Portable Camp Kitchen: 5-Step Guide to Fun Outdoor Cooking

Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by teamobn

Portable Camp Kitchen
Build a Portable Camp Kitchen For Your Next Picnic or Camping Trip

A great camp kitchen is a must for an amazing camping trip. It should be equipped with all the necessary cookware, utensils, and food storage containers. Furthermore, the portable camp kitchen should be stocked with enough food and supplies to last the entire trip.

Do you love going on picnics or camping trips with family and friends, too? Then you will surely like this camp kitchen project too as this will make cooking, eating and cleaning up while outdoors really easy. And ‘easy’ means enjoyable!

This portable camp kitchen can be taken anywhere. The stand is collapsible and the box is easy to use and close.

Portable Camp Kitchen

It can store all basic kitchen ingredients, cooking and cleaning equipment. The shelves inside are adjustable in case you need to change some equipment or rearrange items inside. What also makes this portable camp kitchen a winner is that it has expandable parts, giving you extra workspace at your campsite.

This project, though one that can be difficult to build for its many details, only requires common tools and materials that you most probably already own or have access to.

See how this clever idea was built and be inspired to make your very own camping kitchen!

Click on any image to start the lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.8-)

Building a Portable Camp Kitchen


  • 3/4″ Swedish Plywood
  • 1/8″ Tempered Masonite Board
  • 3/8″ Luan Mahogany
  • Closet Door Hinges
  • Road Case Hinges
  • Piano Hinges
  • Hinges with removable pins
  • 1-1/2″ Wood Screws
  • Bolts and Nuts
  • Pipe Clamp
  • Natural Pine Finish
  • Polyurethane


  • Wood Clamps
  • Table Saw
  • Drill
  • Measuring Tape


BOX DESIGN: I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the best portable camp kitchen design that works for me. I found many good designs on the net and borrowed features from some and added many of my own. You may not like this portable camp kitchen design so feel free to change anything you like.

Design Criteria:

  1. Must fit stove and all cook/clean gear.
  2. Must maximize storage space for large and small items.
  3. Must maximize working counter space.
  4. Must hold fresh and washed water containers.
Portable Camp Kitchen

The two top panels fold out and are supported by the swing outdoors. The doors of this portable camp kitchen double as storage space for cleaning and condiment items. I added bungees to the doors to keep things from rattling around.

The large storage compartment of my portable camp kitchen has adjustable shelves as does the right compartment. Nesting cooking components save space and the flip-out door design allows easy access to all components.

STAND DESIGN: Given that the portable camp kitchen design of the box would probably not allow it to collapse with equipment inside, the stand had to fold down.

Portable Camp Kitchen
1. I used door hinges with removable pins to allow the 2 halves of the stand to attach and detach from each other.
2. Sections that were removed from each side to make the stand lighter were reused for fold-down shelves.
3. The back cut-out had movable legs attached to rest across the horizontal supports.
4. Supports for a free-standing beach umbrella were added for sun shading.

Portable Camp Kitchen
5. The inside dimensions of the stand fit the outside dimensions of the box so that the box nests inside the stand against the stops.

BUILDING THE BOX: Take care to measure everything carefully!  Measure twice, cut once.

Top, sides, divider, and bottom: 3/4″ Swedish plywood
Back and internal adjustable shelving: 1/8″ tempered Masonite board
Doors: 3/4″ plywood frame, 1/8″ Luan mahogany skin, closet door hinges
Handles: recessed road case hinges (1/2″ of the side had to be routed out so the handle fit flush)
Top fold-out counter: 3/4″ Swedish plywood, piano hinges recessed

Portable Camp Kitchen
The box has1-1/2″ screws that were driven through the top and bottom to hold the sides. I used bar clamps to hold everything during assembly. There was no glue used on this project.

Portable Camp Kitchen
Pre-fit the doors of your camp kitchen before assembling the box. The doors should be made a little bit shorter than the opening so they will swing out easily. I used small pieces of scrap pine for the door latches and stop.

Portable Camp Kitchen
I cut extra slots on the inside of the box to maximize the adjustability of the shelves for the future should the contents change.

Portable Camp Kitchen
The finish is natural pine with 2 coats of polyurethane.


Sides: 3/4″ Swedish plywood. Cutouts were removed to reduce weight.
Hinges: Residential door hinges with removable pins. The original pins were replaced on 2 sets with large framing nails for easier assembly.
Fold Out Shelves: Cutouts were reused and mounted with dowel pins as hidden hinges. Fold-out supports added.
Umbrella Stand: Scrap plywood with a 1’1/2″ pipe clamp. The top bracket of this camp kitchen is removable and attaches with small bolts and hidden crown nuts.

Portable Camp Kitchen
Portable Camp Kitchen

Assemble one short and one long side together and leave them that way. Store them folded flat and secure the removable pins in the box for safekeeping.

Portable Camp Kitchen
You can mark the pieces for easy assembly like the top/front.

COLLAPSED & EXPANDED: Here are the finished photos of the camp kitchen Chuck box collapsed for storage and expanded ready for use.

