As regular followers of our Sprinter Camper Vans Instagram account will know, camper van kitchen layouts and designs come in an almost-infinite range of styles, shapes, specs and sizes.
Having a kitchen in your camper van is very high on the list of many people’s must-haves when planning to build or buy a converted Sprinter van – and for good reason. Not only does having kitchen facilities allow you to cook and store fresh food in your camper, but it provides a good opportunity to build in plenty of storage and functional cabinets for storing your van’s kitchen and cooking gear, as well as your other gear such as cleaning and personal toiletries.
In this post we are sharing some of our favorite camper van kitchen layouts, as well as cooking setups that feature some awesome creativity, engineering and all-round style to draw inspiration from for your own camper van conversion.
We also share some advice on planning your own camper van layout and things to consider when looking at building or buying a van with a kitchen built-in.
The best camper vans kitchen layouts
Full campervan kitchen
If your dream Sprinter van conversion involves having a full kitchen like you’d find on a larger RV, perhaps something like this van’s kitchen is what you’re after. It features a white ceramic sink, large refrigerator, oven and cooktop, as well as plenty of cabinets.
J&J’s van has the kitchen set up on the opposite side to the sliding door, making way for a dinette seating area by the door (and views).
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @jjvandevan
‘Minimalist-luxury’ van kitchen layout
This van kitchen by LA Van Outfitters has everything you need, while not filling the van with cabinets, which results in this 144 wheelbase (short) Sprinter van maintaining an open and airy living space in which to enjoy your van-cooked meal and beverage of your choice.
Installing the refrigerator by the sliding door keeps room for a two-seater booth chair and a cabinet offering either extra storage, or direct access to the van’s garage area under the platform bed. [Speaking of van ‘garages’ and platform beds, if you’re researching camper van bed ideas then check out this post next!]
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @lavanoutfitters
Adventure-ready camper kitchen
Everything about the vans from PNW-based outfitters Cascade Custom Vans screams adventure, while not compromising on home comforts, and this van is a great example. This van’s kitchen features a smaller fridge, allowing space for a drawer above, seating opposite, and plenty of counter space for a good-size sink and a gas cooktop.
Another thing we love about this van is the large number of roomy overhead cabinets, which offer easy-to-access storage for cooking equipment as well as the rest of your adventure gear.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @cascadecustomvans
Van life kitchen with a gas oven
If you’re planning a van to live the van life full time, then you may not want to live in it with just a cooktop – for many van lifers, an oven is an important addition to their van’s kitchen. Even if you’re not planning to live in your van, you may decide that having an oven is one of those luxuries you want to factor into your build.
Nikki Bigger’s van has a great compact oven which also houses two gas burners up top, and plenty of cabinets on either side for storage.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @nikkibigger
Electric camper kitchen with induction cooktop
No gas stove is needed to cook in this van conversion’s kitchen – it features an electric induction cooktop to complement the large stainless steel sink and good-size refrigerator that is installed under the platform bed.
This van from Overland Van Project showcases a very popular layout, especially for the shorter (144) Sprinter van chassis, as it makes great use of the available space when paired with a platform bed. To learn more about the different sizes of Sprinter van, such as 144 vs 170, read this post next.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @overlandvanproject
Farmhouse-style camper van sink and plenty of cabinets
If you like having the partition between the driver’s cab and the living space of the van, then you can make good use of that extra wall space by building your camper van’s kitchen up front, leaving space further back for seating, storage and sleeping.
UK-based van builder Em Rowntree’s van is a great example of how a small Sprinter van can be transformed into a cosy tiny-home-on wheels through thoughtful attention to style, such as the splash back tiles, farmhouse-style sink, bright curtain and wall-mounted storage.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @emrowntree
Camper van kitchen with full espresso coffee machine
This one’s for the coffee lovers. If, like the folks over at Trail & Kale, you don’t want to compromise on your morning coffee, make sure you build a big enough electrical system and install an inverter in your camper to allow you to not only have electrical items such as an induction cooktop in your van’s kitchen, but to power a full-size barista espresso machine for your morning brew.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @trailandkale
Van cabinets with built-in drawer fridge
While most built-in van refrigerators have side-opening doors, a drawer fridge is also a great choice, especially if you want to be able to access it from both sides.
