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Making meals, counter space, and stove top arrangement


John Welte
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So I had "the talk" with my wife after our financial planner meeting yesterday who said it was possible,  and my wife said she's not sure the counter space is adequate for making meals.   She thinks the two stove top burners that are perpendicular to the alley with the hinged cover also might be a problem.   I had thought the Lagun table might be a solution for meal prep and eating,  but from what I have read, people find the table heavy,  not that large,  and hard to store.   My question is has anyone wished there was more room for meal prep or is that done outside at the picnic table.   On the plus side, after reading the R-Pod forum posts and watching review videos,  I have convinced her that we don't want an R-Pod.   The warranty on the seals on the R-Pod is 90 days!   People who buy those swap out the supplied tires, the faucet, and caulk everything immediately.   That's not what I want to do.  

John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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This may interest you -

I think that most people would describe the counter space as minimal but adequate.  Certainly we could get by without the extension, but it's one of those mods that we'd have a hard time giving up now that we have it.  But people manage to cook in the small Ollie, and I've prepared plenty of meals on a rock next to a campfire, so really, you just adjust to what you've got and discover that it works fine.  

An option you might consider is the Lagun table but with one of the folding marine tops rather than Oliver's standard.  They are typically lighter, larger, and more versatile.  Sadly, the place where we got ours has closed, but if you google for 'folding marine table top', you'll find quite a few choices.  

We find that we're more likely to use the dinette table as additional counter space, particularly for staging things coming off and on the grill, drinks, etc.  We use the Lagun for dining, which frees up the dinette for that purpose.  You'll also find that the small counters at the fridge and pantry are surprisingly useful.  This is our setup, and we're pretty happy with it - it's downright luxurious imo:

IMG_4367.thumb.jpeg.e67f3ad36f9ef552a1fa1922fffc2f2c.jpeg

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We don’t have the lagun table or Overlands extension.  We find there is adequate counter space for what we want to do.  We do use the space on top of the fridge and the dinette table for big projects.  I’ve often thought about doing Overlands extension project, it would be nice….  Mike

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We picked up our LE2 this summer and have camped 20 days thus far.  We have the twin beds and no lagun table.  I too was worried about the meal prep space, 2 burner stove and no oven.  We purchased a Weber Q2000 series to use outside when it’s not raining and frigid (we live in Vancouver WA).  I have been happily surprised how functional the kitchen has been to use.  The counter space for prep is better than the larger trailer we rented in the past.  I utilize the covered area on the stove and the dinette table to place items when I’m doing the prep.  (I do protect the stove cover from scratching with a cloth).  Personally, I prefer the cooktop orientation sideways but that’s a personal opinion.  
Pam

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1 hour ago, LCTraveler said:

We picked up our LE2 this summer and have camped 20 days thus far.  We have the twin beds and no lagun table.  I too was worried about the meal prep space, 2 burner stove and no oven.  We purchased a Weber Q2000 series to use outside when it’s not raining and frigid (we live in Vancouver WA).  I have been happily surprised how functional the kitchen has been to use.  The counter space for prep is better than the larger trailer we rented in the past.  I utilize the covered area on the stove and the dinette table to place items when I’m doing the prep.  (I do protect the stove cover from scratching with a cloth).  Personally, I prefer the cooktop orientation sideways but that’s a personal opinion.  
Pam

Thanks Pam.   We live in Beaverton.   My wife may retire in May or December of 2022.  I know, weird choices, but she has reasons for both.  She will be 70 in December, 2022.   She is having a problem with the price even though our financial planner said we could afford it.  She just mentioned meal prep issues so I wanted to get opinions on that.  Thanks for your comments.  Personally, I want to order it now knowing that it takes nearly a year to get it.  

John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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1 hour ago, Overland said:

This may interest you -

I think that most people would describe the counter space as minimal but adequate.  Certainly we could get by without the extension, but it's one of those mods that we'd have a hard time giving up now that we have it.  But people manage to cook in the small Ollie, and I've prepared plenty of meals on a rock next to a campfire, so really, you just adjust to what you've got and discover that it works fine.  

An option you might consider is the Lagun table but with one of the folding marine tops rather than Oliver's standard.  They are typically lighter, larger, and more versatile.  Sadly, the place where we got ours has closed, but if you google for 'folding marine table top', you'll find quite a few choices.  

