Kitchen or camper "pods" are becoming a very popular addition to any kind of van, especially VW T4 and T5 vans. They usually comprise of a sink and gas hob, all assembled into a nice unit that can be added into the back of the van, and removed if need be. For me, the only drawback is the cost. You are looking at around £400 upwards.
So I set about building my own unit, for a fraction of the cost. This is how I did it.
The first thing I did was measure up where I wanted the unit to go, which in my case was behind the double passenger seat. The next step was to go through the Argos website and look for a sideboard unit that would fit in the space!
I found one which had 2 doors below, and a drawer above and the dimensions fitted perfectly in the space I had available. So off I went to our local Argos store and purchased it for £80.
Once assembled, I bolted it through the van floor to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. I then sourced a small round stainless steel sink off of eBay for £12 and cut a hole into the top of the unit, and sealed the sink into place.
Water containers and tap
I now had to get hold of a micro switched tap, water pump, tubing and some water containers. All where found at my local motorhome/caravan dealer, apart from the water containers which I found on eBay. The containers held 12 litres and were compact enough to fit side by side under the shelf in the bottom of the unit.
Here's the water containers I bought:
The tap was easily fitted by drilling a hole in the top of the unit, and then wiring it up to the leisure battery and water pump, through a fuse of course! I cut a hole in the shelf for the fresh water and waste tubes, and then had to cut away a section at the back of the drawer to allow it to open pass the bottom of the sink and tubes. This allowed me to retain use of the top drawer. I fitted a couple of brass latches onto the unit to stop the drawer sliding open when driving.
The cooking facility was is provided by a portable gas stove, which is commonly available for under £20. It sits perfectly on top of the unit, and can be stored in the cupboard when not in use, which leaves the work surface free for cups, plates etc.
So lets add up the cost of the unit:
- Argos sideboard: £80
- Round sink: £12
- Micro switched tap: £25
- Water pump: £20
- Plug/waste outlet: £5
- Tubing: £5
- Water containers: £20
- Brass latches: £3
- Total spend: £170
Then all it took was my time, which only took a few hours to assemble everything. Granted, the unit is not as light weight as some of the purpose built units, but it more than serves my needs for cooking and food storage when camping in the van.
I hope this article gives you some ideas on what is possible on a budget.