In the case of this van from Freedom Vans, the fridge is located next to the sliding door and can easily be accessed from the kitchen and seating area inside the van, as well as from the outside – very useful if you like to cook outside while camping.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @freedomvans
Artisan van kitchen with stone sink
Some of our favorite Sprinter camper van builds are those that take the conversion that much further when it comes to unique design, customization and creativity.
Sinnika Kimmich’s van showcases so many thoughtful design touches – and in the case of the kitchen, we are especially loving the stone countertop sink, and the cheeky two-bottle wine rack below.
FOLLOW THEM on Instagram: @sinnika.kimmich
What you need to know about planning your van conversion’s kitchen
Planning a camper van conversion generally starts with considering how, when and where you’re going to be using your van, as well as your personal style, taste and lifestyle choices.
How big does your van conversion kitchen need to be?
When it comes to the kitchen specifically, it’s really worth thinking about what type of cooking you’re going to want to be doing in your van. If you’re planning to live in your camper full-time, then the chances are you’re going to want to pack as much functionality in as the space allows, as well as maximize on storage opportunities in terms of how many cabinets you can build in and around your cooking space.
On the other hand, if your camper van is going to be used for shorter road trips and vacations, then you may place greater value on having a more open living space than packing your van with cabinets and installing an oven, large fridge and sink.
In fact, if you’re only using your van on weekends and are contemplating having only a small electrical system, then you don’t need a permanent sink in your van, and can get away with a cooler for transporting and storing your food and drink for your trips, and cooking on a gas stove or grill outside of your van.
Many people land somewhere in-between and find a happy medium between the two extremes. This is why, for most vans you’ll see shared on our Instagram account, they have at least a sink and refrigerator, and some form of cooktop – either gas or induction.
Gas vs induction cooktops
For many years, gas has, and continues to be, a very popular choice for powering RV and camper van ovens and stove cooktops. If you buy a pre-converted van or RV from one of the big brands, then the chances are it will have a gas installation and cooking system.
However, in recent years, more and more van builders – both professional and DIY – have been turning to induction cooktops as the primary means of cooking in the van. Depending on the rest of your build, this may mean that you don’t need to store, transport or use any gas in your van at all.
Not having gas in your van keeps the build simpler (as there are safety and specialist installation requirements that come with having gas appliances), but does necessitate a larger and more expensive electrical system than you may otherwise need. Specifically, you’ll need an inverter that is capable of providing the wattage needed for your induction cooktop, plus anything else you have running at the time – and sufficient lithium battery power to handle it.
Van kitchen water supply
As well as the cooking side of things, consider how you will supply water to your van’s kitchen. Most van builders choose one of two methods – either you install a large water tank in the rear of your van over the rear wheel wells (or under the van), or you use a setup involving smaller water tanks (or ‘jugs’) that can be stored underneath your van’s sink area.
When planning where to locate the water tanks in your camper van build, consider that a large tank full of water is likely to be the single heaviest piece of gear that is going inside your van, and so you should bear in mind how much weight is going into your van, and ensure you make as much effort as you can to balance the weight evenly, both from front-to-back as well as left-to-right. For many, this means that the water tank should sit on the opposite side of the van from the electrical system (which is also a logical choice from a water + electrical safety perspective).
When choosing a sink for your camper, think about the practicalities of doing the washing up in the sink, as well as the fact that you’re going to be using it for personal hygiene tasks such as washing your face and brushing your teeth – unless you’ve designed a separate bathroom with a sink (which is not something we see often in small campers like Sprinter vans).
To get the water from the tank to the sink, you can opt for a small RV/marine electric pump, or go more basic and minimal with a manual hand or foot pump. Be sure to use plumbing pipes and fittings suitable for potable water – either household pex or RV/marine plumbing supplies make good choices.
I hope this post has been helpful when it comes to designing and planning your camper van conversion’s kitchen layout and design. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!