(Cover photo courtesy Wandering Woods)
So, you want to live the van life but don’t want to give up on crunchy, salty, gooey pizzas after a long hike in the woods? If you love baking anything from pizza, to muffins, to meatloaf, you may want to consider a campervan oven.
The best oven for van life for you will depend on if you want the oven inside your van, or if you prefer to cook outdoors. You’ll also need to think about what you want to cook.
In this guide, we’ll help you pick the best campervan oven for your life on the road.
1) Camp Chef Outdoor Oven
This Camp Chef Outdoor Oven (also seen in this post’s cover photo) is the most popular van life oven we’ve seen. It’s portable size and propane fuel source make it ideal for life on the road.
With this best oven for van life, you’ll get two propane burners up top with an oven down below that reaches 400 degrees. You can use both at the same time, or one or the other.
Some van lifers choose to build this directly into their campervan kitchen, others choose to keep it portable. The oven was designed for campers to bring to a campsite, so it works just as well sitting on a table outdoors.
Since this is an outdoor oven, they did take precautions to make it safe for use indoors.
Here’s are the modifications they made:
- built an airspace around the entire stove to allow heat to vent
- lined the entire oven box with HardierBacker Cement Board as a fire barrier and spaced it out from the cupboards (to keep that airspace) with rubber washers made from a heat resistant fuel hose
- applied Thermo-Tec reflective flame barrier to the cement board with a high temp adhesive spray and sealed the joints with aluminum tape (the Thermo-Tec resists heat up to 1,500F and is necessary because the cement board will transfer heat even though it won’t burn)
- secured our LP gas bottle in a properly vented and sealed cupboard well removed from the stove area via a five-foot propane extension hose
- installed a fire extinguisher right by the oven!
Betsy said they wanted the comforts of home in their Sprinter van conversion, and that her favorite things to make are peach cobbler and pizza!
2) Omnia Oven
The Omnia Oven is a stovetop marvel that many van lifers swear by. This is the best van life oven if you don’t want to install a permanent oven in your campervan.
To make sure foods baked in the Omnia Oven have the same texture as a traditional oven, the roof vents steam.
It’s recommended that you use parchment or silicon liners when preparing certain types of food in this best campervan oven.
Reviewers who travel in campervans and RVs say this oven for van life cooks just like a stovetop oven. They’ve made roasted broccoli, cakes and breakfast breads.
Some van lifers complain the Omia Oven is hard to clean and overpriced for the size.
3) Go Sun Fusion Solar Oven
If you don’t want to be stuck draining your propane tank every time you want to bake some brownies, you may want to consider a Go Sun Fusion Solar Oven.
This is the best campervan oven for outdoor cooking.
We love it because it can either be powered by the sun or through a 12-volt outlet, which makes it a handy oven for van life.
You can even grab an adapter and use a 110-volt wall outlet.
The Go Sun Fusion heats up to 550 degrees and makes between 4-6 meals. You can roast, fry, steam or bake using this solar campervan oven.
Here are a few examples of cooking times for the Go Sun Fusion when it’s sitting in full sun. It will take longer to cook in partial sun or shade:
- Seafood: 20 minutes
- Baked goods: 25 minutes
- Casseroles: 35 minutes
- Steamed veggies: 20 minutes
The main downsize we found about the Go Sun Fusion is the price.
4) Coleman Camp Oven
The Coleman Camp Oven is the best campervan oven if you’re looking for portability and affordability.
This cute little camping oven folds flat for easy storage and cooks by sitting on top of your Coleman camping stove or any other liquid fuel stove. It’s not recommended to use this oven on a grill.
You can set the adjustable rack at three different heights for versatile baking, and the aluminized steel construction resists scratches and corrosion.
Use this campervan oven either inside your van or out on a picnic table with your camping stove.
A little bonus is this will heat up your van on a chilly evening – but make sure to have windows cracked and a carbon monoxide detector in your van.
Considerations for using an oven inside your van
If you choose to put the best oven for van life inside your campervan conversion, you’ll need to take some precautions.
This only applies to ovens that run on propane – this won’t be a problem if you’re plugging your GoSun Fusion to a 12-volt outlet to cook dinner.
Using propane indoors comes with inherent risks, and it is good to prepared.
Use Proper Ventilation
If you’re cooking with propane inside your campervan, you’ll need to make sure your van is highly ventilated. Using propane emits carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if it reaches high levels.
You’ll want to have windows cracked or your side door open while cooking indoors with propane. We also highly recommend installing a roof vent, like the Fantastic Fan, to suck odors out or push fresh air in.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector is vital if you’re cooking or baking inside your van using propane. Baking usually takes a lot more time than stovetop cooking, so your flame will be running for quite awhile.
Using a carbon monoxide detector is vital to keeping you and your van safe.
Vent your Propane Cupboard
Propane gas sinks, and you most likely don’t want it lingering around the floor of your campervan in case of a leak. Using a dedicated, ventilated cupboard for your propane cannister will ensure any propane goes right outside.
Betsy and Justin Woods of WanderingWoods.org vent their propane through a vent in their campervan floor.
Conclusion on the Best Oven for Van Life
Whichever campervan oven you choose will depend on how much space you have in your campervan build, and whether your not you want to cook with propane inside your van.
Building out a larger van? The Camp Chef Outdoor Oven brings you the best of both worlds as its a stovetop and oven in one.
The Go Sun Fusion Solar Oven is great for people who want to lower their carbon footprint.
We hope you choose the best campervan oven for your needs on the road.
Need help building out your van?
This DIY guide has everything you need to know about building a van:
This amazing 378-page ebook has everything you need to know about converting any van into a camper. It doesn’t just apply to Sprinters!
- Learn about the six major interior design considerations that lead to 13 secondary features in your design
- An RV plumbing chapter on pipes, fittings, tanks, pumps, water heaters, toilets, you name it
- Advice on choosing solar panels
- How to install blackwater, greywater and freshwater tanks in a Sprinter
- Fifty pages of information on designing an electrical system and wiring your campervan conversion
Remember, this info can be applied to ANY van.
Other van life stories you should check out:
Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.