Space in a van like our sprinter is always tighter than you think it’s going to be, previously I had a Toyota hiace, upon collection of a big red sprinter I thought I was going to have so much space, the reality is different, the more space you think you have the more clutter you tend to bring along for the ride. The original cooker unit was huge, like REALLY BIG! But pride got the better if me and we managed with it for about 7 years before admitting defeat and conjuring up a simpler idea, after all, we only make pretty simple meals in the van.
Getting rid of this giant plywood box from the van instantly freed up enough space to make a good sized sofa, bonus! Knowing we need some sort of cooking equipment to keep the insurer happy I set about finding a suitable location to relocate the food prep area. It was going to be another (slightly smaller) plywood box half in the doorway like so many other race vans but then I thought about hiding a permanent cooking device somewhere that slides or hinges out, top idea right? Yeah I thought so too and my initial idea was to make the cooker slide out of the side door on the van from under the seat, pitfall here would mean cooking outside, hmm not such a fantabulous idea really given the fact that we are in the UK and the fields/trees are predominantly green for a very good reason!! The next idea was to lift the cooker out (upwards) from under the seat base, this plan faltered at the drawer sliders, to get something that would lock in the “up” position was going to cost more than I wanted to spend so back to the drawing board until I found some up-out hinges online, within budget and make the best compromise for space saving.
This prototype is not completely finished, but it’s a clean simple way to make the use of the space in the van, we use our race van for climbing, motocross, mountainbiking, working away. We rarely use it for hosting dinner parties so we can make do with a minimal set up.