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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I like to float a river now and again. I also enjoy camping. Deer and elk hunting in the fall is are loved events for me. Every time I go out, I check my list to ensure I have everything packed. About 10 years ago, I decided to build a camp kitchen that is (nearly) fully stocked so that I don't have to always worry about forgetting kitchen gear. Back then, it was just a proof of concept. It worked well for us over the years. This year, I decided to rebuild it. At first, I thought about making it out of sheet metal to reduce weight, but getting the right tools, bending it correctly, and cutting it out would be difficult for me. I would have to consider using wood.

In my new model, I wanted a few new features. First, I wanted all of the shelving to be adjustable. My proof of concept had set shelves, which worked well, but extra flexibility would be nice. I also wanted wider shelves. My first model had 2.5" shelves, which were good, but after much research I found that many kitchen items are right about 3" on one dimension. I settled on 4" shelves. Finally, my original kitchen had covers over every shelf with hinges that folded open. It worked great but it added a bit of weight and created pockets to hold items instead of shelves. In version 2, I decided to build cabinets with removable covers.

I kept some of the great features from my first design. I kept the wind screen. Having a wind screen made cooking much easier. The dimensions on my proof of concept were 28"x32"x3.5" when fully closed. It was a nice compact size for travel. The dimensions of my new version is 28"x32"x5.125". The weight of both models is about 25lbs empty. There are two cabinets that are attached to the wind screen with hinges. Each cabinet swings open creating a center space for my camp stove. When the cabinets are opened, all of your kitchen items are right there within reach.

As I began my re-design, I knew I was going to need some plywood. Plywood is expensive. I worked with the design until I figured out how to build the entire project out of one 4'x8' sheet of 11/32" plywood. Next, as mentioned before, I decided to use shelves instead of closed pockets. I settled on three magnetic catches for each cabinet door. Finally, I am not a builder. I am a data guy by trade, so I had to design the thing using tools that I had and techniques that I knew or could learn.

So, this weekend I purchased the materials and started to work. I do not yet have it fully assembled. I still have to decide on paint or polyurethane. Then I need to purchase and attach the hinges.

Enough talk...time for some pictures. This first one is what the overhead view will look like when complete. Starting at the top, you see the wind screen, then the detachable cabinet "door", the top of the cabinet, and finally the cabinet back.
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This next pic is the front view, as the kitchen is closed. We are looking at the cabinet backs. You can see the finish nails used to pin the cabinet together. I glued the cabinet frames together, then pinned it in place with finish nails. For reference, it is 28" high and 32" wide.
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This next view is when the cabinets are swung open to create the kitchen space. The cabinet "doors" are in place with the magnetic catches. The wind screen in back isn't actually attached in this pic, but you can see how it will function. This whole item will easily fit on my camp table or tail gate.
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The cabinet doors are off in this next pic. Several things to note here. First, the cabinet walls are double thick, this make it easier to drill the holes for the 5mm shelf pins. I could drill lots of holes, then glue two pieces together. You can kind of see the shelf pin holes in this pic. I don't have a drill press, otherwise I would have made a jig and made the holes super precise, but I had hand drill them. Second, the magnetic catch is flush, which makes the "door" fit tightly. There are three catches per "door" which keeps the loose items from falling out. We will see another use for the magnetic catch later. Last, I overlapped the walls, glued them in place, and pinned them with finish nails. You builders out there can criticize my technique and execution all you want, but I was pleased that could actually cut these out so precisely. In all honesty, this image is the best of the corners. Not all of them are this tight...
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This final pic shows the kitchen fully assembled. The "doors" have been removed and stowed. A paper towel holder hangs neatly over the wind screen. The stove fits nicely between the cabinets. The magnetic catches now double as utensil holders. Not shown in this pic, but certainly in the plans is to use the top of the cabinet as a shelf. Additional cups, TP, phones, etc fit nicely on that top shelf. I loaded up the kitchen with all kinds of stuff just for this picture. There are utensils, bottle opener, corkscrew, can opener, storage bags, tin foil, first aid, crackers, oil, plates, spices, canned goods, tea, coffee, dish soap, cups, a sharpening stone, and plates. Effectively, everything that I would use in my kitchen at home, I have in my kitchen in camp.
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Again, my next steps are paint or polyurethane, then I'll attach hinges, and finally take it out for a test run. I also want to find some 5mm round stock and bend it for my utensil shelf. I want to create a small cage so I can just throw the utensils in and they don't fall out.
 

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Nice job! Thanks for sharing. Been wanting to do something like this for years. I remember making camp kitchens in Scouts over 40 years ago. They were heavy, and held the stove, dutch oven and lots of gear. Definitely a two person job to carry.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Fully loaded, one guy can carry mine. It fits nicely in the bed of a pickup, in a trailer, or on a boat. My stove and pans must be stored elsewhere, but having all the kitchen stuff is nice. I love knowing that can opener, bottle opener, and corkscrew are never forgotten. Having ibuprofen, Benadryl, and first aid gear always packed is a nice thing too!
 

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I know a guy who built something like that on an old utility trailer. His was designed to put his 12' car topper on top. Once the boat was off it unfolded, opened and had an integrated awning.
 

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Slick set up!! If/when I get my garage storage and bench built this might be next on the list. You don't have any patents pending, or copy rights, correct?? lol
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Slick set up!! If/when I get my garage storage and bench built this might be next on the list. You don't have any patents pending, or copy rights, correct?? lol
I am not coming after anyone who builds a wooden box for their own personal use.
 
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That is a sweet design. The most important function to me is the wind screen. Seems like wind is the strongest point of resistance to getting the meal cooked timely and right. Again, job well done!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am looking for suggestions regarding paint or polyurethane. If I go with paint, what color might be best. I'm thinking grey, but I'm not sure.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I went with paint. I settled on Light Grey deck paint. Saturday afternoon was a great day to get it painted and assembled. I drilled two holes in the wrong places, so part of Sunday afternoon was spent fixing that and touching up paint.

Here it is painted and assembled with a few items in place. Hoping for some decent weather between the 19th and 26th so I can take it out and give it a test run. This week I will be looking for some 5mm round stock to construct a small cage for the upper right utensil shelf.
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Very cool design! I think this project will be in my future as well.
With the shelves, when you lay the unit flat in the back of your pickup won't the shelves tip up off the cabinet pegs and come loose inside the box?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yes, that is a possibility. However, when you have items on the shelves, this is less likely to be an issue. After I do a test run, I'll know more about how well it works, or doesn't, and can make modifications from there. Who knows, I may end up securing the shelves in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
On March 22 I packed up my kitchen, along with a few other things, and headed to Pacific City. I rolled into town, and as I was waiting for my table at Pelican, I snapped this photo:
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After I got a bit to eat, I headed north 20 minutes to Sandbeach Campground. I set camp just as the sun was going down. The next morning, my kitchen was still on my camp table ready to make coffee.

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I didn't have to cook any meals using this setup, I just made coffee, but it worked great. You can see a couple of slight modifications that I made from my last post. Namely, I build a small cage for the upper right shelf. I also used the round stock to put in a plate stop. This can be seen on the lower right.

I took the whole day to drive down to Florence and stayed the night of March 23 at Honeyman state park, where I repeated the setup. Everything worked well, just as planned.

It is April now, so my March project should be done, and I think it is. I'll take it out again overnight and do some real cooking and cleaning with it. I also bought some 16oz plastic containers for flour, sugar, baking powder, corn starch, etc.

Perhaps in the next update, I'll show the whole setup in full action.
 

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My favorite is the empty plastic cutlery box in which to hide the whiskey. That's clever. ;-)
 
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