Truck Life: Must Have Cooking Checklist

I will start off by saying I am not a full time truck dweller. I wish I could be though. Rather I work and then take time off and go places, and I live in the back of my truck when I go on trips. It saves huge money and the experiences of camping everywhere you go are a memorable addition to your experience.

So here is a few of the items that I find essential to having the best time eating great and saving money on the road.

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What to take for camp cooking.

I like to eat as best as I can when on the road but not break the budget. I try to cook everything myself for every meal. Here is a list of items I do NOT leave the house without while cooking and living on the road.

Yeti 45 Cooler

In the picture above you can see my sticker covered Yeti Cooler. I did my research and felt that this cooler would be perfect for me. I buy only what I can fit inside for perishables and of course beer, that way nothing goes to waste. All other non perishables go into a separate storage unit. (A reusable grocery bag) The Yeti fits perfectly behind the passenger seat in my Tacoma (since I sleep in the back) and is easily accessible. You can find Yeti Coolers everywhere in many different sizes to fit your needs.

A Collapsable Table

I bought a Lifetime brand 5 foot collapsable table. It comes in quite handy for camping situations. Ive used it for cooking, setting up gear, loading and unloading, playing games, and I have even used it for Beer Pong. Yes Beer Pong!

2 Burner Propane Stove

I don’t think that they sell the exact 2 burner stove that I have anymore. I will say though, that when mine craps out (knock on wood it doesn’t) I’ll be buying the Coleman 2 Burner stove. Any two burner will work, I have been using mine for maybe 2-3 years very regularly and it has helped to make amazing meals! I highly suggest getting a 2 burner rather than a single, so you can cook a full meal all at once.

The awesome thing about this stove is that it takes the little green propane canisters, or one large one with the right adapter. I just use the little green Coleman Propane canisters you can get here.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

I can’t even count how many meals I have cooked in my Lodge cast iron skillet. My Griswold skillets are top shelf, but I keep those at home. The lodge is tough and works like a dream. It can be used on the Coleman grill, or used over a fire. Ive cooked fish, chicken, steaks, and a multitude of veggies on this bad boy. Be sure to use metal utensils when cooking with this so you don’t melt the plastic ones. It’s worth its weight in gold to me.

My secondary cooking equipment consists of a pot and lid. Really any will work , just something cheap. I would also run to the dollar store or Walmart and get some large plastic spoons, spatulas, metal knives, and any other utensils you would normally use in the kitchen. Just don’t over do it. You may find you really don’t need much to make it work. Less clutter equals quicker cleaning and accessibility, and will keep you adventuring for more of the day.

Plates and Eating Utensils

I have a plethora of eating utencils that I have accumulated over time, but my go to is this small simple 2 person set up. It comes with a bag to hold it all, two collapsable cups, and two sets of a knife, spoon, and fork. They are all durable plastic. I chose to use this instead of paper plates, and plastic throw away utencils because it helps me to follow the Leave no Trace principles, plus I don’t have to keep re-buying the supplies. I will just cook, eat, and clean it up. It saves money and the planet.

Cutting Boards

I learned quickly that if I didn’t get a cutting board I was going to cut up my table very quickly. Also it helps to keep the cleaning to a minimum from all the juices that come about when cutting up meat and veggies. It’s a life saver. I would suggest a flexible cutting board as it can store away easily.

Water Storage

Being on the road you go through water very quickly. Between drinking it, and cleaning up after meals and yourself, and putting out fires, it goes quickly. I try to bring one of the 6-7 gallon heavy duty water jugs. It sucks to run out of water in any of those circumstances. Another life saver on the road. Get a BPA free one because you don’t want that nasty crap in plastic to leech out into your water that you drink.

Vacuum Insulated Mugs

I personally love the Yeti, Hydroflask, and Stanley pint size cups, but any brand will do. They will keep your coffee hot in the mornings, and your beers cold at night, or whatever it is that normal people drink. They are stainless steel so the likeliness of them rusting is near impossible, and they are so easy to clean.

I have found many times through dropping them that, they are also extremely durable and will last a lifetime. I also carry many sizes of the same brands of the bottles in 40-64 ounce size to keep in the front compartment with me to drink water out of while driving.

If you want to learn more about how I live in my truck on the road check out the Dirtbag Build page!

This is just a list of some of the most important things I bring with me on every road trip. They all help me to live out of my vehicle the entire trip, and cook delicious, healthy, and affordable meals anywhere I camp out at.

FEEL FREE to ask me any other questions you can think of that I didn’t cover in this, drop a comment, maybe someone else has the same questions as you! Thank you for visiting!

If you love this post and want to share it with the world, pin the picture below! Have a great day!

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

– William Morris


6 thoughts on “Truck Life: Must Have Cooking Checklist

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  1. I am surprised you have no grill!? Is there a problem if you want to use a charcoal grill on US or Canadian Campsites? Otherwise, we have the same basic style 😉

    1. I don’t carry a grill in the truck, i find it easy to use the skillet, and a pot with a lid to cook many meals. Sometimes i am not able to have a fire due to forest fire restrictions, so i follow the rules set out to not have open fires, so ill use my own gear. If i feel amped up to use a grill then I guess I could use the one at the campsite if available, but i also eat a mostly vegetarian diet when on big road trips, occasionally ill have some meat if i’m craving it, but the skillet works wonders on steaks and chicken. So i find carrying a stove and a grill to just be too much to carry.

      1. Mostly vegetarian… That makes a big difference. Also my husband is grill addicted. Sounds like you handle it very well. Following the rules, especially with fire is a must.

      2. Yeah, eating that way on the road seems to be very cheap and doesn’t need to be constantly refrigerated, potatoes, onions, and other vegetables, can be left in a side storage and the cooler can be used for other fruits and drinks and such. Less hassle, lest waste, and i don’t over eat. Dont get me wrong if im eating meat at home i will grill it up! Yes i’m very very careful with fire. I would be heartbroken if I was the cause of a forest fire.

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