We find that we're more likely to use the dinette table as additional counter space, particularly for staging things coming off and on the grill, drinks, etc.  We use the Lagun for dining, which frees up the dinette for that purpose.  You'll also find that the small counters at the fridge and pantry are surprisingly useful.  This is our setup, and we're pretty happy with it - it's downright luxurious imo:

IMG_4367.thumb.jpeg.e67f3ad36f9ef552a1fa1922fffc2f2c.jpeg

That looks very nice!   I didn't know you could have Oliver add that extension.   I see that your table didn't sacrifice the basement door.   Do you have a picture of the underside of that table and how it attaches to the trailer?  What is the dimension of the table when it's open?   Are those the KTT mattresses?   I see that you secure the drawers with a rod.   As I understand it,  the drawers can now be pushed to close in a more locked fashion.   They're a soft close now with a final push to lock them in.   Lots of questions,  but you have a great set up that addresses the issues my wife has brought up.   Thanks! 

John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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27 minutes ago, John Welte said:

 I didn't know you could have Oliver add that extension. 

You can't, unfortunately - Oliver doesn't do customization anymore.  But ask anyway, so they'll know that people are interested.  It should be a factory option or standard, imo.

27 minutes ago, John Welte said:

I see that your table didn't sacrifice the basement door.   Do you have a picture of the underside of that table and how it attaches to the trailer?  What is the dimension of the table when it's open? 

These two threads should answer your questions, but if you have others just ask:

 

27 minutes ago, John Welte said:

Are those the KTT mattresses?

Nope, those are just 4" cushions that we had made, with grey marine vinyl.  We started off with mattresses from Southern Mattress, but soon realized that cushions would be just as comfortable and would make for a much better "lounge" for sitting and dining.  We just use sleeping bags and stuff them up in the closet shelves during the day.  For us, that's so much simpler than dealing with sheets and stuff, and making the change was a huge improvement for our style of camping.

27 minutes ago, John Welte said:

I see that you secure the drawers with a rod.   As I understand it,  the drawers can now be pushed to close in a more locked fashion.   They're a soft close now with a final push to lock them in. 

That's correct - I don't know if you'd need anything to secure the drawers these days.  You might ask recent buyers if they have had any issues.  

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In OK weather we prefer to cook more complicated meals outside. We've mostly used the indoor stove for simple tasks like heating morning coffee water though we have cooked a few multi-pan meals when it was raining outside. We tend to cook somewhat simpler meals while camping than when at home in any case. Would I love more indoor prep space? Sure. Would I make the necessary trades to get it (wider or longer trailer or slides or such)? No. But that's me/us. I'm presuming you have some decent sense of your own camping style from use of your current pop up trailer and possibly prior camping as well. If you haven't camped a lot and don't have a sense of the actual flow of camping for you guys, you may benefit from renting some trailers of different sizes for a year or two of camping to get that sense. Life is full of tradeoffs and only you can decide what you're willing to yield in exchange for what else. 

The Oliver's kitchen (plus dinette top and those little ledges folks have mentioned) is only marginally more cramped than my wife's and my first one bedroom city apartment and we made some pretty involved meals there. Eventually I'm sure I'll add a counter extension similar to what Overland has, but it's not way up there on my to-do list yet. I may also add the Lagun table setup similar to his, but I think that's even further out and I may never do this. Even the nifty folding table is just more stuff to carry around and move from here to there etc. 

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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We're all waiting for Overland to retire so he'll manufacture his nifty sidemount invention for the Lagun for all of us... 😅 

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The answer to your questions depends on how your wife perceives meal prep when camping.  Does she have visions of "like at home" meal prep or is she willing to make concessions?

That being said, at home I am an avid cook/baker.  Our kitchen is spacious and outfitted with all the "necessary" tools that make meal prep and baking easier and more enjoyable.  It would be disconcerting, to me, if I were to compare it to the Oliver kitchen.  I am happy to shift my mind-set, when camping, and have found the smaller Oliver galley to be well organized, as efficient as prior larger RV kitchens (such as our 5th wheel), and an improvement over the like sized galley in our Leisure Travel Van.

