Portable Propane Ovens: Upgrade Your Vanlife Meals

Living in a van doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality meals! In fact, having the time to spend cooking really great meals with your partner or family (or yourself!) is one of the most enjoyable aspects of vanlife. A portable propane oven is one way to level up your van life meal planning.

If you don’t have a built-in stove in your camper or RV, you might want a portable propane oven or camping stove. Let’s look at some of the top portable camping stoves and ovens for van life, as well as a few tips, tricks, and recipes.

Table of Contents

vanlife portable propane oven

Top 4 Portable Oven Options for Vanlife

A portable propane oven unlocks capabilities you may have thought impossible when it comes to cooking in your van. With a portable oven or camping stove, you can whip up all your favorites and experiment with new methods and techniques that make cooking possibilities endless in a van.

go-sun solar oven on back of camper portable propane oven

1. GoSun

This space-age-looking solar oven is a cool way to reduce your reliance on propane. The GoSun can reach temperatures of up to 550 F and can cook a meal for two in as little as 20 minutes! The spinning tube allows you to rotate the contents for even cooking. You can cook all kinds of things in it, from veggies to meat, and even bake cookies or fresh cinnamon rolls!

That’s all assuming you have sun, of course. If you’re a dedicated van lifer, you are likely reliant on solar at least somewhat for your energy needs, and you may be aware of the difficulties of using solar in certain parts of the world. That being said, the GoSun is a great additional kitchen appliance and a fun way to experiment with off-grid cooking.

2. Omnia Stovetop Oven

The Omnia Oven has become very popular amongst van lifers, RVers, and boaters due to its versatility and ease of use. It’s a circular portable oven, shaped much like a bundt pan, that you put on your stove (or any heat source) to bake casseroles, cakes, breads, and pretty much any other item you would bake in a traditional oven.

It has a variety of accessories you can use with it, including silicone inserts to make cleaning a breeze, muffin forms, and bread racks. There is no thermometer on the oven which can be confusing when you first use it, but Onmia provides extensive online resources for gauging baking time, recipes, and other tips to make the most of your portable oven.

baking in the omnia oven while camping

3. Coleman Portable Camping Oven

The Coleman Portable Camping Oven is designed to sit on top of your camp stove, with the interior of the “oven” heating up from the lit burner from your camp stove. It is ideal for van life because it collapses into a stowable size when not used.

With an easy-to-read thermometer, you can confidently bake in your camp oven or use it to keep meals warm. The aluminized steel exterior is smooth and durable, resisting scratches and corrosion, and it’s easy to clean. It has an adjustable rack that can be set in three different places, giving you versatility with what sized items you can bake and reheat.

4. Ooni Pizza Oven

This is a bit of a luxury item, and we only recommend keeping one around if you have space. But if you have space for it, the Ooni pizza oven makes life worth living. Pizza is incredibly cheap to make and so much fun. All you need is flour, water, salt, yeast, and your toppings, and you’re good to go.

Not only that, the Ooni can be used to make scones, pita bread, roast potatoes and other veggies, chicken wings, and more. It’s also a great activity for camping hangouts and to do with kids.

3 Campstove Options to Compliment Your Portable Oven

Obviously, if you opt for the Omnia Oven or Coleman Portable Camp Oven, you’ll need a camp stove to use them. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Eureka Ignite

The Eureka Ignite is our top choice because it is not only a reliable, functional stove, but it also looks beautiful. For those of us who need an aesthetically pleasing kitchen, this is key. And let’s face it: your van is your home. It should be comfortable and beautiful.

The Eureka Ignite is high quality for its reasonable price, with well-made joints and parts. It has a low flame profile and excellent simmer control and never fails to ignite. It also has a sleek profile and looks great either open or closed on your countertop.

2. Camp Chef

The Camp Chef is a little pricier than the Eureka, and, in our opinion, isn’t as aesthetically pleasing, which is fine for a camping stove but not necessarily something you want displayed in your kitchen. It is a deluxe outdoor oven that operates off a single propane bottle. You can also hook it up to your van’s larger propane tank through an adapter.

The Camp Chef oven is one of the most durable and reliable propane stoves out there. With two 20,000 BTU burners, it has a total output of 40,000 BTUs. The cooking grate is nickel-plated and super strong, but it’s light enough and portable enough to take with you on your outdoor adventures.

Eureka! Ignite Portable Two Burner Propane Camping Stove
Camp Chef Two Burner Camp Stove

3. Coleman Classic 3 Burner

Sometimes two burners aren’t enough heat, and sometimes you need more space on the cooktop for multiple pots and pans or a breakfast skillet. In that case, the Coleman Classic 3 Burner stove is an excellent choice.

Coleman makes it, so you know it’s a solid, reliable camp oven. It’s one of the most popular outdoor oven solutions, and camping enthusiasts have sung its praises for years. The only issue with this oven is that, despite having three burners, it only outputs 28,000 BTUs of cooking power.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Vanlife Meals

Now that you’re set up with your perfect home oven, let’s talk about a few things that can make meal prep and eating well in a van easier. It takes a little planning and dedication (and practice) to get it right, but once you get into a routine, it’s like any other meal prep and cooking routine.

one pot vanlife meals

Plan Meals to Limit Ingredients Bought

Planning out your meals for the week and only buying the ingredients you need for those meals will save you a lot of headaches when storing food in your limited space. Meal planning is also essential if you plan to go off-grid or into remote areas where grocery store access is impossible.

Plan Your Water Needs

No matter how well-insulated your van is, mold and bugs are always a concern. Make sure you’re storing your dry goods in airtight containers. You don’t want critters getting into your food – especially if you’re far from a grocery store.

Favor One-Pot Meals

One-pot meals are super simple to make, save space while cooking, and limit cleanup. Favoring one-pot meals also allows you to keep fewer cooking utensils on board, which means more storage space for food.

Cook Outside When You Can

Cooking outside is fun! It also keeps the inside of your van from getting smokey or filling with cooking smells, which can be difficult to dissipate. Additionally, cooking in the van can heat the interior to uncomfortable levels if you’re in a very warm climate. It can also be a fire hazard.

Easy Vanlife Meals We Love

Let’s talk about some yummy recipes that can be easily cooked on a propane stove or in a portable propane oven. These tasty treats easily fit into any budget or meal plan.


Casseroles can be made in one pot or several and can include rice, quinoa, beans, scrambled eggs, tofu, and any veggies you have on hand. We love it as a way of using up remaining ingredients that didn’t get used throughout the week. Top with your favorite sauce and you have a healthy, satisfying meal that won’t break the bank. They also reheat well in a portable propane oven!


Tacos are super easy to make and infinitely adaptable. And you can make any taco a burrito simply by using a bigger tortilla. Just pick your protein – chicken, pork, or tofu are great options – and some toppings, wrap in a tortilla, and you’re good to go! Leftovers can be saved and re-used the next day for lunch, or re-purposed into a veggie or burrito bowl.

Lentils and Pita

Use your portable oven to make homemade pita bread and add a rich, hearty lentil stew to make a truly wonderful meal on a cold day. Lentils are easy to make and store well, and can be repurposed into tacos, veggie bowls, on pizzas, and more.

Wrapping Up

A portable propane oven is a must-have for anyone considering full-time van life. Making delicious, healthy, filling meals in your van can seem like an impossible task. But with a little preparation and creativity, you can make van life cooking fun and satisfying.



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