Portable Camp Kitchen
Portable Camp Kitchen
Portable Camp Kitchen
Portable Camp Kitchen
Portable Camp Kitchen
Portable Camp Kitchen
Portable Camp Kitchen

Remember, measure carefully and prefit everything before assembly.

MEASURED DRAWINGS: Here’s the measured drawing Portable Camp Kitchen Drawings.  You can alter any and all dimensions to suite your own taste. The measurements shown on this drawing are estimates and may differ slightly from the finished projects. I did not include all of the detail for the fold out shelves and support legs so I’m sure you can come up with your own measurements.


Thanks to thetoolman for this great project!

Essential Tools and Gadgets for the Ultimate Camp Cooking Experience 

Creating the ultimate camp cooking experience requires more than just a good recipe. The right tools and gadgets can transform your outdoor meals from simple to spectacular. When you’re assembling your portable camp kitchen, consider these essentials. They’re designed to make cooking and cleanup easier, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors.

Compact Cookware

Invest in lightweight, durable cookware that nests together. Look for pots and pans made from materials like titanium or anodized aluminium. These conduct heat well and are easy to clean. A set that includes a frying pan, a small pot, and a larger pot covers most camping cooking needs.

Multi-Use Utensils

Choose utensils that save space in your portable camp kitchen for multiple purposes. A spatula with a serrated edge can double as a knife. Tongs that lock are useful for turning food and can serve as an oven mitt to handle hot cookware.

Portable Grill or Stove

A compact, portable grill or stove is a must-have. It should be lightweight, easy to set up, and durable. Look for models that offer adjustable heat settings to cook various meals easily. Remember to pack fuel canisters or charcoal, depending on your grill type.

Collapsible Sink and Water Containers

Cleaning up is part of the cooking experience. A collapsible sink takes up minimal space and makes washing dishes outdoors simple. Pair it with large, foldable water containers to ensure enough water for cooking and cleaning.

Cutting Board and Knife Set

A sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife set are crucial for food prep. Opt for a board that doubles as a serving platter. Ensure your knives are safely stored in a protective case or sheath.

Spice Containers

Don’t let your meals be bland. Pack a variety of spices in small, airtight containers. Some containers come with multiple compartments, making it easy to bring along a selection of your favorite spices without taking up too much room.

Portable Coffee Maker

For many, the day doesn’t start without coffee. A portable coffee maker or a simple French press can ensure you have your morning brew. There are even compact espresso makers for those who prefer a stronger cup.

Lighting and Heat Source

Good lighting is essential for cooking after dark. A headlamp or a lantern with adjustable brightness can keep your hands free while you cook. Also, consider a portable fire pit or a camp stove that doubles as a heat source to keep you warm on chilly evenings.

Portable Camp Kitchen

Solar Oven

Harness the power of the sun with a solar oven. This eco-friendly gadget lets you bake, roast, or steam foods without fuel or fire. It’s an innovative addition to your portable camp kitchen, allowing you to prepare various dishes using sunlight.

Food Storage Containers

Quality food storage containers are essential for keeping ingredients fresh and organized. Opt for collapsible silicone containers to save space. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and can be used to store leftovers or pre-prepped meals.

Portable Water Filter

Staying hydrated is crucial, and a portable water filter ensures access to clean drinking water. It’s a vital tool for any portable camp kitchen, especially in remote areas with uncertain water quality.

Battery-Powered Blender

For smoothie lovers or those who enjoy blended soups, a battery-powered blender is a luxury in the wild. Compact and rechargeable, it adds a gourmet touch to your camping meals without needing an electrical outlet.

Table and Chairs

A lightweight folding table and chairs can transform your campsite into a comfortable dining area. They provide a stable surface for cooking and a cosy space for enjoying your meals, enhancing the overall portable camp kitchen experience.

Cooking Thermometer

A cooking thermometer is a small tool that makes a big difference, ensuring your meats and other dishes are cooked safely and to perfection. Look for a digital model for quick and accurate readings.

Collapsible Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accurate measurements can differentiate between a good meal and a great one. Collapsible measuring cups and spoons are compact, easy to store, and ensure you can follow recipes precisely, even in the great outdoors.

Portable Spice Rack

Expand on the idea of spice containers with a portable spice rack. This can be a fold-out organizer or a rotating compact design, allowing you to bring a wider selection of spices without sacrificing space or organization in your portable camp kitchen.

Rechargeable Fans

Cooking outdoors can get hot, especially in summer. A rechargeable fan provides a breeze, making the cooking area more comfortable. It can also help keep flies and insects away from your cooking space.

Each item in your portable camp kitchen should earn its place by being functional, durable, and lightweight. With these essential tools and gadgets, you’re well-equipped to enjoy delicious meals under the stars.


Building a portable camp kitchen elevates your outdoor adventures, merging the comforts of home cooking with the beauty of nature. With the right tools and gadgets, you can create memorable meals under the stars, making each camping trip unforgettable. This project not only enhances your outdoor experience but also brings convenience and efficiency to cooking in the great outdoors.



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