Eating healthy food can be easy, affordable, and convenient in your van

What are the cooking options so you can eat good food on the road? Read this info sheet to find out. Then complete our Eating Checklist

Your Kitchen: Indoor & Outdoor?

Before you can dig into that delicious hot meal, the first question you need to answer is: will you be cooking your meals inside or outside? 

 Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are the way to go for basic vanlife. Find a place to park (preferably with a good view), pull out a folding table, light your camp stove, and you’re ready to make dinner. Wash up using an outdoor water source like a river or campground faucet (know the rules and use biodegradable soap, please!). Store your pots and pans with the rest of your stuff. 

Pros of outdoor kitchens: 

  • Affordable
  • Leaves more space in your van for other features

Cons of outdoor kitchens: 

  • Must cook outside
  • Less convenient

Indoor Kitchens

Home is where the hearth is. Indoor kitchens turn your van into a home on wheels. Prepare meals anywhere—in a parking space downtown or deep in the woods—and in any weather. Indoor kitchens provide the convenience and organization of your home kitchen, only on a smaller scale. 

Clean up at your own kitchen sink. We install water storage tanks, pumps, and gray water tanks to collect your used dish water. Empty your gray water tank when out in nature. Fill up your storage tank anytime you’re near a hose (many gas stations have them).  

Pros of indoor kitchens: 

  • Convenient with no set up time
  • Feels like home
  • Cook and wash up inside in any weather  

Cons of outdoor kitchens: 

  • More expensive to install 
  • Takes up space in your van

Indoor Kitchen

Convenient and homey. No setup time and easy cleanup.

For extensive travel, we recommend an indoor kitchen

Want the comforts of home on the road? Choose indoor

Outdoor Kitchen

Affordable and minimalistic. Enjoy cooking in the great outdoors.

Like to rough it? An outdoor kitchen will do just fine

If you're on a tight budget, consider an outdoor kitchen

Keeping It Cool: Refrigeration Features

If the first thing that separates car camping from vanlife is the ability to sleep in your van, the second is having a refrigerator. It’s a game changer. It gives you the ability to store food safely without the hassle of buying ice for leaking coolers.

Chest Refrigerators 

The most basic type of fridge for your van is a chest refrigerator. The pull-out style makes it look like a typical cooler—the top lifts up to reveal your food. Unlike a cooler, it stays cold as long as you have power. They are more affordable and more power and space efficient than a traditional fridge, but smaller and less convenient to use.

Traditional Refrigerators 

Just like the mini-fridge you had in your college dorm, these store a surprising amount of food in a small amount of space. They are made specifically for vans and trucks and are efficient. Traditional refrigerators are larger and more convenient to use than a cooler fridge, but more expensive and less efficient.


We know we just talked some trash about the good old fashioned ice chest, but it’s a great option for van converters on a tight budget. Fill it up with an ice block and you’re set for a few days. They are ultra cheap but less convenient. 

Cooler-Style Fridge

These conveniently tuck under cabinets or beds. They take up less space than a mini-fridge but also hold less food.

Efficient and compact

Takes up less space, leaving more room for more features


Store all your goodies in a traditional looking refrigerator. Easier to access than a chest fridge or cooler. 

Keep track of food more easily

Feels like a regular fridge

Washing Up: Sink & Water Options

Water is essential for life—and for doing dishes. How you choose to clean up depends on your tastes and your budget.

Indoor sink

Our kitchen installs come with, well, everything and the kitchen sink. The ultimate convenience in on-the-road living, an indoor sink means you can cook, clean, brush your teeth, and wash your hands or face inside your van.

Indoor Water Storage 

We install water storage tanks in the crevices of your van—behind cabinets, under floors—so your water needs don’t intrude on your living space. Fill the tank via an easily accessible inlet with an ordinary garden hose and voila: you have on-demand room temperature water straight out of the faucet.

Grey Water Storage 

All that used sink water needs to go somewhere. If you’re parked out in nature on the grass or dirt, it’s fine to let your sink water (with biodegradable soap) run straight onto the ground. If you’re somewhere extremely dry, like the desert, or in the city, it’s a no-no to dump your dishwater. Your gray water tank, usually located under the van, will hold your used water until you find a convenient place to dump it. Simply open the valve and let the water run out, or attach a hose to it for more precise drainage.

Basic Water Storage 

If you want to go cheap and minimal, you can bypass all these options and simply store water in anything from gallon plastic jugs to those usually bright red or yellow Igloo coolers with the spigot on the bottom.

Indoor Sink

Do your washing right inside your van, either with water plumbed from your storage tank or with an Igloo-style water cooler. 

Super convenient for doing dishes and brushing teeth

Plumb with a hot or cold water tap

A gray water tank stores used sink water. Empty it by pulling a lever when it's full

Water Storage

Have water wherever you go. Makes washing up easy and convenient in any location or weather and gives you more freedom.

More freedom to adventure away from civilization

Store enough water for several days in an easy-to-fill tank

Fill it up with a garden hose. We install filters so you can drink it, too.