One trick I employ:

We have a wooden bread board (a recycled pull-out board from my HS Home Ec Dept).  My husband installed rubber feet on the bottom so it fits snuggly over the stove top.  We actually made this for previous RVs and were able to reposition the feet to fit the Oliver.  It protects it glass top of the stove, when not in use, extending counter space.  When using the stove, I place the board on the bed next to the galley and use it to set things out of the way, until needed (if that makes sense).  I also use the small counters (pantry and microwave cabinet areas) extensively during meal prep; the dinette table, not so much.

We do not have the microwave, but rather carry a small toaster oven for cooking.  I use the nightstand for it.  

Regarding meal prep outdoors: I do very little outside.  I like being in the kitchen, where everything is handy and I don't have to carry a lot in and out of the trailer.  Also, at certain times of the year, bees/yellowjackets/hornets can be very annoying when preparing food, and eating too, outdoors.  Cooking outdoors is too much like tent camping; we have a great indoor kitchen and choose to use it.

When downsizing from a larger RV (30ft 5th-wheel) I quickly learned a valuable lesson:  in the smaller space, it is important for everything to have a place and keep things put away.  This makes any task more manageable and reduces stress.  I pack things so items oft used are easy to get to (without having to empty the contents of a cabinet/drawer to get them.  We utilize the tow vehicle to store items not often needed to conserve interior storage.

Just a few ideas . . . . . hope this helps.

 

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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1 hour ago, Ray and Susan Huff said:

The answer to your questions depends on how your wife perceives meal prep when camping.  Does she have visions of "like at home" meal prep or is she willing to make concessions?

That being said, at home I am an avid cook/baker.  Our kitchen is spacious and outfitted with all the "necessary" tools that make meal prep and baking easier and more enjoyable.  It would be disconcerting, to me, if I were to compare it to the Oliver kitchen.  I am happy to shift my mind-set, when camping, and have found the smaller Oliver galley to be well organized, as efficient as prior larger RV kitchens (such as our 5th wheel), and an improvement over the like sized galley in our Leisure Travel Van.

One trick I employ:

We have a wooden bread board (a recycled pull-out board from my HS Home Ec Dept).  My husband installed rubber feet on the bottom so it fits snuggly over the stove top.  We actually made this for previous RVs and were able to reposition the feet to fit the Oliver.  It protects it glass top of the stove, when not in use, extending counter space.  When using the stove, I place the board on the bed next to the galley and use it to set things out of the way, until needed (if that makes sense).  I also use the small counters (pantry and microwave cabinet areas) extensively during meal prep; the dinette table, not so much.

We do not have the microwave, but rather carry a small toaster oven for cooking.  I use the nightstand for it.  

Regarding meal prep outdoors: I do very little outside.  I like being in the kitchen, where everything is handy and I don't have to carry a lot in and out of the trailer.  Also, at certain times of the year, bees/yellowjackets/hornets can be very annoying when preparing food, and eating too, outdoors.  Cooking outdoors is too much like tent camping; we have a great indoor kitchen and choose to use it.

When downsizing from a larger RV (30ft 5th-wheel) I quickly learned a valuable lesson:  in the smaller space, it is important for everything to have a place and keep things put away.  This makes any task more manageable and reduces stress.  I pack things so items oft used are easy to get to (without having to empty the contents of a cabinet/drawer to get them.  We utilize the tow vehicle to store items not often needed to conserve interior storage.

Just a few ideas . . . . . hope this helps.

 

Thanks Susan,  that was very helpful.   My wife has a very organized kitchen and everything has its own spot.   Your comments made a lot of sense and hopefully will have an impact on whether she sees an Oliver like I do.   She takes a while to make a decision.   I think it would be a very comfortable trailer.   The price is the stumbling block.   We're both nearing 70 so I imagine that at best we have 15 years to use it then sell it.   I just don't want to own a trailer that will fall apart during that time.   Her first choice is an R-Pod,  but when I looked at reviews of those,  they had a lot of problems.   "But,  they're cute!"   I don't want cute,  I want dependable.   Thanks for your message. 

John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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My home  kitchen is at least 3 or 4 times the total size of my older Elite, so I get that.

Like Susan, I'm a scratch cook, sometimes speedscratch,  but I relax that a bit, camping. 

For short trips, or first week of longer, I do a lot of things at home.  Precooked pasta, and bag with a bit of olive oil . I use a lot of 90 second microwave bagged rice, though I don't have a microwave. Pasta salad, potato salad, etc at home. 

When I prep, it's often outside, and I tend to prep commonly used items like peppers an onions for several days, stored in baggies.

