VanTokers Love This Kitchen Essential for Meal Prep on the Road

published Jun 20, 2023
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Whether you’re embarking on a road trip or taking to the skies, we have ideas for making your vacation as stress-free as possible. This content is presented in partnership with Hampton by Hilton; it was created independently by our editorial team.

While drive-thrus and rest-stop convenience stores are staples for long road trips, you may also crave something a little less fast food and a little more homemade. Counter space is hard to come by when you’re confined to the car — but this VanTok tip for assembling meals will have you rethinking your next road trip menu. 

Quick Overview

How to Prep Food on the Road

Whether you’re traveling in an RV or a sedan, VanTokers swear by packing a foldable table to make preparing and eating meals easier. It won’t take up much space in your trunk, and you can pop it out at any stop to add a portable kitchen island or dining space to your setup.

If you’re serious about cooking on the go or simply want your to be relaxed and enjoyable, there’s one item you should make sure to pack: a collapsible table.

Jessica Reynaud of Ojai, California, swears by bringing a folding table on camping trips with her family in their 40-square-foot van. Reynaud loves how the table doubles as an easy food prep space. “We use the folding table as a kind of portable kitchen island,” she says. 

You don’t have to prepare entire meals to make this table an essential. In fact, at all to make it worthwhile: A small, foldable table is great for any pit stops where you want to spread out and enjoy a meal you packed, tailgate-style.

Of course, for real-deal cooking, this addition to your packing list will give you added space and save you the headache of figuring out where to set out ingredients, place mixing bowls, and chop produce. (Even if you’re traveling in a camper van or RV that has some sort of cooking area, the additional surface space that the table provides allows you the freedom to spread out while you whip up dinner.) 

Credit: Ian Reynaud

Natalie Rodriguez, a #VanToker and chef in Northern California whose cookbook, Cooking on the Roadis set to release in March 2024, finds a pop-up table is “extremely helpful” for boosting counter space and entertaining. “It’s great when camping with friends, as I like to host meals and can serve people from that table as they come up to the van,” she says. 

Her pop-up table is attached to her van’s main kitchen counter by hinges, and it folds down when not in use. But with a freestanding foldable table, you can also move it around and convert it into a dining table or any other surface you need. 

Go for a 3-foot-long foldable table similar to the one Reynaud uses if you’re traveling in a van or RV that can accommodate it.

If you’re driving in a car or simply don’t have the room, smaller varieties will fit into a sedan trunk just fine.