Build vs Buy a Camp Kitchen Chuck Box: Which Is Better?

by | Last updated Jan 20, 2022

Camp kitchens are important if you are going away camping for an extended or short period of time. You need to eat somehow! And what better way to do it than having a portable kitchen with you? It is super convenient, plus you do not have to keep driving to the shops to buy some food for yourself.

These portable kitchens are especially needed when taking your whole family on a camping trip. Imagine sitting out in the woods for a whole weekend with only sandwiches to feed everyone!! Nobody would be happy with this. You can obviously make a fire and cook some sausages, but if you want to make some soup or more serious meals, a camp kitchen is ideal and requires much less effort.

Don’t get me wrong, camping is always associated with sitting around the fire, singing, exchanging stories, cooking up some sausages, and having a laugh. You can still do this! The kitchen is just a much more convenient way to prepare meals and store food. But also bear in mind that some campsites do not allow starting fires. This means that there will be no other way to eat but to have a camp kitchen with you.

Build vs Buy a Camp Kitchen Chuck Box: Which Is Better?

It is better to be prepared than to be hungry! Let us have a look what camp kitchen essentials you need to bring for a comfort trip and which is better build or buy your own portable camp chuck box?

What Is a Camp Kitchen Chuck Box?

This sort of kitchen is a portable cooking station that you can bring with you anywhere you go. Not only does it help you in cooking meals, but it can also store your food comfortably and away from the animals. It is designed to replicate your kitchen at home which means it also has space for your cutlery and plates.

This unit usually is foldable and easy to store in your van. It looks like a case that you unlock, and it folds out into a kitchen. Most of them will have numerous shelves in which you can store your cutlery, pots, pans, water, paper towels, plates, chopping board, cups, and much more. It will have a stove to cook your food on, and a sink to wash your fish before cooking.

This type of kitchen is particularly ideal for bad weather. If you have gone camping, but it is constantly raining and you cannot use a simple fire for food, then the camp kitchen comes in handy! It does not matter what type of weather it is; you can always use your kitchen whenever needed. One thing to keep in mind, never cook in your tent as it could go on fire. A cooking station with a tarp shelter is the ideal way to set up your cooking area.

These kitchen boxes are perfect for family trips and are ideal when there is a restriction on making fires at a camping site. If you do not want such big kitchens and are travelling on your own or with your partner, then there are smaller options available just for the absolutely necessary items.

What Do You Need For It?

There are a few items you need to bring with you if you have a portable kitchen as without them the kitchen will be useless. The essentials you will need for your portable camp kitchen are as follows:

  1. A knife for chopping up your food.
  2. A chopping board because you do not want to chop the food on the floor!
  3. A frying pan and/or a pot, really depends on what you are planning on cooking. If you are just frying meat and veg, then that is all you need. But, if you are planning on making some soup, cooking some rice, or heating up some beans then you will definitely need a pot for this.
  4. Some fuel and a stove. This is essential for obvious reasons as without this you will not be able to cook anything.
  5. Along with the stove and fuel, you will also need something to make a fire with. Some matches or a lighter will help with this.
  6. If you are bringing bottles of beer and tins of food, make sure you bring a bottle and tin opener! Especially the tin opener, as otherwise, you will not be able to eat your food.
  7. A portable coffee or tea maker is essential for all the tea and coffee lovers out there.
  8. You cannot forget your cups, utensils, and plates! Otherwise, you will be eating with your hands.
  9. Tarp shelter is essential against the rain to protect what you are cooking and doing in your portable kitchen.
  10. A sink is needed but not necessary. If you have enough bottled water, you should be ok.
  11. Drinking water is necessary, especially if you are camping somewhere far away from any shops. Avoid drinking water from a lake or a river as it could be potentially bad for you.
  12. Coolers are important for keeping your food for longer, and also for storing your drinks.
  13. These would be the essential items you need if you have a portable kitchen when camping. It is the same list whether you buy or build a camp kitchen. Let us go over building your own camp kitchen, how much that would cost, and then the price to buy one and what would be included within that price.

How Easy Is It to Build Your Own Camp Kitchen Chuck Box?