Now for the Yummy Part: Cooking Features

Preparing meals is fun and easy in a converted van, whether your kitchen is inside or out. Bring your own pots and pans, load up your fridge of choice with fresh food, and you’re set for gourmet meals on the road. 

How will you prepare your meals? There are three basics types of cooking elements. 

Propane Stoves 

From the basic camp stove in your outdoor kitchen to an indoor propane range, cooking with fire is one way to go. We attach propane tanks under the van for easy filling and storage. No more messing around with tiny canisters. The advantages to cooking with propane: you aren’t dependent on your batteries for cooking. Even on a cloudy day, you can still make pancakes for breakfast.

Induction Stovetops 

These nifty stovetops use magnets to heat up your metal pots and pans and are cool to the touch within seconds of removing your pan. They run off you batteries, which are charged either by running your van or by your solar system making this an affordable and eco-friendly option. 


More and more vanlifers are using the power of the simple microwave to make cooking easy. If you like to prep meals and heat them up on the road, this may be the option for you. You’ll want a lithium battery system to store the power it takes to run a microwave. 

Propane Stovetop

For those that demand to cook with fire, propane is the way to go. 

Cooking can be as easy as a basic camping stove

Pipe propane into your van for an indoor kitchen


Click a few buttons and poof, your meal is ready!

Runs off electricity stored in your batteries

If you mostly want to reheat pre-made food, a microwave might be all you need

Induction Stovetop

For fast, safe and eco friendly cooking, an induction cooktop will deliver the heat!

Cook with electricity using battery power

Most cooktops can be stored when not in use

Indoor Dining

Eat together in any weather, at any time of time or night. Plus, a nice place to sit and play games or read a book.

From trays on swivels to 4-person dining tables

Dining tables double as desks and card tables

Where will you eat? 

Now that you’ve tossed that fresh salad or heated up your favorite soup, where will you sit down to eat?

Indoor dining table

There are near-infinite options for indoor dining, from small trays that swivel out to family tables that seat four or more (and then convert into beds!). 

If you want to be able to eat together in any weather, consider adding an indoor dining table to your features list. Many of our tables take up minimal space and can easily be tucked away. 

Outdoor dining

Some camping chairs and a plastic folding table are enough for some people, who enjoy the more rustic approach to vanlife. If you want to keep things simple or don’t want a lot of furniture in your van, make use of public picnic tables, rocks, beaches, you name it! 


Eating Checklist

Help us create a customized design and an accurate quote by knowing your options

🍳Do you want a kitchen?

  • Indoor
  • Outdoor
  • No kitchen

❄️Do you want to keep your food cold?

  • Chest-style refrigerator
  • Traditional refrigerator
  • Ice cooler
  • No refrigeration

🚰Do you want water on board?

  • Indoor sink
  • Unheated water
  • Hot water
  • No water

🥨How will you cook?

  • Propane stovetop
  • Induction stovetop
  • Microwave
  • No cooking for me

❓What other eating features are you considering?

  • We want to hear about them!

How do you decide what’s right for you?

Our three biggest tips as you’re dreaming and designing:

  • do your research,
  • know what you want, and
  • know your budget.

Then you’re ready to go!  ⛰🚐✨

Van conversions are like home sales: you want the best your money can afford. (How is a van sale different than a home sale? With your van, you can always change your location! 😉)

Similar to buying a home, it helps to know your price range. Levity Van conversions range from $35K for basic essentials to $150K for luxury models, excluding the van. We’ll help you get as many features as you can for a price you can afford.  

Choose your features

Your price depends on the features, components, and systems you need. 

  • Stick with these basics if you want to keep your conversion costs low.
  • If your budget allows, we can suggest modest upgrades to increase your comfort and enjoyment.
  • If you want the total vanlife experience, you’ll need a bigger budget. Just remember you’re investing in a tiny home: it’s worth it!
  • Are you a go big or go home person? Turn your van into a truly unique pleasure, sport, or full-time vanlife vehicle. We’ll help.

Once you know your options and are 75%+ certain about what you want in your van, fill out our Conversion Worksheet. We’ll set up a time to talk on the phone about design ideas and price estimates. Here’s an overview of how the process works. We look forward to hearing about your project!

Not yet sure what you want? Tell us about your project ideas and we’ll send you relevent suggestions and resources. 

Meet Our Team

My love of building and mechanics began decades ago with brake jobs at age 10. I wired my first house at 13 with my dad, then became the high schooler who upgraded everyone’s stereo systems. Levity Vans was born 4 years ago when I saw my uncle’s empty Transit van and thought: “I could do so many customizations to make that truly unique!” I’m happy to help people’s travel dreams come true.

Jimmy Grey

Our first two-week road trip in a converted ProMaster got me hooked on vanlife travel with kids. The freedom, sense of opportunity, and comfort of being able to go anywhere, anytime inspire me to support Jimmy’s vision of Levity Vans. Follow us on Instagram to see my handiwork and to share your travel photos. One step closer to adventure!

Bez Stone

Full Service Van Conversions

Serving Santa Cruz and Beyond

Call us today

(831) 687-8267