator, stovetop, storage space, sink, and more in their outdoor kitchens.

Is an RV Outdoor Kitchen Worth It? 

This is totally dependent on your travel lifestyle. If you often cook outdoors, an RV outdoor kitchen is absolutely worth it. If your family tends to eat out and try local foods, an RV outdoor kitchen may not be for you. 

Sometimes this is a must-have for families, and other times, it’s just an added perk. Consider how much you’ll actually use the space to determine how important an RV outdoor kitchen is for your family. 

Now, let’s look at the pros and cons to help you decide.

Man cooking outside.
Let your inner chef shine while cooking in your outdoor kitchen.

Pros of Outdoor Kitchens on an RV

There are lots of benefits to having an outdoor kitchen. One of the biggest perks is being able to cook outside and enjoy the amazing scenery.

Many RV outdoor kitchens have everything you need to cook and clean up so you won’t have to go in and out several times. If it has a sink, it’s also a great place to wash hands without having to go inside the RV. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

Ability to Cook Outside

You’ve searched and searched for the perfect camping spot with beautiful sunrises and sunsets, wildlife nearby, and the sounds of nature surrounding you. Why would you want to be inside your RV? 

An outdoor kitchen means you can cook outside, enjoying the outdoorsy side of camping. Perhaps you grill hamburgers along the banks of the Mississippi River. Maybe you make an omelet watching the sunrise over the Badlands. 

Cooking outside gives you more of the natural experience most people want when camping without the mess of a fire and charcoal briquets.

Outdoor RV kitchen set up.
Enjoy a sunset or the sound of birds while cooking outdoors.

Great for Keeping Your Camper Cool on Hot Days

We mentioned that cooking inside an RV can heat the space rather quickly; if you’ve done it, just thinking about it can bring back memories of the heat waves from your oven or stove. 

This may not matter on cooler winter days, but on hotter summer days, you don’t want to heat your living space and make your air conditioner work overtime. An RV outdoor kitchen allows you to cook outside, keeping the camper cool.

Great for Minimizing Food Smell Inside

Along with the above benefit, cooking outside also reduces the food odor inside your RV. Although bacon and eggs smell amazing for breakfast, you don’t want to be smelling it all day long. Nor do you want all of your clothes smelling like bacon and eggs. 

The better airflow of an outdoor kitchen minimizes lingering food scents. 

Little girl plugging nose from bad smell.
Keep the stinky smells outside with an outdoor RV kitchen.

Has Everything You Need for Cooking and Cleaning Up

If you have a larger RV outdoor kitchen, it’ll have everything you need. You won’t have to run in the RV to grab cooking utensils, water, pots, etc. You might have enough storage space to leave things like spatulas, napkins, cooking spray, and even extra pots or pans in the outdoor kitchen space. When you also have a sink, you can easily wash dishes, too.

Keep in Mind: Even if you’re cooking outside, it can still attract pests to your camper. If you have cockroaches in your RV this is How To Get Rid of Them.

Great Place for Family to Wash Hands Without Going Inside

When the kids have been playing outside for hours, you don’t want them tracking in dirt or letting out the cool air by running inside to wash their hands or grab a drink. With an RV outdoor kitchen, they can wash their hands and grab a fruit punch from the fridge without ever having to open the camper door. This also reduces the number of bugs that enter your indoor living space.

Cons of RV Outdoor Kitchens

Although there are some great benefits to having an RV outdoor kitchen, there are also some disadvantages. Like taking up space you’d rather have inside, additional plumbing, parts that could break, and wasted space if you don’t use it often. 

Let’s further examine these disadvantages.

Cooking In Van Outdoor Kitchen
We personally have never had an outdoor kitchen, but have camped with those who have. Were always a little jealous of them getting to be outside, unless the weather is not great of course.

Takes Up Valuable Space

Some families, especially full-time traveling families, would rather have additional indoor space than an outdoor kitchen. They don’t mind cooking indoors and prefer to have more storage space. 

When you have an outdoor kitchen, it takes away valuable space that you could use for something else like a closet, additional seating, or a pantry.

More Plumbing and Parts

If you’ve traveled in an RV long enough, you know things break–often. When you have an RV outdoor kitchen, this means you have additional plumbing and parts to operate the refrigerator, sink, and stovetop. 

It’s just another thing that can break. 

Some RVers don’t want this added hassle to maintain and repair parts to this outdoor space.

Family eating a picnic in front of their RV.
If you love the outdoors and cooking, an outdoor kitchen could be an excellent addition to your RV.

You Might Not Use It As Often As You’d Think

While you might picture yourself cooking outdoors every summer evening that you’re using your rig, that might not be the case. It sounds great to spend more time outside enjoying the beautiful scenery and keeping your camper stink-free and cool. But you may decide cooking indoors is just as good if not better. 

If you don’t already grill or cook outside at your sticks-and-bricks house, the likelihood that you’re going to change your cooking habits is slim.

RV Faucets and Filters That Will Effortlessly Save & Purify Water - RV Touch Faucet

Do You Want an RV Outdoor Kitchen?

So there you have it–the pros and the cons. Depending on your lifestyle and cooking habits, you may decide an RV outdoor kitchen is on your list of must-haves. Or you may decide you’d rather have an extra couch with a large window in your living space. 

What works best for you? Will you be getting an RV outdoor kitchen with your next purchase? Drop a comment below!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Grace O'Sullivan

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

Outdoor kitchens are waste of space & your energy unless you cook (&eat) outdoors EXCLUSIVELY. You need duplicate cooking utensils, spices, pans, washing else you're going in & out to retrieve what you use inside when cooking. Plus taking food out of your main fridge must be well planned else again in/out to retrieve items you forgot! You're simply putting on more miles than need be. Not to mention the extra weight of duplication. My kitchen is organized for efficiency and I can't imagine a more disruptive system than having TWO kitchens to have to organize for efficiency. We set up a propane stove outside for the occasional stinky entrees (i.e. fish fry).

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