You may think building your own kitchen is a bit of a hassle, but it really is not. It is very simple and cost-efficient. All you need to have are some woodworking skills and a saw! Considering the fact that we are all in a pandemic at the moment, it is a great little project to take on for yourself. You will learn something new, pass the time, and be able to go camping in no time.

The best thing about creating your own portable kitchen is the fact that you can design it any way you want. If you want a small one, that is ok, you can design it like that with only the essentials. If you want a bigger one because you have more space, that is ok too, because all this is in your hands. Also remember to take a look at the different chuck box plans available online to make an informed choice meet your needs & comfort.

What you will need to build your own camp kitchen is the below:

  • Some wood (for example, plywood)
  • Saw
  • A drill
  • Some screws to hold everything together
  • Hinges

This is all you need for your perfect kitchen. The best thing to do first would be to look at some of the portable kitchens out there. This would give you an idea of the design you want and roughly help you in replicating the design and adding your own touches to it.

You can have as many shelves and compartments as you need. There is no limit on what you can do. The end product should just look like a case in which you store all your utensils, paper towel, plates, and whatever else you need. Do not forget to leave some space for your camp stove. Preferably place the stove at the top or centre of the unit, as it is easier accessible then. You can also add some handles to the case so that it is easier to carry and move around.

How Much Would a Chuck Box Cost?

Building your portable kitchen surprisingly is not that costly. Once you have acquired the wood, screws, handles, and hinges, that is all you actually need for the kitchen to be built. The saw and the drill you should already have at home.

The parts which would be somewhat costly are the stove and everything else you will need for this kitchen. The cooler for holding your food and drinks will need to be bought, otherwise your food will go bad very quickly.

The stove will roughly cost you between $50 and $140. The cooler, depending on size, will be about $20 to $50. You would be spending more on the equipment you need to bring with you than you would be on actually building the kitchen.

What About Buying – What Is Included in The Deal?

Buying your kitchen obviously is less time consuming, so it may be better but, it is costly. As above, we looked at building your own kitchen but also needing to buy all the equipment. With buying this unit you will not only have to spend money on that but also the equipment. Which means you are spending more than you have to. Portable kitchens cost between $200 to 1000$. This all depends on the size, the make, and the design. You can check your article to learn what you must check before buying a camp kitchen to help you pick a high-quality brand on a budget.

Some of the cheaper units would only have the camp table and grill rack. Everything else you would need to purchase. Yes, it is easy to fold and takes up minimal space, but it also has very little with it, which means you need to spend more to get everything else. They are not made with great material which means you need to make sure it does not fall over while you are cooking. They would also not have much storage in them, so may not suit big families or long trips.

Sometimes these tables may be too high for comfort also. Other units come with no side tables or racks, which means they are small and do not hold too much in them. You would need to purchase a grill rack and some mini tables to hold your food while you prepare the kitchen. Minimal space is very inconvenient, especially when camping.

Other kitchens do not have a sink. This feature would be quite important as you need somewhere to wash your food. Again, you would need to purchase some add-ons to be fully satisfied. The more expensive would include much more shelving and storage. They would be much sturdier, adjustable, and foldable. But imagine paying $400 for a good portable kitchen, and then on top of that having to pay for a stove, a cooler, pots and pans, cups, and all the rest you will need.

Buy or Build a Camp Chuck Box: Who’s Better?

Yes, it is easier to just go to the shop and pick out the type of kitchen you want, the best design, the most spacious, with little to no hassle but it will cost you more than you planned in your head. With a little bit of work and planning, you can just as easily build your own beautiful camp kitchen and spend nearly half of the money you would when buying.

By doing some research and having a look at videos of how people have built their own units, you will realize that it is actually very easy to do yourself. You can pick a few designs from the kitchens available for sale and design your own perfect one by picking out the best parts from the chosen designs.

By doing your own measurements, you will know what fits best into your car or van. You can spend little money building your perfect design that will suit your needs. You can have as many or as few shelves as you need. You can also add whatever security you want to the case. When creating it yourself, you will know how sturdy it is and not need to worry about it breaking or falling over when cooking.

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