Here is the beginning of the camp kitchen build where I dream up the overall concept, size & shape as a single unit that fits in the back of my Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. I focus on the build out of a slide-out countertop & sink, as well as a platform for a spouted water jug to sit over the sink.
SUV Camp Kitchen Build Articles:
- Camp Kitchen Build Overview
- Part 1: Camp Kitchen Slide-out Sink and Countertop (this article)
- Part 2: Slide-out 12V Fridge/Freezer
- Part 3: 12V Off-grid Power: Switch Panel, Battery & Solar Panel (Coming Soon)
- Part 4: Camp Kitchen Finish Work (Coming Soon)
- Part 5: Field Test (Coming Soon)
Supplies Used in This Part 1 Build Article:
- Vadania 24” locking drawer sliders w/ bearings for the slide out countertop
- Vadania 12’ locking drawer sliders w/ bearings for the slide out sink
- Stainless steel kitchen mixing bowl from local grocery store (used for the sink)
- RedCamp 4 gallon freshwater container
- 12”x24” piece of ⅛” 6061 aluminum for the countertop (Craigslist find)
- 1 ½” angle aluminum, 1/16” thick for countertop, sink & shelf mounts, and bracing (Home Depot)
- ¼” thick cabinetry plywood (Home Depot)
- Stainless steel fasteners (machine thread screws, washers, lock nuts) (Home Depot, Lowes)
1’x1’ square 1/16” thick 6061 aluminum sheet
Three Main Sections to the Camp Kitchen
After much deliberation, I ended up dividing the camping unit into three general sections:
- Left Compartment (12”): Slide-out sink, and slide-out counter, stout shelf for water jug over the sink, storage compartment for a small, single burner stove..
- Middle Compartment (8”): 12V Off grid Power Systems
- Right Side (14”): Slide out fridge freezer unit.
For the compartment dividers, I used 1½” angle aluminum 1/16” thick that I bought from Home Depot as brackets to mount them to the bottom ¼” plywood platform. These also doubled as a strengthened base to anchor the countertop bearing sliders to since they are pretty heavy duty steel. The cabinetry plywood is pretty thin at ¼” because I’m trying to keep the weight down on the main camp kitchen cabinet as much as possible to be able to access the spare tire if needed, and make it possible to take the camping unit in & out.
DIY Slide-Out Camp Kitchen Countertop
Though wood would probably be more ideal, I ended up using aluminum for the slide-out countertop because it just looks awesome. It’s mounted on the left hand side of the Savage Camper Kitchen and is approx 12” in width. I decided to use Vadania 24” locking,bearing drawer slides purchased from Amazon for this countertop.
I was hoping to obtain 1/16 inch thick aluminum sheet for the camp kitchen counter, but that could potentially be expensive. In hopes of getting lucky, I started a search on Craigslist and behold, found a scrap piece of 6061 aluminum that was 18” side and 96” in length. However, it was ⅛” thick so that would add weight. I couldn’t pass it up for $25. As it so happens the giant scrap piece of aluminum was at a fabrication shop that was closing down, and the owner still had his giant metal shear. He cut the aluminum into 2 equal halves so I could fit it into the Jeep Renegade.
With a sawzall and very steady hands, I trimmed one of these halves down to size to fit in the 12” left compartment (counter is about 12”x24”), for which I created a divider. Each side I mounted a Vadania 24” bearing slider for the counter. The box is 24” deep at the bottom. Remember it’s based on a 3’Wx2’L size, and the seats slope 70 degrees back. So at the top of the camping unit, it’s reduced in size to about an 18” depth. As a result of all this, I had to offset the Vadania 24” locking sliders out about 1” to the hear hatch in order to accommodate for the 70 degree sloped wall in the back of the camping unit, or the top of the sliders would poke into the back of the rear seat.
To the part of the bearing slider that anchors normally to a drawer, I mounted 1¼” angle aluminum, 1/16” thickness as mounting brackets for the aluminum countertop, with four small stainless machine screws and lock nuts.
Slide-out Stainless Camp Sink
After scouring lots of ideas, I settled on a cheap stainless mixing bowl from the grocery store to keep things simple. It’s stamped quality stainless so it’s tough, thin and as a result nice and lightweight. I purchased a 1’x1′ square 1/16” thick 6061 aluminum sheet on Amazon and drilled out around a circle big enough to knock out and then drop the bowl into, where the aluminum catches on the bowl’s lip. This aluminum sheet that houses the bowl is mounted about 4” above the counter in the same fashion to 12” Vadania locking bearing sliders.
I knocked down the center of the bowl which had a bit of a rise, so the lowest point was the bottom/center. Next, drilled it out to fit a ⅝ 90 degree plastic elbow fitting that will be a drain. I cut the threaded ⅝ portion so it didn’t stick up above the bowl lip, so that all water will drain. The drain was permanently mounted with JB Weld.
Heavy-Duty Water Jug Shelf
A third, top level in the left-hand compartment over the slide-out sink is a sturdy shelf of approximately 12”x12” in size for the RedCamp fresh water container. This jug holds 4 gallons with a poseable spout and variable flow rate valve. The full jug weighs about 33 lbs. It sits on the shelf over the slid out sink, and the spout is the faucet to the sink where you can wash your hands, face, brush teeth, simple rinsing, etc while camping. I used 1½ angle aluminum and ¼” plywood to make the shelf, which also acts as bracing for this left-side compartment.
In Savage Camper Kitchen Build PART 2, I design and continue building out a slide-out fridge/freezer unit.