Indoor meals in bad weather can actually be fun. If you think the kitchen the II is tiny,  take a look at the original Elite .

It's all doable.

14 seasons, going strong. Tiny kitchen and great meals. Or, so says my husband. 

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6 hours ago, John Welte said:

Thanks Susan,  that was very helpful.   My wife has a very organized kitchen and everything has its own spot.   Your comments made a lot of sense and hopefully will have an impact on whether she sees an Oliver like I do.   She takes a while to make a decision.   I think it would be a very comfortable trailer.   The price is the stumbling block.   We're both nearing 70 so I imagine that at best we have 15 years to use it then sell it.   I just don't want to own a trailer that will fall apart during that time.   Her first choice is an R-Pod,  but when I looked at reviews of those,  they had a lot of problems.   "But,  they're cute!"   I don't want cute,  I want dependable.   Thanks for your message. 

I feel the price is sooooo worth the quality, compared to mass produced RVs.  We looked at the R-Pod, several years ago . . . . nothing about it screamed quality; cute, maybe.  In our throw-away world, I appreciate Oliver for giving us a better option.

We are in the same place as you . . . . just went over threshold to our 70's.  We prefer to enjoy our remaining RV travel years without fixing, repairing, and replacing an RV at regular intervals.  I have little to complain about after 9 months with our Oliver.  As a bonus, you get valuable support from other Oliver owners, and, more importantly, the amazing lifetime customer service/support from Oliver. 

I'd venture to guess that, once you make the move, your wife will be thrilled!

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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1 hour ago, SeaDawg said:

My home  kitchen is at least 3 or 4 times the total size of my older Elite, so I get that.

Like Susan, I'm a scratch cook, sometimes speedscratch,  but I relax that a bit, camping. 

For short trips, or first week of longer, I do a lot of things at home.  Precooked pasta, and bag with a bit of olive oil . I use a lot of 90 second microwave bagged rice, though I don't have a microwave. Pasta salad, potato salad, etc at home. 

When I prep, it's often outside, and I tend to prep commonly used items like peppers an onions for several days, stored in baggies.

Indoor meals in bad weather can actually be fun. If you think the kitchen the II is tiny,  take a look at the original Elite .

It's all doable.

14 seasons, going strong. Tiny kitchen and great meals. Or, so says my husband. 

Your camp cooking sounds very similar to mine . . . . we should get together to share notes 😀

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCAIDNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAsm.jpg

 

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12 minutes ago, Ray and Susan Huff said:

I feel the price is sooooo worth the quality, compared to mass produced RVs.  We looked at the R-Pod, several years ago . . . . nothing about it screamed quality; cute, maybe.  In our throw-away world, I appreciate Oliver for giving us a better option.

We are in the same place as you . . . . just went over threshold to our 70's.  We prefer to enjoy our remaining RV travel years without fixing, repairing, and replacing an RV at regular intervals.  I have little to complain about after 9 months with our Oliver.  As a bonus, you get valuable support from other Oliver owners, and, more importantly, the amazing lifetime customer service/support from Oliver. 

I'd venture to guess that, once you make the move, your wife will be thrilled!

I prefer to buy fewer things,  but buy quality.   Thanks for the vote of confidence with my wife coming around to the idea.   Thanks for your message. 

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John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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17 hours ago, Ray and Susan Huff said:

Your camp cooking sounds very similar to mine . . . . we should get together to share notes 😀

I'd love to hang out with you, and cook together. I'm not much of a baker, and I'm sure I could learn a lot from you. 

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Hi John, we also looked at the R-Pod and the Minnie Winnie but then my boyfriend decided he wanted to take the trip to the Oliver factory.  Luckily it's just a state away from us so it was easy even during these times. The tour was fabulous and seeing their manufacturing process sold us on how well built this travel trailer is.  We toured the E I and E II in the showroom, where I told him I was concerned about the small galley area. Well as we sat down to get a price quote I made a run to the bathroom and came back to witness him signing the paperwork and making the down payment.  Although I was thrilled to know that we were finally making a move toward our retirement dreams I was wondering how  was I ever going to cook in that kitchen.  Our pick up date is June of 2022 which has given me lots of time to practice in my kitchen at home.  That's exactly what I'm doing now.  At first I set up a small area to prep that represented the dimensions of the counter space in the Ollie, including the dinette table.  It really is doable.  I've since bought a pot and pan that are much smaller than what I use at home, which will fit perfectly on the stove top in the Ollie and I've been cooking with them.  I'm also playing with our at home convection oven which I had never used before.  I think if you look at the dimensions of the counter space you'll find in the owner's section, let your wife set up a little prep area and cook area up, she'll find it's more than doable, it can even be fun.  Being that she likes to cook, she'll be great a pre-prepping at home which will save her on a lot of the prep space needed while traveling.  Well that's my 2 cents worth and so far practicing is helpful for me.   Good luck.

