My camp kitchen is starting to take shape – transforming my Ford Ranger
I'm rather proud of how this turned out!
In February 2020, I bought one of my dream vehicles; a 2019 Ford Ranger with four wheel drive. Soon after buying this truck, a vision started to form about how I wanted to use it. The truck filled a couple of needs, including towing and launching my boat as well as having a vehicle with 4x4 capabilities for instances of inclement weather. But I was soon drawn into a new hobby; overlanding! And modifications started in order to prepare my truck to travel to interesting places.
New to me!
And what my rig looks like today!
Cooking and eating good foods is a huge and important hobby to me, and it occurred to me that I can combine my hobbies and take my cooking on the road on camping trips. In order to do this, I will have to be prepared. I don't want to be caught out wanting for something while putting together a good meal in austere conditions out in the wild. The first part of this that I tackled was work space. So I built a mobile camp kitchen workspace that can stow away without taking up any otherwise usable space on my truck!
I started with a 2" x 4" sheet of birch plywood that was cut down to fit the footprint of my roof-top-tent's collapsible ladder when my kitchen prep area wasn't in use and my truck was on the move. Then, there was the simple task of finishing the wood to look nice and hopefully have some durability. I used a stain called "charred wood accelerator" to give my camp kitchen workspace a nice dark color that went well with my truck, but still highlighted some of the grain of the wood. To add a protective coating, I used a spray polyurethane. This part was not fun as it was COLD outside and not the ideal conditions for spray poly.
Prepping up the wood.
To protect the wood, I cut 3/4" aluminum angle down to frame the wood, drilled it for countersinking screws, and secured it around the perimeter of the wood. Rubber bumpers were added to the back side of my camp kitchen workspace where it would rest up against my truck so as to not scratch up the paint. Then, I through-bolted heavy duty d-rings to the corners to help support the worktop.
Aluminum to protect the wood, and rubber bumpers to protect the truck!
D-rings attached on each corner to hang my workspace.
The last thing I had to do for this little project was rig up some strapping to be able to hang the workspace off the side of my truck. I used 1" nylon strapping with hardware, along with heavy duty carabiners to accomplish this. I roughly measured the length of the straps I would need, and cut and riveted everything together in order to be able to not just hang the camp kitchen worktop securely, but to also have some adjustability in how it hangs to account for the different terrains I may end up parked on.
Buckles add a level of adjustability.
All rigged up...
I am absolutely thrilled with how this project turned out! My camp kitchen worktop is very sturdy and provides a lot of room to work with. I will be able to safely put a small camp stove down on my worktop with plenty of room to spare for food prep. And the best part is that in an environment where space is at a premium, I will be able to stash this workspace away without taking up any additional valuable storage space on my rig!
Plenty of space!
I can't wait to get cooking on this!
I'm proud of how sturdy this turned out!
Stored out up...
...and out of the way!
Stay tuned as I continue to build out my camp kitchen with gear and ingredients. There will be some more small projects and some gadgets added to my camp kitchen idea. I'm really excited to get out and cook in some beautiful and interesting places!