Food storage ideas for rear of camper trailer

Submitted: Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 21:07
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Folks, I have a ct with a rear swing tailgate kitchen that includes limited storage for cooking and eating utensils. I want to contruct some sort of additional storage unit (in timber?) that can be pulled out level with the rear of the trailer when the tailgate is open, and then pushed back into the trailer so that the tailgate (with kitchen unit) can close for travel. I realise I could use those plastic boxes (on castors?) but I'm concerned that they may not be strong enough for tins, etc (esp. over corrugations). Any thoughts? Where do you store your food for the big trips?
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Reply By: Member - John - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:00

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:00
Robbg, I use the plastic crates IH220 with lid IH221, very heavy duty, 42 lts capacity and slide very well in the CT. I am finding out what they cost and can post that in a day or two. Not cheap from memory, but very very good. Hope this helps.

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Follow Up By: Member - John - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 04:21

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 04:21
Should have included the link to the web site. Sorry.

IH220 and Lid IH 221

Also, this may be worth a try: cospac, they sell all sorts of food containers inc. nally tubs as used by butchers etc. Melbourne 121 Lewis Road WANTIRNA SOUTH VIC 3152 Tel: 03 9814 4400 Fax: 03 9814 4411 email:
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Reply By: MarkTheShark - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 08:40

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 08:40

What I have done, instead of using castors or wheels which tend to be fragile, is to screw down a couple of quite thin timber strips with bevelled edges, running parallel and front to back on the floor of my storage area, sand them smooth, put a bit of dry lubricant on them and simply slide whatever plastic bins I have on them. I have managed to find bins that are just under the height of my storage area so they remain in place and things don't jump out of them in the rough stuff. Simple, cheap and reliable.
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Reply By: MrBitchi - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 09:03

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 09:03
I use the plastic crates with wheels from Bunnings. They have survived several extended outback trips with no ill effects. Have had the same set for around 5 years.
Take off one set of wheels so they don't roll around but are still easy to shift.

Cheers, John.
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Follow Up By: D-Jack - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:18

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:18
I concur - If you don't like the wheels thinking they may break (which is a possibility) unclip them and just slide the tubs in and out on their bellies. If you have the zig-zag style of steel on the floor they slide really well.

P.S. a tip I picked up was to stick a smallish bolt through the end of the broomstick (I presume you all carry a long handled broom for sweeping out he camper and sweeping off the canvas roof when putting away). Hook the bolt over the top of the tub/bags/esky etc and pull the ones from the front of the trailer out without a fuss!

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Reply By: Member - The MALS (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 10:41

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 10:41
Hi there, We also use plastic bins with lids - cheap as chips from Big W or similar. Our bins lasted an 8000km trip down the Birdsville track and also a recent 23000km trip around OZ where we did many ks on corrugations. They are easy to access and are prevented from moving around by the other "stuff"in the camper trailer. We keep all the condiments, plastic wrap, paper,spare batteries etc in one and food,cans in the other. The first bin stays in the camper all the time and we replenish the second as necessary. No hassles at all.
AnswerID: 98451

Reply By: Member - Camper (SA) - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 12:54

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 12:54
We use heavy-duty bins with lids and just slide them in and out. We find we can stack a shallow ano on top of the deep ones and they still slide in ok. biggest problem is when you are in camp and find yourself sorrounded by bins. But that's why you go camping-to do without all the conveniences of home?
AnswerID: 98482

Reply By: Member - Tim - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 14:46

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 14:46
Hi Rob,

I actually got creative and made my own box out of thin pine framing (19x19mm) and 6mm ply. It's almost as light as the plastic ones and I put legs on it that fold up underneath and a shelf that goes on to the legs. The front folds down and makes a shelf as well. It's made just the right height to slide out the back, drop the legs down , open the front and there it all is.

I did this because we got sick of having what we wanted either in a plastic box in the trailer that had to be pulled out before you could get the lid off it or tripping over the plastic boxes stacked on the ground. It was also a problem since one of the places we visit is Fraser and the rangers are very particular about what kind of box your food is left around in. Once we have set up camp we don't close the back of the trailer since that is the kitchen.