 

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36 minutes ago, Teri said:

Hi John, we also looked at the R-Pod and the Minnie Winnie but then my boyfriend decided he wanted to take the trip to the Oliver factory.  Luckily it's just a state away from us so it was easy even during these times. The tour was fabulous and seeing their manufacturing process sold us on how well built this travel trailer is.  We toured the E I and E II in the showroom, where I told him I was concerned about the small galley area. Well as we sat down to get a price quote I made a run to the bathroom and came back to witness him signing the paperwork and making the down payment.  Although I was thrilled to know that we were finally making a move toward our retirement dreams I was wondering how  was I ever going to cook in that kitchen.  Our pick up date is June of 2022 which has given me lots of time to practice in my kitchen at home.  That's exactly what I'm doing now.  At first I set up a small area to prep that represented the dimensions of the counter space in the Ollie, including the dinette table.  It really is doable.  I've since bought a pot and pan that are much smaller than what I use at home, which will fit perfectly on the stove top in the Ollie and I've been cooking with them.  I'm also playing with our at home convection oven which I had never used before.  I think if you look at the dimensions of the counter space you'll find in the owner's section, let your wife set up a little prep area and cook area up, she'll find it's more than doable, it can even be fun.  Being that she likes to cook, she'll be great a pre-prepping at home which will save her on a lot of the prep space needed while traveling.  Well that's my 2 cents worth and so far practicing is helpful for me.   Good luck.

 

Thanks Teri.   That's quite innovative to practice like that.   Your boyfriend is much more decisive than my wife.   I am more like him.   She mulls things over much more than me.   I was hoping to order it very soon as there's about a ten to eleven month wait after placing an order as you probably know.   Thanks for writing with your two cents worth which was more like at least two dollars worth if good advice.   Congratulations on your purchase. 

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John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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On 9/3/2021 at 12:38 PM, Overland said:

’ll start a retirement go fund me to speed that along. 

Or maybe not but I'd pitch in for a kickstarter fund!! 😄 

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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My favorite part of camping is being the camp gourmet. I have an outside tent for my full setup.

This works great but takes time to setup. When we are traveling full time I might have to downsize to make things easier from day to day.

PXL_20210527_202426663.jpg

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This nordicware wok skillet has become my favorite cooking utensil. Small enough on the bottom for our little burners, heats evenly, cleans up easy,, and I  use it almost every day, if we have poor weather. (Unfortunately,  we've had a lot of rain, this summer.)

I only carry this, a small  7 or 8" skillet,  a small enamelled pot (1.5 quarts, i think)  with two handles, and a lid, and a teapot. 

I've used it many times for sautéed veggies, making kale/collard/Swiss chard greens, jambalaya, heating sauce for pre-made pasta, heating 90 second microwaveable rice (no microwave for us), pad thai with precooked noodles,  fried rice, etc. The one I have works on an induction burner, too. I bought mine at Costco. 

I stow it in the drawer we built beneath our dc fridge, upside down, along with a few other items. 

Screenshot_20210916-153554_Amazon Shopping.jpg

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2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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4 hours ago, wolfdds said:

My favorite part of camping is being the camp gourmet. I have an outside tent for my full setup.

This works great but takes time to setup. When we are traveling full time I might have to downsize to make things easier from day to day.

PXL_20210527_202426663.jpg

Is that an rpod awning? 

We helped my sister put hers up once, on her rpod. It was such a pain. She bought a popup shelter, to use instead.

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2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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On 9/16/2021 at 3:54 PM, SeaDawg said:

Is that an rpod awning? 

We helped my sister put hers up once, on her rpod. It was such a pain. She bought a popup shelter, to use instead.

No it is a Kelty Big Shady. Not too bad to setup, packs down to a small duffle and dries fast.

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States our Ollie II has been:


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