23 Sep Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 4: Cooking on the Road
Cooking in a camper van sounded like it would be quite an interesting feat. We wondered if we would have all the necessary utensils and supplies, if there would be space to move around easily and if we would have enough room to store our food. Well, as we found out during our 10 days road tripping around Iceland, we didn’t have anything to worry about. In fact, I actually ended up enjoying our little picnics and cooking sessions. I mean, it doesn’t hurt when you are cooking in places with views like this, right?!
After picking up our Happy Campers camper van and loading into our new home, we decided our first stop would be the grocery store. We were venturing up into the Westfjords, a more remote part of the island, so we thought it would be a good idea to stock up on several days worth of groceries.
When planning out our meals, we decided that sandwiches were an easy option and meals such as pasta with sauce and meat would be simple to prepare. Our cart was quickly filled up with items such as Skyr, granola, granola bars, bread, sandwich meat, Nutella, bananas, eggs, pasta, chicken, peanut butter and jelly, chips, crackers, cookies, and juice. Oh, and cheese that was promptly returned to the shelf after I noticed that the very small package was over $15! However, most everything we purchased was a reasonable price, and we were able to load up our van with enough food to last us for several days on the road.
When it was time to restock or replenish the gaps in our stash that kept running out (I’m talking about you, Cool American Doritos), we stopped at either gas stations or grocery stores that we came across throughout our drive. Thankfully, we were never really too far away from a convenient place to stop when we needed it most.
Our first lunch in the van was a picnic of simple sandwiches and dinner consisted of convenient “Good To-Go” dinners that were ever so kindly provided to us by the company. These prepackaged meals are basically dehydrated backpacking meals, but they are actually really delicious and easy to make. They are the perfect meal after a long day on the road and simple to cook in the back of a camper van. Just boil water, add the water to the package, wait for 15-20 minutes, and enjoy!
Let’s face it—dehydrated meals are usually pretty sub par, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed all of the different flavors that we tried. I would even go so far as to say that they weren’t just “good for camp food”, but they were actually really good, period. They come in six varieties: Indian Vegetable Korma, Thai Curry, Herbed Mushroom Risotto, Pad Thai, Smoked Three Bean Chili, and Classic Marinara with Penne. My favorite was a toss-up between the Thai Curry and the Herbed Mushroom Risotto.
The nights when we were feeling a bit more ambitious we cooked up some chicken pasta. We mixed it up between red sauce and pesto, and a couple of nights we even threw in some peppers. We found out the pasta was great leftover the next day, too!
We kept breakfast pretty simple most of the trip and had yogurt and granola, Munk Packs, granola bars, and a couple of days we made eggs and toast.
Side note: if you are going to boil only half a carton of eggs and put them back in the carton, make sure to mark which ones are the boiled eggs! One day Micah asked for a hard-boiled egg and got quite the surprise when he cracked it on the dashboard to find out it was definitely not hard-boiled. Then to top it off, mere seconds later, after we double checked the eggs, Hilary did the exact same thing! We got quite a laugh to say the least!
Over our 10-day road trip, we became pretty comfortable in our little kitchen. We had a decent routine and in no time developed a productive assembly line for washing, drying and putting away dishes. The counter space was roomy enough to use for food prep, and we had plenty of storage for all of our food in the numerous drawers and generator run cooler.
Some evenings we cooked inside the van and others we set up shop outside. It mainly depended on the temperatures, weather and bugs. We snatched up every opportunity we could to be outside amongst the gorgeous landscapes, but when we were forced to cook inside, there was still plenty of room to move about comfortably.
The kitchen came well stocked with everything we needed including a very easy to use gas grill. We had towels, soap, silverware, cooking utensils such as a spatula and large spoon, a pot and pan, plates, bowls and cups. There was also a “free” shelf back at the rental office where you could take and leave extra supplies such as unused food, tinfoil, Ziplock bags and so much more. It was great for both ends of our trip—we were able to pick up a few free extras before heading out on the road, and we were able to leave any extras we had after our trip. I always hate throwing out perfectly good supplies, but when you can’t take them with you on your onwards travels, sometimes there is no other option.
While we did go out to eat a few times throughout the trip, cooking in the van was easy and cost effective. It was nice to pull over whenever we felt like it to cook up a tasty meal in the comfort of our own kitchen. We always had everything we needed right at our fingertips. Cooking on the road ended up being much easier than we anticipated, and I have to say I came to really enjoy our meals in the back of our Happy Campers camper van!
Stay tuned to learn even more about our adventures in our Happy Campers camper van:
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 1: Camper Van Tour
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 2: Our Itinerary Day 1-5
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 3: Our Itinerary Day 6-10
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 4: Cooking on the Road
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 5: What to Pack for a Camper Van Road Trip
Happy Campers Iceland Road Trip – Part 6: Logistics, Expenses and FAQ’s