All that said we have not yet had a chance to go camping to test it out which is a real bummer :).
AnswerID: 98503

Reply By: Member - Alan - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 16:25

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 16:25

Three years ago we purchased our plastic bins , on casters, from Bunnings and they have served us well in our trips around WA including a very rough trip to Cape Levigue and the GRR. I have lined the floor of the CT with H/D carpet, its a tight fit so the bins don't move around very much.
The bins are a bit scratched now but they are still doing the job and should one break I would certainly buy another.
AnswerID: 98518

Reply By: Robbg - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 16:54

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 16:54
Thanks everyone - some very creative ideas in there. I really want something that I can access like a pantry rather than a box that I have to virtually remove from the trailer to get stuff out. A combination of Mark and Tim's arrangement is similar to what I'm considering - a timber box that slides on a teflon or nylon track to the rear edge of the trailer, then a hinged door drops down to reveal shelving of various heights. To pack up, the door is flipped up and the box pushed back along its track. A timber stopper prevents it from going too far and the tailgate kitchen then closes against it keeping everything tight. What do you think?
AnswerID: 98521

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 00:02

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 00:02
Hi Rob,

Over the years we've had a few different set-ups for the back of the 4wd and 2 campertrailers. Details are:

1) Before we got in CT's we basically lived out of the back of our 4WD's. We made up a protable "camp kitchen" from mdf, all surfaces sealed with Bondcrete, then exterior painted over. The design was a rectangular box about 600 x 1100w x 600 deep with a flip up lid and a drop down front that when open also served as a bench. Inside the box we built in several shelves and compartments made to measure to suit those items we wished to store in the box. These included all our cooking utensils, billy, frypan, crockery and cutlery. It also accomodated those "used-all-the-time" items such as detergent, repellant, vegemite, salt & pepper, cooking oil, paper towel, tea towels, coffee, milo, sugar etc. On both ends of the box we fitted metal carry handles which also doubled as tie down points. The two lids fasted together with a simple latch. Mostly this camp kitchen sat at the back of our vehicle where it could be easily accessed for meal preparation whether in camp or on the go. Rather than a drawer for cutlery we just used a plastic cutlery holder in a specially sized shelf. Later we made up a stand for the box so that we could remove it from the vehicle and leave it at camp. This unit lasted for 5-6 years and stood up to some of the roughest terrain. However, if we had our time again the only thing we would do differently would be to use plywood instead of mdf and reinforce the shelves and outside edges with angular aluminium strip for extra strength.

2) Our first camper trailer didn't come with a built in kitchen so my brother-in-law made and fitted one up for us to our design. As our camper was a soft floor opening off the back, our custom kitchen was built into the side of the camper and slid in/out on bearings (20mm I think) running inside some C-channel steel. When pulled open an adjustable leg dropped down from underneath the kitchen to support the outer weight of the kitchen. The kitchen incorporated different sized plastic crates for storing the same type of items as mentioned above and again using a plactic cutlery tray inside a shallow crate. The crates were much easier to incorporate than having to make cupboards and drawers and in our experience were plenty strong enough fro the job. Hardest part was sourcing appropriate sized crates but Bunnings came through. Oh yeah, we also had a removable steel rack that fitted onto the outside end of the kitchen and which supported a shallow plastic tub for washing up. We were very happy with this set-up.

3) Current CT came with a "kitchen" box fixed to the swing out tail gate. The box has a drop down front which doubles as a bench and underneath another bench/shelf opens out on a swivel arrangement to double the width of the kitchen. This shelf has a hole into which fits the washing up tub. A drop down adjustable leg supports this shelf at the non-swivel end. When we got the CT this box was empty so we made up an aluminium frame which now supports plastic drawers and a storage shelf for the gas stove. The drawers are from Bunnings and are similar to the Sabco 2-drawer units. Basically we only wanted the drawers themselves so we threw away the original plastic housing. After a couple of trips we found the top edges of the drawers caved in a little, barely noticable but just enough to make them slip of the aluminium runners incorporated in the framework. To fix this we riveted some light angular aluminium stip to the top side edges of the drawers and no more problem. The gas stove travels on a shelf directly above the drawers and apart from being a very snug fit, we have and elastic strap that pulls over the stove and hooks onto a hook in the front middle of the shelf so it can't move around, no matter how rough the track. This framework and stove takes up about half the width of the kitchen box. The other half has a spot to vertically store our dinner plates, toaster and chopping boards and then the remainder of "cupboard" space stores our billy's, coffee, detergent etc etc. We're very happy with this arrangement.

There are some pics of the last two kitchens on our site. Look under Our Rigs, then Campertrailers. If you want some more detailed pics just email me fom there and I'll send you some. Hope this helps.

:o) Melissa

AnswerID: 98590

Follow Up By: Robbg - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 13:39

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 13:39
Melissa, thanks for the incredibly detailed response. I checked out your website for pics of your kitchens and storage - the arrangement on your old trailer (Taj) is very similar to mine. I agree with the ply rather than MDF for the storage box. Thanks again.
PS I'm also considering an upgrade from a Jackaroo to a GU for the big trip in '06. Is your fuel usage very high when towing the Camprite?
FollowupID: 357064

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